Haiti: Five Facts and One Appeal / Restorative Powers

What role did the United States play in setting the stage for
the current crisis in Haiti? Reporting for the Dominion,
Anthony Fenton and Dru Oja Jay accuse the Bush administration of
covertly planning to bring about Haitian regime change, asserting
the economic and humanitarian disaster facing Haiti is
not the product of some unfortunate circumstance, but the
direct result of policies carried out by our governments.’
Writing for TNR online, Adam B. Kushner highlights the
irony of an American administration that now shuns the same
president it helped restore to power back in 1994. Conceding that
‘Aristide may have been a thug, and Haiti may now be better off
without him,’ Kushner cites the importance of American support for
democratically elected officials to Latin American governments
historically plagued by military coups. ‘No one talks much about
the success of the message President Clinton sent to Latin America
by ousting the Haitian junta… but consider that between 1960 and
1990, there were 44 successful military coups in Latin America;
since Haiti’s invasion in 1994, there have been almost none’.

Fenton and Oja Jay suggest that Aristide’s forced resignation is
a coup masquerading as the will of the people, designed by American
officials intent on ousting an unfavorable leader. They argue that
the US policy of withholding desperately needed economic aid and
intervening to block previously approved Interamerican Development
Bank and World Bank loans was designed to create a Haiti ripe for
social upheaval. They accuse the US government of financially
backing the Haitian opposition, to the tune of $70 million, between
1994 and 2002. They blame mainstream media for spreading ‘blatant
disinformation’ intended to demonize Aristide as a tyrant so that
‘the bleeding of the Haitian economy can be falsely attributed to
Aristide’s failure as a leader.’ And finally, they appeal to the
American people ‘as those in whose names this state of affairs was
created,’ to bring an end to further bloodshed by contacting
elected representatives and demanding that the US stand up for
democracy in Haiti.
Eliza Thomas

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