March 2, 2004
MULTINATIONAL FORCES MUST STAY 'AS LONG AS IT TAKES'
and France are commended for acting in "rare concert" to try to end
the crisis in Haiti.
international community is "responsible" for ensuring Haiti gets
** Though Aristide is gone,
Haiti's problems are far from over; Haiti is an "institutional
** Some critics in the
Americas say the West violated Haiti's sovereignty, "sanctioned a
U.S. and France handled Aristide with 'great realism'-- In contrast to earlier admonitions that the
U.S. "was dropping the ball" on Haiti, many writers overseas now say
the U.S. "is to be congratulated for sending in the marines." Euro dailies judged Washington's
"turn-around" and the White House's pressure on Haiti's ex-President
Aristide "instrumental in the outcome." Even frequent critics of U.S. policy, such as
Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung, conceded that the U.S.
"reacted with care and circumspection," achieving a "halfway
successful...intervention from a distance." Some also welcomed U.S.-French cooperation as
a "benchmark" sealing Franco-American "rapprochement" after
Iraq and called the plan to send a multilateral force with a UN mandate a
U.S., France, UN have a 'moral' obligation to stay long
enough-- Columnists emphasized
that after "helping push Mr. Aristide out the door," the
international community has a "duty" to help Haiti "get back on
its feet." A multinational force
will have to stay long enough to ensure Haiti is a "functioning
democracy." Yet skeptics joined Kenya's
left-of-center Nation in reflecting that the bloody unrest was a
"stark reminder" that democracy cannot be installed "through the
barrel of a gun." Although the U.S.
has the "muscle" to stop the mayhem, analysts recognized that
"installing democracy is another proposition altogether." The "entire country will have to be
rebuilt," as France's right-of-center Le Figaro declared, but the
"truth is that Western powers no longer know how to
administer...territories which differ in culture from their own."
Danger not over yet; Haiti 'desperately needs stability'-- Though the "lawlessness" appeared to
be "more or less contained" following Aristide's departure, onlookers
remained cautious given Haiti's "highly checkered history." Brazil's center-right O Globo held
that Aristide's resignation "prevented the worst," but the solution
is "provisory"; the "country is in the ICU." Unless there is a sustained commitment to
help Haiti make "some badly needed progress," London's conservative Times
reasoned, it's only a matter of time before "coup number 34." Echoing this sentiment, South Africa's
liberal Star said the U.S. and France must stay until a "durable
government" is created or Haiti would suffer another dose of "deja
Latin, Caribbean papers wary of U.S. playing 'dominant role' in
Haiti-- Invoking the sovereignty
mantra, Mexican and Chilean writers chided the U.S. for "deciding the
Haitian people's fate once again."
Claiming Haiti's "sovereignty was at stake," Chile's paper of
record El Mercurio argued that "a government that acts as a facade
for the powers today intervening in Haiti is not the solution." The centrist Jamaica Observer more
defiantly accused the "Western troika" of sanctioning a "coup
d'etat" against the "legitimately elected leader of Haiti."
This analysis is based on 59 reports from 27 countries, February
26-March 2. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Au Revoir
The conservative Times commented (3/1): "Those who obliged a reluctant Mr.
Aristide to head into exile once again have a moral and political
responsibility to act after his departure....
The U.S. is to be congratulated for sending in the Marines. Now a multinational force must be assembled
as a matter of urgency. It should be
blessed by the leading regional organisations, notably Caricom and the
Organization of American States, as well as the broader international
community. Its immediate objective would
be to ensure the disarmament of all camps and from there to make plans for
genuinely legitimate elections.... A
sustained commitment of money and troops this time might allow the country an
opportunity to make some badly needed progress.
If not, then it will be only a matter of time before the launch of coup
"Better Late Than Never"
The conservative Daily Telegraph held (3/1): "The flight into exile yesterday of the
President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was long overdue.... This time, however, Washington made it
abundantly clear that he could no longer count on American support against the
insurgents. France, the former colonial
power, also called on him to depart....
George W. Bush certainly does not want trouble in his own backyard
during an election year, but he cannot be fairly blamed for the fall of Mr.
Aristide. The president's first duty is
to the American people, who would rightly regard the arrival of thousands of
boat people from Haiti as a serious failure of policy.... The presence of Mr. Aristide--with his record
of electoral fraud, corruption and violence--would scarcely have made that task
any easier. Now that he has gone, Haiti
can make a fresh start, with American military and economic help."
FRANCE: "The Haitian
Renaud Girard observed in right-of-center Le Figaro
(3/2): “The first good news from Haiti
is Aristide’s departure.... The second
is the comeback of a Franco-American diplomatic and military cooperation. Last year’s quarrel over Iraq left many
Frenchmen with a bitter taste...especially when France was accused of
preferring a dictator to an old friend....
Americans chose to side with the ‘neo-cons’ who considered France no
longer to be a trustworthy ally....
While Paris may have been somewhat un-elegant in how it handled the
Iraqi affair, its position was sound....
It is therefore legitimate to be glad that France did not take part in
the British-American improvised colonial expedition in Iraq, which was marked
by a complete lack of political preparedness.
The Haitian intervention is totally different [because of its]
urgency.... In spite of the UN’s
approval, the intervention remains risky....
Haiti’s troubles are deep, and while French and U.S. soldiers will
manage to bring some sort of security, the entire country needs to be
rebuilt. The truth is that Western
powers no longer know how to administer or help territories which differ in
culture from their own. This is not a
reason to stand by, but it is enough of a reason to be cautious. Let's hope that in Haiti the Americans and
the French will be able to put their complementary qualities together in order
to learn together.”
Patrick Sabatier asserted in left-of-center Liberation
(3/2): “Aristide’s loss has made the
good fortune of France and America's diplomats.
His departure...has sealed the Franco-American rapprochement, after the
quarrel over Iraq. The irony of the
situation escapes no one. FM De Villepin
defended with the same panache the importance of respecting international law
in Iraq and the right to intervene in Haiti.
For Secretary Powell, the U.S. alone could decide Iraq’s future, while
he left France the initiative in Haiti and asked the UN to protect the
Marines.... The irony is even greater
when one thinks back to the fact that Washington helped Aristide take over with
France’s blessing and in the name of democracy.
Ten years later, Washington and Paris are again allied to chase the same
man from power and always in the name of democracy.... One cannot help but wonder about the West’s
tendency to impose democracy by force and according to its own interests.”
Patrick Sabatier remarked in left-of-center Liberation
(3/1): "By sending troops to Haiti
and getting rid of Aristide, the U.S. and France are simply taking on their
responsibility.... The presence of an
international force is the sine qua non condition for a return to stability and
the democratic process.... Everyone
needs to stop thinking that Haiti is condemned to political coups and
dictatorships.... While the island has
suffered from within, it is also the victim of the indifference of its former
colonial powers whose only interest has been to control Haiti's potential for
harm: the influx of refugees and drugs. Helping to get rid of a tyrant is a good
thing. But helping a people and a nation
to stand up would be even more useful."
"Rebuilding And Pacifying"
Jean-Luc Macia judged in Catholic La Croix (3/1): "Washington's turn-around and its
request..... that Aristide leave Haiti was instrumental in the outcome of the
crisis. Once again the weight of
America's diplomacy played a decisive role.
Under the circumstances, no one can complain."
GERMANY: "Policy For
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (3/2): "Haiti is a
synonym for a falling state.... One
reason is also that the country has turned into a product and plaything of
domestic policy constellations elsewhere....
The U.S. government has now sent a few soldiers to stabilize the
situation. But a bit of stabilizing,
disarming and a bit of civil society rhetoric will not help the island get out
of its Caribbean black hole. UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan comes close to the truth, since he wants to
develop a long-term assistance program for Haiti. We may not like the word, but at issue is a
modern re-colonialization. Intervention
to open a domestic gauge and to help this or that dubious democrat to come to
power characterize a policy for the moment."
"Time For Haiti"
Stefan Kornelius opined in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (3/2): "Haiti
is again on the long list of U.S. military interventions and political
interferences. This time we will have to
note that--unlike the Bush administration could have us prompted to assume--it
reacted with care and circumspection. If
it had sent forces earlier to the island, President Aristide would probably
have been protected and thus stabilized.
If it had hesitated more, there would have been a large-scale gang and
civil war. And if it had forced Aristide
to step down, it would have been accused of interference.... This change of power can be considered a
halfway successful example of an intervention from the distance in which the
U.S. power of order has resolved a crisis with a presidential declaration and
tough diplomacy behind the scenes. But
the problem has not yet been resolved.
Unlike in Iraq, there should not be a power vacuum in Haiti in which the
looting continues and in which hostile factions consolidate their power. This is why it was also a wise action to send
a multinational force with UN mandate.
But we will be able to really praise the Bush administration if it--unike
its predecessor--does not make the same mistake during the birth of a weakened
state. In Haiti, the rules of the game
and the authority of institutions of a functioning democracy must be trained
again. And this takes time."
"Power Policy Emptiness"
Business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf noted
(3/1): "The good news is that
President Aristide did his country a favor by leaving it, the bad news is that
with his flight, an end to violence in Haiti is not in sight. It is a horror picture to imagine that the
victorious rebels are now supposed to be the new rulers on the island. This is why the greatest danger currently
emanates from the anarchy in the country.
Without international assistance, it will be impossible to restore a
halfway political order and stable democratic framework conditions. As much as the United States and France as
former colonial powers watched how the country headed for a total state
collapse, as much is it now their duty to help restore political order. They should not even shy away from military
intervention.... A strong military
intervention force under UN command could be the best guarantor for new
elections. But the international
community should by no means watch the further disintegration of the democratic
system in Haiti. This would be a bad
signal for crisis-ridden countries in South America, and a disaster for
"One Step, No Solution"
Christoph Albrecht-Heider argued in an editorial in left-of-center
Frankfurter Rundschau (3/1):
"The two major powers in this conflict acted pragmatically
and--hopefully--saved the lives of many people.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide left the country, under pressure at least from
the United States.... For the time
being, this it the best step but not a solution to all problems.... The demand 'Aristide must go' was the lowest
common denominator of the opposition.
This goal has now been achieved.
And it may even be possible that a successor will show up who is
accepted by the people. But the question
is whether he succeeds in improving the living conditions on the island. And the question is whether, in view of bad
experience with former people's tribune Aristide, somebody wants to become
president, who really has this goal."
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine had this to say (3/1)
: "Haiti's President Aristide is
used to a life in exile. At the
beginning of the 90s, he involuntarily spent a few years...in Washington. Now, ten years later, he is again in
exile. But this time, he was not
supported by the military.... What
now? A military, sorry, humanitarian,
U.S. intervention with the blessing of the United Nations, the benevolence of
France, and a bit of money from Europe allowing Haiti to get the president who
leads the 'Pearl of the Caribbean' to a peaceful future of which we have heard
for more than 200 years? The country's history
teaches us only one lesson: It repeats
ITALY: "U.S. And
France--Haiti Heals The Wound"
Maurizio Molinari judged in centrist, influential daily La
Stampa (3/2): “French and U.S.
soldiers are working side by side in Haiti to bring security and stability
within the framework of an international intervention which has been
unanimously mandated by the UN Security Council.… That which was impossible to achieve in
Baghdad in March of 2003 has been achieved in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.…
French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin--who was the man behind
Aristide’s resignation--gets the credit for having understood that the occasion
for Washington and Paris’s reconciliation was at hand. But without U.S. Secretary of State Colin
Powell’s final push--with or without Aristide’s capture by the Special
Forces--the stalemate would have never been overcome. The events of the last 72 hours in
Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area reinforces the Atlantic Alliance, it
coincides with the reconciliation celebrated at the White House between Bush
and the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and it reveals the Euro-American
understanding that will accompany the UN as it becomes the leader of the
transition in Iraq after the transfer of powers scheduled for June 30. These seem to be the premise for the
transformation of the 60th anniversary of the landing in Normandy into a new
phase of European--U.S. relations. This
doesn't mean that a lack of understanding on the war on terror has been
overcome.… But having succeeded in landing together on Haiti’s shores allows
for cautious optimism--as long as police operations are successful and are able
to stifle the armed rebels.”
"Haiti, A Washington-Paris Axis"
Mario Platero noted in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore
(3/2): “The Haitian crisis will become
the benchmark on which to measure the differences over Iraq which split the UN
and caused Washington to go to war against Saddam without the help of certain
key European allies like France and Germany.
Now, with the crisis in the Caribbean only a few kilometers off the U.S.
coast, with the danger of a wave of refugees, it is in everyone's interests,
especially Washington’s, to return to a multilateral approach. President George W. Bush is in the midst of
an electoral campaign in which his adversaries are attacking him for having
imposed a unilateral approach on the country.
A harmonious solution is also in the interests of the French President
Jacques Chirac who will be able to resume relations with the White House during
his upcoming trip to Washington not only on the basis of words but also on
"In The Caribbean, Bush And Chirac Re-Discover Their
Maurizio Molinari opined in centrist, influential La Stampa
(3/1): "Ardent rivals on Iraq,
George Bush and Jacques Chirac have resolved the Haitian crisis together,
demonstrating their ability to work in unison on security issues in a way that
few people thought was possible.... The
protagonists of the Washington-Paris Pact are De Villepin and the Secretary of
State Colin Powell, who were ardent rivals in the tug of war at the Security
Council on the military intervention in Iraq.
In the last few days they have talked like they hadn’t done since the
hot months of the Iraq war, but this time understanding prevailed between the
two and some are even suggesting that they could become ‘good friends.’"
"The Franco-American Maneuvers"
Alberto Pasolini Zanelli commented in pro-government, leading
center-right daily Il Giornale (3/1):
“He was two times successful and two times defeated. This should be the last deposition for
Jean-Bertrand Aristide.... This time
Bush was forced to take action because the crisis was completely out of hand
and if he would have further delayed sending in a peacekeeping force then he
would have been forced to resort to war actions--the last thing this president
needs to be involved in given the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is also why he opted for a diplomatic
solution in concordance with allies, friends and international institutions.”
"Bush Announces Deployment Of Peacekeeping Forces"
Anna Guaita concluded in Rome's center-left daily Il Messaggero
(3/1): “According to many international policy
observers, the Haitian crisis has brought about a definitive rapprochement
between Paris and Washington following the fracture caused by the war against
RUSSIA: "Price Of The
Sergei Stroken commented in reformist business Kommersant
(3/2): "Crises like the one in
Haiti, indicate who is who in the modern world.... Someone has calculated that France was the
first to urge Aristide to resign and the first to propose to order
international peacemakers into the country.
But when the decision on international participation was taken, U.S.
marines landed in Haiti several hours before the French. Who has won in the final analysis? Today the French and the Americans are
imposing order together, demonstrating that friendship is the winner. Or, the sides have agreed on an honorable
draw. And so it happens that Haiti's
agony has caused a sigh of relief in the civilized world."
"Haitian President Leaves His Country To Its Own
Veniamin Ginodman noted in liberal daily Gazeta (3/1): "The ouster of Jean-Bertrand
Aristide...is bound to trigger a new outbreak of violence in that most poor
country of the Western Hemisphere. Among
the Haitian police, who have until recently remained loyal to the president,
there are quite a few people who fear revenge from mutineers and thus intend to
fight to the last. In addition, Aristide
has quite a few supporters among the young people who have united into armed
units.... As regards the neutral part of
the population, in the confusion the Civil War they are trying to extract
maximum benefit for themselves by the only way possible in that part of the
globe, which is marauding."
BELGIUM: "A Glimmer Of
Hope After 200 Years Of Misery"
Veronique Kiesel observed in left-of-center Le
Soir (3/1): "The vast majority
of Haitians wanted President Aristide to go, and their wish has now been
granted. Jean-Bertrand Aristide has
preferred a golden exile to a situation that had become untenable after having
been dumped by Paris and Washington.
Yet, it is a bitter victory for the Haitian people. Two hundred years after becoming independent,
the Haitian Republic seems to constantly relive the darkest hours of its
history, with corrupt leaders who are more worried by their personal wealth
than by their people's well-being, with violence being spread by small gang
leaders who want to get their share of the loot, and with an increasingly poor
population.... The international
community must react without delay to curb violence and enable Haitian people
to work out a solution themselves, in order to bring a glimmer of hope in the
eyes of the people of this exhausted country."
"Old and New Demons"
Foreign affairs writer Catherine Vuylsteke
judged in independent De Morgen (3/1):
"According to the official version Aristide left...to avoid a
bloodbath in the capital but, most of all, he left because his former friends,
the United States and France, were no longer supporting him. It had been clear since his fraudulent reelection
in 2000 that the people did not have warm feelings for his repressive and
corrupt regime. Yet, there is not much
reason to celebrate: there are still
many demons--old and new ones--that are causing trouble in this land of
liberated slaves.... It had been clear
for quite some time that a perhaps violent exit for Aristide was in the
offing.... Now that Aristide has left
ravaged and extremely poor Haiti--destitute from justice for such a long
time--may have a new chance. But, that
will be the case only if the international community takes its responsibility
immediately and decisively."
"Avoiding More Chaos"
Foreign editor Gerald Papy contended in
independent La Libre Belgique (3/1):
"One year after extreme tensions about Iraq, the agreement between
France and the United States to force Haitian President Aristide to leave is
somewhat reassuring about the role of diplomacy in solving international
crises.... Diplomacy, but also the
threat with the use of force that was suggested by the preparation of the
dispatching of 2,200 U.S. soldiers from Norfolk, forced the man who pledged to
stay in power to change his mind....
Yet, nothing indicates that the interim pro-Aristide regime will quietly
accept relinquishing power. This means
that it is perhaps not excluded yet that the worst could happen in Haiti. That is the reason why the proposal to send
an international force to prevent a bloodbath between rebels and supporters of
Aristide seems advisable, if it contributes to stabilizing the country and to
restoring power to a legitimate authority.
The Haitian people's suffering deserves some kind of responsible
attention from the international community."
"Opposition Has No Candidate"
Right wing conservative Magyar Nemzet argued (3/1): "The Haitian opposition's big problem is
that there isn't one single presidential candidate in the entire country, whose
popularity today would be anywhere close to Jean-Bertrand Aristide's
popularity. Aristide came from a poor
farming family, who helped and supported the poor and who has a religious past
too. He is now wearing the clumsy specs
(glasses) and offers the image of a weak, abandoned person, while he proved to
be just the opposite. He was indeed very
strong. Up until yesterday."
NETHERLANDS: "Bush And
Marc Guillet wrote in centrist Algemeen Dagblad (3/1) "The armed resistance against President
Aristide resulted from the controversial elections in 2000. The opposition refused to acknowledge the
outcome and boycotted the parliament.
The U.S. and the EU stopped their humanitarian aid in protest, which
proved disastrous for the people.
Washington did not play a very constructive role. President Clinton tried to improve stability
by returning Aristide to power in 1994.
The Republicans in Congress tried everything to undermine Clinton, but
mainly undermined Haiti. American troops
were soon withdrawn and there was no assistance in building political
institutions. President Bush wanted to
end the political crisis to prevent an exodus of refugees to Florida, as this
would cost him votes in November.
Today's crisis once again pulls into doubt the credibility of Bush and
the Republicans. They cultivate
democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq but have abandoned the democratic experiment
in neighboring Haiti."
"Allow Haiti A New Start."
Influential liberal De Volkskrant editorialized (3/1): "The rebellion was not caused by a
large movement that could legitimately take over power, but by violent
criminals that are no credible alternative for Aristide. So, an international peace force should be
sent to Haiti quickly. The Americans and
the French have already hinted at that.
Those troops should do more than fill the dangerous vacuum that has
emerged. They should start the 'nation
building' required to allow this nation a new start."
Wojciech Jagielski held in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(3/1): “Jean-Bertrand Aristide has
joined the elite club of presidents who've been ousted several times. The club also includes popular leaders of
romantic revolutions who upon coming to power would become like the tyrants
they opposed.... Aristide was a hope for
a change. He proved to be a
disappointment. He compromised
democracy, and at the same time ridiculed the concept of international
solidarity thanks to which he regained the office ten years ago.... Long before Aristide came, the experienced
Haitians would say it could always be only worse. Aristide only reconfirmed them in their
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"UN Must Take The Lead In Rebuilding Haiti"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
said in an editorial (3/2): "The
rebellion that brought Mr. Aristide down includes opportunistic former army
officials who have returned from neighboring countries to lead the
uprising. Their agendas are unclear and
so are those of opposition politicians who supported them but did not take up
arms. Many of the street toughs and
police officers who pledged allegiance to Mr. Aristide remain, even though he
is gone. The first priority will be to
prevent bloodshed, but it will take longer than three months to guarantee
stability. There has also been speculation
that minority Haitian interests, with American backing, have connived to
overthrow Mr. Aristide. These
implications, and that country's long history of intervention in Haiti, are
among the reasons the U.S. should take a back seat to UN leadership now. Having the international body guiding the new
government and any elections to be held will assure the world that the
interests being served are those of the Haitian people as a whole, not those of
exiled elite who may have friends in the U.S. administration or Congress."
CHINA (MACAU SAR):
"Mr. Aristide Finds Little Support"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked in
an editorial (3/1): "Haitian
officials and the French Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed on Sunday that Mr.
Aristide had left Haiti. On Saturday,
Mr. Aristide still resolutely stated that he would not leave Haiti. However, the U.S. urged him to pass on power
to his constitutional predecessor. On
Sunday, the U.S. issued a statement strongly questioning whether Mr. Aristide
should still govern. At that point,
under internal and external pressure, Mr. Aristide was left with no choice but
to step down. While the Haitian people
are in an abyss of suffering, Mr. Aristide still refuses to look at his
mistakes. He doesn't want to give up his
post. Although Mr. Aristide has left,
the danger in Haiti is not over. The
anti-government militants encircling the capital are mainly formed by officers
and soldiers of former military governments, local triad groups and
rogues. It is still uncertain whether or
not these groups will attack the capital and seize power. If they do so, Haiti will return to military
rule. In order to prevent this from
happening, the U.S. and France may have to use military intervention."
INDIA: "Setback In
An editorial in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer held
(3/2): "Hopes of the advent of a
stable democratic order in Haiti that had soared with the installation of
Jean-Bertrand Aristide as its president in 1994, suffered a serious setback on
Sunday when he fled into exile.... It is
gratifying that the lawlessness that broke out in Port-au-Prince on Sunday was
more or less contained by the evening.
The chances of avoiding large-scale violence, which had at one stage
appeared slim with Aristide seemingly unwilling to give ground, have further
improved with the UNSC authorizing on Sunday evening the immediate deployment
of an interim international force in the troubled nation.... The critical question is how to ensure the
latter given Haiti's highly checkered history of 200 years of independence in
which Aristide was the first elected president.
The UN should give serious thought to the matter, involving Security
Council members and the Organization of American States in the process."
SOUTH AFRICA: "A
Durable Stability For Haiti"
Liberal This Day editorialized (3/2): “It's clear that U.S. and other international
political pressure played a central role in Aristide’s ouster. In combination with virulent opposition to
his government by sections of the Haitian elite and former officers in the
brutal army that he disbanded, it meant that Aristide began to lose his
grip. But in truth, the erstwhile
Haitian president helped to seal his own fate by relying on increasingly
autocratic measures, including gangs of thugs who would beat up his opponents.… Haiti desperately needs stability--and not the
kind provided by the infamous U.S.-backed regimes of Papa Doc Duvalier and Baby
Doc Duvalier.… Durable, democratic
stability can only come from within not from outside Haiti. The country needs a system of government that
is not solely designed to enrich a few generals and politicians. Unless that changes, it will be only a matter
of time before the 33rd coup.”
"Deja Voodoo In Haiti"
The liberal Star averred (3/2): “The real concern now is Haiti’s future. The international community has been slow to
address the crisis.… At least now the
United States and France, acting in rare concert, have sent in forces to try to
stop the mayhem. Having assumed that
responsibility, they will have to stay long enough to allow Haitians to
assemble a representative transitional government to rule the country and
create independent institutions able eventually to administer credible free and
fair elections. And also allow durable
government to be created. That process
may take time. But if the international
forces leave too soon, Haiti may suffer yet another dose of deja voodoo.”
KENYA: "Aristide Fall
A Lesson To U.S."
Independent left-of-center Nation commented (3/2): “The bloody revolt that has forced Haiti’s
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to flee into exile is a stark reminder that
democracy cannot be installed through the barrel of a gun.... The U.S....does have the muscle to enforce
some sort of peace. But installing
democracy is another proposition altogether, as the U.S. is about to find
halfway across the world after occupying Iraq for some considerable
period. Taking over Iraq was the easy
part. Enforcing peace is something else
altogether; and imposing 'democracy' on a people with different values quite
another. So, as the U.S., France and
other states move troops into Haiti, they would be wise to acknowledge that
their mandate must be severely limited.”
“Poor Man, Rich Man: The U.S. And Haiti”
John Mulaa, a columnist based in Washington, wrote in the
Independent pro-business Standard
(2/29): "At the kernel of
most U.S. reporting on events in Haiti, is the stated fear that deteriorating
events in Haiti could easily unleash another flotilla of desperate Haitian boat
people fleeing their homeland. U.S.
Coast Guard ships are already patrolling
along Haiti’s coastline ready to stop any boats headed for Florida. How Haiti became a mess is a subject unlikely
to be analyzed or discussed in the U.S. popular media. Only in relatively few serious and therefore
highbrow magazines is one to find thought provoking and in-depth accounts of
why Haiti is the way it is.... This is
the story of Haiti that few Americans get to hear. Yet, it is so pertinent. Images of Haitian mobs ransacking cities and
police stations, throwing stones at each other, and baying for the President
Aristide’s blood unaccompanied by serious commentary do not tell the entire
story, of course. And the story of Haiti is grim as it is instructive.”
Future Is Hanging In The Balance"
respected Lagos-based independent Guardian
asserted (3/2): "It is doubtful
whether Aristide's departure would solve all of Haiti's problems. The rebels who are now dancing in the streets
of Port-au-Prince, basking in the enthusiastic support of the people, may have
achieved the vengeance that they seek.
But it is Haiti's future that is hanging in the balance, with the
prospect of more misery for the people....
The people of Haiti need help to enable them restore their much-abused country
to the path of sanity.... The bigger
challenge would be to facilitate a process of reconciliation between the rebels
and whatever is left of the Aristide government, leading to a transitional
government of national unity and fresh elections. As Haiti imploded in the 90s, Haitians fled
in large numbers from the land of their birth, ending up as refugees in
neighboring countries. It is a prospect
that the international community should help to prevent."
TANZANIA: "Africa Should Draw Lesson From Haiti"
The independent English-language African
reflected (3/2): "The events that
have been unfolding in Haiti have left many observers wondering at the swift
speed the United States, France and Canada have responded to the crisis as soon
as President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was reported to have fled the
country.... Where was the U.S., when the
people of Liberia were being slaughtered in a senseless civil war? Where was France when the people of the
Democratic Republic of Zaire were fighting against local warlords aided by
foreign troops? Where were these nations
when close to a million people were massacred in Rwanda in 1994?... We are informed that the Western nations over
the past decade have been reluctant to contribute peace keeping forces to some
of the hottest spots in Africa, but they have been very agreeable to send
forces to Haiti in a matter of hours....
We can conclude from this that President Aristide, who was installed by
the U.S. back in 1994, had outlived his usefulness to the West, thus they sat
on the fence when rebels were dismembering his country.... It is quite evident that after his departure
the U.S. decided to move in swiftly to ensure that another man of their
preference leads the unfortunate island nation.
The last thing the U.S. wants is another Castro or Chavez in the
area. Let African nations take a leaf
from this and stop depending on the ‘big brother’ to solve their critical
problems. The lessons from Haiti should
serve as a reminder that Africa should be able to stand firmly on its own feet
to solve African problems. We hope and
pray as President Aristide said: ‘The
constitution (of Haiti) should not drown in the blood of the Haitian people.’ He accepted to resign in order to prevent
more bloodshed. It is hoped that the
West, with the same speed, will help the people of Haiti to get a
democratically elected government.”
CANADA: "Haiti's Needs
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen observed (3/2): "It
seems that for many governments, intervention is permitted only in cases where
Western countries--notably the U.S.--have little national interest. The United
States has economic and security interests in Iraq, so the UN and its
supporters--Canada among them--opposed intervention, even if that meant more
suffering for Iraqis. The U.S. has almost no interests in Haiti, so the UN and
its supporters--including Canada--call for intervention. Meanwhile, some of the
voices that denounced American 'unilateralism' in Iraq have this time denounced
the U.S. for waiting around for UN authorization rather than sending the
marines into Haiti earlier. Some leftist websites say racism explains U.S.
inaction in Haiti--that the U.S. doesn't care when blacks kill blacks--just as
they suggested racism explains U.S. action in Iraq (Arabs can't solve their own
problems, so let's do it for them). Amazingly, for some critics, the U.S. is
both too isolationist and too imperialist. Ironically, in Haiti itself there
appears to be an absence of political consciousness.... The good news is that,
with Haiti being a weak country, only a few hundred UN-approved troops may be
needed to restore order. The bigger question is: When will they leave? Right
now, the stabilization force appears to have no obvious exit strategy."
"Trouble In Our Own Backyard"
The conservative National Post editorialized (3/1):
"The breakdown of order in North America's backyard shows how hypocritical
Canada has become. We love to lecture
America for its uncaring attitude toward the world. But it was the United States that sent 10,000
troops to Haiti in 1994, and which has now responded in force to the current
outbreak, not us. All Canadians--hawks
and doves alike--should be scandalized by the decrepit state of our military.
Events in Haiti, no less than Iraq, prove once again that our self-vaunted
'soft power' is nothing more than a recipe for irrelevance on the world
"Time To Help Haiti"
The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (Internet version,
3/1): " When Mr. Aristide finally
fled early yesterday morning, the international community, and many Haitians as
well, said good riddance. But that does
not mean that outside countries can wash their hands of Haiti. The United
States, France and indeed Canada all played an important role in the final days
of the crisis, and Washington's call for Mr. Aristide to 'examine his position'
was the final straw in the collapse of his government. After helping push Mr. Aristide out the door,
the international community now has a responsibility for helping Haiti get back
on its feet. The first job is to get
international forces on the ground. In
the short term, U.S. Marines will fill the power vacuum left by Mr. Aristide's
flight.... The rebels, a motley crew
that includes former death-squad leaders, will try to seize power unless some
countervailing force prevents them. In
the longer term, a broader stabilization force is called for.... But it would have been far better if the UN
Security Council had acted earlier. This
unfortunate delay underlines the need for a standing UN rapid-reaction force
that could be deployed to crisis spots on short notice.... The United States, too, needs to take some
blame. Preoccupied with its occupation
of Iraq, it has dropped the ball on this one.
One reason for the tardy response is the reluctance to make what could
be an open-ended commitment in Haiti.
Another is the belief that, ultimately, Haitians have to be responsible
for their own fate. Both concerns are
reasonable. Haiti, already the poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere, is in such a sad state...that it may take
years of international supervision before it can be fully responsible for
itself again.... But if the past decade
or so has shown anything, it is that Haiti badly needs international help to be
viable. Canada and others must step
forward to offer that help in Haiti's hour of need."
"Canada Owes Haitians A Hand"
The liberal Toronto Star commented (Internet version,
3/1): "Welcome as United
Nations-mandated forces may be, after weeks of unrest, the so-called 'Friends
of Haiti' deserve no great credit for championing democracy in a dark hour. Taking his cue from U.S. President George Bush
and French President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Paul Martin stood idly by
as Aristide, re-elected in 2000, was driven into exile...by a small band of 300
armed opponents who could have been stopped in their tracks a week ago by a
modest show of foreign grit. Instead,
Haiti's foreign friends shrugged off Aristide's plea for aid and told him to
bow out, handing his foes a cheap and undeserved victory.... Aristide was ousted in a brutal, anarchic
coup. Assuming Haiti's friends can avert
a bloodbath in Port-au-Prince, Haitians can look forward to electing the new
president of their choice. As long as it
isn't Aristide, but someone who is acceptable to the nation's tiny elite, who
never accepted him, who boycotted the 2000 presidential election and who lamented
a failed coup in 2001. It's revolting to
watch Canada's senior elected officials seek refuge in comforting legalisms
when the rights of millions have just been erased. Canada should stand for something
better. Problematic as Aristide was,
with his divisive style, his alleged corruption and his reliance on gangs to
impose control, those who seem likeliest to replace him arrive with still less
legitimacy.... Having failed to defend
an elected president, Ottawa must now do what it can to make things right
again. When the dust settles Aristide
should be welcome to seek sanctuary in Canada, among our many French-speaking
Haitians, if he wishes.... While his
weaknesses are many, he restored democracy until it was snatched away.... Canadian troops and police should be
dispatched in greater numbers, to help restore order. They should stay as long as needed.... And Canada should offer more aid than the
inadequate $5 million we've pledged....
Haitians...need all the help we can give. Their institutions desperately need
strengthening. At the same time Martin
should spare Haitians lectures about respecting constitutional order and the
rule of law. Ottawa and its allies just
let an elected government be mugged. Who
do we imagine is listening?"
"The American's Secret Card"
Marie-Claude Malboeuf filed from Port-au-Prince in La Presse (3/1): "It was in order
to avoid being charged with drug trafficking that President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide finally agreed to resign yesterday morning...after having desperately
hung on to power despite the rebellion that plunged his country in chaos....
Aristide is a 'drug baron who controls drug trafficking in Haiti'.… said the
biggest Haitian drug trafficker before being convicted to 27 years in jail four
days ago.... Some believe the Americans used plea bargaining to obtain the
denunciation which comes just at the right time."
Bush: Dramatic Call Of Attention From A
Jorge Rosales, daily-of-record La Nacion Washington-based
correspondent, wrote (3/1): "The
violence that led to the fall of Haiti's government forced the USG to direct
its eyes to Latin America--a region that doesn't fall into its priorities and
that each day presents a more complicated scenario due to political and economic
crises in several of its nations.
Venezuela's volcanic situation; Peru's instability; Bolivia's
never-ending problems; a resurfacing of Colombia's violence, and the still
fragile economic recovery in Argentina present an uncertain scenario regarding
the future of Latin America and pose a challenge to the U.S. The strong pressure exercised by President
Bush was decisive for Aristide leaving leave power in Haiti. Washington's direct intervention in the
crisis led White House officials to leak their concern because they might be
seen as those who forced the departure of a democratic president."
"The Risks Of Democracy And A Second-Hand Economy"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, leading Clarin international analyst,
opined (3/1): "It's easy to
recognize in the Aristide phenomenon a precedent, anticipating the region's
disturbing rebellion against democracy and the 'impoverishing' economy that
goes hand-in-hand with neo-liberal ideas.
The conditions of this crisis--either of the state, humanitarian or any
other--won't disappear with Aristide's fall; what can reverse them is a
long-time commitment of the hemisphere and the world to the idea of a country
that, after 200 years of independence, may finally accomplish sound democratic
institutions in--at least--a minimal context of justice."
"Sources Of Violence Still Dormant"
Alberto Armendariz opined in daily-of-record La Nacion
(3/1): "He faced protest rallies by
the political opposition and students; a group of armed rebels led an upheaval
against him and little by little took control of almost the entire country; the
U.S. and France turned their back on him. Cornered, President Aristide was
forced to resign, but the eradication of someone who, many believed, was the
source of all of Haiti's problems now threatens the country with a power vacuum
which could be worse than the 'disease' they tried to remove.... Everything indicates that, although Aristide
is gone, the sources of violence - Chimeres, rebels, and the lack of a consensus
among parties, labor unions and NGO's on how long must the multinational force
remain in Haiti--are still dormant. And
there will be the need for much more than an international force to bring
"Powell Played A Decisive Role"
Daily-of-record La Nacion stated (3/1): "U.S. Secretary Powell played a decisive
role in the negotiations which led to President Aristide's resignation, through
constant phone calls to leaders of the different countries close to the crisis
- Caribbean countries, particularly Jamaica and Bahamas, as well as French and
Canadian officials - in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
According to the White House, the chief of U.S. diplomacy was actively involved
in these negotiations...and, they added, Aristide decided to leave office after
Washington announced, in a communiqué, that he was responsible for this crisis.
Powell's diplomatic effort was of key importance to convince the rebels to
postpone -- for a couple of days -- their plans to attack the capital."
Liberal Folha de s. Paulo editorialized (3/2): "Jean Bertrand Aristide's resignation
and the new international intervention have demonstrated the West's inability
to conduct a democratization plan for a nation without major strategic interests
such as oil reserves. The Haitian crisis
did not begin with the revolt led by groups of bandits a few weeks ago. The worst mistakes occurred after the U.S.
intervention in 1994 that restored power to President Aristide.... The economic assistance promised by the U.S.,
France and other powers never materialized, which was instrumental in setting
the former president on the path of abuses that led to his fall.... Greater Western involvement with Haiti would
perhaps have prevented the deterioration of the Aristide administration as well
as his downfall."
Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo remarked (3/2): "The governments of both the U.S. and
France acted with great realism when they withdrew support for President Jean
Bertrand Aristide, thereby forcing him to resign and seek exile overseas.... Aristide had no means to resist the rebels.... As a result of Aristide's resignation, the
UNSC-authorized intervention of the international community was
facilitated. Above all, it prevented the
government from falling into the hands of one of the groups of bandits and
traffickers that joined the political opposition in the armed fight against
Aristide's regime.... Brazil will
certainly send a police contingent to Haiti in the second stage of the
intervention, as determined in conversations between Secstate Colin Powell and
Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. But the
GOB should consider the desirability of sending troops to join the intervention
forces now.... This is the moment for
the GOB to demonstrate to the international community that it can assume the
responsibility it says it is ready to take as a possible member of the Security
Council and as the regional leader that it in fact is."
An editorial in center-right O Globo maintained (3/2): "Two items of good news came from Haiti
in a single day: President Aristide resigned and fled the country; and the
rebels...didn't take over power.... Secretary of State Powell's warning to the
rebels was timely. He stated from
Washington that the participation of rebel leaders even in a provisory government would not be
tolerated. Many are under suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking
and death-squads. Haiti is one of routes of Colombian cocaine to the
U.S. It's evident that Aristide's
resignation prevented the worst.
But it's also evident that the
solution is provisory and that the country is the in the Intensive Care
Unit. Haiti is an institutional
desert; it lacks of armed forces and of
a functioning congress. Its precarious
institutions have been failing miserably and systematically. To
prevent the Caribbean people from breaking again, it's important to help them to finally enter the phase of
democratic normalcy. This is another
mission for the United Nations, that can be inspired in the construction
pattern of the East Timor. Each case is
different, but it's also evident that the Haitians need qualified support from
The business-oriented El Financiero observed (3/1): "The role played by the United States
during the political crisis in Haiti can be portrayed as a new inconsistency of
the White House. This is because in
spite of the initial warnings by Secretary of State Colin Powell, where he said
the United States would not become involved in the insurrection movement
against president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in the end he let his hand show when
the United States sent 500 Marines to that Caribbean country. The U.S. intervention is the opposite to
respecting sovereignty and human rights, two ideas that predominate in Bush
administration speeches. The United
States has decided the Haitian people's fate once again. One should wait and see if the provisional
government of Boniface Alexandre is able to set the stage for legitimate and
democratic authorities in Port au Prince and to see if the interventionist
practices of the White House can be transformed into the elements of concord
Between Bolivia And Haiti"
Leading centrist La Razon commented (2/27): "The cases of Haiti, Bolivia, Paraguay
and Ecuador ought not alarm anybody since these countries have lived long
periods of disorder and anarchy and, above all, because democracy did not give
them the well being they expected.… The
big nations are interested in sending observers and pacifiers at the last
moment, when what the nations like Haiti need is some million dollars so that
people do not starve.…The powerful nations have not found an appropriate way to
avoid more bloodshed; they refuse to understand that everything is the
consequence of atrocious misery, of a system that is shipwrecked and will not
be resolved by proposing dates for new elections.”
An editorial in government owned, editorially independent La
Nacion noted (3/1): “Aristide fled Haiti when the United States directly
blamed him for the crisis in his country....
U.S. Ambassador in Haiti James Foley confirmed that a multinational
force is expected to arrive this week to help reestablish order. We don’t know what nations will form that
force, but Washington is awaiting an ‘invitation’ from the new government to
send its Marines.... It is evident that
Haiti’s sovereignty is at stake.... We
must therefore help Haiti find a road to civilization and progress to strengthen
its independence and set the foundations for true rule of law.... It is indispensable for Haitians to partake
in the definition of their future.
Having a government that acts as a facade for the powers today
intervening in Haiti is not the solution.”
Did Not Have Any Other Option"
The lead editorial in Medellin-based El
Colombiano( declared (3/1):
"The resigned Haitian leader Jean Bertrand Aristide facilitated a
transition according to his country's constitution.... He acted with realism, surrounded not only by
the rebels but also by France, the U.S. and the part of the international
community who recommend his resignation to avoid greater chaos and
bloodshed.... Given the weakness of the
Haitian civil forces, it is important that a multinational force...ensures
peace.... At the moment there is no
clear and representative leadership....
The efficiency or inefficiency of international and regional
organizations, and of diplomacy as an instrument to resolve conflicts in the
hemisphere, remain to be seen."
The lead editorial in Cali-based El Pais
judged (3/1): "Jean Bertrand Aristide left his country and ended his
term...now Haitians trust again in the support of the international community
to recover peace and hope... In normal circumstances, interference in countries'
internal affairs should be prohibited.
But the case of Haiti demands a long term alternative to restore peace
and to give a future to the nation again."
"The Persistence Of The Haitian Drama"
Jacinto Gimbernard Pellerano wrote in left-of-center, independent Hoy
(2/26): "The great power 'friends
of Haiti' understand that the easiest thing is for the Dominican Republic to
absorb the Haitian drama, to permit them to enter like a flood and cover us
until they annihilate Dominican realities, burn our fields, destroy the results
of our pacific interracial fusion, producer of a rich and prodigious
mixture.... The concern is...the
disappearance of the Dominican Republic....
Haiti is poor. They have made it
poor...for various reasons. There is the
drama of the apathy that has hung it and continues to tighten its grip around
the neck...although narco-trafficking appears with its poisonous fangs each
time with more clarity and effectiveness.
Hopefully such danger will generate a prudent, sensitive, and fair
Situation In Haiti Is Disgraceful"
Leading Prensa Libre ran an op-ed by
weekly columnist Rodrigo Castillo del Carmen stating (2/27): "The indifference of developed nations
is a social sin...the world cannot continue to impassively witness the disgrace
of a country that has known nothing but misery.... It is time for first-world
nations to stop remaining on the sidelines of Haiti's tragedy without providing
any financial aid or educational and development programs."
PANAMA: "Haiti: Present And Future"
Tabloid Critica Libre stated (2/26): “The seriousness of the crisis for the
international community is like that of specialists trying to deactivate an
explosive correctly; if a mistake is made they die, and if the deactivation is
not done on time, the results are deadly....
There is a social crisis but we are on time to deactivate the worst of
the bombs hanging over that nation.”
JAMAICA: "CARICOM's Response Must Be Tough"
The editorial of the business-oriented, centrist Observer stated
(3/2): "The fact remains that what
took place in Haiti was a coup d'etat...a coup that carried the imprimatur of
the United States, Canada and France. They made it possible when they spurned
the initiative by the Caribbean Community that would have allowed Mr Aristide -
the democratically-elected president of Haiti - to complete the remaining two
years of his term, but share power with the formal Opposition while the
environment was created for new elections. What the Western troika did by
leaving Mr Aristide to hang with little support, except from those with little
power with which to come to his assistance, was to give the democratic system a
good, hard and painful kick in the teeth. And they have signaled to the Haitian
political process that violence and anarchy and mayhem and murder are the best,
and easiest routes to success. The problem for the Americans and their
supporters in this adventure, is that having found it easier to abort principle
in favour of ideology and opportunism, they will find that restoring stability
to Haiti is a rather more difficult prospect. Indeed, democracy in Haiti now
rests on something far more fragile than a hanging chad."
"Haiti Has Been Raped"
The centrist, business-oriented Jamaica
Observer editorialized (Internet version, 3/1): "The deed is done. Haiti has been raped. The act was sanctioned by the United States,
Canada and France. For despite the fig
leaf of constitutionality with which these Western powers, and supposed
bastions of democracy, have sought to shroud the act, what happened in Haiti
yesterday was nothing short of a coup d'etat.
Indeed, having pressured President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into resigning
and going into exile, these powers have firmly placed their imprimatur on a
politics that rewards violence and a process that abjures principle in favour
of narrow ideological positions and personality preferences. It is a lesson that Caribbean countries, and
particularly Caricom states--which may feel a certain coziness about their
democracy--ought to take seriously. For
if they thought otherwise, democratically elected leaders are easily expendable
if they, at a particular time, do not fit the profile in favor with those who
are strong and powerful.... For all his
faults and flaws, Mr. Aristide represented something very fundamental in
Haiti. A possibility. The possibility of the assertion of Haiti's
majority. Its underclass.... Mr. Aristide was the legitimately elected president
of Haiti. But Messrs Powell, de Villepin
and Graham, having reneged on their endorsement of a Caribbean Community
initiative, under which Mr. Aristide undertook to share power with his
opponents, deemed that the Haitian president was expendable. The niceties of democracy were thrown out the
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: "The Challenge Facing Haiti"
The tabloid style Trinidad Express noted
(3/2): "For yet another time, the 200-year-old Haitian dream has been
deferred. America's president, George Bush, in the wake of Jean-Bertand
Aristide's enforced departure, claimed that a new chapter has begun in Haiti.
Such is that unhappy country's turbulent history, however, that it is easy to
dismiss Mr Bush's statement as mere wishful thinking if not as political
palliative in place of his having nothing else to say. Whatever the hand, past
and present, of the United States in this ongoing Haitian tragedy, the
difficulty faced not only by Mr Bush and our own Caricom leaders but the
long-suffering Haitian masses is real...
Therefore, even as we proclaim the obvious which is that, in the final
analysis, Haiti can only be salvaged and made to prosper by its own people
engaged in a process of transparency and all-inclusive participation we,
seemingly on the outside, have to find not only the space but the wit to make a
difference by seeking openings to get inside."
"A Caricom Say In Haiti"
style Newsday editorialized (3/2):
"The Caribbean Community of Nations (CARICOM) should lobby for
international peace-keeping forces in Haiti to be under the direct control of
the United Nations as well as insist on its having an input into needed
planning for the social and economic reconstruction of the CARICOM Member
State. The stepping down of Haitian
leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in the wake of a well orchestrated armed revolt
against his authority, should not mean that the United States of America should
be the dominant factor in the Haitian equation. Instead the United Nations
should be in control, and CARICOM invited to play a not insignificant role in
the drafting and executing of a social and economic development programme for
Must Play Part In Haiti Peace"
oriented Trinidad Guardian commented (3/2): "Progress towards political and social
normality is possible in Haiti now that former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
is gone. Official sources are saying Aristide finally decided to go into exile
voluntarily after discovering that he could not expect US protection in the
event that rebels attacked the presidential palace.... Caricom appears to be
responding swiftly now, with an emergency summit of Caribbean leaders taking
place today in Jamaica. Caricom needs to make a decision on what course it will
take, and to follow that decision with swift action. The future and the
credibility of Caricom will be affected by that choice, as well as the future
of Haiti. Caricom needs to demonstrate
solidarity with a member state, as well as to show it has some ability to
influence the outcome of the situation."