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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 2, 2004

March 2, 2004





**  U.S. and France are commended for acting in "rare concert" to try to end the crisis in Haiti.

**  The international community is "responsible" for ensuring Haiti gets "durable democracy."

**  Though Aristide is gone, Haiti's problems are far from over; Haiti is an "institutional desert."

**  Some critics in the Americas say the West violated Haiti's sovereignty, "sanctioned a coup."




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 "wise action."


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 voodoo."


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."



EDITOR:  Irene Marr

EDITOR'S NOTE:  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 Aristide"


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 number 34."


"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 Lesson"


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 The Moment"


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 Haiti."


"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 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 itself."


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 tangible facts.”


"In The Caribbean, Bush And Chirac Re-Discover Their Friendship"


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 Iraq.”


RUSSIA:  "Price Of The Issue"


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 Devices"


Veniamin Ginodman noted in liberal daily Gazeta (3/1):  "The ouster of Jean-Bertrand 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 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."


HUNGARY:  "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 Haiti"


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."


POLAND:  "Increasingly Worse"


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 conviction.”




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 Haiti"  


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.”


NIGERIA:  "Haiti's Future Is Hanging In The Balance"

The 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 Are Great"


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 stage."


"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 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."



ARGENTINA:  "For Bush:  Dramatic Call Of Attention From A Neglected Region"


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 peace."


"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."


BRAZIL:  "Haitian Drama"


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."


"Aristide's Fall"


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." 


"Qualified Support"


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 abroad."


MEXICO:  "U.S. Interventionism"


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 and progress."



BOLIVIA:  "Similarities 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.”


CHILE:  "Aristide's Fall"


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.”


COLOMBIA:  "Aristide 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."  


"Haiti's Tragedy"


The lead editorial in Cali-based El Pais judged (3/1): "Jean Bertrand Aristide left his country and ended his 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." 


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:  "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 international action."


GUATEMALA:  "The 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 window."


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"

The tabloid 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 Haiti.

"Caricom Must Play Part In Haiti Peace"

The business 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."


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