International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 5, 2004

March 5, 2004





**  The "Haiti model" is a "dangerous precedent" for democratically elected leaders everywhere.


**  Critics in the Americas and developing world claim the U.S. is "trampling" on sovereignty.


**  Some observers say an "obstinate Chavez" may go down "the same road" as Aristide.


**  Venezuelan media lambaste Chavez, electoral council for "confiscating the rule of law."




'Haiti model' could 'harm' other South American countries--  Global media acknowledged Mr. Aristide failed to serve his people and was responsible for Haiti's "sorry state of affairs."  But many were also troubled that his resignation, forced by "criminal bands and a little push from the U.S.," could set a "dangerous precedent" for the removal of other democratically elected leaders.  Reflecting a common concern in Latin media that backing Aristide's "forced resignation" betrayed the Inter-American Democratic Charter, Chile's leading La Tercera asserted that "nothing ever justifies the use of force, much less an armed uprising to remove a bad president."  Britain's independent Economist likewise stressed there is "no place for coups in the democratic Americas."  Summing up the typical angst on the left, Mexico's La Jornada held there was "nothing to celebrate" in Aristide's departure, because "Haitian sovereignty has been trampled on once again by the self-proclaimed police and defenders of world." 


Venezuela is yet another 'hot spot' requiring U.S. attention, Latin action--  Observers in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia were struck that "a situation similar to Haiti has developed" in Venezuela, some emphasizing that U.S. policy "supports and encourages" President Chavez's adversaries.  Uganda's state-owned New Vision echoed leftist conspiracies that the Americans' "success" in Haiti would "whet their appetite to try again in Caracas."  Writers in the hemisphere shared a Bolivian paper's concern that both Haiti and Venezuela indicate that the "fragile health of democracy in Latin America and Caribbean is not improving."  Urging a regional response to extinguish the "flames of the Venezuelan crisis," Argentina's business-oriented La Cronista called for the OAS or the Carter Center to "obtain the social peace that is so badly required."


Chavez blamed for 'chaos' in Venezuela, could he follow in Aristide's path?--  Venezuelan opposition media continued to vilify President Chavez for "confiscating the rule of law" and "unleashing a brutal repression" against those pushing for a recall.  After the CNE's preliminary rejection of signatures, some columnists consider the prospect of a recall "mission impossible," but others joined liberal Tal Cual in asserting "the game is not over."  Liberal El Mundo reiterated a common charge that the government was "conducting a repression and, at the same time, was trying to play the victim by blaming what is happening in the streets on U.S. coup-plotting activities."  Warning that his "anti-U.S. stance" may "come back to haunt him, "Canada's leading Globe and Mail judged Chavez may even be in a "tighter spot" than Aristide, as "there may be no marines to protect him or...whisk him to safety when the tide turns."



EDITOR:  Irene Marr

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 66 reports from 28 countries, March 1-5.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




VENEZUELA:  "Confiscation"


Leading conservative El Universal editorialized (3/4): "The regime has been revealing its hegemonic attitude, but it is now when it shows its true colors, by unleashing a brutal repression against those who push for a recall vote, which should be the only solution to the current crisis.  The OAS mission, the Carter Center and party observers know a lot, according to the Government.  The consequence is that last Sunday the regime broke off political relations with the United States and declared war on some countries, organizations and people.  The rule of law has been confiscated, with all the branches of power controlled by the Government.  Dozens of people are detained and treated unfairly.  The constitutional façade is falling apart.  People are fighting for their rights and the presence of the OAS and the Carter Center is essential to reaching an agreement that averts more chaos, destruction and bloodshed."


"Mission Impossible"


VenEconomy expressed its view in English language Daily Journal (3/4): "Francisco Carrasquero's announcement of the preliminary results of the Reafirmazo came as no surprise.  The CNE has made it almost impossible to collect the number of signatures needed to call the referendum against President Chávez.  The Democratic Coordinator did not accept the ratification process approved by the CNE and it is expected that consultations will continue so that this process can be conducted under better circumstances.  The way things are at the moment it looks as though the recall referendum will be an impossible mission."


"The Game Isn't Over Until It's Over"


English language Daily Journal ran an English version of the editorial of afternoon liberal Tal Cual stating (3/3): "With 1,832,493 signatures that have been deemed valid, 600,000 are needed to reach the 2.4 million that are required.  Among the 1,109,580 citizens with a right to verify their signatures, there exists the great possibility of reaching the magic number of 2.4 million, or surpassing it.  This game is not over.  In spite of the brutal pressure from the government, of its abuse of power, of repression, 1,832,493 signatures are still alive.  It is entirely possible to save the remaining million."


"The Non-existent Rule of Law"


Political leader Pompeyo Márquez commented in sensationalist tabloid Ultimas Noticias (3/4): "Chávez, Rangel and Diosdado insist on leading the county to a confrontation.  Their speech filled with insulting words and violence is the fruit of their desperation, because they are cornered by the recall vote, because they feel they are minority and defeated.  With Chávez in power, Venezuela is doomed to backwardness, destruction of its productive sector, to the lack of independence of the government branches and the demise of democracy and the Rule of Law.  Such a situation cannot be tolerated.  Fight, organization and unity should prevail over any other issue.  Society's fundamental demand now is that the Rule of Law be implemented."


"The Fight Is Long"


Afternoon liberal  El Mundo editorialized (3/3): "Pain, a lot of pain.  Seeing the people in the streets, with all their indignation, facing an unequal battle: rocks against an army carrying short and long firearms, bulletproof vests, tanks and trained to exercise violence....  It is plain to see that the government is not concerned about providing a political response to the heart of the matter that prompts the demonstrations.  The government is conducting a repression and, at the same time, is trying to play the victim by blaming what is happening in the streets on the United States, coup-plotting activities, and the right.  It appears that those who are protesting the CNE decision are not citizens, human beings.  Anger is being used as an excuse to drag the opposition to illegal grounds, in order to blame it on them, to detain them and, at the same time, seize the rhetoric of the Law, of the institutions.  That's why the Ombudsman, rather than denouncing the excesses of the police and military forces, accused municipal mayors of not acting to keep the public order.  Patience, definitely, is the best weapon for those who truly believe in democracy and peace." 


"Not Even One Drop"


An op-ed by Alfredo Maldonado, editor of conservative tabloid El Globo (3/2):  "The same as Castro, forty years ago.  Not one pound of sugar for the imperialist Yankees. The fool in charge at the time in Washington was Eisenhower, a general with four well-earned stars. The Cubans had to swallow their sugar, just as we Venezuelans will swallow our petroleum.  They simply fell into that perpetual revolutionary crisis and they became poorer by the day.  Just as is occurring with us now. Chavez seems to believe that, if Bush loses the elections in November, the elected Democrat will fervently support the chavista revolution.  Chavez thinks that the foreign policy of the fools in the White House is formulated like the concoctions in the minds of revolutionaries.  On the contrary. The Democrats tend to pay a bit more attention to Latin America than the Republicans. If Kerry wins, he will pay more attention to Chavez, but not to support him, rather to confront him more, and with the assurance that the Republicans have filled the petroleum reserves.  It is possible that they change may the fool, but not the foolery. 


"Venezuela In Flames"


An op-ed by Manuel Malavar in economic Reporte (3/1):  "The CNE's ratification that 1, 448,000 signatures of the 'reafirmazo'..and the instructions to 'repair' a gigantic step towards the loss of a precarious social peace....   In other words, in a matter of weeks, days, hours, the country could become immersed in a civil war, with the political, social, and economic consequences this implies."     

ARGENTINA: "Venezuela, A Fire That Could Burn A Forest"


An editorial in business-financial El Cronista read (3/5): "Venezuela still witnesses a seemingly endless confrontation for power....  The opposition...should start admitting that the current president is politically accepted by many Venezuelans and, even out of the government, he would still influence the political decisions of his country. For its part, Chavez will have to assume that he cannot govern by turning his back on a great number of people who do not agree with his style of government, and, therefore, he should pay more attention to their demands. The U.S., which came out badly after the role it played in the 2002 coup attempt, closely watches Chavez' behavior, of whom it is not very fond due to his sympathy with the Castro regime, and it has expressed 'its big concern' over the Venezuelan situation.  Chavez also does much to revive Bush's virulent criticism.  But at this time the fundamental thing is the role to be played by the OAS or the Carter Foundation to obtain the social peace that is so badly required.  Some analysts say that if Chavez cannot manage to weaken opponents' power, he could attempt to negotiate advanced elections and present himself as a candidate....  But this confrontation makes it impossible to rule a divided country, which is loaded with increasing violence....  Latin America should follow the resolution of this conflict.  Because if this fire is not quickly extinguished, the danger is that the rest of the world will witness how the region is covered by the flames of the Venezuelan crisis."


 "Haiti, A Regional Issue"


An editorial in leading Clarin judged (3/4):  "President Aristide's departure from the Haitian government has eased the Haitian crisis, with an incipient political settlement under strong pressure of the USG....  Aristide's big mistake in this crisis was having missed the challenge he represented and having prioritized his own power over the country's overwhelming needs.  Paradoxically, the critical situation lived by Haiti gives the country a new opportunity.  And it also gives another chance to the international community, which should contribute in a more sustainable way to the establishment of stronger pillars for democracy....  Not only will the future of Haitians depend on this, but also the Latin American regional panorama, which is being rocked by simultaneous confrontations."


"Haiti: 'Argentina Must be Present'"


Pollster and political analyst Rosendo Fraga opined in daily-of-record La Nacion (3/3): "The fact is that Haiti belongs to Latin America due to its history, geography and culture, and what's taking place there is happening in this sub-hemisphere and not in Africa.... In this framework, Chile and Brazil's decision to participate in a peace force in Haiti shows the determination to play their own 'responsibility role' in Latin America without waiting for solutions coming only from the U.S. or, in this case, France, as its former colonial power.  Reality shows that keeping peace in a country in crisis, preventing it from turning into a 'failed State' demands using strong military forces in most cases. The Balkans and Africa are clear examples of this.  If Latin America refuses to use troops to maintain peace in the region and this role remains in the hands of U.S. marines and French Legionaries, we'll only place Latin America at a level which, unfortunately, many regions of Africa have today.  From this perspective, Argentina should review its decision not to send troops to Haiti. It would be a joint and specific 'ABC' (Argentina, Brazil and Chile) action - aimed at undertaking a more relevant role in guaranteeing peace in Latin America."


BRAZIL:  "Where Is The Plan Of Action?"


An opinion piece in center-right O Globo held (3/5):  "The intervention in Haiti is already at risk of entering the list of UN failures.  Because of the influence of the U.S., which heads the military operation, one sees a tendency to copy the American model of action in Iraq--they enter easily but, once there, they don't know what to do.  In order to be successful, foreign help to a country undergoing institutional crisis such as Haiti should not limit itself to banishing an unpopular president and warning rebels and rioters--who will be ignored as soon as the world forget about Haitians again."


"Brazilian Soldiers In The Caribbean"


Independent Jornal da Tarde held (3/3): "The aggressive posture that Brazil's diplomats have adopted in their quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council contradicts their hesitation to participate in international efforts to normalize the situation in Haiti.  As a temporary member of the SC, Brazil voted in favor of the UN resolution authorizing the intervention of foreign troops in Haiti.... But, employing the concept of non-intervention, which is not applicable in this case, the GOB has announced that it will send peacekeeping troops only after peace is imposed by others. It is hard to understand Brazilian reservations in this regard.... Despite the fact that the Haitian and Venezuelan crises are different, there is a risk that Chavez could go down the same road as Aristide.  Even recognizing the special political and personal relations between President Lula da Silva and his Venezuelan colleague, the GOB cannot make decisions about Haiti based on them."


CANADA: "The Obstinate Chavez"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (3/3): "Like Mr. Aristide, Mr. Chavez seems to enjoy the trappings of democracy but pays little attention to its underlying spirit.... While Mr. Chavez and his government try to invalidate the results of the recall least six people have been killed and dozens of others wounded in outbreaks of violence. Troops fired tear gas and plastic bullets into crowds of demonstrators who set up burning barricades on the main road into the capital, Caracas. In many ways, the Venezuelan President is in an even tighter spot than Mr. Aristide was. Although Haiti is of concern to many for its human-rights abuses and social problems, Venezuela has more direct economic links to the United States because it is such a large supplier of crude oil.  Mr. Chavez has already earned himself a substantial amount of disfavour in Washington for his anti-American sentiments - which he shares with his friend Fidel Castro - and for flirting with countries such as Libya and Iraq. Mr. Chavez may see himself, as Mr. Castro does, as a man of the people who stands up to an overbearing Uncle Sam. Yet he appears to be doing his best to ignore the express wishes of more than 3.4 million of his people, and using what amount to technicalities to frustrate their desire to see him leave office. They are no doubt wondering why a man who pledged to remove corruption and improve the lives of his country's poorest citizens has still done so little to bring prosperity to an oil-rich nation such as Venezuela. Mr. Chavez's anti-U.S. stance could also come back to haunt him. For example, there may be no Marines to protect him or U.S. planes to whisk him to safety when the tide turns, as there were for Mr. Aristide. He would be far better off listening to the people now than fleeing them later."


"Haiti In Trusteeship"


Political analyst Jocelyn Coulon reflected in centrist La Presse (3/3):  "Did President Aristide resign or was he kidnapped?  This question is a serious one but in the present situation it also specious.  If nothing had been done, Aristide would probably have been killed in his post which would have led to a bloodbath.  The time has come to go to the next phase, that of reintegrating Haiti within the international community....  The Security Council says the UN will have to facilitate the pursuit of a peaceful constitutional political process and maintain conditions for security and stability.  That mandate is not sufficient and meets neither the hopes raised by the American ambassador in Port-au-Prince, Sunday nor those raised by Prime Minister Martin Monday at the UN....   If words have meaning and if the Americans and the Canadians keep their word, the international community must do more than what the stabilization force has been mandated to do.  Otherwise, in a few years, Haiti will relive today's nightmare....  Forgetting their dispute over Iraq, presidents Bush and Chirac congratulated themselves during a phone call for the excellent Franco-American collaboration in restoring civil peace in Haiti.  Bravo!  They will now need courage to propose that Haiti be put under some form of trusteeship."


MEXICO:  "Threats In The Caribbean"


Octavio Rodriguez Araujo wrote in the left-of-center La Jornada (3/4):  "The paramilitary rebel groups in Haiti became active not only to remove Aristide from the presidency, but to grant access to the United States onto that island....  It is obvious that Cuba and Venezuela, for now, are at great risk as sovereign nations.  There is nothing to celebrate in Aristide's departure from power and his country, even though he was not a president who served his people and their needs.  Haitian sovereignty has been trampled on once again by the self-proclaimed police, defenders of the free, Christian and democratic world, who should, by the way, begin by cleaning house at home....  If we do not protest against what happened in Haiti--and in Afghanistan and Iraq before that--we will be acknowledging that the imperial power can intervene in our affairs if the government in power does not guarantee domestic stability and the geopolitical and corporate interests of the United States."


"Haiti:  Game Played At Different Levels"


Angel Guerra Cabrera wrote in left-of-center La Jornada (3/4):  "The gangster-like feat that removed Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide is the final act in the plan Washington designed after deciding the former Silesian priest was a threat....  The coup in Haiti is a small rehearsal for the game plan of Otto Reich and Roger Noriega to wipe out the increasing rebellion in Latin America against neo-liberalism.  It is played on several levels.  It includes imposing new governments on Cuba and Venezuela that would be submissive to the U.S. and converting them into havens for drug trafficking and money laundering which the dollar needs to stay afloat."


"The Hand Of Washington"


Leftist La Jornada editorialized on its front page (3/2): "Considering the history of previous coups organized under American foreign policy in Latin America, and taking into account the available information, we could conclude that the departure of Jean Bertrand Aristide was provoked by a coup d'état organized in Washington, in which many American politicians participated, such as the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James Foley, Secretary Powell, George Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.  According to Aristide's statements, he was kidnapped from his residence Saturday night by American soldiers, then he and his family were forced to get on a plane sent by Rumsfeld two hours earlier; he was taken to the Central African Republic where he remained; he was escorted all the time by French and Central African soldiers. Under these conditions, it seems to be an arrest. These statements fit with the American interventionist operations carried out in many nations of the Western Hemisphere during the last century. Now, we can see in retrospect who supplied the arms and money to the former community of the 'tonton macoutes' who revolted against Aristide, clearing the way for the Marines to land in Haiti."


BOLIVIA:  "Grave Example In Aristide's Fall"


Leading centrist daily La Razon editorialized (3/2): “There is a grave example in Aristide’s fall.…The serious part about all of this is that in less than five years, six presidents have been toppled in Latin America through popular uprisings, except that Hugo Chavez recovered power.  This all shows that the fragile health of democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean is not improving. The Haitian case is nothing other than the blueprint of all that happens as a result when misery exasperates those who no longer have patience to wait any longer."


"Haiti: An Unresolved Story"


Left leaning La Prensa editorialized (3/2):   “The political solution to the violent crisis in Haiti-achieved through the forced resignation of President Aristide who according to one of his close colleagues did not resign but was forced to give up--has brought more uncertainties than answers.  Uncertainty remains, on one hand, over Haiti’s future given that the various leaders (who remain) are profoundly distrusted; on the other, (there is uncertainty) over the short term consequences of having foreign troops who, historically, in one way or the other, have become a pretext for the local elites to abuse their situation and retard the development of that country.  Haiti is a wound that hurts the whole continent.”


CHILE:  "Seven Reasons To Send Troops To Haiti"


Jorge Heine contended in leading-circulation, popular La Tercera (3/5):  “The internal situation in Haiti is untenable.  After weeks of uprising...President Aristide lost control of the situation....  To talk about a ‘coup’ in a country that does not have armed forces is to stretch the meaning of the term.  The Haitian armed forces were dissolved in 1995.  What Haiti had was a governance crisis....  Aristide is responsible for his own fall....  15 years after its first democratic presidential election, worse off than it was under Baby Doc Duvalier in the early '80s....  Haiti’s constitutional authorities--Supreme Court Chief Justice Boniface Alexandre and Prime Minister Yvon Neptune--requested an international military force and the United Nations authorized its deployment....  For Chile, Haiti is not just another country.  Since 1990, Chile has played a role in Haiti's democratization by sending election observers or through cooperation....  Finally, it’s about time Chile actively participates in UN peacekeeping operations.”


"U.S. Fears Haitian Refugees And Chaos In Venezuela"


On conservative Catholic television's prime-time newscast, international commentator Karin Ebensperger noted (3/3): “In this electoral year, President Bush sees with growing concern the complications in the neighborhood.  The U.S. fears a wave of Haitian refugees, which is why it sent its Marines there; and also fears chaos in Venezuela.  Venezuelan oil has an immediate impact on the cost of fuel while Middle East oil takes longer to reach the U.S.  The OAS, which is principally charged with protecting democracy in Latin America, did not forecast the Haiti crisis and has limited itself to concentrating on Venezuela.  One wonders what, precisely, the costly and inefficient OAS bureaucracy accomplishes.”


"Chilean Soldiers In Haiti"


Government owned, editorially independent La Nacion commented (3/3): "President Lagos’ decision to cooperate with troops for the Haiti peace mission is of enormous importance....  Is it valid for Chile to commit itself to a mission in a country wracked by violence and non-governance?  It all depends on the legitimacy of the intervention...which is represented by U.N. resolutions.  Chile will not be an invading force.  This is about cooperating to stabilize Haiti.  The law that matters is that the U.N. is setting the framework in which the multinational force will perform.”  


"Chile’s Support Of The Coup In Haiti"


Patricio Navia judged in leading-circulation, popular La Tercera (3/2):  “This is the third time the GOC has implicitly supported a military coup in Latin America.  By acknowledging Boniface Alexandre’s government and keeping silent on Aristide’s forced resignation, Chile has again shown its questionable commitment to the 2001 Inter-American Democratic Charter.  Contrary to the document signed three years ago...Chile did not demand that the OAS secretary general continue negotiating toward a peaceful solution to the Haiti crisis.  Instead, it hastily followed the Americans and the French and accepted...that a democratically elected president be escorted out of the country by U.S. troops....  No one doubts that Aristide is largely responsible for the Haiti crisis, but nothing ever justifies the use of force, much less an armed uprising to remove a bad president.... By supporting the coup Chile is legitimizing the violation of the OAS Democratic Charter and showing that upholding the rules of law and democratic order are not necessarily the government's guiding compass.”


"The Situation In Haiti, Chile And The OAS"


Conservative afternoon Santiago La Segunda averred (3/1):  “It is not the first time Haiti has reached this level of political chaos...but what is evident now is the responsibility of those countries that played a part in the series of problems that led to the violent social unrest.  For example, it was former President Clinton who put Aristide back in power....  And, as the U.S. chose to protect Aristide, it now chooses to remove him from power....   If something as grave and expected as the crisis in Haiti does not awaken the OAS, why have the expense and the bureaucracy?   It is naive to believe Haiti can hold an election in 90 days....  This country needs an extended period of internal peace just to create the conditions for a government that is reasonably effective and respected.  And as in other cases, the presence of foreign forces does not suffice.  The real challenge is for Haitians to resolve their own problems.”


COLOMBIA:  "Messiahs In Trouble"


An op-ed by Rodrigo Pardo in top national  El Tiempo stated (3/4):  "What is clear, is that the 'Inter-American Democratic Charter' is not the answer to bring together the entire hemisphere to look for a solution when the stability of democracy is in danger....  Aristide...the only democratically chosen and popular leader in forced to resign by criminal bands and a little push from U.S...with a reaction of indifference by the OAS and the hemispheric community....  Meanwhile in Venezuela, there is a critical situation following the National Electoral Council's decision....  Is this the opportunity that the opposition was waiting for to demand the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter?  Probably not.  The Democratic Charter will not be used in Haiti to defend Aristide, not in Venezuela to make Chavez resign."


"Haiti: A Repeating Tragedy"


The lead editorial in top national El Tiempo noted (3/2):  "As in 1994, U.S. marines once again occupy the country under the pretext of defending democracy and restoring public and constitutional order.  A tragic repetition of history in which the Great Power interferes, replaces the authorities, sets up political and economic guidelines and at the most critical moment abandons its allies to their fate."


ECUADOR:  "Haiti:  Now Comes The Worst Part"


An editorial in leftist, populist La Hora maintained (3/4):  "The U.S. abandoned Haitian democracy to its own fate years ago and now faces the challenge of rebuilding a devastated nation that is very close to its shoreline.  Washington supported the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide for Africa (although he states that marines kidnapped him and that it was really a coup d’etat orchestrated by the U.S.)....  Putting an interim government in place will be very complicated....  The U.S. and the international community should prepare for a long-term commitment in Haiti if they are to avoid a repeat of the failures and frustrations brought about by the Aristide administration.  Washington made things worse by reducing too quickly its efforts after the intervention back in 1994....  Aristide was certainly not the best in the world, but opponents such as Louis-Jodel Chamblain and Guy Phillippe are genocidal.  Concern, therefore, lies more in the possibility of a humanitarian disaster than in the protection of the country's fragile democracy....  The attitude of the international community must go beyond rhetoric and criticism to establishing a humanitarian intervention force that will allow the transition to a government devoid of murderers.”


"Haiti:  An Acute Institutional Crisis"


A front-page editorial in Quito’s center-left Hoy stated (3/2):  “Today the U.S. Department of State decides the future of Haiti, as it is attempting to do with Iraq, while at the same time the OAS has demonstrated once again its inability to operate in a crisis....  For now, it is very difficult to predict where Haiti is headed, but we do know that its democratic institutions have been fatally wounded.”


"The Limitations Of Democratic Institutions"


An editorial in Quito’s leading centrist El Comercio (3/3): “What is happening in Haiti and is perhaps in store for Venezuela, has brought the weaknesses of democratic institutions (in the region) into the political debate.  In the case of Haiti, dialogue and debate, as has happened at other times in its violent history, have been overtaken by the power of weapons.  In the face of the weakness demonstrated by this Caribbean nation, the scared international community exerted pressure in order to avoid another burden on their collective conscience...rather than to seek an institutional way out.  Venezuela is different and could be more serious.  There is political radicalization that foments...a fanatical confrontation on the national level, that has no religious or ideological basis.…  Let’s hope the Venezuelans understand in time that they alone are responsible for their own fate. Judicial measures on their own will not overcome the crisis.”


COLOMBIA:  "Haiti In Trouble"


Baranquilla-based El Heraldo commented (3/4): "It will take decades to overcome the situation and only the solidarity and international help, cooperation of friendly countries (U.S., France and Canada) and the prudence of new leadership can free it."


"Haiti: A Recurring Tragedy


The lead editorial in top national El Tiempo noted (3/2):  "As in 1994, U.S. marines once again occupy the country under the pretext of defending democracy and restoring public and constitutional order.  A tragic repetition of history in which the Great Power interferes, replaces the authorities, sets up political and economic guidelines and at the most critical moment abandons its allies to their fate."


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:  "Our Contribution To Peace"


Independent, conservative, third morning El Caribe published an editorial stating (3/3):  "The President of the Republic responded yesterday that the Dominican Republic will not send Dominican soldiers to participate in the multinational force that has begun to congregate in Haiti to appease the chaos, to return order and to pacify that country.  This is a correct decision and we support it.  The Dominican Republic shouldn't send members of the Armed Forces to participate in conflicts which are not our responsibility, even though the fight is right next door.  We shouldn't have sent Dominican soldiers to Iraq, because it's a war that's not important to us and moreover has been demonstrated over and over that it was a conflict invented by the United States based on the supposed existence of weapons of mass destruction that never appeared....  The Dominican Republic has many ways to help Haiti during these difficult times that our neighbors are experiencing.  One of them is to maintain the supply of food and medicines through the markets established various times a week along points on the border.  Another way, perhaps more important for the future of Haitians, is through the investment of Dominican industry, trade and other economic sectors in Haiti, which represents an impetus to create employment and growth.  This should be our strength for peace." 


GUATEMALA:  "Haiti, Then Venezuela"


Leading Prensa Libre ran an op-ed by columnist Alfred Kaltschmitt stating (3/2):  “Aristide was supported by everyone...but time evidenced his incompetence.  Gradually, absolute power corrupted him absolutely.  He lost his way, wasted resources, he openly stole and negotiated with drug traffickers....  Venezuela is fighting against Chavez, a charlatan who won authority by manipulating the poor.…  He has produced great social debt through waste and empty rhetoric...he laughs at democracy.…  This infamous, immoral and anti-democratic populism only manipulates poverty.  That is why it is so important to work towards true democracy, built by impersonal and universal law.”


JAMAICA:  "Endorsing The Call For A UN Probe Of Aristide's Ouster"


The business-oriented, centrist Jamaica Observer stated (3/4):  "Essentially, Mr. Aristide was offered as a sacrifice on an altar of expediency by an axis of powerful nations, led by the United States and France and including Canada....  Even with the fig leaf of constitutional cover with which Mr. Aristide's removal was deposed, it was, in the view of most rational people, nothing short of a coup d'etat.  For as CARICOM said, these circumstances set a dangerous precedent for the removal of democratically elected governments everywhere.  That of itself is deserving of review and debate by the UN General Assembly.  Perhaps a special session.  However, Mr. Aristide's claims of the circumstances under which he left Haiti demand a deeper, forensic examination.  Perhaps, too, this whole situation should again place on the agenda the structure and rules of the Security Council with its narrow concentration of power."


"Haiti And The Lunatic Right"


Mark Wignall wrote in the centrist, business-oriented Jamaica Observer (3/4):  "The most dangerous aspect of American foreign policy is its financial assistance arrangements or, to put it another way, the unwritten conditions attached to these packages. If a man feeds you for long, it is only a matter of time before he descends on you to take your wife, your dog, the cat, the pigeons and your liberty.   Every time a nation accepts U.S. aid, that nation digs a deeper hole for itself.  The Republicans have made out Aristide to be a despotic man, a drug lord and one stealing money belonging to the people of Haiti.  Conveniently, there is no mention about rebel leader Guy Phillipe and his drug cronies.  No mention is made about the spanking new arms and uniforms possessed by the rebels, or about who was stocking the rebels and fomenting violence on the ground.  Three fingers point to the USA....  When one country can stroll into another and simply pluck a democratically elected head of state and throw him on a continent many thousands of miles away, it is our duty to fear such a country."


JAMAICA:  "Endorsing The Call For A UN Probe Of Aristide's Ouster"


The business-oriented, centrist Jamaica Observer stated (3/4):  Essentially, Mr Aristide was offered as sacrifice on an altar of expediency by an axis of powerful nations, led by the United States and France and including Canada....  Even with the fig leaf of constitutional cover with which Mr Aristide's removal was deposed, it was, in the view of most rational people, nothing short of a coup d'etat. For as CARICOM said, these circumstances set a dangerous precedent for the removal of democratically-elected governments everywhere. That of itself is deserving of review and debate by the UN General Assembly. Perhaps a special session. However, Mr Aristide's claims of the circumstances under which he left Haiti demand a deeper, forensic examination. Perhaps, too, this whole situation should again place on the agenda the structure and rules of the Security Council with is narrow concentration of power."


"Haiti And The Lunatic Right"


Columnist Mark Wignall wrote in the centrist, business-oriented Observer (3/4):  "The most dangerous aspect of American foreign policy is its financial assistance arrangements or, to put it another way, the unwritten conditions attached to these packages. If a man feeds you for long, it is only a matter of time before he descends on you to take your wife, your dog, the cat, the pigeons and your liberty.  Every time a nation accepts U.S. aid, that nation digs a deeper hole for itself. The Republicans have made out Aristide to be a despotic man, a drug lord and one stealing money belonging to the people of Haiti. Conveniently, there is no mention about rebel leader Guy Phillipe and his drug cronies. No mention is made about the spanking new arms and uniforms possessed by the rebels, or about who was stocking the rebels and fomenting violence on the ground. Three fingers point to the USA....  When one country can stroll into another and simply pluck a democratically-elected head of state and throw him on a continent many thousands of miles away, it is our duty to fear such a country."


"The Caribbean Dream"


Becki Patterson, columnist in the business-oriented, centrist Jamaica Observer wrote (3/3):  "Aristide may have done the 'patriotic' thing by fleeing, but what is the thing that Bush is doing by making it clear that any and all of the fleeing will be promptly sent back? Wanting to flee from hunger, bullets, rapes, from being trampled over and slapped around - as seen through the media - is a natural impulse of self-preservation.... Be they American, Caribbean or Asian, dreams are built and fueled by the basic blocks of institutions and rights....  Institutions are not a tradition in Haiti. In fact, it is a country that has its roots deep in the distrust of institutions which have been maintained by the coups, assassinations and overthrows....  On the other hand, established institutions, order and even bureaucracy that works, is what the U.S. offers....  There might be a few, if any at all, who know how to break with a 200-year-old tradition of rebellion, but this really is the key for starting something new. Democracy is a tradition that needs to be adopted in Haiti. This takes time and patience. When a government is not working to the liking of the people, they should be replaced by no other way than the vote at the appointed time. Outside forces cannot install leaders they back either. Yes, they are sick of their depraved condition, but that happened over many decades - to undo or reverse is a dream that will not take place overnight.


"A Frightening Precedent"


AN editorial in the conservative Gleaner stated (3/3):  "Nothing short of a full and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the departure of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from office Sunday morning will be enough to discredit allegations that Mr. Aristide was the victim of a U.S.-inspired and executed coup d'etat. The implications of the allegations must be frightening to every self-respecting and law-abiding citizen of this region.… Sadly, the United States, France and Canada have sent the wrong signals to the rebels, who are no less guilty of thuggery, that once again the gun dictates who sits in Haiti's Presidential Palace. For the rest of CARICOM, fears that this Bush administration is a bully that has demonstrated a frightening level of ruthlessness to wage war to impose its narrow ideological will are not entirely without foundation. The deception that weapons of mass destruction were in the wrong hands in Iraq as the basis for going to war last year and the declaration that if you are not with us, then you are against us, trigger real fears about the current occupants of the White House. We must remind President Bush that the USA is the greatest nation on earth today because of the ideals that embody the American spirit--democracy, the rule of law, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Not its superior military machine."




BRITAIN:  "Whose Coup In Haiti?"


An editorial in the independent Economist judged (3/6):  "Once again, the marines are being dispatched in the name of peace, order and democracy in Haiti....  The most plausible charge against the Bush administration is that it looked away as Haiti's discontent came to the boil late last year.  Only last week, when the Americans became alarmed at a potential exodus of refugees, did their diplomats put their weight behind a compromise that would have kept Mr. Aristide in power in a coalition government with the opposition, pending fresh elections.  That was the best option; Mr. Bush acquiesced in its rejection by the opposition....  Outsiders will be needed for several years if Haiti is to become a better place, though not necessarily in large numbers.  Haitians themselves need to learn to work together.  And just as much as aid, mobilising the resources of the Haitian diaspora is vital in fighting poverty....  Haiti has been ill-served by becoming the plaything of partisan politics in Washington.  There should be no place for coups in the democratic Americas."


"Venezuela: Plan B"


An editorial in the independent Financial Times (3/5):  "The apparent thwarting of a campaign to force a recall referendum on Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has left his opponents angry and frustrated....  Venezuela's strategic importance as a big power in the oil market and a significant direct supplier to the U.S. means this is yet another hotspot that requires high-level attention in Washington.  Yet as they consider their options U.S. officials need some fresh thinking....  More attention needs to be paid to the fact that millions of Venezuelans support their leader.  Whether or not he is in power, Mr. Chavez is likely to be a factor in his country's politics for years and possibly decades to come.  Recognising that would be the first step in developing a more realistic policy."


 "Haiti: Same Old Story"


An editorial in the left -of-center Guardian (3/3):  "There is...a dreadful sense of deja vu about the scenes in Port-au-Prince, after Haiti's 33rd coup ousted a legally elected president.  Whether Mr. Aristide was kidnapped or whether he left voluntarily hardly matters.  What counts is that the U.S. marines are back on the streets as they were 10 years ago....  Washington is scrambling to create a council of elders, to disarm rebels and organise fresh elections, but this sounds optimistic.  It is only sending 1,000 marines.  At least Napoleon sent 22,000 troops.....  The international community offers sound bites of hand-wringing sympathy for Haiti but it is all too happy to leave the nation-building to someone else.  What should happen is clear: Haiti should be considered a stain on the conscience of its former colonial masters America and France, which spent much of the last two centuries invading it, punishing it or isolating it....  It needs a little more than the eight miles of paved roads that the U.S. marines left behind a decade ago, if President Bush is serious about declaring the ousting of Mr. Aristide a 'new chapter' in the history of the world's poorest nation.  Otherwise, the new chapter will turn out to be just the same old story."


FRANCE:  "Plots And Regime Changes"


Pierre Rousselin held in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/5):  “Aristide’s departure from Haiti has not resolved that country’s problems.  President Bush, who took time out to call President Chirac to thank him for his help, will still need allies to get Haiti back on track....  It is clear that Haiti is in Washington’s immediate sphere of influence, more than France’s....  Washington could not leave Haiti to its destiny....  The theory of a plot involving just that.  A theory that will appeal to amateurs of thrillers....  While the theory of a plot does not hold water, the fact remains that the theory of ‘regime change’ needs to be somewhat clarified.  France opposed a regime change in Iraq on the basis that the theory of WMD could not be upheld.  In participating alongside the Americans in the anti-Aristide operation, the French prove that they can be counted on to help the U.S. in a crisis situation.  After Iraq, the opportunity was too good to pass up....  But a regime change means that the regime must truly change, for the better.  The Americans understand that in Haiti this is far from being the case.  They are therefore ready to listen to their allies, and to get the UN involved.  A successful operation in Haiti is in everyone’s interest if we want the U.S. to become reconciled with a multilateral approach to crisis management.”


"Aristide Departure"


In right-of-center Le Figaro correspondent Philippe Gelie wrote (3/3): “The U.S. thought it was countering a potentially explosive situation. Instead Washington may have ignited a time bomb.… In spite of witness reports, Washington denies that Aristide was kidnapped.… Any suspicion of collusion between Washington and the Haitian rebels may do George Bush, the presidential candidate, plenty of harm.”


GERMANY:  "Neo-Colonial"


Michael Stuermer noted in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (3/5):  "Regime change is possible if interests link.  The French government is intervening in Haiti for historical reasons and to prove that it is a global player.  Washington, in turn, is acting for geo-political interests and out of fear of boat people.  The UN is demonstrating an ability to act against tyrants....  The Aristide chapter is over--and whether it was ended on voluntary basis or not is an academic question....  Since the French gave up their rule over the island of slaves 200 years ago, brute force brutality, superstition and poverty have prevailed on the island.  Haiti is in the liberal sense of the world a banana republic.  Where power springs from the machete.  But the neighboring Dominican Republic shows that there can be a different and better approach.  Unlike the massacres at the Great Lakes in Africa or in the Congo, where the world idly watched developments by shrugging its shrugging and forgot about human rights, Haiti like the Balkans is not situated at the end of the world.  There is even more:  what is happening in Haiti can have an influence on Cuba where Castro's days are numbered."


"Model Caudillo"


Alexander Busch argued in an editorial in business Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (3/5):  "Despite broad protests, Venezuela's President Chavez will again succeed in thwarting opposition efforts to oust him.  What the former coup colonel has been doing since his coming to power five years ago, is the creeping but constant transformation of a formal democracy into an authoritarian regime.  The tragic thing of the case reaches even further:  the model could be an example in the region.  There has been a fertile ground for new caudillos in many states....  Chavez policy has made the people poorer than they were…and once Chavez launches tirades of hatred on TV, he does so in the tradition of the populists that existed in the region 50 years ago....  But despite all Machiavellism, Chavez tirades against the oligarchy also include a grain of truth.  The egotistic upper and middle class in Venezuela has exploited the oil wealth of the country and only allowed a few drops of this wealth to trickle down to the masses.  But it is also true that Chavez does the same thing today, too….  The United States does not allow Chavez to provoke it and considers Chavez rhetoric as what it really is: a sham....  Chavez knows that he needs oil revenue to maintain his carefully knitted network of power.  But there is still another reason for the strange U.S. neutrality towards the scolding of the United States:  Like all multi-national oil companies, U.S. companies also profit from the sledgehammer method Chavez used to destroy the state-run PdVSA oil company.  Now they will get a chance and do whatever they want without being disturbed under a president who is criticizing globalization all day long....   And Chavez knows that multinational companies do not strike."


"Gangsters Without A Boss"


Thomas Schmid had this to say in an editorial in center-left, weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (3/4):  "Rebel leader Philippe has no business to do at the political talks.  In these talks, the main issue will be to find an accommodation between government and opposition and to establish an interim regime and with international assistance a professional police force and an independent judiciary, and the latter will take at least half a decade.  But first of all talks must now be conducted with the opposition parties, the 184 organizations of civil society and of course the Lavalas, Aristide's party.  It represented a large part of the impoverished masses.  Elections will tell whether it still does, but nobody knows what kind of support the political opposition enjoys among the people."


"Under How Much Force?"


 Erik Michael Bader commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (3/3):  "American pressure with French consent played a vital role in Aristide's resignation and departure.  Above all, this happened after Aristide, and not the opposition, accepted the peace plan propagated by the U.S.  It is even more serious that Haiti's crisis, smoldering for years, deteriorated to a point where Aristide could not have gone on without an intervention to his benefit, and was accelerated by the progress of armed rebels, who had no legitimacy but foreign assistance.  The result is encouraging for similar approaches elsewhere, but not helpful for the advance of democratic and lawful thinking.  However, that America and France pulled together is positive."


"Unity Is Strength"


Gerd Appenzeller opined in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (3/3): "The Iraq conflict divided France and America, allies of two world wars...but now they are walking side on side as one power on the troubled island Haiti.  George W. Bush thanks the French president for the splendid cooperation as if both politicians have been friends since their early childhood and never had a quarrel.  How comes?  On the one side, Bush is looking to close ranks with traditional partners since the depressing experience in Iraq.   Gerhard Schroeder just noticed it in Washington.  On the other side, in Latin America it seems to be sensible that both countries act together in an intervention.  The presence of American troops sends the message to Haiti's opposition that they have to take the process seriously and the French enjoy the advantage of being able to deploy Creole-speaking soldiers from the neighboring islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.  Creole is a language Haitians understand!"


ITALY: "Thanks To Haiti Bush Makes Up With Chirac"


Alberto Toscano noted in pro-government, leading center-right daily Il Giornale (3/3):  “Paris stresses the importance of George Bush’s telephone call yesterday to Jacques Chirac, which demonstrates that Washington has begun to overcome its annoyance with the stance adopted by France one year ago over Iraq. This new understanding with Paris is good news for Washington vis-à-vis the trouble it is having in Iraq. The U.S. president congratulated Chirac for the ‘excellent cooperation’ provided and which can be seen in the fact that the U.S. marines and the French military gained control of the Haitian capital, hand in hand.”


AUSTRIA:  "A Question Of Faith"


Senior foreign editor Anneliese Rohrer opined in centrist Die Presse (3/3):  “It would be a disaster if the U.S. were to fall into the same credibility trap in Haiti as it did in Iraq.  Just as it happened there a year ago, it is now one country’s word against another’s in Haiti: Iraq denied that it possessed WMDs, the Bush administration insisted it did; Haiti’s ex-President Aristide claims that he was forced into leaving the country by U.S. marines, the U.S. Secretaries of Defense and of State deny this. Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld have an altogether different version for Haiti, but they also had an altogether different version for Iraq, which so far has not been proven by any findings of WMDs.… Washington could have reacted differently to Aristide’s accusations: yes, we made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Yes, we wanted him to leave the country. Faced with the escalation in the Caribbean, the public would have understood this – and wouldn’t have to wonder now whether Powell is embellishing the truth, like he did before the U.N. Security Council, or if Aristide is just trying to cover his own back. Once again, an international development is turning into a question of faith, and skepticism towards the U.S. will rise.”


HUNGARY:   "Roles That Become Usual"


Leading Nepszabadsag held (3/2): " Jean -Bertrand Aristide is a experienced escapee.  He was first  toppled when George Bush senior was president, whereas under the Clinton era he enjoyed Washington's full support, which included dispatching military forces to Haiti.  But when George W. Bush took  office, the American foreign policy changed again. In Venezuela, by  the way, a situation similar to Haiti has developed. The American  policy [administration] supports and encourages President Hugo Chavez's adversaries. It is not always equally important to follow the  rules of democracy, it seems.  Some probably think in Washington that the current problems of Latin America in the 21st century can be solved with methods used before."


RUSSIA:  "Rebels Surrender Haiti, Americans Take Over"


Anton Chernykh wrote in the reformist Kommersant (3/5):  "It is symbolic that the representatives of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives have criticized George Bush and the State Department for the American policy in Haiti.  They also accused the White House of failing to support the country's democratically elected president.  So, under the cover of peacekeeping the U.S. has done in Haiti what it earlier did in Iraq or Afghanistan, that is, remove the country's legitimate government.  The difference is that in the case of Haiti this was largely unnoticed by the world community."


SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:  "Voluntary Kidnapping"


Independent political weekly Vreme commented (3/4):  "After several months of civil war, Jean-Bertrand Aristide left Haiti.  The only democratically elected president in Haiti's history was unable to do anything else.  His removal from the political scene represents the return of right-wing paramilitary forces and the return of U.S. marines who helped Aristide to come to power but also to leave his position....   According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that was a voluntary departure....  However, Aristide said to CNN that he was kidnapped by U.S. forces that created the coup d'etat.  This coup d'etat in Haiti cannot harm the Bush administration.  But establishing a 'Haitian Model' in the future could harm a lot of other South American countries."


"The Haiti Hot Potato"


Independent daily Danas commented (3/2): "Former Haitian  leader Aristide left Haiti because of pressures by the  international community and because of the rebels that control the majority of the country. Although Aristide enjoyed U.S. support for years, the White House seriously criticized him last week. President Bush openly underlined that the Haitian  President himself contributed to growing citizens' dissatisfaction and riots where 70 people were killed.  Soon after negative comments from Washington, Aristide packed his bags and left the country....  Analysts assessed that Haiti will face problems in the future and that the  international community and the Washington Administration will have a hard time to deal with this 'hot potato.' "  


"Aristide Could Not Be Saved"


Pro-government daily Politika wrote (3/2): "Now Aristide belongs to history. Ten years ago America sent 20,000 Marines to Haiti to put Aristide in power and remove the military junta that organized a coup d'etat. It was believed then that he would develop democratic institutions and would protect citizens' rights. Instead, he strengthened his personal power and depended on police forces while corruption reached enormous proportions which resulted in the current rebellion.  It was clear that Aristide could not be saved and that he lost domestic and international support."




CHINA (TAIWAN):  "Haiti’s Regime Change Makes Taiwan Very Nervous"


 Zhu Xianlong commented in the official Xinhua News Agency international news publication International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao, (3/4):  "Haiti, after this chaos, will not only produce a new government, but also will change its domestic political policy and foreign relations policy.  The Taiwan authorities worry that its ‘diplomatic relations’ with Haiti, which were set up on the basis of cash, will be impacted....  The Taiwan authorities use every measure including ‘dollar diplomacy’ to increase the countries with which it has ‘diplomatic relations,’ to develop ‘substantive relations’ with ‘non-diplomatic relations countries’ and explore ‘space for international existence.’  Some small countries or poor countries with small populations and territories make use of Taiwan’s behavior, by on the one hand asking for ‘extra fees’ for maintaining ‘diplomatic relations’, ...and on the other hand, blackmailing the Taiwan authorities....  The Taiwan authorities’ dollar-diplomacy is not reliable.  The Taiwan authorities always spend money to pay bribes and buy regimes, but they do not gain the support of the people, congresses and majority parties....  Sooner or later Haiti will set up diplomatic relations with the Mainland and sever relations with Taiwan.”


INDONESIA:  "Haiti Reflected In Indonesia"


Independent Koran Tempo noted (3/5):  “The fall of Aristide was a tragedy for democracy.  It represented an important lesson about the transition to democracy in a developing country, that is not easy with so many dimensions--not only political and military, but also economic and particularly foreign interference--are involved....  The fall of Aristide was part of a grand conspiracy.  His populist policies were running against the neo-liberal economic spirit of the U.S., the IMF and the World Bank.  Aristide did not want to apply the structural adjustment program of the IMF....  His rejection clearly ran against the interests of multinationals, in particular the U.S. companies.  Here we see hypocrisy among the Haitian elite and the American government, who did not care too much about democracy and the people’s welfare.  They wanted a government that they could control for the interests of a handful of people, even if they had to make the common people suffer.” 


"Future Of Haiti After Aristide"


Independent afternoon Suara Pembaruan held (3/3): “It is tragic that Aristide, who rose as a democratic leader, fell because of corruption, economic crisis and violence to defend his position.  Washington as the ‘police of the Americas and the Caribbean will undergo domestic pressure and pressure from the rebels who have defeated Aristide.  The political arrangements in the Caribbean and Latin America will still request U.S. and UN attention. Hopefully, the National Front for Haiti Liberation will not repeat the same corrupt practices and let democracy and welfare in Haiti remain beyond the reach of the people ”


THAILAND:  "Crisis In Haiti Is Business As Usual For The U.S."


Soravis Jayanama wrote in the independent, English-language Nation  (Internet version, 3/5):  "Aristide's illegitimacy, incompetence and brutality contributed to the rebellion, and he duly fled the country to the Central African Republic. He was solely responsible for the sorry state of affairs in Haiti. Consequently, the U.S. has the obligation to save the Haitians from their own inanity.  And so American soldiers have been deployed to re-establish democracy and to begin a programme of nation-building in this failed state.  However, it does not take much to detect the thin strand of chewing gum holding this story together, or to realise how easily the narrative falls apart under scrutiny.... With its close connection with the incoming Bush administration, the opposition...soon called for re-elections. The Bush administration supported the call, threatening Aristide with an economic embargo and the freezing of US$500 million (Bt19.7 billion) worth of humanitarian aid if re-elections weren't held.  Aristide acquiesced to the demand, but the opposition rejected the offer, citing instability on the island....  Who are the rebels? Of course, they are not ordinary men. Many of the paramilitary leaders were involved in the 1990 CIA-sponsored coup launched by Raoul Cedras against Aristide and the campaign of terror during 1991-94....  The Bush team seems suspiciously complacent about placing the future of Haiti in such blood-soaked hands. So much for regime change! So much for democracy!...  Successfully toppling Aristide is something a salve for the American failure to overthrow Hugo Chavez in Venezuela last April [sic], and will likely revive interest in the potential of covert operations in the hemisphere and elsewhere. It is also a badly needed diversion from the mess in the occupation of Iraq, which has yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel.... 'Regime change' will likely transform Haiti into a neo-liberal paradise and a geo-strategic platform for the United States to harass its two other betes noire in the region, Cuba and Venezuela."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "No Asylum Here For Aristide"


Pro-opposition, center-right Citizen commented (3/3):  “South Africa should not offer asylum to…Aristide.  Such a move would erode this country’s international standing.  It would also flout the human rights culture of our constitution...the Haitian people didn’t want him.  Neither do we.…  President Mbeki would do irreparable harm to Nepad if he were to make special arrangements for the Haitian to come here.  At the heart of Nepad is the principle of financial reward for good governance.  Aristide represents the antithesis of the type of governance potential donors and backers want to see.  Therefore neither South Africa nor the continent can afford to be on his side.  If the UN or any other body wants to find a place for Aristide to live, let them look elsewhere.”


"We Owe Aristide Nothing"


Liberal Cape Argus commented (3/3):  “[President] Mbeki became involved with Haiti because he wanted to show Africa’s solidarity with its people, the first blacks to throw off the shackles of their colonial masters.  Fine.  But just as Haiti was about to celebrate 200 years of independence, Aristide’s democratically elected government started coming under increasing attacks from rebels who believe he was leading the impoverished nation down the road to bloodshed and destruction.  It is another sad example of democracy gone wrong in a Third Word country, but Haiti is a long way from South Africa, and the government must dispassionately assess what it stands to gain should it offer asylum to a clearly unpopular politician.  What does Mbeki owe Aristide? Nothing.  And if the president has brokered some rescue deal with the U.S. and France he should say so.  South Africa does not need an expensive political albatross around its neck.”


NIGERIA:  "Thanks To America"


The Lagos-based independent Comet editorialized (3/5):  "But for the eleventh-hour U.S. decision to nudge [Aristide] into exile, Haiti was just a few steps from murderous anarchy.  Mercifully, the UN was thus spared from tackling another massive exodus of starving refugees.  With Aristide's unceremonious departure, Caricom, the 15-nation regional association which had in the past called on Aristide to stop using his thugs to break up opposition rallies should quickly step in to disarm the militias and install a peace-keeping force....  It is pointless to tell a few non-performing, sit-tight African leaders to draw a lesson or two from recent events in Haiti."


"Aristide, An Embarrassment"


Cosmas Nwosuh commented in the respected Lagos-based Guardian (3/5):  "Rather than quitting honorably, Aristide clung to power even if that meant putting his country through a needless destructive civil strife.  Thus like all African dictators who never know when to quit, Aristide has put an avoidable pain on his people, shame on his race, and an embarrassment on the rest of humanity."


"America's Deformed Baby"


The Lagos-based independent Sun ran a commentary by Olu Obafemi (3/4): "Now, the democratic government that the Democrats put in place does not seem to be a legacy that the Republican Government, still nursing the bruises of the aftermath of Saddam's Iraq, and at the heat of a re-election campaign, would enthusiastically embrace.  Yet, Haiti is the deformed baby of America -- it is an unfinished business of America, almost like Iraq.  Already, so much dithering from France and the United States has accentuated the crisis.  The United Nations, usually by-passed by America when it is convenient, must tell the superpower to face up to her responsibility, as usual.  Order and structure must be restored to Haiti, not a rag-tag mob regime.  The ordeal of Aristide and the travail of Haiti cannot be separated, or buck-passed as France and the U.S. are wont to do."


UGANDA: "Aristide A Victim Of U.S Machinations?"


The state-owned New Vision carried an opinion piece by the Secretary General of the Pan African Movement, Abdul-Raheem Tajudeen (3/4):  "The populist Fr. Aristide was elected in 1991 amidst great expectations and mass enthusiasm that this saintly man of God would deliver impoverished Haitians from the claws of corruption, nepotism and serial misrule....  There was always a big dose of naivete in the priest’s understanding of the mammoth challenges facing him.  The U.S. kept pressure on Aristide by denying him any significant aid and preventing others from doing so. He was hung out to dry even if that meant more suffering for the country.   Despite all denials to the contrary it is clear that Washington orchestrated Aristide’s exit either by default or design or both.  The Bush government has shown yet again through its actions and inactions in Haiti that it is not interested in making the world safe for democracy but a place for U.S. stooges. The U.S. and its local agents have been trying to unseat the democratically elected government of Chavez in Venezuela since its coming to power. Would their success in Haiti whet their appetite to try again in Caracas?"


"Lessons For The Haitian Spin"


State-owned New Vision commented (3/3):  "Those who have called for international intervention in the crisis in northern Uganda should look for the answer in Haiti, not Washington or London. Over the last few weeks, rebels in the poor Caribbean country have systematically seized northern towns while the United States, the dominant superpower in the region, looked on with bemused disinterest....  No one mourned the collapse of the government of Aristide.  The international community, notably United States, France and Canada that would not lift a finger for this once loved leader hailed as a savior for Haiti, quickly sent in troops to secure the country and restore order.  Everyone, it appears was waiting for Aristide to go. What happened to this democratically elected president offers some insight into the prevailing unwritten policy for international intervention....   Haiti is a sore reminder to Washington of the inequity between the have and have-not nations. Moreover, Aristide seems to attract corrupt officials like flies to rotten egg. In addition to this, the Bush administration, still pre-occupied with Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea was reluctant to get drawn into a fray that could only embarrass the president in an election year. So, instead of supporting Aristide, Washington offered him a jet to fly into exile. That’s real politics at play.    The lesson should not be lost on those still looking to the international community to help resolve the 18-year conflict in northern Uganda. Painful and devastating as the war has been on the civilian population in Acholi it means very little to the powers that be in North America and Europe. From the U.S. point of view, the chaos in northern Uganda is a domestic problem with little international complications."


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