March 5, 2004
VENEZUELA: DEMOCRACY IN 'FRAGILE HEALTH'
** The "Haiti
model" is a "dangerous precedent" for democratically elected
** Critics in the
Americas and developing world claim the U.S. is "trampling" on
** 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
'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 the...free
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.
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."
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' them...is 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
"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
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 vote...at 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
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
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
"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."
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, Haiti...is 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
"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
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 Haiti...is 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
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
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."
"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 businessmen...in industry, trade and other
economic sectors in Haiti, which represents an impetus to create employment and
growth. This should be our strength for
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.”
"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
"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
BRITAIN: "Whose Coup
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
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
FRANCE: "Plots And
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 Washington...is 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.”
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.”
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."
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
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
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
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
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:
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
"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
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"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.”
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 ”
"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."
"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.”
"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
"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