Aristide, Haiti, mob rule, forced retreat?

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dox
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Aristide, Haiti, mob rule, forced retreat?

Post by dox » Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:29 pm

What a mess, eh? It's actually really strange (and has been for years) to be on that Island, if any of you have taken a vacation in the Dominican Republic and weren't too busy being pampered by the tourist areas, you probably met some Haitians and were made aware of the fact that just a little bit to the West on the same island was a whole different world.

Well, aside from all that I wanted to raise to things:

1. Mob rule. Boy, doesn't it suck when you overthrow a government, accomplish your means and then continue to tear the place apart? This is on par with sports fans demolishing parts of cities after their team wins. I would also venture a hypothesis that in this case this only adds to racial prejudice world-wide -- someone who might have been finally shedding their racist tendencies would only have to turn on the TV and be catapaulted back to their old ways after seeing the Haitians accomplish their goal and then continue to drive their country in to the ground. This is just universally stupid. Did Castro's rebels loot Havana when Batista fled in '59?

2. US intervention. This one is really hard to call.. We've seen the US step in many, many times before to force/support a democracy in a foreign nation. We've also seen them ignore many others. We've also seen a few times where they waited on the sidelines until all sides are weakened and then swoop in with the stars and stripes to tip the balance. I don't know much about the relationship between the US and Haiti, so I'd love to hear from someone who does and can explain the US role in all of this. But here's an article that will probably be downplayed and probably vanish from the collective psyche just like the ones about the US not being the ones that caputred Saddam did..

http://www.news.com.au/common/story_pag ... 02,00.html
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Post by RingoCalamity » Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:48 pm

Interesting report. I admittedly don't know much about the recent history of Haiti, but I believe the international community made quite an investment in legitimizing the government of Aristide in the mid-late 90's. I know many RCMP members who were sent there to help train and modernize the police force (much of the body armor that could be seen on the Aristide loyalists in news footage was donated by the RCMP during this period).

Aristide pooched the whole thing by rigging the last elections though. It'd be funny, how often governments installed by the west tear themselves apart, if so many people didn't end up getting hurt. To an extent, I can understand the initial reluctance of the US and others to step in on this occasion, it's like admitting a mistake.

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Yep

Post by dox » Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:05 pm

Perhaps my article isn't going to fade away, Aristide has been heard on radio claiming he was kidnapped (the site seems to be being hammered right now, will try to post full text when it's available)..

Good points Ringo.. I still stand firm in the belief that all of this steadfast support of democracy is premature; when did human beings determine that it was the best form of government? When did we give up on searching out new methods of rule? With all these people dying for democracy how hard would it be to install a newer/better methodology if proven as such?

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Post by RingoCalamity » Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:54 pm

Well, I think finding a better system than democracy is like trying to see into the future - speaking for myself, I don't see any form of governance that isn't a variation on what we have now. I just don't have the tools or the insight to envision something that would result in more equitable rule. Fact is, every system of governance is vulnerable to greed, cronyism, and just general corruption.

Democracy isn't a monolithic term, anyway. A rep-by-pop democracy is a lot different that one derived from a plurality. Both have merits, and drawbacks.

I think what's happening in Haiti, and what's happened to other failed democracies, has been largely economic - in fact, almost entirely economic. When a country's economy is failing, unrest grows, and a democracy has no real method for keeping its people in line, apart from making them happy by improving the economy.

The problem is, in the 'global economy', a nation's economic fate is largely out of its own hands. There's a battle going on all over the world right now to see who can provide the cheapest labour, and there are more losers than winners. In fact, most times, even the winners are losing in many ways, given the lack of actual benefit that comes from successfully having a Nike sweatshop set up in your country. To beat out other countries, the successful bidders have to offer non-unionized labour, free trade zones with no export taxes or tarriffs, a lack of environmental responsibility, and other breaks.

So what does that mean to Haiti? They're an impoverished country and they're going to remain that way, dependent on foreign aid until they find a way to replace that with foreign investment. Until they have a government that can secure one or the other on a regular basis (aid payments had been suspended under Aristide, I believe), they're going to have a very unhappy populace and because of that, a shaky government down there.

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Post by Shaddowmaster » Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:14 pm

president fled, mob celebrates.....

that's about all I care about... :lol:
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Post by RingoCalamity » Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:25 pm

Yeah, but now what?

And the question I forgot to ask in my previous post there; in a western style country with a strong economy, democracy can work, and is the best option in my opinion.

Is it the best option in a developing country with a weak economy? Would impoverished nations be better off with authoritarian governments that can outlaw unions, quash dissent, and form a good economic environment for a Nike sweatshop or two? Is that a stage that these countries have to pass through to become affluent?

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Heh

Post by dox » Mon Mar 01, 2004 8:09 pm

I'm no big conspiracy theorist, I try to stay objective.. Here's retorts re: Aristide being kidnapped..

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2& ... &printer=1





















Now that you've read it, doesn't the verbiage quoted seem a bit.. contrived? It's what was left unsaid that bothers me..

Another article that takes both sides in to account here: http://www.local10.com/news/2886191/detail.html

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Post by RingoCalamity » Mon Mar 01, 2004 8:38 pm

"I don't believe that's true … I'd be absolutely amazed if that was the case. The idea that someone was abducted is just totally inconsistent with everything I heard or saw."

That's Donald Rumsfeld. Guy certainly knows all about giving himself deniability just in case the truth comes out, doesn't he?

"It's nonsense, and conspiracy theories do nothing to help the Haitian people move forward to a better more free, more prosperous future."

That's presidential spokesman Scott McClellan. In other words, just drop it. Now that Aristide's gone, you can have your aid money again.

As for the comments, by Powell and others, about how Aristide went willingly...well, there are varying degrees of free will.

"The officials from the U.S. Embassy and others came into his house, told him he that was going to be executed, told him that his wife was going to be executed and his followers were going to be executed, and he had to leave the country immediately. And that when he resisted during that, they brought in the Marines to forcibly take him out," said Aristide's lawyer, Ira Kurzban.

Now, whether or not the Marines dragged him away, which they may not have, is the choice between staying and dying, and your family and friends dying, and going into exile, is that any choice at all? If he gave in at that point and went with them, is that really of his own free will? Are the above statements of fact, or are they threats and coercion?

Now, Aristide's government was done. He almost certainly would have been killed had he remained in Haiti, from what I've seen of the situation. If that were the case, though, why would the US lie? Or, why would Aristide lie?

Now, if the US had just said, 'for Mr. Aristide's own safety, it was necessary to evacuate him from the country against his own wishes,' what would they have lost? The only thing I can imagine is that their influence would have been diminished with whatever government ends up in control of Haiti, because they'd feel the US had taken Aristide to protect him from 'prosecution' by the new government...but given Haiti's reliance on international aid, especially from the US, I don't know about that.

What does Aristide gain from lying? Well, if he admitted to resigning willingly and asking to be evacuated, then he would be admitting defeat. He still has loyalists in Haiti, and by claiming to have been kidnapped and being forced into his resignation, he could leave the door open for a return. We all realize that wouldn't happen, but he's (apparently) rigged one election to stay in power, and held out during this crisis far longer than reasonable.

There are three options, really: Aristide's lying, the US is lying, or both. We'll probably never know for sure.

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