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exchange with Independent re Haiti

 
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: exchange with Independent re Haiti Reply with quote

Feb 24, 2004

Mr. Gumbel:

As Haiti's elite, allied with murderous killers, move Haiti back to dictatorship, the international media continue to veil the truth from people who would otherwise be moved defend Haitians.

You wrote in your article of February 25 that

"'Officially, the opposition is taking the high moral ground, saying it does not want to negotiate either with the President and his armed street gangs or with the military insurgents. "

How do can you justify equating Aristide with the rebels or even the opposition?

For years the opposition has prevented internationally supervised elections from taking place.They have refused to accept their designated seats on the Provisional Elections Council, which is an essential first step for any balloting to occur. The opposition has therefore sustained the pretext that the US and EU have used to withhold desperately needed aid. The opposition's intransigence is now blocking international assistance against the murderous gangsters closing in on the capital.

Mr Aristide won 90% of the vote in the the 2000 presidential election. The election result was not disputed by the OAS. The opposition boycotted the presidential electioin in 2000 but the popular was was to polled by US frims to be about 8% at the time.[1]
There is little reason to doubt that Aristide remains much more popular than the opposition. Hence the oppositions consistent attempts to block elections despite dire consequences for ordinary Haitians.

How can any of this be described as "taking the high moral ground"?

Regards,

Joe Emersberger

[1] "A U.S.-commissioned poll in 2000 found that the Democratic Convergence leadership had only a 4% credibility rating, while a mere 8% of the local population named Convergence as the party with which they most sympathized. "
http://www.coha.org/NEW_PRESS_RELEASES/New_Press_Releases_2004/04.03_Haiti_Aristide.htm


Mr Emersberger:

If you read the paragraph following the one to which you take such offence, I think you'll find that your objections melt away. Here are both of them again. Sincerely, Andrew Gumbel

Officially, the opposition is taking the high moral ground, saying it does not want to negotiate either with the President and his armed street gangs or with the military insurgents. "We feel crushed between two armed movements, the armed movement holding the north and the one terrorising us here, the criminal government in the national palace," said Andre Apaid of the Group of 184.

Unofficially, however, it appears that the opposition would prefer to do business with the military commanders the kind who propped up the Duvalier dictatorship from the 1950s to the 1980s and who, with CIA support, imposed their authority through ruthless political repression after the 1991 coup that toppled Mr Aristide after his first election as president.

Mr. Gumbel,

Nothing "melts away" in the next paragraph.

You have equated Aristide with the rebels in the first paragraph. If they rejected negotiations with both they would be on the "moral high ground".

In the second you suggest that the opposition really prefers the rebels.

The willingness of the international community to defend Haiti depends on people realizing that Aristide is should NOT be equated to the rebels or the opposition.

Regrrds,

Joe Emersberger
Wed Feb 25, 2004 4:57 am
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: to the Guardian Reply with quote

RE Feb 27 Guardian: Haitian rebels continue advance on capital : Agencies:

Sir,

In the article "Haitian rebels continue advance on capital" you state that the US was once a "staunch ally" of Aristide. A quick look at recent history reveals what a terrible distortion this statemnet is.

The US government backed Aristide's political opponents during the election in 1990. The CIA then backed the coup that ousted Aristide in 1991. The CIA praised the brutal military regime that took control until 1994. The CIA also circulated reports describing Aristide as a "doctriaire monomaniac". Political pressure led Clinton to return Aristide to power in 1994 but obliged him to serve out only the final year of his term, demanded amnesty for major human rights abusers during the military regime, and the implementation of an economic program that was opposite of the one Aristide was elected to implement. The US has refused to deport Haitian death squad founder Emmanuel Constant since he fled Haiti in 1994. Documents pertaining the Aristide casse have been returned only after being censored. Human Rights Watch concluded that the censorship of the documents is motivated by "the illegitimate purpose of covering up U.S. complicity in political murder and other abuses".[1]

The US (and the EU) seized upon a dispute over the election of eight senators during the 2000 elections to withhold millions of dollars of aid to one of the world's poorest countries. Haiti's elite opposition has blocked new elections by refusing to accept their designated seats on the Provisional Elections Council. The US insists that Aristide and the opposition come to agreement before it will aid Haiti knowing full well that the only agreement the opposition will accept is one in which Aristide resigns.

Where is the "staunch ally"? Where is the relevant history?

Regards,

Joe Emersberger


[1]http://www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/dem-restored.htm

For HRW letter on Emmanuel Constatnt see http://www.hrw.org/press97/oct/haitialb.htm
Sat Feb 28, 2004 3:41 am
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: to independent re: leader Reply with quote

RE: At last, the US joins France to send forces to Haiti

In your leader of March 1 you wrote that in the end Aristide was"just another dictator in a region where he'd once been the great democratic hope." Aristide was not a dictator.You cannot possibly believe he was if you are minimally familiar with the facts. How can you write this? This characterization of Aristide has been all too common in the international media and played a key role in the successsful coup that several hundred well armed thugs and their wealthy allies in Haiti and Washington have carried off.

To say Aristide "rigged the 2000 election" is a gross exaggeration. The OAS questioned whether several senators, all of whom were pressured to resign, really won their seats in the first round. The OAS did not question Aristide's victory in the presidential election. The elite opposition boycotted, but given that they had about 8% support according to US run polls, that hardly invalidates the result. Again, you must be aware of the basic facts, yet you choose to exaggerate.[1]

You fail to condemn the sanctions imposed on Haiti due the flaws in the 2000 elections. To withhold non-military aid to one of the world's poorest countries was reprehensible, especially when new internationally supervised elections could easily have been held. The US and EU refused to tell Aristide's wealthy opponents that they must either participate in the elections or accept being out of power. There was no justification for subjecting Haiti's impoverished people to collective punishment for the failings of Aristide and his opponents.

You wrote that "By disbanding the army and leaving the country defended only by a lightly armed police force, the Clinton administration created the seeds of the present disorder" That's false. Clinton did not disband the Haitian army. Aristide did - defying US objections.The "seeds of the present disorder" were planted when the CIA backed the coup against Aritide in 1991, then allowed death squad leaders like Emmanuel Constant safe haven in the US. The case of Constant is especially releveant to the situation in Haiti today. Human Rights Watch mentioned Constant recently in a statement about Haiti. There is no mentioni of him anywhere in the Independent.[2]

Constant was the founder of FRAPH, the group responsible for thousands of murders in Haiti during the military rule of the early 1990's. Former members of FRAPH are among the thugs that chased Aristide out of Haiti. The US has refused to deport Constant for years (though his victims were promptly deported) and has returned documents relevant to his case to Haiti only after they have been censored. Human Rights Watch bluntly told the US government in 1997 that censorship is for the "purpose of covering up U.S. complicity in political murder and other abuses, particularly the relationship between U.S. intelligence assets and the military government and FRAPH."[3]

You write (I hope sarcastically) about Bush's hopes for a "world democractic revolution". Haitians have been told loud and clear by the US, France, Canada and the international media that anyone they elect who does not cater sufficiently to the Haitian elite can expect to be driven out of office by force.

Regards,
Joe Emersberger

[1] Council on Hemispheric Affairs:http://www.coha.org/NEW_PRESS_RELEASES/New_Press_Releases_2004/04.03_Haiti_Aristide.htm
[2]http://www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/dem-restored.htm; for Feb 27 HRW statement on see Haiti see http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/02/27/haiti7682.htm
for letter to US govt. see http://www.hrw.org/press97/oct/haitialb.htm
[3]http://www.hrw.org/press97/oct/haitialb.htm
Tue Mar 02, 2004 2:07 am
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