Bush and his Administration this week "denied
[they] encouraged rebel Haitian forces and helped
push President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power."
However, while Bush said we need a "renewed commitment
to democracy and freedom in this hemisphere,"
a careful look at the White House's behavior shows
that the Administration actively took the side
of an armed band of "death-squad veterans and
convicted murderers" against a government that
had been democratically elected three times.
Secretary of State Colin Powell initially rebuked
the rebels and rejected "a proposition that says
the elected president [of Haiti] must be forced
out of office by thugs," the Administration soon
said a solution in Haiti "could indeed involve
changes in Aristide's position." Then the White
House issued a "harsh statement that placed much
of the blame on the Haitian president for the
deadly crisis" and refused to help defend the
presidential palace, effectively forcing Aristide
the Administration's complicity in the coup was
even more obvious. As armed gangs surrounded the
Haitian capital, Powell made clear that "there
is frankly no enthusiasm" for "sending in military
or police forces to put down the violence" - a
signal to the rebels to continue their insurgency.
This alone might not have been proof of complicity
considering it was a reiteration of the president's
clear position that intervention in Haiti was
not a "worthwhile" mission because it was "a nation-building
mission" that "cost us billions." But then, at
almost the moment Aristide was deposed, the President
reversed his hands-off Haiti policy and ordered
2,000 U.S. Marines to secure the island.
with exiled Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby
Doc'' Duvalier planning a return to the island,
the Administration is facing questions about why
it supported the overthrow of a government that
even Vice President Cheney admitted yesterday
was "democratically elected." Though Aristide
certainly had a problematic record, the Administration's
policies could result in the restoration of an
exiled dictator "accused of human rights violations,
mass killings and stealing at least $120 million
from Haiti's national treasury."
Posted: March 4, 2004