Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TIME, Truth & Aristide

After a forced seven year exile, former President Aristide returned to Haiti over the weekend after being kidnapped and removed from power in a US led coup. Meanwhile TIME (in one of the most biased articles anywhere since... TIME's cover story asserting that only American troops could prevent violence against Afghani women) thought this a bad idea. Of course, one need just compare the article from the London Review of Books with the whitewash flight of fantasy from TIME- it doesn't take long to decipher which is first rate journalism, and which is a first rate hack job.

Tim Padgett asserts that although "the US may have performed less than admirably during his overthrow, Haiti 2004 was hardly Chile 73..." You're so right Mr. Padgett- in Chile, the US backed and supported Pinochet from the sidelines; in Haiti, the CIA and covert US military directly "escorted" President Aristide from his home, to unmarked plane, to destination unknown. Whatever his faults, Aristede was someone who actually placed Haitians first; for that, the US did everything they could to covertly sabotage his presidency, and when that wasn't enough, they literally executed a home invasion and kidnapped his entire family.

Bush & Co. didn't even bother with the usual ruse of having the natives perform the dirty deed of removal (no need there- there's no white ruling class to offend).


Binbaz said...

Ok Stan, it's time for a Haitian to step in and ask you exactly when did Aristide ever put the Haitian people first? Look at his record, look at the disappearances, look at the increase in violence, look at his astronomical increase in riches. Listen to his old speeches about the "white devil" then watch him gag on Clinton presidential penis a few years later. The fact is Clinton put him back in power (Thanks btw for finishing up our crumbling economy Mr Clinton) Titid is an opportunistic asshole who rode the countrie's class resentments into the presidential palace and behave no more honorably than Namphy, Manigat or indeed Baby Doc. If you looked at the man as critically as you look at your own politicians you would spit every time you said his name. I know I do.
BTW we may not have a "white" ruling class but Haiti's racial and social divides are s

Stan B. said...

Binbaz- Didn't catch the last part of your comment, but I'm betting that many of Haiti's rich elite pulling strings behind the scenes are not unlike the power elite in the rest of Latin/South America and the Caribbean- mainly, those lighter complexioned. It's all a matter of degrees, isn't it?

I take it you didn't read (or believe) the linked article by Mr. Farmer, and I'm sure some may unfortunately dismiss it since he's white- and you're certainly free to dismiss me since I've never set foot in Haiti. But if you dismiss someone the likes of... Randall Robinson- well, then I'm afraid you've made your loyalties all too clear.

I think Aristide put the Haitian people first when he worked tirelessly in its slums before having any political power. I think he put the Haitian people first when he outlawed the Haitian "army" with its long history of fighting and killing... Haitians. I think he put the Haitian people first when he tried to get rid of the ridiculous, overbearing debt imposed on Haiti. No, I'm sure he's in no way perfect- but to actually compare him to Baby Doc is really beyond any sane person's time to debate.

Binbaz said...

Right on the money with the missing words Stan.
Cards on the table, I used to be part of the Haitian aristocracy, so right there I am more apt to be in that group which despises and feels threatened by Aristide. I am aware of this but I still think my points are valid. I don't dismiss Farmer because he's white (what sort of asshole would that make me) and I just have not read any of Robinson's work. And I'll admit that my comparison was an exaggeration, but only an exaggeration. Papa doc was a monster but Baby Doc was just a spoiled, lazy dumbass whose greatest sin is not giving a damn as long as the coffers were full. Titid is a classic demagogue. I still remember hearing him on the radio growing up, and if you could find some transcriptions I think you might start to see him in a different light. Scroll down in the article's comment section and Peter Dailey does an excellent job on filling in the gaps and clarifying some of the misreadings from the article. But let me address your points directly.
A-Working the slums, gaining people's trust and stoking the lower class' anger is exactly how Titid got power. That anger was totally justified but Titid never offered workable solutions, only stirred up more spite.
B-We are not only afraid of the "army" but also and to a more terrible degree we fear the "police". The army was much more of a threat to Titid as a new president so that's the institution that got "corrected". And if you are mistaking the army for the Tonton Macoutes, know that after Baby Doc's exit a fair number of them did join the police.
C-The debt is classic Don Quixote politics. Can any one with any sense really expect the French or even the American government to right these wrongs? When even reparations are a joke in this country? Who's next? Senegal? Congo? Egypt? The bigger the windmills the more endearing the "resistance", but it is just useless.

Stan B. said...

Thanks for the honesty, Binbaz.

Bottom line- Aristide was seen as the enemy by: France, the United States, and the Haitian elite. That's the golden Trifecta right there! One-need-not-say-more...