Haiti

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Bry, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Bry
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    Bry Member

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    Wasn't sure where to put this, but I think it is very interesting and I'd like to know what your reactions are. I'll post the whole article because I think the media's presentation of the events, and whose views they choose to represent, may be relevant to the situation as a whole. The main question is "What's happening in Haiti?" but also "What should our reaction be?"

    -Bry


    Haiti's President Determined to Keep Power


    By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said he's ready to die to defend Haiti, showing determination to keep power despite a bloody rebellion as the United States and other countries prepared a political plan to resolve the crisis.

    Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said the plan could be presented to Haiti's government and opposition as early as Friday.

    The U.S. government, meanwhile, urged Americans to leave the increasingly violent country.

    "I am ready to give my life if that is what it takes to defend my country," Aristide told police officers honoring slain comrades at a ceremony in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

    "If wars are expensive, peace can be even more expensive," warned Aristide, who has survived three assassination attempts and a coup d'etat.

    The Pentagon (news - web sites) said it was sending a small military team to assess the security of the embassy and its staff.

    The announcement came as an unconfirmed report surfaced that two embassy vehicles were fired on earlier in the week. An American in Haiti, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said six armed men stopped the two vehicles in Port-au-Prince on Monday night and opened fire the shots, hitting a vehicle but causing no injuries.

    More than 20,000 U.S. citizens, at least a quarter of them missionaries, are registered with the U.S. Embassy.

    The Peace Corps is withdrawing about 70 volunteers, and other U.S. citizens should leave while commercial flights are still available, the State Department said.

    Six truckloads of armed gangsters drove Thursday night into St. Marc, west of Port-au-Prince, American missionary Terry Snow said, adding that 15 Americans in his group of 20 missionaries left the country this week.

    "Innocent people are being killed and houses are burned down every day and night in St. Marc and the police are doing nothing," said Snow, 39, from Granbury, Texas.

    He said the city has been terrorized by Aristide partisans from the "Clean Sweep" gang since police won the city back from rebels last week.

    The Organization of American States approved a resolution Thursday expressing "firm support" for Aristide's government in its efforts to "restore public order by constitutional means." It also called for an immediate end to the violence.

    OAS Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria said he is confident a political solution could come "not in months, but in weeks."

    U.S. Ambassador John Maisto told delegates that Haiti's crisis "is due in large part to the failure of the government of Haiti to act in a timely manner to address problems that it knew were growing." He said it hadn't fought police corruption, strengthened its judiciary or restored security.

    Meanwhile, 20 Haitian refugees arrived by boat in Jamaica — the second group in less than a week — saying they were fleeing the violence, Jamaican police said.

    The U.S. Coast Guard (news - web sites) has said it has not detected any increase in Haitian migrants.


    Haiti's rebellion has raised fears of a mass exodus on the scale of the tens of thousands who fled to Florida when Haiti was under brutal military dictatorships from 1991 to 1994.

    Former President Bill Clinton (news - web sites) sent 20,000 troops in 1994 to restore Aristide, end the killings of his supporters and halt the flood of refugees.

    In Washington, Powell said the plan does not require Aristide to step down before his term ends in February 2006, as the political opposition and rebels are demanding.

    But he said the United States would not object if, through negotiation with opposition leaders, Aristide agreed to leave ahead of schedule.

    A political solution would not halt the northern rebellion that has killed dozens of people, including about 40 police officers, according to Jean-Gerard Dubreuil, undersecretary for public security.

    At Cap-Haitien, the last major government bastion in northern Haiti, armed supporters of Aristide patrolled Thursday and vowed to fight any rebel attack. Frightened police remained barricaded in their station, saying they were too few and poorly armed to repel the rebels.

    Rebels torched the police station at the northeastern border post of Ouanaminthe on Thursday, Radio Vision 2000 reported.

    Haiti's police force numbers less than 4,000 and demoralized officers this week deserted at least three provincial posts. Eight officers have sought asylum in Jamaica and the Dominican military said it arrested four fleeing officers this week.

    Aristide, who was wildly popular when he became Haiti's first freely elected leader in 1990, has lost support since flawed legislative elections in 2000 that led international donors to freeze millions of dollars in aid.

    Even before the rebellion, about half of Haiti's 8 million people went hungry daily, according to aid groups.

    Hungry people in rebel-held Gonaives looted food aid from a rebel storage facility on Thursday after they were turned away from an aid distribution. Witnesses said shots were exchanged Wednesday between rebels and armed residents who thought they were being denied food rations.

    Thousands of people, some brandishing machetes and guns, marched through the city Thursday in support of the rebellion.

    "We are going to win. We are going to take the (National) Palace," Guy Philippe, a rebel leader and former police chief of Cap-Haitien, told Associated Press Television News.
     
  2. Scourge
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    I have just been hearing about this for the first time. Haiti was not really on my radar before now. Is this the people's choice, do they all want Aristide out? We had some involvement before on his behalf I guess, but I don't know the circumstances. But the government and police don't seem too polular.
     
  3. Bry
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    He was "democratically elected" whatever that means. It's difficult to evaluate it in terms of whether or not it is the "people's choice". What is true is that a critical mass has had enough, and they have started a full scale civil war. Of course, the two sides can be handily divided up between the bourgeois who rake in profits through exportation of natural resources, and the exploited or flat unemployed proletariat.
     
  4. Scourge
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    Sounds like an historical first!!!
     
  5. Bry
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    :laugh:
     
  6. rtwngAvngr
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    I know you guys want to frame this as some kind of socialist revolution, but it's not. This a revolution against tyranny. Individual rights, and free market captalism would have kept this from happening. But giving your citizens adequate rights takes all the fun out of being in government, doesn't it?
     
  7. Bry
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    RWA: how about you apply your vague statements of propaganda to the actual events. Make an actual argument. Here we have a very concrete example of a revolution. Apply your ideology to the facts. Tell us exactly what rights you think were being violated, tell us how the revolution is a response to that violation (instead of something else like simple hunger) and explain how Haiti wasn't a free market economy and what things would be different if it were a free market economy. Then and only then will you get a real response.
     
  8. rtwngAvngr
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    Here you go bry,

    The haitian government is corrupt as shit. When the government is corrupt, any business which does not pay tribute to or is in some other way not associated with the ruler, is shut down, hence, there is a lack of corporate competition. When there is a lack of corporate competition, the few mobbed up business dictate the economy, and the workers suffer. You can't find a new better job, when there's only one corrupt game in town. Hence the revolt. Freer markets would have prevented this from happening. I stand behind my initial statement. And there's a difference between vague and general. Did you know that? Have I earned your response, bry, queen of the left?
     
  9. Scourge
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    In a 'free' marketplace, a company can have a monopoly, correct? If they are aggressive enough and attain enough capital/power and there is no anti-trust law to regulate then people would be in a bit of a jam, and that corporation could act as it likes (obviously this is a theoretical example) so a free market does not necessarily ensure workers being treated fairly or being satisfied. look at the meat industry, or better yet, read fast food nation.
     
  10. rtwngAvngr
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    That's why I'm for "trust busting laws".
     

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