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Foreign Affairs


Aristide

All Eyes on Haiti (Again)

(BlackState March 2004) In a year where we were to celebrate 200 years of the first independent black republic in the western hemisphere, Haiti is now in the headlines for reasons that have swamped the island nation since its independence. Revolts, rebellions coups and countercoups.

Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide whether forced to resign by the U.S. and France or by his own free will is up to debate. He claims that he was essentially kidnapped and forced to resign. What matters now is Aristide is exiled in the remote Central African Republic, a French proxy nation, guarded by French and Central African security forces. The U.S. has dismissed allegations that Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped by U.S. forces eager for him to resign and flee into exile. The U.S. claims that he resigned and asked for assistance in leaving the Haitian capital.

Although Aristide proved to be no savior to the Haitian people having him replaced by former military thugs is an affront to democracy and the long-term stability of the Haitian state.

The U.S. intervention in Haiti is not new. The U.S. intervention in Haiti began in 1915 US invades Haiti following black-mulatto friction, which it thought endangered its property and investments in the country. 1934 - US withdraws troops from Haiti, but maintains fiscal control until 1947. 1956 - Voodoo physician Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier seizes power in military coup and is elected president a year later. 1964 - Duvalier declares himself president-for-life and establishes a dictatorship with the help of the Tontons Macoute militia. 1971 - Duvalier dies and is succeeded by his 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude, or "Baby Doc", who also declares himself president-for-life. 1986 - Baby Doc flees Haiti in the wake of mounting popular discontent and is replaced by Lieutenant-General Henri Namphy as head of a governing council. In 1994 the U.S. sent troops to reinstall Aristide as the President of Haiti after being removed in a military coup. Brutal dictators such as Jean-Claude ''Baby Doc'' Duvalier, the former dictator of Haiti who has lived in exile in France since 1986 remains free and unprosecuted for the criminal acts committed in Haiti. Yet the U.S. continues to state that we have to strengthen democratic institutions in Haiti.

Furthermore, the country's infrastructure has almost completely collapsed and drug trafficking has corrupted both the judicial system and the police force Dictatorships revolts and revolution with each revolutionary seeking power not for the people who are poor but for the leaders themselves. Meanwhile, Haiti's most serious social problem, the huge wealth gap between the impoverished Creole-speaking black majority and the French-speaking mulattos, 1% of whom own nearly half the country's wealth, remains unaddressed.

Despite hundreds of billion dollars in Aid to Haiti, Haiti remains mired in poverty. It is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Ignorance of self division between black and less black in Haiti is criminal and must finally come to an end in Haiti. Haitians and the black world community must do what it can to be there for Haiti and to help steer Haiti to stability and prosperity.

For a more information on Haiti click here: BBC News Timeline

Rep. Maxine Waters interview on Democracy Now at Commondreams.org

MORE ON HAITI:

Aristide Claims He Was Kidnapped Read The Interview on Democracy Now! Click Here

TransAfrica Forum Urges Congressional Investigation into Aristide's Ouster amid Claims that the U.S. Forced the Haitian President to Leave TransAfrica Forum President Bill Fletcher Jr. expressed grave concern that Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide reportedly was forced to leave the country by the U.S. administration. He is calling for a Congressional investigation into the circumstances that led to Aristide's abrupt departure from Haiti. TransAfrica Forum is one of the nation's foremost policy and advocacy organizations focusing on Africa and the Caribbean. Visit TransAfrica Forum