Point of view
By Professor Robert R, Klein, former Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy, Haiti
After a long bloody revolution against France, Haiti, the first Black Republic of the Americas, ?celebrated? its 200th birthday in January. But Haiti is again on the edge of civil war: 80 % of its people are unemployed; its land is eroded; its institutions decimated; once poor parish priest President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has become a rich meglomaniacal dictator using violence & murder against dissidents:
The Rector of the University has his legs broken; 45 journalists murdered; a general strike prevails; student demonstrators are tear-gassed, beaten and shot; senators & former supporters resign and denounce Aristide?s party. WHY should the American people care?
1.- Haiti is 800 miles from Florida; Haitian sailors fought the Brits
at the revolutionary battle of Savannah. Haitians are hard working talented people who admire the USA & support us in UN.
2.- The US has intervened repeatedly in Haiti: Wilson sent Marines to occupy Haiti for 19 years-killing 2,000 Haitian resisters.
3.- Eisenhower sent Rockefeller to support brutal dictator Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier on the steps of the National Palace.
4.- 1959 we sent a Marine Mission to? train? Duvalier?s ?army.?
5.- 1990 in a free election landslide, anti-Duvalier priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide becomes president. Aristide publicly praises ?necklacing?: gasoline filled tire set afire around opponent?s necks!
6.- Aristide ousted in military coup 4 months later; American Ambassador saves Aristide?s life.
7.- George Bush 1st supports Aristide in Washington. Bill Clinton sends 22,000 soldiers to force military out. Aristide restored; Haitian Army dissolved; Haitian police force recruited & trained by US.
8.- Ex-priest Aristide married, wealthy, living in mansion returns to presidency in 2002. Formes ?les chimères?: thugs. Kills opposition leaders; murders supporters; rigs legislative elections; kidnappings a weekly occurrence. Haiti again a Kleptocracy. Haitians flee to US; turned back by Coast Guard. OAS criticizes Aristide. Sec. Powell says he ?is very disturbed?. US Ambassador announces: ?Haiti is at a crossroads?. The United States made Aristide president; the US must unmake him.
Professor Robert R, Klein, former Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy, Haiti
OAS Observer 1990 Haiti Presidential election; White House Staff, Pres. LBJ
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