Monday, March 01, 2004

Jeffrey Sachs on Haiti 

(via Maxspeak) Famous development economist Jeffrey Sachs: "The crisis in Haiti is another case of brazen US manipulation of a small, impoverished country." According to Sachs, the Bush administration has a history of proposing compromises to which Aristide would agree; the opposition would refuse, and the failure to reach a compromise would be used as a pretext to punish Aristide. This happened in 2000, when certain Haitian senate candidates were supposed to face runoff elections. Aristide agreed to the US-sponsored comrpomise plan, but the opposition kept delaying. Result: the Bush administration cut off $500 million in humanitarian aid.

The same thing has happened in recent weeks:

As Haiti slipped into deeper turmoil last month, Caribbean leaders called for a power-sharing compromise between Mr Aristide and the opposition. Once again, Mr Aristide agreed but the opposition merely demanded the president step down - reportedly rejecting even US Secretary of State Colin Powell's requests to compromise. But rather than defending Mr Aristide and dealing with opposition intransigence, the White House announced the president should step down.

And regarding the news that Aristide was actually forced out at gunpoint yesterday by US marines, commenter Yoni weighs in with

As they say, there's never been a coup in the US because there's no US embassy here.

UPDATE: Reader HappyWarrior on Kos has pointed out that Bush was not president in 2000. True. To clarify, the elections in Haiti did happen in 2000, when Clinton was still president, but the compromise was brokered by the incoming Bush administration. Quote from the Sachs article:

Mr Aristide's foes in Haiti benefited from tight links with the incoming Bush team, which told Mr Aristide it would freeze all aid unless he agreed with the opposition over new elections for the contested Senate seats, among other demands. The wrangling led to the freezing of Dollars 500m in emergency humanitarian aid from the US, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Back to the Odd Hours main page
© 2004 Odd Hours
Reproduction permitted provided Odd Hours or the author of the quoted post is credited.