Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Hti: Thug life

At one time Aristide was overwhelmingly popular, called "The Messiah" by a
desperate population. After the coup which deposed him, he was brought back in 1994 by over 20,000 American troops ( Times change. Last week, U.S. authorities threatened to indict him for drug smuggling).

At the celebratory Mass in the Port-au-Prince cathedral after his return, he promised a fresh start for his nation. He abolished the corrupt and brutal Haitian army. He agreed to privatize the corrupt state enterprises, run and bled by the MCE's, the Morally Corrupt Elite. He accepted these conditions in return for substantial aid.

Back in office, he violated his agreements; the foreign aid was suspended. For the corrupt and brutal Haitian army, he substituted his personal gangs, thugs called "Chimeres" or the "Cannibal Army," who had licenses to deal drugs, extort and murder rivals to Aristide's one-party reign. During my three trips to Haiti during the past several years, there was continual news of assassinations of political critics. None was solved. Jonathan Demme has made a documentary film, "The Agronomist," about the murder of his friend Jean Dominique, the most popular Haitian radio journalist. Aristide was clearly implicated.

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