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Aristide Says He Was Kidnapped
March 1, 2004 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Aristide Says He Was Kidnapped From Democracy Now: Aristide says he was "kidnapped" and taken by force to the Central African Republic. Congressmember Maxine Waters said she received a call from Aristide at 9am EST. "He's surrounded by military. It's like he is in jail, he said. He says he was kidnapped," said Waters. "He did not resign.... He was abducted by the United States in the commission of a coup." Robinson says he spoke to Aristide on a cell phone that was smuggled to the Haitian president. Will this revolution be televised? (Accounts in ogg and mp3)
posted by ao4047 (105 comments total)

 
More information on the Central African Republic from the CIA factbook. I should admit that I'd never even heard of this country before today. I guess war is God's way of teaching us geography. /stolen joke
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:54 PM on March 1, 2004


Refuted by the US.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell described the kidnapping claims as "absurd".

It's nonsense and conspiracy theories do nothing to help the Haitian people move forward to a better more free, more prosperous future

US presidential spokesman Scott McClellan
"He was not kidnapped, we did not force him onto the airplane, he went onto the airplane willingly and that's the truth," Mr Powell told a news conference


interesting nonetheless.
posted by knapah at 1:59 PM on March 1, 2004


Thanks Knapah - shoulda checked before I posted - yep White House says it's not true. (From the developing Google News Cloud)
posted by ao4047 at 2:00 PM on March 1, 2004


And this is the same whilte house that Assured us that WMDs existed in Vast numbers.
posted by Elim at 2:06 PM on March 1, 2004


Thanks Knapah - shoulda checked before I posted

i wouldn't even have heard the allegations if it wasn't for you, so no problem.
posted by knapah at 2:09 PM on March 1, 2004


I'm with Elim. I won't immediately believe anything the Whitehouse pronounces, just because they are the ones saying it. I'm sure it will be a while before this is all sorted out ... if it ever is.
posted by Orb at 2:10 PM on March 1, 2004


No leaving speech, taken to Central African Republic, a military stronghold where it'll be hard to reach him if he is there, all very suspicious.
posted by destro at 2:15 PM on March 1, 2004


So, the possibilities include:All very interesting.
posted by 4easypayments at 2:19 PM on March 1, 2004


White House says it's not true.

That proves it -- it's true!
posted by Dirjy at 2:19 PM on March 1, 2004


Another feather in our government's long history of determining who's in charge. Where's Alex Haig when we need him?
posted by billsaysthis at 2:27 PM on March 1, 2004


Rationally, the White House's response doesn't add any information. It's exactly what they would say whether or not the claim were true, thus it shouldn't change one's belief of the veracity of the claim at all. The White House's denial makes it no more or less likely to be true. Unless, that is, you believe that the White House would admit to such a thing.

(Erm, been studying partially observable markov decision processes... And yes, it's actually a bit more complex than that.)
posted by whatnotever at 2:32 PM on March 1, 2004


you mean you don't trust your elected representatives, i don't believe it.
posted by knapah at 2:32 PM on March 1, 2004


If Aristide is lying, what's his motive? He's out, one way or another. While he doesn't strike me as the most politically astute leader in history, he must realize that an unproveable sob story against the U.S., while it might gain him some allies among certain radical Islamists, is unlikely to get him his job back. He's basically in the same position as Saddam right now.

Or could the truth lie somewhere in the middle. *hysterical buddhist laughter*
posted by divrsional at 2:42 PM on March 1, 2004


1) Powell's credibility should be a bit lacking at this point. The new hotness has gone old and busted.
2) Aristide is a bitchy tart. After disbanding the army, then the police, in favor of roving gangs I'd say he's lucky to be alive.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:43 PM on March 1, 2004


As a general rule, I'm ready to believe the worst about the current US administration.

...however, to me this smacks of Aristide having second thoughts about his flight. Only it's too late, he's made his decision, so he's trying to redeem himself (in his own eyes) by claiming he was abducted. It wasn't his choice -- *he* would have stayed until the bitter end. Yeah, that's the ticket.

The world is full of this kind of thing, all the way down to the four-year old kid who trips & falls, then says "I meant to do that"
posted by aramaic at 2:45 PM on March 1, 2004


I agree with aramaic.... he agreed to go, and then once he agreed the US basically took over to make sure there would be no last-minute changes of heart. At that point there might not be an appreciable difference between kidnapping and leaving on his own accord. Once he 'pushed the button' the US was going to make sure it stayed pushed, as rulers have a habit of changing their mind in such situations.
posted by chaz at 2:51 PM on March 1, 2004


In recent days Aristide has been working overtime at ditching whatever credibility he used to have... I can't help but think that this farce is a last-ditch attempt at saving face after fleeing Haiti in terror.

Frankly I can't imagine why he wanted to remain president of that country in the first place. I'm only surprised he didn't flee to my native Quebec (a popular choice for Haitian émigrés because it is mostly French-speaking).
posted by clevershark at 2:53 PM on March 1, 2004


[Paranoia] I added the BBC news link so people could see a different side...that's all...i don't believe everything i hear, stupid game anyway.[/Paranoia]
posted by knapah at 2:54 PM on March 1, 2004


CNN confirms that Aristide is in the Central African Republic. The real dispute is over whether Aristide left the country voluntarily. Given the fact that members of the current Administration have previously expressed the desire to remove Aristide, I don't think we should take what the Bush Administration says at face value.
posted by jonp72 at 2:54 PM on March 1, 2004


Although the Bush administration may have some credibility issues, Aristide has even more. Histrionics like this (assuming he wasn't really abducted) would be entirely within character.

That said, who knows what happened?
posted by varmint at 2:59 PM on March 1, 2004


If he was kidnapped, good. He's a thug. He gives me the creeps
posted by ParisParamus at 3:00 PM on March 1, 2004


Powell's credibility should be a bit lacking at this point. The new hotness has gone old and busted.

It's been a long, long time since Powell's credibility came into question.
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:06 PM on March 1, 2004


Yes, remove democratically elected Aristide and allow group of ex-hitmen and thugs to rule the country. Good idea. Gotta love how the NY Times called it "organized chaos", whatever that means.
posted by destro at 3:08 PM on March 1, 2004


Adolph Hitler was democratically elected, too. Big deal. He's a thug.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:10 PM on March 1, 2004


"organized chaos" is the news organizations' way of saying that they can't figure out what the hell is going on either :-)
posted by clevershark at 3:13 PM on March 1, 2004


> Yes, remove democratically elected Aristide

OMG, smackfu, stop me before I post again.
posted by jfuller at 3:13 PM on March 1, 2004


"The good news is that your next journalism assignment will be to the tropics. THE BAD NEWS IS YOU'RE GOING TO HAITI.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:15 PM on March 1, 2004


democratically elected Aristide

One vote, one time is not democracy.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:28 PM on March 1, 2004


but it sure beat duvalier and the tonton macoute, no?
posted by amberglow at 3:31 PM on March 1, 2004


I first heard about this from the Diane Rehm show on NPR, where the panelists were utterly floored by the allegation (which had come up shortly before the show began). They seemed pretty certain it was false.
posted by etoile at 3:52 PM on March 1, 2004


One vote, one time is not democracy.

What are you talking about? They had elections by the people. There were some claims of fraud by the opposition, but the opposition also dropped out of the race, so you can't really claim fraud if they didn't even run a candidate against him.
posted by destro at 3:54 PM on March 1, 2004


Fine. You go live there. How is it that one half an island can have a relatively thriving economy (the DR), and the other half can be such a hell?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:04 PM on March 1, 2004


Um... yea... i thought we sent in those troops to help quell violence and maintain the democratically elected government in Hati. I'm such a dumbass.
posted by VulcanMike at 4:10 PM on March 1, 2004


How is it that one half an island can have a relatively thriving economy (the DR), and the other half can be such a hell?

Well gosh, we certainly don't have a problem like that in this country. I mean, here only sixteen percent of children live in poverty.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:13 PM on March 1, 2004


Um...ask the same question of almost any place. The Phillipines, Jamaica, Washington DC, New York City. It's much more common in the Tropical climates where tourist industries pretty much fence off the island to keep the poor side poor and the rich side rich.

Anyhow I wasn't even arguing that Haiti was a great place. I wouldn't characterize it as hell either. Just that there's little reason to allow a, definitely not bloodless, coup to reign in a country that's been struggling for order ever since independence.
posted by destro at 4:14 PM on March 1, 2004


Gee, 'cause their economic fortunes are in the control of US banks and supporters? Quit being so naively stupid, PP.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:15 PM on March 1, 2004


fortunately for the haitian's we have otto riech on the job, perhaps he can get the CIAs old buddy emmanuel "toto" constant to comeback from his comfy retirement in New York (who says the US isn't serious about terrorists ..) and get things straightened out down there.
posted by specialk420 at 4:24 PM on March 1, 2004


a little more on otto riech and bush family hypocrisy.
posted by specialk420 at 4:28 PM on March 1, 2004


over and over, i keep hearing the phrase "contested elections" regarding the 2000 vote in Haiti, yet i haven't ever seen any specifics.

does anyone have a link for any evidence of the fraud allegations? was it just that whole plurality vs. majority thing for the senatorial seats? seems like bunk to me.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:34 PM on March 1, 2004


Well gosh, we certainly don't have a problem like that in this country. I mean, here only sixteen percent of children live in poverty.

Well played.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:51 PM on March 1, 2004


So far, I've only seen Powell and McClellan denying that Aristide was kidnapped. What Aristide is apparently claiming is not that he was tied up and bundled off in the back of a van, but that he was made an offer he couldn't refuse.

"They were telling me that if I don't leave they would start shooting, and be killing in a matter of time," Aristide said during the brief interview via speaker phone.
...
Aristide told reporters that he signed documents relinquishing power out of fear that violence would erupt in Haiti if he didn't comply with the demands of "American security agents."


This is something that some good investigative reporting might shed some light on. For the moment, I'm unwilling to dismiss the claims of the (recent) president of Haiti as a "conspiracy theory" just because McClellan called it that.
posted by uosuaq at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2004


over and over, i keep hearing the phrase "contested elections" regarding the 2000 vote in Haiti, yet i haven't ever seen any specifics.

I've seen specifics in links on all sorts of blogs today. jfuller posted some on this comment here (part of an earlier ill-fated post that was clumsy in making its point).
posted by mathowie at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2004


Didn't "we" have a contested election? in 2000?
posted by Elim at 5:13 PM on March 1, 2004


he signed documents relinquishing power out of fear that violence would erupt in Haiti

Forgive me, but my ass he signed those docs out of fear of violence! Where was this "fear of violence" for the past few years? Sleeping?

The only violence he feared was against himself, if his opponents caught him.
posted by aramaic at 5:24 PM on March 1, 2004


Adolph Hitler was democratically elected, too.

No he wasn't, he was appointed. How many times do we have to go through this bullshit?
posted by languagehat at 5:35 PM on March 1, 2004


Aristide personally accuses United States of coup.
posted by 4easypayments at 5:45 PM on March 1, 2004


Does anyone trust this guy?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:50 PM on March 1, 2004


languagehat: he's just pushing buttons in here. don't feed him.
posted by jpoulos at 5:51 PM on March 1, 2004


over and over, i keep hearing the phrase "contested elections" regarding the 2000 vote in Haiti, yet i haven't ever seen any specifics.

Funny you should say that. I keep hearing funny stories about the "contested elections" in 2000 over here in the States, too.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:59 PM on March 1, 2004


August 19, 1934: In a plebiscite on Hitler's expanded powers, 89.9 percent of voters approve. Although an overwhelmingly Christian nation, most Germans will generally support Hitler's actions until near the end of the war.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:01 PM on March 1, 2004


How is it that one half an island can have a relatively thriving economy (the DR), and the other half can be such a hell?

Yeah, because Mexico definately has a thriving economy.
posted by afx114 at 6:16 PM on March 1, 2004


I got this in my mail sunday night. I post it for your interest only (obviously, it contains no proof of anything). Has anyone else seen any reference to handcuffs?

---

5:00pm Sunday Feb 29

Dear Friends, It appears that U.S. marines have removed democratically elected President Aristide of Haiti from the Presidential Palace in handcuffs and at gunpoint at 5:30 am Sunday and flew him out of the country.
(French radio is currently confirming this information) This blatant violation of international law, human rights and Haiti's sovereignty is a continuation of U.S. policy toward any governments or people who do not kowtow to their plans of world domination and exploitation. Please join us Monday evening at 5:00pm at Powell and Market here in SF to show your opposition to these crimes. See www.haitiaction.net for more info.
posted by damehex at 6:23 PM on March 1, 2004


I think Haiti needs 25 years of benevolent military rule to get its act together, and enter...the 20th Century....Or, perhaps, 19th.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:26 PM on March 1, 2004


After some research, here's what I think happened:

Arisitde was legitimately elected in 1990, deposed in military coup in 91, brought back to power by Clinton in 94, and gave up his presidency because of limits on consecutive terms in 1998.

In the 2000 elections here's what happens - in a first round senate election, the opposition to Aristide's party claims fraud over how the votes are counted. There's some disagreement as to how to continue (recount, revote?). Because of this, the US pulls out all aid, and all electoral oversight (why?). The opposition doesn't even bother to run in the next senate election which is handily won by Arisitde's party and Arisitde then wins the presidential election.
posted by destro at 6:28 PM on March 1, 2004


PP: If he was kidnapped, good. He's a thug. He gives me the creeps

According to Human Rights Watch,

President Aristide, who returned to office for a second term in February 2001 (following the presidency of René Préval), is credibly accused of responsibility for serious human rights abuses. During his tenure, police and pro-government thugs have committed numerous forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions; the Haitian National Police have lost their residual political independence; judges and prosecutors have been threatened, and a network of government-linked political gangs has used violence to repress demonstrations by the political opposition and intimidate the independent press.

You may feel this justifies your response to Aristide's ouster, but it's doubtful that the current situation represents an improvement in human rights terms. Two leaders of the current coup, Louis Jodel Chamblain and Toto Constant, were guilty of human rights abuses in the junta that preceded Aristide's return in 1994. According to Reuters,

When Aristide was ousted in a coup in 1991 shortly after beginning his first term, Chamblain joined with Constant to form the Front for the Advancement of Progress of the Haitian People, or FRAPH.

FRAPH hunted down supporters of Aristide's Lavalas Family party, torching entire neighborhoods, and was blamed for up to 3,000 of the estimated 5,000 deaths that occurred before a U.S.-led occupation ended three years of military rule.

Chamblain was convicted in absentia for the murder of a prominent businessman and Aristide supporter, Antoine Izmery, who was dragged from a church, forced to kneel, and executed.


The situation is not as black and white as you think. And there's no justice in overthrowing a thug if you replace him with another thug.
posted by jonp72 at 6:58 PM on March 1, 2004


I think Haiti needs 25 years of benevolent military rule to get its act together

ahh paris... the CIA already gave a haiti a taste military rule, and i can tell you ... according to one of the coolest guys i have ever met was a fellow named henry from port au prince - it wasn't pretty.
posted by specialk420 at 7:01 PM on March 1, 2004


Jonp72, Seems we are in the middle of a "Okay maybe we didn't have a right to remove him but the world (insert contry here) and the people are better off with out him," .

Like we do what we want, when we want, and justify it later as "we doing this for your own good" Seems condisending and belittling.,

And the only evidence of a non-coup is a signed letter that he says may have been signed under duress. If I can point a gun at someone, I can get them to sign anything....
posted by Elim at 7:22 PM on March 1, 2004


Argh Spell checker not working for me so be kind.. (grin)
posted by Elim at 7:23 PM on March 1, 2004


Why not overthrow the queen? Britain would be better off with out her, I'm sure.
posted by Elim at 7:26 PM on March 1, 2004


And there's no justice in overthrowing a thug if you replace him with another thug.

Damn. And we just made that the centerpiece of our foreign policy. Where were you a couple years ago?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:34 PM on March 1, 2004


"You may feel this justifies your response to Aristide's ouster, but it's doubtful that the current situation represents an improvement in human rights terms."

Actually, thugs are thugs are thugs. The place is a basket case. Better coup than status quo. Actually, it's analogous to Iraq: no tears should be spilled over military actions to oust thug regimes.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:40 PM on March 1, 2004


Again Justifying the means with the end,
Stoopid policy.
posted by Elim at 7:45 PM on March 1, 2004


no tears should be spilled over military actions to oust thug regimes.
*organizes Mefi Militia and marches to Pennsylvania Ave*
posted by amberglow at 7:45 PM on March 1, 2004


Seems when the Thugs do what we want we don't care who they hurt, but when they throw off the leash we put the dog down....
posted by Elim at 7:46 PM on March 1, 2004


How much longer until Bush gets his claws into Chavez? Its like Reagan all over again.
posted by skallas at 7:49 PM on March 1, 2004


I don't trust the White House, but I double don't trust Aristide. I'm sure he was surrounded by Marines as he left, but hey, he said he'd go, and like somebody said, it's not "abduction" for the U.S. to hold him to his word.

Not to be another one of those snotty bastards, but Jesus, why would anybody WANT to rule Haiti at this point? I mean, come on! You sure as hell can't say it's out of the goodness of their hearts, if the history of Haitian government is any indication...
posted by logovisual at 7:56 PM on March 1, 2004


I don't trust Aristide, but I double don't trust the White House. I'm sure they threatened to shoot him like a dog if he wouldn't go but - hey - that's business. And the business of America IS business. Well then......

Agreed, Haiti is a mess - a desertified chunk of a denuded island. So I'm proposing that the US partner with private enterprise - Starbucks - through the Haitian Barrista™ program. The entire population of Haiti can be removed and retrained at Guantanamo Bay, to serve Starbucks coffee at the 1,369,000 starbucks locations around the world which the US government will underwrite. The island of Haiti can then be used by the US military for target practice. The Haitian peope can have occasional "group meetups", to reaffirm their cultural identity, at Club Med in Cancun.

I'm sure the Haitians will be deeply appreciative - in fact, I think their children will be singing our praises many years from now.
posted by troutfishing at 8:39 PM on March 1, 2004


We should apologize profusely for the misunderstanding and fly him back to Haiti.
posted by JParker at 10:19 PM on March 1, 2004


Because of this, the US pulls out all aid, and all electoral oversight (why?).

Perhaps because it became obvious no fair election was going to be held. Not sure if that was the case but if you're asking for a reason why, that would seem to be the one that pops to the top of my list for further investigation.

Listen, I have no idea whether his charges are true or not, and I'm certainly not going to try to justify one group of thugs over another but it just seems to amuse me the no-win situation the US is always thrust into. When Bush said he wasn't going to send in troops or offer assitance people were wailing over the injustice of allowing a *ahem* democratically elected leader to fall. Now when the US gets involved, they're bad guys too.

One thing is certain in all of this. Had Aristide attempted to remain in power, barring any help from the outside world, tens of thousands of people would died before Aristide was strung up in town square with his head on a post. The rebels had all but take the capital which they seemed to back off from doing while the US tried to apply pressure to Aristide but had that failed, they would have either attacked the last remaining Aristide controlled area or laid siege to it and starved him and the rest of the city out. From a purely military standpoint, he was in a no-win situation.

I don't think there will be any winners in this showdown so, for me, it's simply one of those situations where you're trying to pick the least f'd scenario and then you play with the hand you're dealt.

I would really like to find out where the French were. Didn't they say there were going to go there and get the situation under control last week?
posted by billman at 10:23 PM on March 1, 2004


McClellan on the kidnapping: "That's nonsense. I've seen some of the reports [and they] do nothing to help the Haitians move forward to a better, more prosperous future." [cnn]

heh.

Given the current junta's core philosophy concerning means and ends, this statement doesn't add much credibility to the White House's side of the story...

[translation from republo-speak:]
"That's absolutely right. And you guys should just look the other way while we cover the whole thing up for the good of the Haitian people."
posted by kaibutsu at 10:25 PM on March 1, 2004


billman: I think it's pretty clear that there are much deeper things going on here than we can see with just the news reports. As I mentioned a couple days ago, there are rumors that the main fighting strength of the insurgents was paid and/or provided by the U.S. If that's the case, 'kidnapping' Aristide would be a logical way to wrap things up, especially as, were things to get really ugly in Haiti, it would be even worse if news of US involvement in the coup came out. So instead, we give weapons to a bunch of goons and then kidnap the president before things get too bloody. US wins by getting rid of Aristide (for whatever reason we felt compelled to do so) and by stopping a nasty civil war. If anyone figures it out, we call them crazy liberals and ignore them, as per the standard playbook.

Now, I'm not saying this is neccesarily what actually happened. Just that we've gotten away with a hell of a lot worse over the years. This is actually a much, much sounder strategy (from the viewpoint of personal accountability, anyway) for changing the face of world politics: give a bunch of guns and bombs to angry people, then watch them take out the leadership. Of course, the last time we tried this approach, we ended up with people like Osama bin Ladin running around half cocked and well trained with all of our best moves. Nevermind that, though, because we all know that Spetember 11th was a product of Muslim hate rather than American fear.

I am really curious what happened with France. I can see this also from the light of the rising power struggle between the US and the EU, and it makes me wonder what's been happening in those UN back rooms over the last few days.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:42 PM on March 1, 2004


... "and that's the truth".

watching events unfold this eve ... i must say i'm really impressed with the bush administration and how they have managed this one from a global public relations standpoint ... very well done.

it's great to see colin powell's credibilty restoration project coming along as well.
posted by specialk420 at 10:45 PM on March 1, 2004


Billman, the french are there now, The Canadians got there first so Frankly I've heard enough B**LS**T french bashing! I though we grew up in America?

Jesus ion a rickety handcart, The French Had to fly across a 5000 mile F*cking ocean, WE didn't!

As for some SIMPLE history here

We F*cked up, repeatedly, Just Admit it, FIX IT and MOVE ON!
posted by Elim at 10:49 PM on March 1, 2004


ah billman - you don't think the aformentioned otto reich had anything to do with "rebels" by any chance ... do ya? nor that noriega slimeball, neither ...
posted by specialk420 at 11:19 PM on March 1, 2004


The French backed the removal of Aristide. You don't suppose it could have something to do with Aristide's calls for $21 billion in reparations from the French government, do you?!

Also, it should be pointed out that the Bush administration's policies regarding Haiti were completely opposite to those of the Clinton administration, and that Ashcroft and the Bush administration interfered with the flow of humanitarian aid and loans to the country. An international agreement for the return of these loans in November would have made a huge difference for the people of Haiti, but perhaps it also started the clock ticking for those who wanted Aristide gone, and gone quick.

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican congressman from Illinois, had the following to say about the Haitian crisis:
"It has single-handedly rebuilt our alliance with France."
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:04 AM on March 2, 2004


China's Xinhuanet has an interesting angle on Haiti as a US/French backed coup.

"The dialogue with the United States since the start of the crisis in Haiti was conducted in an excellent atmosphere and the departure of President Aristide was the result of perfect coordination between the two governments." - French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, Tokyo, March 1st, 2004.

An Australian paper confirms this quote, and also mentions a witness to Aristide's removal -- a caretaker at Aristide's residence.

"(Aristide) was not happy. He did not want to be taken away. He did not want to leave. He was not able to fight against the Americans," the man said.

So, assuming that Aristide *wasn't* abducted against his will, how did this witness at the Aristide estate in Haiti know that he should keep his story consistant with President Aristide's? Sure, we know that Aristide contacted some US congressmen before the line went dead, but are we to believe he also contacted his housekeeper, limo driver, groundskeeper, and personal valet too?

Someone should really check out that mobile phone's bill for next month... the long distance charges must really be a bitch.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:24 AM on March 2, 2004


This just in... Venezuelan president calls Bush an asshole for backing a coup against him.

Can a Fark headline be far away?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:06 AM on March 2, 2004


Hm. The Chavez story actually has legs. Looks like oil prices have risen to around $37 a barrel, in no small part due to fears that Venezuela will halt exports to the U.S. if the Bush administration acts against them or continues their meddling.

Greg Palast has an excellent article on Chavez. One section is especially valid (and damning) in view of recent events in Haiti.

"On April 12, 2002, Chavez resigned his presidency It said so, right there in the paper – every major newspaper in the USA .... Problem was, the "resignation" story was a .... fabrication. In fact, the President of Venezuela had been kidnapped at gunpoint.... Working for the Guardian and the BBC, I was able within hours of the kidnapping to .... confirm that this "resignation" factoid was just hoodoo nonsense. But it was valuable nonsense to the U.S. State Department. The faux resignation gave the new U.S.-government-endorsed Venezuelan leaders the pretense of legitimacy – Chavez had resigned; this was a legal change of government, not a coup d'etat.

The U.S. papers got it dead wrong – but how? Who was the source of this "resignation" lie? I asked a U.S. reporter .... The reply was that it came from a reliable source: 'We got it from the State Department.'"

posted by insomnia_lj at 4:12 AM on March 2, 2004


If he chose to flee to the CAR of his own accord, how exactly did he get there from Haiti?
posted by davehat at 6:00 AM on March 2, 2004


OK, the US-France angle in Haiti is fairly compelling (from a geopolitical standpoint). I retract my earlier skepticism, and now think that Aristide was actually forced out by the US (and France, but I think the US probably was the one pointing guns).

Dang.
posted by aramaic at 6:04 AM on March 2, 2004


As usual I suspect that, as things settle out, it will prove to be the Haitian people who pay the price of of being a chit in larger geopolitical machinations with their blood and tears.
posted by troutfishing at 6:20 AM on March 2, 2004


> Jesus ion a rickety handcart, The French Had to fly across a 5000 mile F*cking ocean, WE didn't!

It's a French-speaking nation and a former French colony. The French didn't worry about the distance when they were out conquering the place and enslaving the natives, why should they worry about the distance now when it's time to clean up the mess?
posted by jfuller at 6:31 AM on March 2, 2004


when it's time to clean up the mess?

hey jfuller... who's mess?

just a suggestion: put down the freedom fries - and try clicking a couple of the quality links in this thread
posted by specialk420 at 6:56 AM on March 2, 2004


If we remove *anyone* by force, illegally, doesn't that make us thugs? I mean aren't thugs people who think they know the best way to handle a situation, are willing to use force, and don't listen to anyone else?

I'm scared for Venezuela, too.
posted by goneill at 7:00 AM on March 2, 2004


Because of this, the US pulls out all aid, and all electoral oversight (why?).

Perhaps because it became obvious no fair election was going to be held. Not sure if that was the case but if you're asking for a reason why, that would seem to be the one that pops to the top of my list for further investigation.


Well, if it was that obvious that a fair election wasn't going to be held you'd think they'd have more evidence that it was fraudulent. But there isn't, just some accusations with very little evidence. Both the opposition and the electoral oversight groups just gave up after the first round of senate votes. What does it take to leave your name on the ballot or to pay for an electoral oversight group to stay another week?

Instead, it gives the US a reason to claim a fraudulent election with no evidence and remove a leftist president.
posted by destro at 7:06 AM on March 2, 2004


I'm scared for Venezuela, too.

Don't Cry For Me, Venezuela....
posted by jonmc at 7:12 AM on March 2, 2004


No apologist Wants to read what others with differing say or look at any links that back the oppositional view, because they fear the posibility of admitting they are wrong, and if wrong about Bush Co. on Haiti, they "Fundy Xian God Forbid" might be wrong about Bush Co. on other things, I call this the 'Coulter' effect.

Bush seems to hates freedom when the freedom includes not agreeing or supporting the US.
posted by Elim at 8:26 AM on March 2, 2004


Jeffrey Sachs was on Charlie "No Streamin' Video" Rose last night, and as the sort of roundtable went on, it became clear that those presenting the official US view had been issued talking points rather than a real knowledge of the situation. They would turn red and say "let's look to the future of Haiti."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:39 AM on March 2, 2004


South Africa denies prohibiting Aristide from staying there

This would mean he was brought to the Central African Republic against his will.
posted by destro at 10:12 AM on March 2, 2004


Actually, thugs are thugs are thugs. The place is a basket case. Better coup than status quo. Actually, it's analogous to Iraq: no tears should be spilled over military actions to oust thug regimes.

Well, that's insanely asinine. Would you feel that way if you were one of the people who lost an entire family in the last coup? What if we were to replace Saddam with Bin Laden? Because that's what we're talking about here. Letting a s**thead get replaced with another s**thead with some intervening death and chaos. Maybe the last election wasn't fair, but it didn't involve looting and shooting. I would think as an average person, I should prefer that.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:23 AM on March 2, 2004


the US has a lot for which to answer when it comes to toppling foreign governments that might act contrary to the US' self-interest.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on March 2, 2004


this article is a well-reasoned evaluation of the problems of unilateral, "liberal" military intervention in regard to Haiti: The Dangerous Muddle.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:50 AM on March 2, 2004


More from Jeffrey Sachs.
posted by homunculus at 10:56 AM on March 2, 2004


other interesting articles ...

a breakdown of negotiations with the US and brief bios of the rebel leaders from Haiti's largest newsweekly

Stan Goff reports from Haiti

How the US Press Missed the Story
posted by mrgrimm at 12:06 PM on March 2, 2004


South Africa denies prohibiting Aristide from staying there

This would mean he was brought to the Central African Republic against his will.


I believe the "plan" was to fly to the CAR, then on to South Africa at some point "in the near future".

He was also offered temporary asylum by Panama but didn't go there.
posted by knapah at 12:59 PM on March 2, 2004


Ok, I can't say for sure what his travel plans were, so my statement may be jumping the gun a bit.

Still, Powell says South Africa rejected offer to host Aristide, but South Africa says it was never even asked.

Somehwat suspicious.
posted by destro at 1:21 PM on March 2, 2004


He'll wind up in Brooklyn--it's obvious; everyone does...
posted by ParisParamus at 1:29 PM on March 2, 2004


"He'll wind up in Brooklyn--it's obvious; everyone does..."

Thing is, you've almost got a point for a change, PP. Aristide's wife is a U.S. citizen, so technically Aristide *should* be able to come to the U.S., you would think. Infact, he told Lou Dobbs the following just yesterday:
"I don't know if the first lady, who is an American lady, is allowed to go to Miami to see her family. And I don't know if I am free to leave where I am to go to New York or elsewhere. .... If they allow me, I will be very delighted to go to the United States whenever it's necessary or possible, meet people, tell the truth.... They want to create confusion. And I want to tell the truth, not confusion."

So, yes, he'd *LOVE* to go to Brooklyn. Therefore, he won't be permitted. (Especially during a campaign season...)

Sure, we had no problem granting dictators like Ferdinand Marcos and his lovely wife Imelda exile on Hawaii, but they were on our side, right?! Clearly, a democratically elected leader like Aristide who never granted himself "president for life" powers has no business in America.

Meanwhile, corrupt dictator and mass-murderer "Baby Doc" Duvalier is looking forward to going back to Haiti soon.

"This is my country. I'm ready to put myself at the disposal of the Haitian people."

Oh, the cruel irony.

Maybe we've got the idea of what to do with Haiti all wrong. What if we sent all the mass-murdering f*ckheads there while we're at it, and let them fight it out? Certainly couldn't be much worse than what we're already doing.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:25 PM on March 2, 2004


Actually, thugs are thugs are thugs. The place is a basket case. Better coup than status quo. Actually, it's analogous to Iraq: no tears should be spilled over military actions to oust thug regimes.

You still don't get my point, PP. Haiti had numerous nonviolent activists in the opposition against Aristide. Instead of working with these people, the Bush Administration appears to be in collaboration with the thugs who terrorized the country after overthrowing Aristide for the first time in 1991. The Bush Administration is not against Aristide, because they think he's a thug. They're against him, because he's not their preferred type of thug (i.e., right-wing, friendly to "outsourcing" American jobs to Port-au-Prince, cracks down on Haitians fleeing to Miami).
posted by jonp72 at 3:56 PM on March 2, 2004


Sorry, but "Non-violent" types didn't have a chance in Haiti. I can't imagine any path to improvement other than one which passes by a non-corrupt military regime. It's sad, but true.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:09 PM on March 2, 2004


"non-corrupt military regine"

*wipes tears from eyes*
That's the funniest thing i've ever read.
posted by goneill at 4:46 PM on March 2, 2004


Sorry, but "Non-violent" types didn't have a chance in Haiti. I can't imagine any path to improvement other than one which passes by a non-corrupt military regime. It's sad, but true.

If that's the case, then the best course of action would have been to take the isolationist route and stay completely uninvolved. The so-called solution you espouse, PP, is simply expressing your preference for right-wing human rights violations over left-wing human rights violations.

By the way, did you even bother to read some of the basic biographical info about some of the rebel leaders posted here? Almost all of them were involved with Duvalier or with the post-1991 right-wing junta. These people aren't merely corrupt. They define what corruption is.
posted by jonp72 at 6:28 PM on March 2, 2004


Well, what about a UN Military regime? Or a UN police regime? That's what's, in effect, going to happen. I think this time, the UN is in Haiti in a big way for the long term; With the Iraq corruption scandal, the UN is on the verge of being declared a joke. The UN and Haiti deserve each other: two failed institutions of corrupt pedegree and little consequence. Will their dance be successful? Hope so.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:38 AM on March 3, 2004


Sure, we had no problem granting dictators like Ferdinand Marcos and his lovely wife Imelda exile on Hawaii, but they were on our side, right?!

Of course, considering the Clinton administration fought to return Aristede to power, when you say "on our side" you don't necessarily mean "the US's side" but the "Bush administration's side". There are domestic politics at work here, too.

mass-murdering f*ckheads

Izzard in tha hizzie!
posted by jpoulos at 6:14 AM on March 3, 2004


Whether or not Arisitide was technically forced out or pressured out, he was certainly encouraged to go by the Bush administration. My question is, does anyone know who the administration's favorite is to succeed him? Surely they are not toppling another regime without ensuring that there is a viable alternative first (and I think they thought they could just install Chalabi in Iraq and that the "grateful" Iraqis would just take it), and surely they know that they can't put known drug-dealers, mass murderers, or Baby Doc (openly) back in power. They say they will not deal with the rebels, only with "business and civic leaders" of the opposition, but I have not seen any analysis of whom they want to replace Aristide with. Besides just disliking Aristide, are there any Bush/Cheney/Noriega personal connections to figures in the Haitian opposition as there are in Venezuela?

The U.S. might have brought the rebels back to negotiations with vague threats or a stern condemnation of their lawlessness; instead Powell openly expressed his lack of "enthusiasm" to protect the regime or to force negotiations.
posted by boo at 5:44 AM on March 5, 2004


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