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|Triumph of self-interest in corrupted Haiti
|Nothing will change because no candidates represent a broad
CAMP PERRIN, HAITI - I always read about Haiti written in the United States with the
jaded eye of someone who has lived and worked in rural Haiti for almost four years. I was
not in the Presidential Palace when Jean-Bertrand Aristide accepted a woulib (free ride)
from the U.S. Marines, hence I cannot comment on the competing scenarios of abdication or
abduction. I do feel the need to dispel the urban myth that continues to be foisted upon
the American public by Kevin Pina, Ira Kurzban and others who are blinded to the truth
either by ideology or because they are paid performers.
not in the Presidential Palace When Jean-Bertrand Aristide accepted a woulib (free ride)
from the U.S. marines, hence I cannot comment on the competing scenarios of abdication or
In Nov. 16s Love him or Haiti him, Pina comes to town, Christopher
Larson describes Haiti as a society where the masses want the return of their
rightful president and the reinstatement of their government. Its a nice
catchphrase, but it does not reflect the reality I have experienced. Outside of the
poorest slums in Port-au-Prince, support for Aristide is razor thin at best. Even in the
communities where his support is believed to be strongest, those loyalties are based on a
misguided belief that Aristide cares about anyone other than Aristide. What is more
certain is that this loyalty is immediately transferable to any personality who preaches a
populist message. If one leaves the confines of Port-au-Prince and travels to other areas
where 70 percent of the population lives, Aristide and the Lavalas movement are completely
One anecdotal fact says more a lot about the state of democracy. The most popular
figure in the country is Jean-Claude Duvalier. Just as many in Russia wax sentimental for
the good old days of Stalinism, Haitians are drawn to the relative stability
of an autocracy. Aristide and the Lavalas movement were a revolution in name only. In
practice, it was more of the same corruption and human rights abuses that have
characterized Haiti throughout its 200 years of independence.
Haiti will still bleed after the next electoral exercise because whichever person
assumes the mantle of leadership, we can be certain of one thing: Self-interest will trump
national interest. Nothing will change because none of the 35 approved candidates
represent a broad constituency or have shown the slightest interest in galvanizing the
population. They preach populism when Haiti needs pragmatism.
David Doherty resides in Camp Perrin, Haiti. Please send comments to email@example.com.
© Copyright 2005 The Minnesota Daily. Reprinted from The Minnesota Daily of Tuesday,
November 22, 2005.
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