Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Did Bush-backed Republicans foment a right-wing coup in Haiti? 

According to Max Blumenthal of Salon.com, yes, they did. If you don't feel like reading that article or sitting through the obnoxious ads for a Salon day pass, you can hear and see Amy Goodman interviewing Blumenthal today on Democracy NOW!

EXCERPT: Haiti's unelected Prime Minister Gerard Latortue is in Washington today to attend a two-day conference at the World Bank headquarters to urge international donors to help the new U.S.-backed Haitian government. The World Bank has estimated about $1.3 billion is needed to help rebuild the country which is the poorest in the Americas.

The allocation of funds will be guided by the Interim Cooperation Framework, an assessment of Haiti"s financial needs completed earlier this month by the European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Critics warn that the program's failure to involve Haitians in the planning could end up sending nearly all the funds into the pockets of foreigners and Haitian elite, with little reaching the people in need. A protest is being organized outside the meeting today.

U.S. Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor said the United States would contribute $232 million and the Inter-American Development Bank $400 million. But what many people don't know is that U.S. federal funds have been flowing into Haiti for the past six years. A federally-funded group called the International Republican Institute, or IRI, has funneled some $3 million into Haiti to destabilize the democratically-elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide.

The IRI, a nonprofit political group backed by powerful Republicans close to the Bush administration, initiated the destabilization of Aristide's government by imposing harsh sanctions, training Aristide's political opponents and encouraging them to reject internationally-sanctioned power-sharing agreements. Haiti's political crisis eventually escalated into violence until Aristide was overthrown in February of this year in what he calls a modern-day kidnapping in the service of a coup backed by the United States.


Wey've got a group of Republicans closely tied to Bush involved in an anti-democratic scandal, meddling in the affairs of the hemisphere's poorest country, in plain sight.

One question: Where's the Democratic party on this one, hmm?

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