May 2229, 2002 | Reprinted from
did cause these sanctions to be imposed? Aristide himself.
Clinton administration and European Union cut off the
Haitian government (while continuing programs through
nongovernmental organizations) after Aristide had his
representatives on the electoral commission throw out
more than a million votes for non-Aristide senatorial
candidates in the May 2000 elections (see OAS
election report). When the electoral commissioner
eventually refused to validate this procedure, he was
threatened by both Aristide and then-President Préval
and fled to the United States. The OAS electoral mission
withdrew in protest. In December 2000 Aristide agreed
with Clinton envoy Anthony Lake to speedy rectification
of these elections, but to date nothing has been done.
its first year and a half in office, the Bush administration
has done no more than to maintain the Clinton sanctions.
But mere sanctions, unsupported by more proactive measures,
is a sterile policy. Without wishing to prejudge the
current OAS mission, experience indicates that the administration
will have to do much more in the way of nation-building
if it wishes to contain the situation in Haiti. The
administration is also extremely simplistic in the way
in all its public
pronouncements it lays the blame on Haitian politicians
and history. After an invasion of twenty-two thousand
American troops to restore a president, preceded by
a punishing embargo, it is clear that the outcome is
a composite of Haitian and American decisions. Restoring
a president with troops and leaving parliament, judiciary,
and elections to unprotected aid programs skewed the
balance in a country that was already steeped in traditions
of patronage and clientship.
its April 18 resolution
the Congressional Black Caucus calls for an end to the
loan cutoff, citing the economic suffering of the Haitians.
The caucus says nothing about the rights of the Haitians
to have their votes counted. Prof.
Robert Maguire was the first to draw the parallel
between the civil-rights struggle in the United States
and the right of all Haitians to have their votes counted.
The caucus has not explained why Haitians deserve these
rights less than Americans.
the United States, some people's votes didn't count
because of skin color; in Haiti, because of choosing
the wrong candidates. In both cases the result was illegitimate
government. In the United States it was widely recognized
that it would take more than mere economic amelioration
of the South to solve this problem. A racist power structure
had to be confronted, and some Americans gave their
lives in confronting it.
the Congressional Black Caucus appears to have taken
Aristide's personal cause as its own, thus exacerbating
the divisions that are tearing Haiti apart. The main
significance of resumption of loans to the government
would not be in the economic realm but rather in the
political; they would be a means for Aristide to trump
of the explanation for the caucus's partisanship may
lie in judicious spending by the Aristide government.
During 2001 former
congressman Ronald Dellums received $210,000 from the
Aristide government to promote its version of events.
Lavish support has continued into 2002. Other PR firms
and entities are also receiving hundreds of thousands
from this poorest country in the hemisphere. Earlier
this year Dellums led a Congressional Black Caucus delegation
Morrell is the head of the Haiti Democracy Project.
In 1964 he was a volunteer in a voting-rights campaign
in Sunflower County, Mississippi led by the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.