Ben Terrall tries to make some interesting commentary in his piece on Haiti to CounterPunch but when you’re only telling one side of the story with only half the facts, its an insult to your readership. Kidnappings are probably one of the most horrific experiences Haitians have been asked to endure in the last 5 or 6 years. To talk about the Lovinsky abduction by Aristide foes without mentioning the kidnapping/torture/murder of poet/journalist Jaques Roche, by Aristide sympathisers, is shoddy editorialism.
Defending the Left with 50% of the facts is only hurting the Left. Replacing Rightist dictators with Leftist dictators isn’t the direction Haiti should take. To say that Aristide was “democratically” elected without mentioning his attacks on the opposition before the election is disturbing. To talk about Aristide’s “democratic” presidency without going into detail of: 1) persecution of journalists, 2) the attempted burning of radio stations and opposition headquarters and 3) Aristide’s para military gangs, who used to sell drugs and spread terror in urban neighborhoods, is farcical at best.
Though Haiti’s most celebrated journalist, Jean Dominique, a close friend of Preval, was killed during Preval’s first term, Aristide’s government did little to pursue justice in the case.
Randall Robinson is an interesting source and though he may have the best of intentions, he can’t possibly write a balanced, acurate book on the politics of Haiti while living in St Kitts.
Aristide, in all fairness, did have his bright moments. He helped to show Haiti’s disenfranchised that by voting, they could exercise their political rights, and, he did abolish the Haitian Army, which was a murdering machine often aimed against Haiti’s poor.
The Transitional Government, 2004-2006, headed by Gerard Latortue was dictatorial and repressive at best but it was never sold to the public as a “Democracy”. The Transitional government was one sided, and it tried to bring Haiti’s elite into elective government. They failed. To compare the Latortue transitional government with the elected Preval Government tells me that the reporter, Mr Terrall, never had any intention of presenting a clear or honest picture of what’s going on in Haiti today. If the Haitian people didn’t want the UN Peacekeepers in Haiti, they would no longer be here.
Kidnappings are still going on in Haiti though now they mostly happen in and around the suburb of Petionville. Rising gas prices have affected all prices in Haiti. Unemployment in Haiti has yet to be addressed. Haiti can’t possibly tackle all these problems on her own. In order to get past the smoke and mirrors of partisan politics, we need balanced opinions which better reflect the situation as it is.
RICHARD MORSE runs the Olafsson Hotel Port-au-Prince Haiti and the leads the Haitian band RAM.