Thursday, August 04, 2005


Brazil's Iraq

The bottom line: what has overthrowing the Haitian government accomplished? Haiti might have to postpone elections in two months' time because it is ill-prepared, according to a new report. Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group (ICG) says only a fifth of Haitians have registered to vote and the process is due to end next week. Local and municipal elections are planned for October with parliamentary and presidential elections in November. ... "Empty elections that produce a government with little legitimacy could drive Haiti into permanent failed state status, run by drug and criminal networks," said Mark L Schneider, Crisis Group's Senior Vice President. So, we will have helped Haiti transition from being a desperately poor country with a small drug trafficking problem and scattered violence but an elected government to a desperately poor country with a major drug trafficking problem and widespread violence and the only popular party banned from elections, such that 80% of the people refuse to participate. But the US is not alone in this. Haiti is Brazil's Iraq... and Canada's...and France's. France and, to a lesser degree, Canada, claimed to be acting from principles in refusing to endorse the invasion of Iraq, and they look doubly hypocritical over having participated in the Haitian occupation. But the saddest case of all is Brazil. For perhaps the first time ever, they have a government that claims to represent ordinary people instead of the Brazilian oligarchy. They seen the US intervene again and again in Latin America. Have those interventions accomplished anything? Why are they joining in doing the same wrongs to people even weaker than themselves?
What's interesting is that the BBC stories such as the one cited in the post are written with the unspoken assumption that Aristide Had To Go, but they never exactly spell out WHY. They do mention that Aristide is still popular, but they see his popularity among the poor as a problem to be overcome -- and never mention, except in a very oblique way, the crimes committed by the thugs who deposed Aristide.
This is (as usual) an excellent point, PW.

One should never read a paper because it prints "the truth," because there's not one that does. Arriving at a reasonable approximation of the truth is a painful process of piecing together bits and pieces from many viewpoints.

The BBC is saturated with pro-government bias, much like the New York Times and The Washington Post. But because its bias is toward a different government, or at least toward a government that is the poodle rather than the poodle's owner, tidbits seep out that don't make it into the American press.

But, yes, I have written the BBC repeatedly to complain about their unspoken assumption that Aristide Had To Go. Maybe he did, but the BBC has never produced an explanation more satisfactory than "because the Americans told us he had to go."

Woof! Woof!
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