So it is. Insurgents take over a number of cities in Haiti, supposedly to « liberate » them from Aristide. The Government is trying to fight back after appearing apparently powerless to react decisively to regain control. According to the latest reports, it had regained the city of Saint-Marc. Meanwhile, the insurgents are killing, burning, looting, setting prisoners free, among them convicted drug dealers, murderers and so on. Do you see the picture ?
Do both the Opposition and the Government realize the monsters they have created ? Does the Opposition understand the enormous consequences of the kind of incestuous relationship with bandits and drug trafickers, only because they want to oust Aristide ?
It seems that the Government does, judging by the numerous declarations, appeals for dialogue etc. This is the sensible thing to do if the constitutional process is to be preserved ; indeed, as the press is r
eporting it, this is the biggest challenge yet for Aristide.
As far as the Opposition is concerned, this Kreyòl expression describes it best : li pran nan mera. Here, you have a bunch of bandits taking over in the name of the fight to oust Aristide. In the process, they kill, maim, burn. In any country, there is only one way to describe them : they are terrorists. Shouldn't the Opposition condemn them in no uncertain terms ? This is the dilemma facing it, and only for one reason. I spoke in a previous post of the lack of integrity, conviction and vision of the Opposition. This is a clear illustration of what I mean. By inciting rebellion against Aristide without a plan, without principles and without methods, it finds itself in a situation where it does not support, nor condemn what is clearly lawlessness and terrorism of the highest order.
According to the press, the bandits have among them former tontons macoutes and military officers seeking to overthrow Aristide. Yet, because of the Opposi
tion's habit fo embracing anyone who declares his or her hatred of Aristide, it finds itself in the most akward situation. The American Government has condemned the violence ; so have the OAS, the UN, CARICOM and many other governments. We only here in very vague terms Apaid say that « we are against violence ». Same thing for Gérard Pierre-Charles and others. Prof. Manigat says that « the end is looming.. », but any clear and precise condemnation of those who perpetrated these acts of violence ? Hardly. Richard Boucher from the State Department made a rather curious statement in which he said that the US Government was condemning the violence and called on the Aristide Government to respect human rights. How about those in Gonaives, St-Marc, Trou du Nord etc.. ? Don't they have to respect human rights too ?
For the Opposition this a « damn if you do, damn if you don't » situation, a situation I find quite shameful on the part of those who call themselves the real democrats. Will the Opposition come t
o its senses and have the political courage to do the right thing ? Does it realize that if these thugs were to take over, no one in the opposition would have a say, and if any destruction takes place, it will not be in Cité Soleil, but in the heights of Pétion-ville, Kenscoff, Péguy-ville etc ?
On Saturday Feb 7, the Lavalas supporters put a massive demonstration which gathered, according to informed observers, more that 100 thousands people. The day after, the Opposition called off its march which to take place on Sunday 8. This it quite ominous for those who would want to deny these people their rights. Therefore, it becomes more imperative for the parties to agree to some kind of compromise.
It is a terrible situation that in 2004, Haiti should be at such a crossroads because of the lack of vision of a Government and the ineptness of an Opposition. Time is quickly running out. Will there be at the last minute a spark that will make both parties see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel
and make history ? I sure hope so.
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