Haiti on the brink?
caribbean | by Mike Derham | 09 Feb, 2004 at 10:25 AM | comments (1) | trackback (0)

One of the limitations to my view (and I think the view of lots of others) of Latin America is that I only look at the region through the prisms of English, Portuguese, and Spanish. So I haven't been paying attention to the situation in Haiti. But this Reuters article I first saw in the FT seems to indicate that Aristide's days are numbered:

Hundreds of frenzied looters stripped sea containers in the port of Saint Marc of televisions, radios and corn flour, and set the empty containers ablaze a day after outnumbered police were forced to flee armed gangs.

A maze of barricades were thrown up on Sunday in the sprawling slums and streets of Saint Marc, the largest town on the road north from the capital to the country's fourth-largest city, Gonaïves, where police tried unsuccessfully on Saturday to restore control after being driven out two days earlier.

I'm no fan of Jean Betrand Aristide (his pseudo-religious personality cult isn't exactly the latest word in good governance), but two things about this make me think this is the end:
  • If you look at a map, the uprising is spreading towards Port-au-Prince, whereas previous uprisings in the past couple of years have been centered on Cap-Haïtien on the north coast. Now they're 60km/40miles from the capital.
  • Previous disturbances have been led by memebers of the opposition. However the movement in Gonaïves and Saint Marc are centered around former members of a pro-Aristide group called "the Cannibal Army".

    Obviously, any massive unrest in Haiti would have adverse effects on Southern Florida and the Dominican Republic, both of which received a large flow of refugees coinciding with the political struggles of the early 90's. Givne that our news about Cuba is all seen through the prism of the embargo here in the US, I don't know if refugees swamped Santiago de Cuba, as well...

    Also, who would replace Aristide? From my cursory glances, the opposition seems fractured, with no figure taking a real leadership position.

    (I'm putting this up more to raise these question than to pretend to answer them. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows Haiti- is this the real deal? Or just "more of the same"?)

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Posted by online pharmacy | August 10, 2004 07:45 AM

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