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Will Aristide Return to Haiti?

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    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    The U.S. occupation of Haiti piles political chaos on top of horrific natural disaster. Only weeks after former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was allowed to enter the country without a valid passport, the hugely popular, democratically elected former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide may be given permission to return from exile. Meanwhile, Haiti’s occupiers are said to have discussed sending current President Rene Preval on an involuntary plane trip. Are these dots connectable?


    Will Aristide Return to Haiti?

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Few thought the Haitian government would ever defy the Americans and give former president Aristide a passport.”

    The United States and its imperial partners may have created more chaos in Haiti than they can handle. The most popular man in the country, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, whom the Americans kidnapped and sent into African exile in 2004, may be on his way back home. In a surprise decision, Haiti’s Council of Ministers told Aristide’s lawyer, Ira Kurzban, that they were amenable to issuing a diplomatic passport to Aristide as soon as they received an official request. Up until now, Haitian officials have used various ruses to keep Aristide in South Africa, where he is a university research fellow and has been having health problems.

    Aristide's former political ally, Rene Preval, had been elected President in Aristide’s absence in 2006, largely because Aristide’s followers thought Preval was on their side. But Preval turned out be another willing tool of the foreign powers that actually run things in Haiti, mainly the United States, along with France and Canada.

    Preval was thoroughly disgraced in the aftermath of last years earthquake, when he seemed to collapse from the weight of disaster. The Americans then made Preval’s government totally marginal, if not irrelevant, to their own plans for Haiti’s future. Only a fraction of the billions in earthquake aid went to Preval's administration. Washington and its allies openly humiliated Preval, demanding that his favored candidate to succeed him as president be booted out of the run-off to November’s disastrous election – which was itself a fiasco nobody but the Americans and their cronies wanted, and in which only one in five Haitians bothered to vote.

    Up until now, Haitian officials have used various ruses to keep Aristide in South Africa.”

    Preval was clearly on the outs. One foreign member of the ruling Interim Commission suggested that the powerless president be put on a plane and sent into exile – just as the Americans had done to President Aristide, seven years before.

    Then, in mid-January, who should show up at the Port-au-Prince airport but Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the dictator that the Americans had flown out of the country to luxurious exile in France, with many millions of dollars in his pockets, 25 years ago. Now the monster who had killed, imprisoned and terrorized tens of thousands of Haitians with at least the tacit approval of Washington, was back, creating a perfect storm of madness. With the Americans in charge, one never knows who is coming and who is going, in Haiti.

    But few thought the Haitian government would ever defy the Americans and give former president Aristide a passport. Has the Haitian Council of Ministers suddenly decided to behave as if Haiti is still an independent country? Has the repugnant presence of Baby Doc in the land that he tormented for so many years, created the opening for Aristide? Could it even be that President Rene Preval, treated like a disposable stooge by the Americans, gave his own approval to Aristide's return, as a kind of payback?

    One thing is clear. The Americans almost invariably make a mess of their occupations of non-white nations. In the chaos, Aristide may yet return.

    For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

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