Normally, I don’t comment on other writers. But after reading a piece in the Wall Street Journal, I felt compelled to so. I believe it is important that any writers, especially foreigners, should always write the complete Haitian story.
The writer, Mary O’Grady, in the opinion section for the Wall Street Journal painted a picture, blaming Jean Bertrand Aristide as the only culprit for Haiti’s current situation. I am not advocating on behalf of Aristide, nor am I his defender, but whenever we are speaking of Haiti’s failure in the past 20 years, everyone who is guilty must be part of the story.
There are a few pointers in the Journal article that I found to be very misleading in understanding Haiti’s current situation. For starter, the author suggested that things did not have to get so bad for Haiti, if in 1990 they did not choose a despot like President Aristide, but she did not make any effort to mention the bloody coup d’etat of September 1991 as one of the pivotal moments in Haiti’s regression for the worst.
The author found it to be necessary to mention that Joseph Kennedy II, a friend of Aristide and a Democrat, benefited a great deal from a telecom contract between Fusion Company and the Aristide government, and yet she is fully aware that this is an allegation that has yet to be proven in any court of law. How is it possible that the Wall Street Journal editors are allowing allegations to be presented as facts?
In the same article, the author wrote about how Aristide was terrorizing his nation, both as president and as the power behind President Rene Preval, but yet she made no mention of the military Junta, which ruled Haiti with an iron fist from 1991-1994, which gave us a tidal wave of boat people to the United States. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands displaced.
In the article, O’Grady, portrayed Teleco’s lack of capital after the removal of Aristide in 2004 as proof that the former President had to be behind the lost of the hard currency, and again she failed to inform her readers that every succeeding government in Haiti always blamed the previous one for the empty coffers of Haiti’s government institutions. She did not bother to say that Latortue flee Haiti before he could give an exact account to Rene Preval as to the state of the Haitian government under the interim government.
Lastly, for the author to make her point that Haiti is finally having a burgeoning democracy, and a new beginning under this current Preval-Duvivier administration, she bolstered the argument that Prime Minister Duvivier is talking up the importance of investment in Haiti, change in fixed-line telephony laws, public security, as reasons to believe this is indeed a new start for Haiti again. The author also found it necessary to mention that Prime Minister Duvivier, once an ally of President Aristide, broke with the latter over the use of destitute youths to carry out political violence, which should make wonder if indeed Ms. Duvivier should be the face of a new start for Haiti.
My outrage over the WSJ article is not so much to dispute what is written about either Aristide or Prime Minister Duvivier, but instead the deeper thinking behind the article left very little to truly believe that Haiti is starting over again.
The Wall Street Journal is a very influential newspaper; hence it is of the utmost importance for stories being published in it to state the facts and not simply a fragmented story.
The bashing of Aristide who is in exile in South Africa since 2004 is not helping with a new beginning for Haiti. Promoting a false sense that things are on the right track under this current administration is misleading at best.
When the best example of progress is how a Prime Minister is talking about the change that should be happening is what a writer can use to make a point, it leaves a big whole in the story. The job of a Prime Minister is not talking the talk, but it’s to walk the walk. Talking is left for people who are campaigning, but public officers, like the Prime Minister should have concrete examples of what she has done for the past year. All we have heard from this current administration is how the four hurricanes of last year have handicapped the whole country, and yet she has yet to come out with a prevention plan for this year’s hurricane season. Talk is cheap.
The article would have been fairer if the author had the gut to call out Preval’s ineptitude to lead a country of so many poor people. If the author could have explained to her audience exactly how she sees a new start in Haiti under the current Prime Minister, who has no answer for abating the hunger of the people, for providing clean water, healthcare, education, housing, jobs among other things. She said that kidnapping dropped sharply last year, and yet did not elaborate that kidnapping was almost non-existent before 2004.
Haiti does not need another foreign writer to be polluting the mind of the world with partisanship writings. We need people who are capable of telling the whole story as truthfully as possible, people who are able to help in the unification of all Haitians without putting one group against another. It is time we tell the truth to the rest of the world as to exactly how Haiti got in this mess, and how we plan on getting it out.
Aristide maybe guilty of everything mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article, but so might be many others such as General Raoul Cedras, Emmanuel Constant, Guy Phillipe, Andy Apaid to name just a few.
But in all honesty, when Haiti will finally start over again, none of these people would matter too much. We will find a way to come together, to learn to forgive one another, and hopefully to learn to control our own destiny together. Justice will not only be a good talk, but it will be served; investment will not be a hope, but a reality. Security will flourish, education will be accessible to all, and above all Haitians will finally be able to be self-governed, and there will not be a need to come begging for aid in Washington, while pretending that the conditions are on the right track, when in fact the hole of hopelessness is getting deeper.