In less than a month the world will witness the ascending of a son of Africa to the highest and mightiest office on the planet. Throughout the presidential campaign, Barrack Obama stood fast in his reasoning for the need of change in the world. He made it his mission to change the perception of the world towards America.
Change is coming, a new dawn is on the horizon, and together the American people are embracing the ideology of their new leader. I have no doubt that America will remain the greatest power in the world for many years to come, but I am still very skeptical about the message of change promised by the American President-elect.
What kind of change should we expect from America’s foreign policy team towards Haiti? For starter, the designation of Hillary Rodham Clinton as the top diplomat for this upcoming administration could be interpreted as a great signal. Very little has been said about the atrocity facing the Haitian people at he hands of the UN foreign troops. I have not heard enough from Obama as to how he will help end the invasion or occupation of Haiti by the UN troops. We all know that it was part of the Bush doctrine that gives us the current situation in Haiti. Iraq is not the only country that needs a reversal from the Bush years, but Haiti is also in dire needs for a change.
As America’s economy continues to plummet, the focus for more passionate foreign policy for the developing world will likely take a back seat at the beginning of Obama’s administration. It is imperative that the president-elect does not change course as far as his passion for change is concerned.
In 2004, during Haiti’s bicentennial as the first independent black country of modern era, the Bush administration felt compelled to help toppled a democratically elected government in Haiti. If history serves well, we should have been able to see this coming. When President Bush’s father was president in 1991, he supported the de facto regime of Raoul Cedras and helped galvanized the country into chaos by removing the first democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A few months before the removal of Aristide from power, George H.W. Bush went to war with Iraq to help liberate the Kuwait. George W. Bush won the battle.
In 1992, William Jefferson Clinton won the American presidency, and two years later helped restore democracy in Haiti by returning Aristide to power. This was a major blow for the Republican Institute, a major accomplice in the instability of Haiti.
When George W. Bush was selected president by the United States Supreme court in 2000, and he surrounded himself with people from his father’s previous cabinet, very little could have been expected from him, but a continuation of what his father couldn’t get done in the previous decade. A date with Saddam Hussein was definitely on the agenda, and when the Haitian people once again fairly elected Aristide as their president in 2001, it became George Bush’s calling to put an end to the Aristide era in Haiti.
Aristide, the populist and Saddam Hussein, the dictator became common enemies of the Bush administration. After September 11, 2001, there was no doubt that the days of Saddam Hussein as the leader of Iraq was numbered. George Bush was determined to remove him at all cost. Aristide on the other hand, not only that he was and still is the most popular and beloved Haitian leader since our independence, but he had the courage to fight for his return in 1994 definitely made him a social danger for the neo-colonialists, who want to maintain Haiti’s status as one of the poorest nations in the world. This time around with a determined George Bush, President Aristide stood no chance. Saddam Hussein is dead, and Iraq is not better off than it was under the dictator’s grip. Aristide is in exile in South Africa, and Haiti is seeing one of its darkest days ever. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is contemplating what kind of change Obama will bring.
I am not asking for the return of Aristide in Haiti, although he should be giving the option to return. But Obama, if he really believes that change is coming, must do everything in his power to right the wrongs caused by George Bush and his cronies. Haiti is an arm-length away from the shores of the United States, and the difference in the standard of living between those countries is as far apart as our planet to Pluto. As the late Pope John Paul II said during his only visit to Haiti, “something must be changed”, and now that we have a leader of change, we must hope that real change is coming.
I am assuming that when Obama talks of the need of change, he is not only talking about America, but that he wants to see change throughout the world. His first priority is to take care of the American people, but he also has an unequivocal responsibility to stabilize the rest of the world. A change world can only be a good thing for America, and starting with Haiti would be the strongest signal that the president-elect could send to the rest of the world that indeed true change has arrived.