Since February 29th 2004, a day which will be recorded as the darkest in Haiti’s tumultuous history, any initiative emanating from the occupied-country has had one purpose: consolidating the strangled hold of the international community on the country through confusion. From demonizing a man who built more than a hundred of schools to calling Haiti a “failed state” that needs to be restructured or rebuilt from scratch or converting a newly-built university into a garrison for foreign soldiers, the true nature of the elaborate scheme is too obvious to ignore. Not surprisingly, even the local actors are not briefed on their proper roles and the end result is more confusions. Everyone agrees that the 27-member Haiti Interim Recovery Commission (HIRC) co-chaired by Bill Clinton, the former US president, is not performing to its expectations and revamping or abolishing it is necessary. Unfortunately, replacing or restructuring it remains beyond the sovereign authority of the Haitian government, something that Daniel-Gérard Rouzier, the prime minister-designee, apparently did not understand or deliberately chose to ignore.
“What I can tell you is that the (commission) as it exists today will not continue,” Rouzier cavalierly said in a videotaped interview with the Associated Press. Though the prime minister-designee was also careful in praising the concept, he nonetheless failed to consult with the powers-that-be before addressing the issue and was promptly reminded of the breach of protocol. The swift retraction of the proposal, even without any public reaction by the representatives of the powers-that-be, highlights Haiti’s government diminished authority under the MINUSTAH mandate and establishes that such unilateral action (a fundamental right of any sovereign country), will not be tolerated by the international community under any circumstances. In a worst case scenario, Daniel-Gérard Rouzier’s political career could be over before it has begun because of his unpredictability which, no doubt, does not sit well with the international community’s unmitigated preferences for earnest collaborators rather than independent thinkers.
Apparently, the idea of having been invested with a popular mandate, albeit the great majority of the electorate boycotted the last presidential election, has emboldened the current regime in Haiti, a situation eerily analogous to Jean Bertrand Aristide’s idealism which provoked the military coup in 1991 and the occupation 2004-?. Michel Martelly and Daniel-Gérard Rouzier, both political novices, should acquaint themselves with the true meaning of UN Security Council Resolutions which are usually broad in scope, interpretation and execution. Accordingly, “a no-fly zone resolution” may signify bombing a government to submission or out of existence while an innocuously named “mission to restore peace and stability”, which happens to the case with Haiti, meant revoking the country’s sovereignty.
In any country or political system, missteps by new governments are the norm rather an exception. Aptly, one can only hope that this unfortunate incident does not evolve into a pattern of ill-advised decisions that could cause Haiti’s problems to endure and multiply. The fact that the Haitian government promptly distanced itself from the prime minister-designee’s imprudent remark is evidence of the international community’s supreme authority in Haitian affairs. At the New York University’s 179th commencement exercises held at Yankee Stadium this year, Bill Clinton, the main speaker and co-chair of the HIRC was nonchalant about the international community’s role in Haiti. Praising the graduates and lecturing them on their responsibilities in an ever interdependent world and the structural deficiencies of the underdeveloped countries, the 42nd US president said: In Haiti where I spend much of my life now, “We have just installed a new government.” The paternalistic statement, in itself, is a remainder to Martelly & Co that removing the threat to international peace and security (the underlying principle of the MINUSTAH mandate) will not be consigned to the care of the new government, regardless of their affinity with the occupiers’ goals.
True to form nothing actually happens in Haiti without the input or approval of the international community. The USAID report questioning the validity of the official statistics ( deaths and homelessness) of the January 12th 2010 earthquake that turned Port-au-Prince into a pile of rubbles unquestionably established the rationale behind the forced removal of squatters in tent cities at Delmas. The method employed is a harbinger of things to come under the current regime, as getting rid of robbers, rapists and other anti-social elements, the same argument used under Gérard Latortue (2004-06) that led to summary executions and disappearances of thousands of Haitians, transcends the need of the homeless families living in the tent cities.
At a neighborhood reunion party on May 28th, a well-known friend of Michel Martelly publicly declared “This government is condemned to succeed”, a quote he did not attribute it to anyone. I attended primary school with the FOM (friend of Martelly), but remains doubtful that such masterfully articulated quote could be his. Considering the magnitude of the task facing the newly-installed government, this is grandiloquence and optimism at their most superlative meaning. Every Haitian wants the new government to succeed, except that “The Great Experiment” conceived in the dark rooms of the IMF and World Bank has had the effect of generating many skeptics because of its overreliance on the local economic elite. One can only hope that expropriating college campuses for the purpose of garrisoning soldiers is no longer part of the plan. Well, the onus is now on the government to show the Haitian people that success and what it entails.
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