US hands Haiti mission to unprepared UN: The US has begun handing
over the command of its mission in war-torn and flood-ravaged Haiti to the UN,
which will now face the challenge of creating - during its six-month mandate
- a functioning democracy capable of holding national elections next year. The
3’600-strong US-led military force has brought only a modicum of stability
to Haiti which in February came under attack by rebel soldiers who forced
out President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and still hold much of the countryside
under their control. The US-led mission set up a transitional government in
Haiti in April, which has served, at best, to ensure the existence of basic
public utilities. The interim government is paralyzed in the face of a rebel
force that is still strong and better armed. The rebel warfare created a humanitarian
disaster when government offices, hospitals, and food warehouses were burned
to the ground. Making matters worse, the floods resulting from last week’s
torrential rains have killed more than 2’600 and left tens of thousands
more homeless. The UN mission hopes to have between 6’700 and 8’000
troops on the ground in Haiti soon, but for now has no headquarters and its
troops number only in the hundreds. It also does not have helicopters in Haiti
to transport food to the starving, and does not expect to have them for at least
two weeks. The UN’s six-month mandate, laid out by the Security Council,
is a vague one. While its primary task is to stabilize the situation in preparation
for democratic elections, the flood disaster in the country’s south will
force it to turn its attentions away from security concerns a factor that
could leave the rebels with the upper hand. The UN’s hands are also tied
economically, and it cannot help the interim authorities with the country’s
desperate financial situation, a key factor in helping to bring about a semblance
of stability (ISN 6/3/04). RH:There is a parallel here with Iraq, where the
US seeks active UN participation.
Referring to his posting on Haiti, Randy Black says: "Since that article was conceived, ships have arrived packed with supplies and aid and up to 1,200 Brazilian troops, spearheading the UN effort, have started to arrive. The US troops who have been holding the fort have begun to go home. Since the floods in late May, tons of aid from Japan, the UN, the US and other countries have begun to arrive in Haiti.
A more pessimistic comment comes from John Wonder, who knows Haiti well: "Don't you think the US has tried and tried in Haiti? Did it ever occur to anyone that the problem may be insoluble? Why throw money down a rat hole? The Haitians are pathetic, but what is to be done? The UN and other nations are very quick to criticize the US. Let them tackle the problem if they are so smart" From Paris, Carmen Negrin, a retired UNESCO officer, writes: "The US seeks active UN participation after creating a mess and not paying its regular dues nor funding the UN requested missions... Pretty cynical!". RH: There seems to be disagreement among Randy, John and Carmen. How WAIS!
From France, Christopher Jones writes; "Not surprisingly, French TV has aired some very respectable documentaries about Aristide's Haiti. I was astounded however when the commander of Aristide's goon squad called the Chimères (formerly the Ton Ton Macoutes) railed and ranted about France's last legitimiste sovereign, King Charles X, one of my favorite monarchs of all time. According to this black fascist, (yes, he said that he was a black fascist) the whole problem of Haiti lays at France's doorstep and the revolt by Black slaves that ended colonial rule. Although Napoleon reconquered the island because of the losses incurred by the French colons, the French were forced out again. After the restoration, King Charles X sent a major fleet of warships to Haiti and forced the Haitian government to sign the royal Ordonnances which regulated a compensation payment that lasted way into the 20th century. This particular Aristidiste wanted the return in full of the money paid to the government of Charles X and its successors, plus interest. He went on to say that the loss of that money crippled Haiti at a critical stage of its development. Of course, as an ultra, I disagree. Charles was an exemplary king who shot rabbits in his palace and gave the country good, stable reactionary government under among other the enlightened Prince de Polignac".
RH; Charles X, Christopher's hero, ruled France from 1824 to 1830, when a revolution
brought in the House of Orleans The Second Empire (1852-1870) brought back the
Napoleonic line, so that there now are at least three pretenders to the throne.
I have no information about their strength, but clearly the Bourbon line has
one vote. Poor Charles X. When his brother Louis XVI was guillotined, he succeeded
in fleeing France and spent 25 years in exile. He won the throne in 1824, but
his reactionary policies produced a backlash which forced him to abdicate. He
died in exile six years later.
Ronald Hilton -