[A-List] [Fwd: [R-G] Voters should punish MPs for Haiti]
mstainsby at resist.ca
Mon Jan 16 01:12:48 MST 2006
With more up to date info on the recent coup within a coup...
Copyright 2006 The Gazette, a division of CanWest MediaWorks
All Rights Reserved
The Gazette (Montreal)
January 15, 2006 Sunday
SECTION: INSIGHT; Sue Montgomery; Pg. D8
LENGTH: 617 words
HEADLINE: Voters should punish MPs for Haiti
BYLINE: SUE MONTGOMERY, The Gazette
Denis Coderre and Pierre Pettigrew should lose their seats on Jan. 23
simply for what's going on in Haiti.
Two years ago, Coderre, with an astonishingly straight face, told
journalists in Haiti that there was no way Canada was negotiating
with rebels who were trying to oust President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
They were criminals and terrorists, Coderre said, and Aristide was
the democratically elected president.
In the meantime, Paul Arcelin, a former Universite du Quebec
professor, had been holed up in the Dominican Republic, hatching a
plot with rebel leader Guy Philippe. Arcelin flew to Canada for some
medical treatment and, taking advantage of political ties made
through his sister-in-law, a former Conservative MP, he made a side
trip to Ottawa to give Pettigrew the lowdown on Haiti.
Aristide had to go, he told him, and the rebels would take him out.
Problem was, the rebels didn't have enough manpower to do the job, so
the international community, meaning the United States, France and
Canada, did the job for them, whisking Aristide out of the country to
The former priest was by no means a saint. No more than is our own
prime minister. But the poor masses voted for him and as we all know,
you get what you vote for.
But imagine a foreign force coming here and removing Paul Martin.
While many might celebrate such a coup, the chances of it happening
are nil. Since that day, Haiti has been in chaos. An interim
government, hand- picked by the U.S. had, according to Article 149 of
Haiti's constitution, 90 days to organize elections. They have now
been postponed four times and obviously, the Feb. 7 deadline for
handing over power won't be met.
This sets a dangerous precedent - those in power can continue to hang
on simply by not getting their electoral act together. Shamefully,
Canada is contributing millions to this flawed election process, and
Denis Coderre, our special adviser on Haiti, is deeply involved.
To further destabilize things, the head of the UN mission, Brazilian
Lt.-Gen. Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar, was found dead last week
with a bullet in his head on a hotel balcony in Port au Prince.
Although suicide is suspected, the UN's special envoy to Haiti has
implied it might have been an assassination by people intent on
disrupting the election.
Bacellar's replacement is an interesting choice. Chilean General
Eduardo Aldunate Herman, who has on his resume the National
Intelligence Central, the oppressive military forces under Augusto
Pinochet. Maybe he's a guy not afraid to do what Bacellar didn't feel
According to Haitian media reports, Bacellar, on the night before his
death, had a tense meeting with president of the right-wing Haitian
Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Reginald Boulos, and sweatshop owner Andy
Apaid, who was also the leader of Group 184, the so-called civil
society that led the charge against Aristide with funding from
France, Canada and the U.S.
The business elite was pressuring Bacellar for a violent UN crackdown
in the capital's slums, where support for presidential candidate Rene
Preval is strong and there are often demonstrations calling for the
return of Aristide. What better way to intimidate the masses and keep
them away from the polls, thereby getting your guy into office?
(Imprisoning opponents is another way, and several have sat in jail,
with no charges laid, for months).
Pettigrew, Canada's foreign minister, and Coderre like to put on
brave faces and say things are going as well as can be expected in
Haiti. But as far as I can see, Canada is doing nothing but throwing
money at an illegitimate government that has no intention of holding
free and fair elections.
smontgomery at thegazette.canwest.com
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