(U.S. Troops in Haiti in 2004 - ten years after we put the guy we're getting rid of in power . . confused?)
After invading Haiti in 1994 to unseat Military dictator Raoul Cedras, and reinstate Jean Bertrand Aristide as President of the country, ten years later we're getting rid of Aristide in favor of someone else.
Now you know why the Haitians are a bit nervous around U.S. Marines? Wouldn't you?
The 2004 coup was murky at best. Generally acknowledged to have been aided and abetted by the U.S. government, the Bush Administration put U.S. troops ashore to "establish order and set up a democratic government" - or words to that effect.
One of the key players in the overthrow was a right wing think tank known as Haiti Democracy Project, their spokesman Lawrence Pezullo was interviewed by the BBC on February 26:
Lawrence Pezullo (Haiti Democracy Project): “I think the Haitian people have had enough experience with something short of democracy, and have had a lot of experience looking at the means to put governments together that might offer participation by the citizens. And I think the leadership level, certainly that you see today is mature enough to at least put the form together whether or not they have the means to educate the people and contain it remains to be seen.”
The 2004 coup and our involvement was only the latest in a long line of "excursions" into the business of our Caribbean neighbors going back to the beginning of the last century. It further establishes a certain skittishness where the subject of American aid is concerned, even in humanitarian terms. The concept of "once bitten, twice shy" seems more than appropriate here.
Above is a capsule rundown of events on March 2, 2004 as reported by the BBC.
And for our French friends, or readers who are fluent, I am adding a bonus broadcast from Radio France International concerning the situation in Haiti and the ouster of Aristide. A special program from RFI Soir on February 26, 2004 with interviews and actualities of the situation on the ground.
Two points of view. One big mess.