Ethan Casey is a Seattle-based international journalist, frequent public speaker, and author of Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time (2004).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Haiti: 2 years on, questions still unanswered

It's been two years and a day since the February 29, 2004 overthrow of elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Last month elections took place in Haiti that sort of, more or less moved forward the dysfunctional and dangerous situation that has prevailed since then under a UN occupation and a US-installed interim prime minister, with the election of onetime Aristide ally and former president Rene Preval. Watch this space, though; things are still unstable and unpredictable in Haiti.

Meanwhile, I think it's a good moment to quote a passage from an article published in the 15 April 2004 London Review of Books by Dr. Paul Farmer, Harvard Medical School professor and founder of the bold and groundbreaking medical and public health organization Partners in Health. Farmer asked these questions two years ago, and they still haven't been answered:

Did the U.S. and France have a hand in Aristide’s removal? Were he and his wife being held against their will? … Many more questions remain unanswered. We know that U.S. funds overtly financed the opposition, but did they also fund, even indirectly, the rebellion, which featured high-powered U.S. weapons only a year after twenty thousand such weapons were promised to the Dominican Republic? Senator Christopher Dodd is urging an investigation of U.S. training sessions for six hundred "rebels" in the Dominican Republic, and wants to find out "how the [International Republican Institute] spent $1.2 million of taxpayers' money" in Haiti. Answering these and related questions would take an intrepid investigative reporter, rather than a physician like myself, working, with some trepidation, in central Haiti. It would need a reporter willing to take on hard questions about U.S. policies in Latin America.
To learn about Farmer and his work in Haiti, Peru, Russia and Rwanda, read Tracy Kidder's excellent book Mountains Beyond Mountains.

1 comment:

j said...

I think another fact to note about the Haitian rebels is that they were shown in television footage wearing the U.S. body armor that was concurrently out of inventory in Iraq.