Social Issues / United States Involvement In Haiti
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Autor: anton 01 November 2010
Words: 1059 | Pages: 5
We begin our story on December 29th in the year 2000. United States President Bill Clinton sends a letter to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, urging him to restore democracy in his country as he had promised before. Clinton has written statements from Aristide assuring that Haiti will take part in a democratic reform in the interest of human rights. In the letter that Bill Clinton sends, he reminds Aristide of the United Statesâ€™ role in his being brought back into power in 1994. Many republicans thought that President Clintonâ€™s letter was far too polite for the situation at hand.
Aristide had a lot of promises left to be fulfilled. Domestic and foreign policy reforms were yet to be seen. No members of the opposition could be found in his government. His police force and judiciary remained unprofessional. He failed to cooperate with the United States in a campaign against drug trafficking, as he was to allow the Coast Guard to patrol Haitian waters.
Back in Washington, Senator Jesse Helms and Representative Porter J. Goss issued a joint statement: â€œNarco traffickers, criminals, and other anti-democratic elements who surround Aristide should feel the full weight of United States law enforcement.â€ It was of the opinion of the Republicans in America that we end all direct support for the Haitian government. With President Clinton out the door soon in the last few weeks of his term, the Republican Party members were anxious to see the differences the Bush administration would make in this situation.
Fast-forwarding to November of 2003, President George W. Bush gave Aristide a warning. He needed to keep his word and begin some move on reforms. His country was crumbling. Not just in the sense that there was a strong division between Aristideâ€™s government and the opposition leading to violent terrorism throughout Haiti, but more and more of Haitiâ€™s eight million citizens were becoming impoverished, going hungry. Not only that, but the land was physically crumbling â€“ roads were unusable and there was terrible telephone service. There is an indirect relationship between Haitian relations and demonstrations against its government. With less support, there are more attacks, and the Bush administration was not about to step in and help Haiti unless Aristide showed us some results. United States ambassador to Haiti James Foley said, â€œIf Haiti falls into its historical path of authoritarian government, misrule, and abuse of human rights, its future will be as somber as its past.â€
A change needed to be made in the government control, but Haiti was a democracy, and an election would be the only method short of a coup dâ€™etat that could bring in new leadership. However, the Haitian opposition refused to participate in an election unless Aristide resigned â€“ they were not about to take part in any activity that would give Aristideâ€™s rule any legitimacy. Government spokesman Mario Dupuy stated, â€œTo hold free and democratic elections is a constitutional obligation. We want to hold them but we canâ€™t hold them alone.â€
The opposition thought Aristide was a clown. Originally, the poor population of Haiti favored Aristide as he gave them his sympathy and his promises. He was a priest, but after resigning from his priesthood he lost a considerable amount of his supporters. It didnâ€™t help that he did next to nothing to improve Haiti or that he kept virtually none of the promises he made to his people and to other world nations.
So what does America have to gain if we help nurse Haiti back to a healthy democracy? Well, Haiti is a country very close to the United States, and Haitians will continue to flee to America (and be forcibly turned away) until they are content in their own country. Haiti is also in between Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and its borders lie in the Gulf, and if Haiti is in our good, American hands, we will be that much closer to Pax Americana. There is also simply our pride. The United States government took Haiti under its wing and tried their best to teach it how to fly. Now that Haiti is falling, they feel like they must take measures to ensure that it soars once again, as the American name is attached to its successes and failures. Also, any fallen nations will have its fair share of drug lords, and narcotics trafficking is already a problem in Haiti; we canâ€™t afford to fail a country so close to our borders.
On February 28th, 2004, the United States took action. Hope for an election was too far-gone thanks to the standoff of the Aristide opposition. Our story picks up with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in South Africa. He states,
â€œDuring the night of the 28th of February 2004, there was a coup dâ€™etat. One could say that it was a geo-political kidnapping. The 28th of February, at night, suddenly, American military personnel who were already all over Port-au-Prince descended on my house in Tabarre to tell me the foreigners and Haitian terrorists alike, loaded with heavy weapons, were already in position to open fire on Port-au-Prince. And right then, the Americans precisely stated that [the rebels] will kill thousands of people and it will be a bloodbath. That the attack is ready to start, and when the first bullet is fired nothing will stop them and nothing will make them wait until they take over, therefore the mission is to take me dead or alive.â€
I maintain the opinion that with United States support, Haiti would not have degenerated to such a state. However, if we had not â€œkidnappedâ€ Mr. Aristide and brought him out of his country, we would be left no choice but to stand back and watch as rebels stormed the capital and killed an appalling amount of people. Haiti needed our money to get back on its feet, but we needed to feel good about Haiti as a democracy. Aristide would not keep his promises to us, or any other nations of the world. We were all ready to give them support, but we needed something in return, even if it was something so small as a measurable effort to reform.
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