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Seems to be a bug with the Haiti thread which prevents commenting there....

What I don't understand is why the perception that voting for X is a vote for the return of Aristide is a problem even within the terms of the propaganda narrative.

Legally he's the president still since the current government is just a puppet government set up by the occupation forces. But even within the propaganda narrative I don't understand why there's some problem with the return of Aristide.

He's the Big Bad, who wouldn't play 100% by the rules of globalization. And, of course, they can't let the Haitians opposed to those policies think they've won on any grounds. They're already famous for one successful slave rebellion.

Read part of this Naomi Klein story:

Aristide is certainly no saint, but even if the worst of the allegations against him are true, they pale next to the rap sheets of the convicted killers, drug smugglers and arms traders who ousted him. Turning Haiti over to this underworld gang out of concern for Aristide's lack of "good governance" is like escaping an annoying date by accepting a lift home from Charles Manson.

A few weeks ago I visited Aristide in Pretoria, South Africa, where he lives in forced exile. I asked him what was really behind his dramatic falling-out with Washington. He offered an explanation rarely heard in discussions of Haitian politics - actually, he offered three: "Privatisation, privatisation and privatisation."

The dispute dates back to a series of meetings in early 1994, a pivotal moment in Haiti's history that Aristide has rarely discussed. Haitians were living under the barbaric rule of Raoul Cédras, who overthrew Aristide in a 1991 US-backed coup. Aristide was in Washington and, despite popular calls for his return, there was no way he could face down the junta without military back-up.

Increasingly embarrassed by Cédras's abuses, the Clinton administration offered Aristide a deal: US troops would take him back to Haiti - but only after he agreed to a sweeping economic programme with the stated goal to "substantially transform the nature of the Haitian state".

Aristide agreed to pay the debts accumulated under the kleptocratic Duvalier dictatorships, slash the civil service, open up Haiti to "free trade" and cut import tariffs on rice and corn. It was a lousy deal but, Aristide says, he had little choice. "I was out of my country and my country was the poorest in the western hemisphere, so what kind of power did I have at that time?"

But Washington's negotiators made one demand that Aristide could not accept: the immediate sell-off of Haiti's state-owned enterprises, including phones and electricity. Aristide argued that unregulated privatisation would transform state monopolies into private oligarchies, increasing the riches of Haiti's elite and stripping the poor of their national wealth. He says the proposal simply didn't add up: "Being honest means saying two plus two equals four. They wanted us to sing two plus two equals five."

Aristide proposed a compromise: Rather than sell off the firms outright, he would "democratise" them. He defined this as writing anti-trust legislation, ensuring that proceeds from the sales were redistributed to the poor and allowing workers to become shareholders. Washington backed down, and the final text of the agreement called for the "democratisation" of state companies.

But when Aristide announced that no sales could take place until parliament had approved the new laws, Washington cried foul. Aristide says he realised then that what was being attempted was an "economic coup". "The hidden agenda was to tie my hands once I was back and make me give for nothing all the state public enterprises."

He threatened to arrest anyone who went ahead with privatisations. "Washington was very angry at me. They said I didn't respect my word, when they were the ones who didn't respect our common economic policy."

The US cut off more than $500m in promised loans and aid, starving his government, and poured millions into the coffers of opposition groups, culminating ultimately in the February 2004 armed coup.

And the war continues. On June 23 Roger Noriega, US assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, called on UN troops to take a more "proactive role" in going after armed pro-Aristide gangs. In practice, this has meant a wave of collective punishment inflicted on neighbourhoods known for supporting Aristide, most recently in Cité Soleil on July 6.

Yet despite these attacks, Haitians are still on the streets - rejecting the planned sham elections, opposing privatisation and holding up photographs of their president. And just as Washington's experts could not fathom the possibility that Aristide would reject their advice a decade ago, today they cannot accept that his poor supporters could be acting of their own accord. "We believe that his people are receiving instructions directly from his voice and indirectly through his acolytes that communicate with him personally in South Africa," Noriega said.

Aristide claims no such powers. "The people are bright, the people are intelligent, the people are courageous," he says. They know that two plus two does not equal five.

"pale next to the rap sheets of the convicted killers, drug smugglers and arms traders who ousted him"

Surely not refering to Canada? Presumably to Bush and company although I thought only Laura was actually legally convicted of killing someone.

Well if Aristide cut a deal with Washington and that snake Clinton I can see where he gets his reputation as something of a crook. Where does he get off selling out the entire country like that?

"The US cut off more than $500m in promised loans and aid"

Oh big "duh" there. Clinton never kept his treaty promises. With people like that take nothing on trust. Payment upfront or nothing.

Where does he get off selling out the entire country like that?

He was sitting in exile when he made the deal and then he went back on it as soon as he could, which is what got him ousted for good by France, Canada, BushCo and the U.N.

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