From Fri Oct 3 23:04:46 2003
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 07:46:36 -0500 (CDT)
From: Bob Corbett <>
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Subject: 16775: (Craig) Article: Haitians Feel Abandoned by America (fwd) Sender:

From: Dan Craig <>

Haitians Feel Abandoned by America

Associated Press, 20 September 2003, 2:39 a.m. ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)—When U.S. troops landed in Haiti nine years ago Friday, Kesnel Wilson believed they would help his hapless country recover from years of military-backed rule.

Today, he feels abandoned as he watches U.S. assistance dwindle and his poverty-stricken country sink deeper into despair.

The United States was right to intervene. But it was wrong to lead us into believing it would help us rebuild our nation, said Wilson, a 43-year-old carpenter in Haiti's crumbling capital.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide won a landslide victory in 1991 and governed for seven months before the Haitian army ousted him in a bloody coup. Three years later, 20,000 U.S. troops arrived on Sept. 19, restoring Aristide to power and stemming a Haitian exodus.

A windfall of U.S. aid came with the intervention. But since Aristide's government has fallen out of favor with the United States, none of the aid has been directed at development.

The relationship began to fray in 2000, when Aristide's Lavalas Family party swept flawed legislative elections. Since then, the government and opposition have been deadlocked and the opposition has accused Aristide of attempting to establish a one-man, one-party rule.

The opposition and civil groups refuse to sit on an electoral council that will organize legislative elections this year until the government disarms its partisans, ends judicial impunity and reforms the police according to two resolutions from the Organization of American States.

Although opposed to demands that Aristide step down, the United States has been increasingly critical of the government, saying it is dragging its feet on implementing the OAS resolutions.

All friendships go through changes, Judith Trunzo, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, said on Friday.

But U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roger F. Noriega went a step further last week.

The U.S. intervention to return Aristide in 1994 has ended up a complete failure, due to the Haitian leaders' inability and lack of willingness to move the country along a democratic path, he said.

Aristide has blamed the country's deteriorating economic and political situation on international ``political and economic terrorism.''

Most Haitians believed there would be a change in the traditional U.S. policy of supporting the minority against the majority, said government spokesman Mario Dupuy. But the United States still supports the elite ..., imposing an unjust embargo on international aid and causing the political crisis to drag on.

Some $427 million in international aid poured into Haiti in 1995. It has steadily dwindled since then, with the United States allocating some $70 million in humanitarian aid this year, and international lenders suspending aid or grants to demand democratic reforms and stability.

Meanwhile, Haiti has plunged even deeper into poverty and unrest.

Most Haitians are jobless or unemployed and live on less than $1 a day. Income is 40 percent lower than in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the hemisphere. Inflation is at 30 percent.

But it's also a no-win situation for the United States.

Haitians either blame the United States for not providing enough support or for failing to get rid of Aristide, whose government has been accused of using violence to stem dissent.

The United States has let us down, said tailor Sauveur Pierre, 49, once a fervent Aristide partisan. He hates the opposition, but his disappointment is so great he has become apolitical.

This year he can only afford to send one of his three children to school. Haitians often still risk their lives to take rickety boats bound for better economic opportunities in the United States.

Wilson, meanwhile, says Haiti's allies have vanished.

I was sure the United States would help set the country back on its feet, he said. But life is harder than ever.