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Can Haiti Get Beyond Politics as Usual?

April 16, 2010

Above Haiti Liberte Editor Kim Ives Discusses Haitian History and Aristide

By Thought Merchant

As we see in this video, staunch left wing journalist Kim Ives gives his interpretation of Haiti’s history. Ives, like many left leaning Haiti sympathizers, has a rather romantic depiction of Aristide’s stewardship of the Republic, failing to mention some of the more violent methods by which Aristide used to silence opposition to his second term as President. Moreover, little discussion is made of the role of drug trafficking, murder of journalists, and oppression of dissenters during Aristide’s administration.

Barring those glaring omissions, Ives gives a rather accurate depiction of how Western economic interests have been manipulating Haitian politics throughout the 20th century. Ives also explains how this pattern of exploitation is being continued even after the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

At some point, the progressive forces who seek to liberate Haiti from this constant cycle of detrimental Western influence will have to get beyond their political differences. Most of these differences revolve around either support or opposition to Arisitide’s Lavalas party. Lavalas has provided the dominant political ideology in Haiti for the last 20 years. Many who agree with the importance of an independent Haitian economy, development of the agricultural sector, decrease in using Haitians as sweatshop workers being paid slave wages share those points of view with many of Aristide’s supporters. However, those progressive forces also refuse to give any credence to the Lavalas movement with its concentration on demagoguery, empty rhetoric, occasional violence, and poor governance.

With the coming elections in Haiti in fall 2010 the need for Haitians to transcend these political divides becomes even more critical. Collectively, Haitians must get beyond their traditional political loyalties to determine who is best able to govern their country in a way that provides economic empowerment to the large mass of Haitian people, while ensuring the viability of benign commercial interests without constant fear of recrimination.

The only way Haitians can engage in such decision making is to get beyond political ideology, demagoguery, and the toxic Haitian classism that has crippled the country for more than a generation. Without such efforts, Haiti will continue its free fall into a political and economic abyss from where it may never return.

Hopefully it will not take another earthquake to shake up the consciousness of the Haitian people.

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