Who is Jean Betrand Aristide?

Mr. Clinton has backed himself into a corner over Haiti’s deposed president from which there appears to be no escape.  So, who is this man we are being asked to support?

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ordained as a priest, but was expelled from the Salesian order by Rome in 1988 for preaching the righteousness of class violence.  It is interesting that Mr. Clinton portrays this man as the key to Haiti’s democracy for Aristide believes in it only when it serves his purposes. 

Christopher Caldwell, whose stinging 14-page indictment of the former Haitian leader and his American supporters appeared in the July American Spectator,  says that if Aristide has an ideology at all it is communism.  Caldwell pointed out that “Up until his election, Aristide never made a major speech in which he did not denounce the United States.”

Aristide put his thoughts on the free enterprise system on a recording called, Capitalism Is a Mortal Sin.  His prescription for obtaining power is contained in his book, In the Parish of the Poor.
…Look at their machetes.  The blades are rusted, the handles dirty.  The peasants let the knives hang at their sides except when they are working in the field, but don’t be fooled.  A machete is useful in almost any situation.

Aristide’s first act as president was to fire the commander of the army, General Herard Abraham, who had become a symbol of pro-democracy sentiment within the armed forces. He orchestrated the forcible removal of mayors in rural areas, who were replaced with members of the Lavalas activists that formed his base of support.   He unilaterally named five judges to the supreme court.  This usurped the role of Haiti’s democratically-elected senate, even though his supporters enjoyed a majority in that body.  The senate never recognized these judges and has since turned on him

There was an endless list of constitutional and human rights violations during the seven months of his presidency, but the most dramatic moment may have occurred on September 3, 1991, when Haiti’s other democratically-elected body, the Chamber of Deputies, attempted to interview Prime Minister Rene Preval who had been doling out $10,000 and $20,000 checks to Aristide’s radical cronies.  Aristide showed up in his place carrying a vase of flowers as a warning that if they attempted to dismiss Preval they would find these flowers on their graves.

So you see, the remains of Haiti’s democratically-elected government don’t want Aristide back.  We need to ask ourselves, is he worth one American dollar;  and more importantly, one American life?

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