Friday, March 12, 2004


"Haiti, again, is ablaze... Almost nobody, however, understands that today's chaos was made in Washington--deliberately, cynically, and steadfastly. History will bear this out."

--Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics at Columbia University

The press coverage of Aristide fascinates me. Here's a former Roman Catholic priest who spent his career campaigning for the poor, who was elected repeatedly by overwhelming majorities; who utilized his nation's resources to fund social services; and who was told last month he could not be protected by American troops and had to either resign or remain unprotected in the country while opposition forces overthrew his government.

The American press has generally cast Aristide as a despot, staying close to the themes offered by the administration as justification for his removal--restoring "democracy" being the most widely invoked. In this case, American support has been denied the democratically-elected president in favor of an US-selected diplomat who arrived from Florida on Wednesday. It's important to understand democracy as the fulfillment of US policy goals if we are to understand anything in our own newspapers.

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