Thursday, April 29, 2004

Haitian Rebels--"Keystone Cops," not Washington stooges

Perhaps I missed something while on vacation, but on April 12th the St. Petersburg Times published a piece by David Adams (who won the Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2002 from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism) on the origins of the Haitian rebel movement. Kevin Murray of Grassroots International alerted me to this article.

Read the whole story, and circulate to friends (especially those left-wing conspiracy theorists).

Here's the key argument:

A month after Aristide's whirlwind exit, questions still linger about Aristide's ouster. Was there U.S. complicity in his removal? And who was behind the seemingly all-powerful rebel army?

In recent days, the answers to those questions have become clearer. And the truth that is emerging contains some surprises.

More Keystone Kops than White House-orchestrated covert operations, the events of February were a largely home-grown affair, according to interviews with some of the rebel plotters and their allies, who included the septuagenarian representative of a Ponte Vedra Beach electrical company, and a 36-year-old Republican lawyer from Winter Park.

Far from being a well-equipped army with sophisticated lines of communication and logistics, like the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Contras of the 1980s, the Haitian rebels were a ragtag bunch of former soldiers and opportunists who begged and borrowed to raise the money for their guns.

With the backing of a small group of Haitian dissidents in the Dominican Republic, a few dozen weapons and a handful of cash, the rebels were extraordinarily successful. In less than a month they toppled the government and in the process forced Washington into a major shift in policy.

I'm sure there's more to this story, but it's a good start.

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