Friday, December 02, 2005

Who is (paying for) suing Aristide?

Congressperson Maxine Waters asks an interesting question: who paying for the lawsuit against Aristide?

Good question.

Before going on, here is the press release [highlights mine]:

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking her to explain how the interim government of Haiti is financing the civil lawsuit it filed in a U.S. District Court against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and several co-defendants for allegedly stealing money from the Haitian treasury.

"I want to know how the interim government of Haiti is financing this lawsuit," said the Congresswoman, "and I want to know whether the interim government's allegations against President Aristide have been investigated sufficiently by the U.S. Government to justify the expenditures for this lawsuit."

President Aristide, the democratically-elected president of Haiti, was forced to leave Haiti in a coup d'etat on February 29, 2004. The interim government of Haiti is in the process of organizing elections, but these elections have been postponed several times. The elections are currently scheduled for January and February of 2006.

"The interim government of Haiti has promised to hold elections," said Congresswoman Waters. "Why can't these allegations be investigated by a government that has been freely elected by the people of Haiti?"

Congresswoman Waters' letter specifically asked Secretary of State Rice whether any U.S. government funds, such as grants from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), or the National Endowment for Democracy, are being used to finance the lawsuit against President Aristide.

"Foreign aid is in demand for programs ranging from reconstruction in Afghanistan to AIDS in Africa," said the Congresswoman. "Meanwhile, the United States is facing record deficits, and Congress is considering major budget cuts in both domestic and international programs. We should not allow an un-elected government to use our foreign aid to pursue legal challenges to the elected government it replaced."

Well, I'm sure the folks over at the NED and IRI would just love to answer those questions. It is indeed puzzling to the wool being pulled over everyone's eyes again and again. Clearly, if people knew that the U.S. intentionally aided in the undermining of a democratically elected president (and probably kidnapped him), that we were installing dictators and thugs, and that our tax dollars were funding the whole thing, well, then, people would get angry. But, as usual, the press presents the situation as "confusing," "violent," "dangerous." They never mention that we funded the thugs that created the violence before Aristide's removal and that we are upholding a police state that, without popular support, leads to rebellion and violence as well.