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17780: Hyppolite Pierre Re: 17773: Corbett: FINALLY -- CAUGHT UP. Things should now slow down (fwd)

From: Hyppolite Pierre <hpierre@irsp.org>

Bob Corbett writes:

> That's just my own very pessimistic and negativistic take on government,
> one of those necessary evils of life much like defecating, though even
> that is more pleasant to me than politics.
Now tell me who can really disagree? We have much to talk about but, as I
have tried unsuccessfully to convince those close to me that it all starts
with politics, I have failed and I know why. Haiti particularly, is a
classic case of absurd and aberrant politics. I don't know how he does it
but am glad nevertheless that Bob keeps his forum opened and available to
all of us.

Let me first say that we should all say a big HURRAY for the Group of 184,
however surprising this may sound to you all. As you will get hopefully to
the end, you'll understand why and all the caveats attached to it.

If indeed today, there are demonstrations in Haiti against the government,
it is thanks to the patient and tireless work of the Group of 184, although
their original "Social Contract" had no definite plan. Nevertheless, it
shows that if the Convergence opposition took its time over the past 3 years
to build up a strong constituency throughout the country, they would have
been a formidable democratic challenge to Lavalas. They instead wasted their
time, and they now have to rely on the leadership of a Haitian-American,
Andre Apaid, to do the work for them. But back to Bob's statement.

Maybe I am reading too much into it but Bob typifies well, through his
statement, the consequence of extremism. Unfortunately, Haiti's history is
ripe with that kind of political attitude. Had I known back in 1985 for
instance, what I know today, I would have resisted the overthrow of Baby Doc
the way it happened. I've been had, indeed, by extremists from the left and
even the right who convinced me as a 20 year-old boy to walk the streets of
Manhattan chanting along with them, "Youn sèl solisyon, revolisyon" (Only
one solution, Revolution). We are indeed paying for it now. And this is why
I am so suspicious of particularly Haitian revolutionaries with no plans but
hate. And this is also why I feel sorry for those young university kids in
Haiti who are asking for the removal of Aristide today, thinking that Haiti
will be transformed overnight for the better as a result of his departure.
They are not realizing that they are "being had", as my generation of
students had been 18 years ago next month.

On the other hand, Haitian politics is truly a study in political extremism.
The challenge of the Group of 184, with no real concrete plan through its
Social Contract other than asking for others to contribute their own thougts
to the process, is very revealing.

They started out moderately, moderately I insist, gathered strength and thus
forced Lavalas OP's in Site Solèy to fight them out of that community.
Unfortunately for Haiti, the 184 was quickly and  literraly "sucked-in" by a
Convergence opposition to eager to "taste the fruits of power" in Haiti.
They (184) went from very effective moderation, to extremism and
consequently now, they are at a dead end. I would not be surprised if they
once more failed in their attempt to remove Aristide from power before the
less than 800 days he has to stay at the National Palace.

But if we quickly look at the Lavalas strategy, we'll see why it is where it
is, has survived and continue to survive, and also why it is paying the
price as well of even temporary extremism.

The Group of 184 radicalized indeed, only after the incident in Site Solèy
last year. Lavalas OP's took a radical turn-about, but quickly learned
probably from higher-ups, to adopt moderation. It is the same way that at
the beginning of the demonstrations in Haiti late last year (November 14, if
I recall correctly), Lavalas partisans were harmful, dangerous, maddening,
and forced even the US Ambassador to talk to the president and ask him to
make sure that the Police does its job properly. And he did, indeed.

This is a classic pattern of Lavalas. They start out in the extreme, but
quickly learn that they have to be a bit more moderate in their approach. As
they realize as well, it always pays off.

The opposition on the other hand (especially with the case of the Group of
184) starts out moderately, gathers strengths, but quickly degenerates
because they buy the argument of "veterans" of the opposition, radical
elements who can only bring greater harm to Haiti in the short and long run,
should they get to power. (The 1874 through 1915 period of Haiti is quite
indicative of what may happen should Aristide fell under those conditions.
Du Tuyau's post is interesting in that sense, perhaps).

Although this is quite unpopular to say, it is obvious that the only way
something good may, just may come out of the current madness is through
reason, negotiations, compromise. One side giving so much and the other side
giving equally. Otherwise, we are on for a long, deadly, nasty, and stupid
battle that will only and in the re-occupation of Haiti. But unfortunately,
the Opposition seems to have a specialty of alienating everyone else in the
International Community except the US and France, by suggesting that the
OAS, CARICOM and even Thabo M'Beki Lavalas chimè. Pitiful political

If anything is to be remembered from this struggle for power, it is that
only through negotiations, a healthy and thorough compromise, and finally
credible municipal and legislative elections can the country of Haiti become
viable. Otherwise, Haiti in its bicentennial year, will be looked upon and
even rightfully so, as a basket case, a renegade state, a place where only
morons and emotionally imbecile people, Haitians, and well-paid foreigners
try out their misconstrued and ill-informed theory of nation building, while
the Haitian people keep on fighting an endless fight, trying to bring their
miserable rock up the mountain of success like Sysiphus, but always failing.

Best regards,
Hyppolite Pierre