HAITI

The Toronto Star usually has informed reporters on the job but the hatchet job of Andrew Chung on Jean-Bertrand Aristide the former president of Haiti went beyond the pale. In a piece in the Sunday edition (March 7) Chung slipped in the adjective “corrupt” in describing the deposed president.

Reader Ajamu Nangwaya responded in a brilliantly, concise letter published on March 11.It is always advisable to consylt the letters page, particularly in the Globe. But this one was a beauty.

The disinformation and character assassination campaign against Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas movement has been relentless and intense. The only “crimes” they committed were to create social and economic programs to help Haiti’s poor.

Yet in the eyes of Western states such as Canada, the U.S. and France, as well as the IMF, World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, and the venal and exploitative local elite, Aristide’s actions were a dangerous, socialistic endeavour.

His policies: expanding public education, creating a national adult literacy program, land reform, increased spending on health care, and social and physical infrastructure, reluctance to privatize government assets and public services and raising the minimum wage. This was bad for business as usual and the vested interests affected.

The tiresome allegation of Aristide’s corruption is now thoroughly shop-worn. Aristide was accused by purveyors of the “big lie” of being on the take and involved with the drug trade. But why didn’t the U.S. use the evidence to capture, arrest and prosecute him, as they did Manuel Noriega? And why did the Haitian government drop the embezzlement of public funds lawsuit in July 2006, filed against Aristide in the prior year in the U.S.?

Ajamu Nangwaya, Toronto

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