Monday, March 01, 2004
US Backed Coup?
This corroborates earlier reports (I don't have a link for these, but they're around) by a groundskeeper at Aristide's estate who claimed that Aristide had been taken by force.
Personally, I don't trust Aristide very far and it wouldn't surprise me if he was lying. As far as the groundskeeper's testimony goes, he'd have seen the same thing if U.S. Marines did what they claimed to have done, i.e., escort Aristide safely out of the country.
It is clear that the U.S. gave de facto support to the rebels by not sending in troops earlier. And it's also pretty clear that over the weekend we put pressure on him to resign.
Another rumor I've seen claims that the U.S. armed and bankrolled the rebels. That strikes me as pretty difficult to swallow. It's not that I trust the American government, it's just that I don't see the point.
(thanks go to Andrew over at funferal for the tip)
Update: I checked some mainstream news sources. They have the story, but are burying it pretty deep. CNN's lead, for example, refers to an 'African American activist' who tells a similar story. They only get around to naming him several paragraphs down, and only mention Congresswoman Waters several paragraphs after that.
Al Jazeera and Reuters play the story prominently.
Some Al Jazeera spin:
Powell said flatly, "He was not kidnapped," and criticized US congressmen for saying that Aristide had been kidnapped without checking with the Bush administration first to see what the story was.
The NY Times has a sidebar, "Administration Dismisses Rumors that US Kidnapped Aristide", but you don't learn the basis of the rumor until paragraph five. Before that both Scott McClellan and Donald Rumsfeld get to take a swipe at 'conspiracy theorists.' You also learn there in paragraph five that Rep. Chuck Rangel also claims to have gotten a call from Aristide. This is just me talking, and I don't know that I believe Aristide, but two U.S. Representatives and a deposed head of state are more credible than, say, Lyndon LaRouche.
Final thought: Is the Bush administration populated entirely by idiots? Whatever else is true, it's pretty clear that Aristide is going to claim that he was forcibly deposed by the United States. Given the spiraling decline of U.S. prestige around the globe, that can't help. So why let it happen? You either have to believe that the U.S. did force Aristide out but lied about it, or that we didn't but don't know how to handle a tin pot dictator.