Advertisement

Violence Cancels Haiti's Election

December 11, 1987

I salute your editorial condemning the brutal sabotage of the Haitian elections ("Sabotaging Democracy," Dec. 1). However, while you are correct in laying the blame at the doorstep of the military junta, you have made the mistake of chastising the tenant and letting the landlord go free. There can be no doubt that the massacre of voters on that bloody Sunday is the fault of the policies of the United States.

The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly to restore order in a time of political turmoil. The occupying forces did not leave until 1934. Having disbanded the Haitian Army, the Americans created and left behind a military structure called the "gendarmerie," a force very similar to the National Guard of Nicaragua. This is the antecedent of the current Haitian military. Nearly all the governments that have ruled Haiti since that time have had to pass the approval of this military. Indeed, a military junta was in power at the time of the "election" of Francois Duvalier. Throughout the 30 years of this most bloody dictatorship, the military always remained a most dutiful servant. This is the military that our government expected to guarantee free elections.

Unfortunately the shame of our duplicity does not stop here. Throughout his tyrannical reign, save a brief period during the Kennedy Administration, Duvalier was always able to count on the support of the United States.

In the aftermath of Nov. 29 we are now left to question the motives of our government. Why did officials not heed the protests of the Haitian people against the army that has always been more of an oppressor than a protector? Why was it necessary that we send so much military aid to Haiti, including experts in crowd control? Is this the results of their expertise?

The Reagan Administration has made democratic elections the litmus test by which it justifies much of its foreign policy. The hypocrisy of this stance has been written in blood upon the ballot boxes of Haiti.

PIERRE H. DESIR JR.

Inglewood

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|