February 17, 2006

BREAD AND CIRQUE DU SOLEIL:

Getting elected may have been easy part for Préval (MARINA JIMÉNEZ, 2/17/06, Globe and Mail)

Mr. Préval, a mild-mannered man who was once an ally of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, now faces the difficult task of appeasing political opponents and bridging the gap between Haiti's many conflicting groups without alienating his support base, the same impoverished masses who support Mr. Aristide.

All of these challenges will be made doubly difficult in a polarized country with a "winner-takes-all" political culture and no tradition of bringing opposition faces into cabinet in the spirit of reconciliation.

"There is no tradition of compromise or an ability to work with the opposition in Haiti," said Carlo Dade, an adviser with the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, an Ottawa think-tank. "We need a government of national unity and the international community -- Brazil, the U.S., Canada -- must push this." [...]

The most pressing challenge for Mr. Préval will be to bring order and stability to the Western hemisphere's poorest country, which has been besieged by kidnappings and armed battles in slums where his supporters have clashed with UN troops sent to stabilize the country.

Many of Mr. Préval's supporters in shantytowns such as Cité Soleil have pressed for the return of Mr. Aristide, who was ousted Feb. 29, 2004, after a bloody uprising by thugs and ex-soldiers. While the two men were once close allies, Mr. Préval has tried to distance himself from the exiled leader.

"Préval is very much aware that Mr. Aristide's early return is unacceptable. It will bring chaos to Haiti," the political consultant in Port-au-Prince said.


The U.S. And Mr. Anan ought to be able to shame the UN, France, the OAS, etc. into getting more deeply involved in building institutions and an economy in this godforsaken place that we've all helped make a hash of.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2006 8:28 AM
Comments

I hope Haiti catches a break this time. It's long past due.

Posted by: erp at February 17, 2006 9:03 AM

Is there any ex-French colony that isn't a disaster?

Posted by: ray at February 17, 2006 5:00 PM
« CLAIMING THEIR SHARE OF THE PLATE: | Main | WELL, THE CHICOMS FAVORITE PRESIDENT WAS DICK NIXON... (via Peter Burnet): »