Op-Ed: In Haiti, the battle for leadership is really a battle for loot

Op-Ed: In Haiti, the battle for leadership is really a battle for loot (via @latimesopinion)

9/17/2021 12:33:00 PM

Op-Ed: In Haiti, the battle for leadership is really a battle for loot (via latimesopinion)

One leader assassinated, another on the brink of being indicted in the killing. This time, Washington should let Haiti find its own solutions.

PrintAnother Haitian chief executive may be about to take a fall. In the space of the last four days, Ariel Henry, de facto leader of Haiti since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, has been through a grinding and spewing political mill focused on the probe of the killing and whether he had a role in it.

Olivia Rodrigo Leads 2021 American Music Awards Nominations: Full List Taylor Swift Pumpkin-Spices Up Your Fall With This Tumblr Re-Enactment Video Brett Favre repays $600,000 in Mississippi welfare fraud case, but he still owes more

It’s all part of an intense battle among political factions to see who will inherit the mantle of the presidency and thus the spoils. Moise may himself have been the first casualty of this battle, and it has been difficult to imagine Henry emerging a victor from this very complicated imbroglio.

But then, this is Haiti, always full of surprises, most of them not ones where you shout “Surprise!” and then applaud.Most of the action in the past few days in fact is a kind of concentrated and dangerous version of the political turf battles you see during elections elsewhere. headtopics.com

AdvertisementBut “political” in this instance is not meant to suggest that the assassination or the investigation into it has anything to do with policy or the future of Haiti or the ways in which the Haitian people could be helped to move out of their impotent and immiserated situation.

All of it, instead, is about who will be able to steal the most with the greatest impunity.Op-Ed: Haiti before and after MoiseIf the international community insists on supporting men connected to Jovenel Moise, there will be no free and fair elections in a nation devastated by corruption and poverty.

The more powerful you are in Haiti, the more you can suck out of state coffers. Most Americans don’t think there’s much to be had in Haiti, but they’re wrong. And much of what’s available to be siphoned comes in from the exterior, in the form of foreign aid, petroleum subsidies and international contracts, as well as what can be embezzled or taxed in customs and at the ports, and also from profitable illegal import/export goods, such as narcotics.

The hundreds of millions of dollars that flowed into the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake further enriched many of the wealthiest Haitians, along with the politicians with whom they did business. This year’s earthquake has no doubt caused another if lesser frisson of anticipation to run through this same crew of vultures. headtopics.com

2021 American Music Awards Has Olivia Rodrigo As Top Nominee, Including Artist Of The Year Trump’s SPAC Is Screwing His Own Supporters While Enriching Wall Street Elites U.S. economy grew at annual rate of 2% in the third quarter, as delta variant pulled back progress

As Graham Greene wrote in “The Comedians,” his 1966 novel about Haiti, “It is astonishing how much money can be made out of the poorest of the poor with a little ingenuity.”At the center of this battle for position and profit is Henry, who just managed to keep his title of prime minister this week.

First, cellphone records showed two calls between Henry and one of the main suspects in Moise’s assassination in the hours following the killing.Henry rushed to form a sort of coalition government. But with the phone calls hanging over him, this accord looked less like a governing consensus and more like an exercise whose only goal was Henry’s continuation in power.

AdvertisementIn the next two days, the prosecutor on the assassination case gave an order forbidding Henry to leave the country, and on Tuesday, requested that a judge indict Henry for assassination, conspiracy against the state and armed robbery (millions in cash were reportedly stolen from the late president’s residence at the time of the killing).

On Twitter, Henry denied all guilt. By the end of the business day, Henry, no fool,had swept the prosecutor from office.Incredibly, escaping a murder indictment wasn’t the last of Henry’s challenges on Tuesday. (It’s so hard to be an illegitimate head of state.) headtopics.com

In the evening, a quixotic senator, Joseph Lambert, declared he was about to take office as president. He failed because armed opponents descended on the Parliament, shooting, to close off the ceremonial venue.AdvertisementWhen various illegitimate politicians vie for power in Haiti, the United States usually steps in, along with other members of the international community. In a very real sense, the U.S. is responsible for what’s happening now, having selected two highly corrupt Haitian presidents, including Moise, in a row, and now having supported Henry, another undemocratic choice, to cope with the post-assassination mess.

Meanwhile, in the wings, ready with a serious, competent alternative for Haiti, is theCommission for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis, an organization of grassroots groups and various sectors of civil society committed to honest governance and real democratic elections, who began working together to deal with Haiti’s dysfunction many months before the assassination. The congressional Haiti caucus in the U.S. supports them, as do many responsible and involved Haitians in the diaspora.

Economic growth rate slows to 2 percent as supply chain issues take toll Indian state threatens sedition charges for celebrations of Pakistan cricket win Robinhood Loses Out With Dogecoin in the Doghouse

It shouldn’t be up to the U.S. to decide who runs Haiti. Every shred of credibility the Americans have had there has been lost in the past decade, with President Biden continuing the Trump administration’s backing for governments so corrupt and violent, so out of touch and unconcerned with the needs of average Haitians, that heavily armed gangs are now often in control of the streets and much more. In one recent example, gangs were instrumental in

preventing gas and diesel imports from entering the country. They also decide which kidnap victims will be released and which will be killed.A Haitian solution for Haiti will look better than what we’ve seen in the last few days and indeed months, and indeed years. The commission must be empowered to take over soon. Otherwise more dark and dire days will follow. A country cannot go much farther down this road.

AdvertisementAmy Wilentz is the author of “The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier”and “Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti,”among other books Read more: Los Angeles Times »

Pelosi upbeat on Biden deal but Manchin pans billionaire tax

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is telling colleagues that Democrats are in “pretty good shape” on President Joe Biden’s sweeping domestic policy plan and a related $1 trillion infrastructure bill

opinion good luck

Op-ed: The importance of Hispanics and Latinos to the U.S. economyIf Hispanics and Latinos were fully and equitably included in the U.S. economy, gains for the broader society could be tremendous, writes a Fed researcher.

Op-Ed: A COVID diary: My Black family's struggle with vaccine hesitancy“Racial distrust in America runs so deep that people in my family thought it was logical to risk getting a deadly virus rather than trust a physician’s recommendation to get a vaccine,” writes espie-randolph for latimesopinion.

Op-Ed: Newsom survived recall by getting back to his bold selfLike his past stances on gay marriage and marijuana legalization, his current support for vaccines and masks won over Democrats. opinion No, he survived it because the state mostly votes Democrat. opinion nice opinion Winning by 70-30 is “surviving” in the same way that betting on quad aces is “risky.”

Haiti PM, a suspect in murder of President Moise, replaces justice ministerFresh turmoil hit Haiti's government on Wednesday as Prime Minister Ariel Henry replaced his justice minister and a senior official stepped down, saying he could not serve a premier under suspicion in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Political killings are not only one of the most heinous acts in the world but also adversely affect the people for a long period of time.

Op-Ed: Gen. Milley did the wrong thing for honorable reasons. We need new rules for starting nuclear warThe context matters, but if the Woodward and Costa allegations are true, Gen. Mark Milley flouted the bedrock principle of civilian control of the military. opinion nice opinion the responsible thing. like the soviet colonel who resisted launching a counterstrike when somebody loaded a drill into the system. professionals. opinion Benedict Arnold did it for honorable reasons. That's a wild take LAT

Adam Sandler, Conan O'Brien and More Stars Honor Norm MacdonaldAdam Sandler shared a moving tribute to his late 'Billy Madison' co-star and fellow 'SNL' alum, Norm Macdonald.