Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill examines how Clinton helped to destabilize Haiti in the 1990s. While Clinton and his advisers publicly expressed their dismay with the US-backed 1991 coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, they simultaneously refused to support the swift reinstatement of the country’s democratically elected leader and would, in fact, not allow Aristide’s return until Washington received guarantees that, one, Aristide would not lay claim to the years of his presidency lost in forced exile and, two, US neoliberal economic plans were solidified as the law of the land in Haiti. [includes rush transcript]
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy, you wrote another piece at rebelreports.com on Bill Clinton being named as — could be today — the new UN envoy to stabilize Haiti.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, this would be — this would be humorous for its irony, if it wasn’t so deadly serious. Bill Clinton, as President of the United States, was someone who participated in the systematic destabilization of Haiti.
In a nutshell, what happened was that Aristide was overthrown in a violent US-backed coup — you covered it — under the George H.W. Bush administration. Clinton campaigned on a pledge to stop the cruel treatment of Haitian detainees being held at Guantanamo and also to reverse the Bush administration’s cruel policy in general toward Haiti. Instead, what Clinton did is he kept Aristide in exile for years, until they could squeeze out of Aristide a commitment to uphold US neoliberal economic programs in Haiti and that Aristide would agree not to lay claim to the years he spent in exile as part of his presidency.
He was a democratically elected president. He, fair and square, beat a US candidate. The US violently overthrew him. They butchered Haiti. And then Clinton refused to put Aristide back in power, even though he could have done it with one phone call. And instead, what he did is he implemented a vicious regime of economic neoliberalism inside of Haiti. The Haitian people now are suffering under that neoliberal economic model and the aftermath of this repression force that just terrorized the people of Haiti.
To have Bill Clinton now be sent in explicitly to be the person who’s going to, quote-unquote, “stabilize” Haiti and dabble in the economics of this incredibly poor suffering nation, to me, is just a grotesque act on the part of the United Nations. And I think that anyone who’s about justice for Haiti should rise up and say that Bill Clinton has no business stepping foot in Haiti in any official capacity with the United Nations at all.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, I want to thank you for being with us. Jeremy’s reports can be found at rebelreports.com. He is a correspondent for Democracy Now!, award-winning investigative journalist.
AMY GOODMAN: And the piece that you wrote was at AlterNet.org. Democracy Now!’s Jeremy Scahill is author of the award-winning book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.