Skip to comments.Brazilian general blames Kerry
Posted on 10/16/2004 3:22:31 PM PDT by mdittmar
Comments made by Senator John Kerry more than seven months ago may have helped trigger the recent wave of violence afflicting Haiti, according to the Brazilian commander for the UN peacekeeping troops in that Caribbean nation.
In an interview posted on the website of Agencia Brasil, the Brazilian government's official news agency, Lieutenant-General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro said comments made in March by Kerry had raised the hopes of supporters of Jean-Bertrand Aristide that the former Haitian president would be able to return to power.
"Statements made by a candidate to the presidency of the United States created false hopes among pro-Aristide supporters," Ribeiro told the agency. "His (the candidate's) statements created the expectation that instability and a change in American policy would contribute to Aristide's return."
Ribeiro was referring to statements made by Kerry to the New York Times on March 7.
The Democratic presidential candidate told the Times US President George W Bush's position on Haiti was "shortsighted" and sent "a terrible message" to the region and democracies.
Kerry said he would have sent an international force to protect Aristide as rebel forces were threatening to enter the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.
"Look, Aristide was no picnic, and did a lot of things wrong," Kerry said in the Times interview. But Washington "had understandings in the region about the right of a democratic regime to ask for help. And we contravened all of that. I think it's a terrible message to the region, democracies, and it's shortsighted."
Clashes have been frequent in Haiti since a September 30 commemoration of a 1991 uprising that deposed Aristide. He returned but left the country again in February after a bloody three-week revolt.
Accused of corruption, profiting from cocaine-smuggling and using police to suppress his opponents, he left on a US-chartered plane as ex-soldiers leading a bloody rebellion neared Port-au-Prince, the capital.
Now in South Africa, Aristide has accused the US of orchestrating his ouster and insists he remains Haiti's democratically elected leader. The US denies his charges and says he signed his resignation before he boarded the plane.
Brazil has kept 1,200 soldiers in Haiti since May as part of a multilateral UN force. According to a UN resolution in April, the multinational force should have 6,600 soldiers and 1,600 police.
I wonder if the New York Times will report this?
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