We have all been awaiting the end of the last Haitian conflict,
which began with the departure of President Aristide, compelled
to relinquish power by US forces that were accompanied almost
simultaneously by other governments of the region, until a
United Nations force was created and mandated to apply a peacekeeping
plan in the neighbouring Caribbean nation.
It seems as though the fact that the foreign forces did not
enter that country with prior agreement among the major actors
involved in Haitian politics, has led to a wave of unceasing
violence, constantly changing its forms. That after seeking
to implement several plans to disarm the civil population
and the former members of the Duvalier army.
In addition, included in the programme for political normalisation
was the holding of elections to appoint a new government to
replace the provisional one.
This task began with the appointment of the electoral authorities,
who started their work immediately, not only through the internal
organisation of the process, but also by acquiring international
assistance to observe other electoral processes, all with
a view to ensuring the smooth running of that process.
However, the most encouraging factor for this impoverished
country was the promise of assistance received from the international
community, which, together with military intervention, provided
the capital necessary for Haiti to begin the long-awaited
journey toward development.
Although economic aid has certainly been the worse kept promise,
since the scarce resources received have arrived little by
little and in quantities far below those initially provided.
Being optimistic, as one must be regarding the Haitian situation,
it would appear as though something positive could take place
in Haiti, since in recent weeks certain events have occurred
that drive us to believe that a window of opportunity is being
opened for peace in that country, which must now be tired
of such violence in the midst of the most appalling poverty.
The first is that the Government has formed a commission to
open doors toward national dialogue that would allow a national
agreement to be established, serving as the basis for all
Haitians to pacify their country and together decide which
course must be followed in order to leave behind the destructive
conflict that has prevailed to date.
Along another vein, a United Nations Security Council commission
has just completed a visit to Haiti, where it assessed the
current situation there, so as to present recommendations
to the organisation that would help improve the Haitian situation.
Similarly, the country has been visited by two Nobel laureates:
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Rigoberta Menchú.
The former worked together with a group of non-governmental
organisations in evaluating Haitis internal situation,
seeking to provide assistance to escape the crisis and on
which several recommendations were expressed. Although he
advocates his vision that the Haitian problem is not
a military one so as to place emphasis on economic support
through non-reimbursable financial contributions.
As for the latter, the Guatemalan, she underscored the medium
of dialogue as a mechanism for escaping the crisis, but it
should be all inclusive, respectful and diverse. In that sense,
her voice was crystal clear in expressing if there is
only one truth, it sometimes becomes an exclusion.
We hope that the arrival of those messengers would leave a
trail of understanding and tolerance, until there is an aureole
of peace that would intensify up to the point where it becomes
a ring that allows no room for confrontation.
In that effort, Haitians must be aware of the importance of
inclusive dialogue and the international community must not
lose interest and the desire to provide dynamic support.
Dr Rubén Silié Valdez is the Secretary
General of the Association of Caribbean States. The views
expressed are not necessarily the official views of the ACS.
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