Monday, March 1

If You Can't Befriend Other Countries, REGIME CHANGE

First, Democracy Now's story of how Aristide was shoved out the door. Actually it was more like a FedEx pickup by President Cokesnort's crew.

This is getting to be a pretty nasty habit of the executive branch. Of course had they done this in Iraq, 550+ Americans would still be alive. Nonetheless, Haiti is going to be America's hot new vacation destination - once we finish cleaning up Afghanistan. And Iraq. And Libya. And Hollywood.

U.S. political maneuvering behind the ouster

The departure of Haiti's Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a victory for a Bush administration hard-liner who has been long dedicated to Aristide's ouster, U.S. foreign policy analysts say.

That official is Roger Noriega, assistant U.S. secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, whose influence over U.S. policy toward Haiti has increased during the past decade as he climbed the diplomatic ladder in Washington.

"Roger Noriega has been dedicated to ousting Aristide for many, many years, and now he's in a singularly powerful position to accomplish it," Robert White, a former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay, said last week.

White, now president of the Center for International Policy, a think tank in Washington, said Noriega's ascent largely has been attributed to his ties to North Carolina Republican Jesse Helms, an arch-conservative foe of Aristide who had behind-the-scenes influence over policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean before retiring from the Senate two years ago.

"Helms didn't just dislike Aristide, Helms loathed Aristide because he saw in Aristide another Castro," said Larry Birns, director of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which has been strongly critical of the Bush administration's policy on Haiti.