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Not on the Ballot, but on All Minds in Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide, The first democratically elected and exiled former president of Haiti returned home two days before the presidential runoff elections. He was exiled in South Africa, seven years ago after significant pressure that mounted by the United States for him to step down. He is a hugely popular and divisive individual, adored by the poor but despised by others as fraudulent and dictatorial (Dupuy, 2007). Americans put significant pressure for him to step down, more so, after the presidential runoff elections. However, he defied them and returned to his home country. He had promised not to interfere with democratic elections but by returning he had already inserted and affected the democratic process (Archibold, 2011). He was given a special reception from thousands of followers, a clear signal that party and personality, especially among the majority poor, was still strong. Mr. Aristide had stated that he would not be participating in politics again and made it clear that he wanted to work on social matters such as education to help his country overcome the devastating effects of earthquake in the last year.
However, it is thought that, ultimately, he may back down from the affirmed reason of his return and re-emerge to actively take part in politics again; a move that has many perils and impediments, as well as obvious rewards (Archibold, 2011).The event is very significant event to the Haitians in that those who supported him would be influenced not to participate in the runoff elections; a move that could greatly affect the outcome of the presidential runoff elections. Voters, especially the youth had vowed not to vote, a move that could jeopardize the bid to solve the political stalemate in the country. Mr. Aristide was the second exiled former president to return home after the earthquake; the other is Jean-Claude Duvalier. Both ex-presidents argue that they came back in the interest of national reconciliation. However, experts have explained that the return of the two ex-leaders could promote further destabilization of the country.
Presently, the country is fraught with diseases and tent slums caused by a recent earthquake and political volatility before the deferred presidential runoff. Politically, his return had already begun showing effects with the main candidates taking part in the run-off moving in to tap the influence of Aristide (Archibold, 2011). Dupuy (2007) explains that Mr., Aristide faces a daunting task of rebuilding his party again as some of the former members have since moved to other parties. His return will greatly influence the political events in Haiti; he may choose to play a role to destroy or build a candidate from the sidelines. On the global scale, this is an important event in that the western diplomats were against his return. It remarkable to note that the United States had sent a troop of twenty thousand soldiers to quell a coup against President Aristide's government in 1991. This helped him to remain in power.
However, in 2004, Americans were involved in pressurizing and eventually taking him out of the country after general unrest began against his rule (Chomsky, Farmer & Goodman, 2004). Mr. Aristide claims that he resigned to avoid violence and bloodshed but the American diplomats kidnapped him and whisked him out of the country in their jet. This means that the United States and the world are always closely watching the events in Haiti and ready to take intervention measures as deemed necessary. This is emphasized by the western diplomats' attempts to hold up Mr. Aristide's return to Haiti till after runoff elections, and the United States president's personal call to his South African counterpart to request him to restrain Mr. Aristide from returning to Haiti. Jean-Bertrand Aristide return to Haiti is a key event that will shape the history of South America and may play an important role in the future of Haiti and the continent at large.