One of the few real accomplishments of the Bush Administration is that it has engaged in so many failures it is difficult to remember all of them. So when something happens in some part of the world you almost forget and then it comes back to you, "oh yeah, I remember when Bush f**ked up and did that."
And the merde touch is landing in yet another dubious land of non-accomplishment:
"Aristide or death! Aristide or death!" young men in sunglasses and low-slung ballcaps chant outside parliament…
The clamor for Aristide’s return was deafening during last week’s unrest over skyrocketing food prices that left at least seven people dead, hundreds injured and Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis out of a job. Some protesters vowed to press on until they unseat President Rene Preval, a former Aristide ally…
…Aristide’s return has become a key demand on the streets after entire slums rallied for the former president and protesters carried tree branches they said signified their support for his Famni Lavalas party.
"If there were an election in Haiti, Aristide would win," said Mario Jeanty, a Haitian who lives in New York. "There’s no one who can beat him."
And remember how Aristide says he left?
Ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide says he was forced out of Haiti in a "real coup d’etat" led by the United States, in what he called a "modern way to have a modern kidnapping."
"I was told that to avoid bloodshed I’d better leave," he said in an interview on CNN on Monday.
The Bush Administration vigorously denied the charge…and you know what that means.
In any case, as is usual when the Bush Administration gets involved, it all works out for the best:
Francois, gaunt and balding at 32, doesn’t have even that much. Hired as a "transportation inspector" last year by the mayor of the nearby Cite Soleil slum, he has no salary – just an identification card that can be used in the slums to exact bribes or collect fees. His 25-year-old girlfriend also does not work. With no education or skills, their job prospects aren’t good in a place where most eligible adults are unemployed.
Mostly, Francois depends on handouts from neighbors and friends. He begs in the street. If all else fails, he hunts for scraps in the garbage piles at the nearby La Saline market, in view of towering stacks of U.S.-produced rice he cannot afford.
In Haitian slang, Francois and Joseph describe their hunger pangs as "eating Clorox" because of the burning sensation in their guts. Flashing a sheepish smile, Joseph said they sometimes resort to a traditional hunger palliative – cookies made of dirt, salt and butter.