The USA is losing control over countries in the Western Hemisphere. Elections that recently took place in two states in Central America lend credence to this notion. Haiti and Costa Rica are in many ways completely different countries, but the citizens of both countries have demonstrated their desire to decide their own fate. Many experts believe that Haiti is the poorest country in the world. Two years ago Haiti President Aristide had to flee to South Africa. He was forced into taking such action by crowds of armed rebels. The head of state’s concern for his life was more than justified given that at the time his rule was marked by mass corruption. However, it was difficult to call these “revolutionaries” supporters of peace, democracy and fairness. Under pressure from Washington, Aristide was forced to relinquish his position in power.
After he had fled, this poor country was plunged into total pandemonium. The armed rebels, who had taken absolute control, had been trying to either take from their fellow countrymen whatever they could or to eliminate their rivals in the fierce battles. Although UN troops managed to dispel the uprisings, they did not succeed in holding elections.
All the same on 7 February a historical vote was held. Foreign observers for understandable reasons declared the elections that took place as completely fair. There were a few bloody incidents on the day of the elections and many occurrences of people voting twice. The debate over how much the vote reflects the truth will go on and on.
One of Aristide’s most loyal associates Rene Preval, who was leader of the country 1996-2001, won the election in the runoff poll. In Haiti there is no doubt over the result. Following his victory Preval will do everything so that Aristide can return to his homeland. The island’s inhabitants by voting for Preval expressed in no uncertain terms their disdain for American politics. Many experts remark that Washington ’s meddling in the affairs of Haiti carries with it a negative and temporary nature. The Americans unwittingly have helped to return the “bad” president to power. The island has lacked sufficient humanitarian aid from the country and the USA President in his inaugural speech promised to bring freedom to all oppressed nations of the world.
One of the influential neoconservatives now in the USA could say that the embittered and uncivilized people of Haiti simply do not understand and do not value America’s helping hand. However, at the start of February presidential elections were held in Costa Rica which appears to have some similarities with Haiti .
Over the last few decades this Central American country has enjoyed its role in the world and the related benefits. Furthermore, under the strict watch of observers they managed to have democratic elections which is very rare in Latin America. During the election campaigns a large proportion of Costa Ricans came to mutual agreement over America’s not taking part in agreements over free trade between Washington and Central America. At least this is the situation as it is now.
Whilst the famous peace-maker, the Nobel Prize winner Oscar Arias is in power, his focusing on free trade and co-operation are essential. The suggested conditions must not be examined. The most unpleasant thing for the USA is that it is very difficult for them to accuse the Costa Rican politicians of striving to achieve cheap popularity on the basis of anti-American ideology and leftist populism in the style of Hugo Cha’vez. In Costa Rica where employers are traditionally able to work very hard, count their money, the suggested American project will bring great profits for major business of the USA .
It seems that the Haiti and Costa Rican presidential elections have marked a general tendency of recent years. Countries in the Western Hemisphere do not want to be bossed around by the USA anymore. Such a turn of events can hardly be pleasing for Bush’s administration which is currently more concerned at the moment with the fight against terrorism. It is logical to suppose that in the near future Washington will make a serious attempt to return things back to how they were before.
Translated by Michael Simpson