Monday, March 01, 2004

Bye bye Bertie!

After Bertie got the heck out of Dodge yesterday, he ended up in the Central African Republic - Aristide Arrives in Central Africa

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) - Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide arrived in the Central African Republic Monday, fleeing Haiti under an asylum offer negotiated by France and the United States, the government here said.

Aristide and a small entourage including his wife flew into this impoverished, Africa nation in the early morning.
He's a tad grumpy since it isn't exactly a vacation hotspot.
State radio said that Aristide would stay in the country for "a few days" and possibly head to South Africa afterward, although that could not be confirmed.

"He's here with his wife and we've granted them asylum for the beginning, and then we'll see what happens," Communications Minister Parfait Mbaye told The Associated Press.

"I don't know that yet," Mbaye said when asked where Aristide would go next. "But we will know it in the days to come."
Security guards at the airport in Bangui, the country's capital, said Aristide's plane arrived at 1:15 a.m. EST.
Aristide was taken from there to the presidential palace, in the bullet-pocked capital, Bangui.
Central African Republic - so cash-strapped that it has been unable to pay many civil servants' salary here for months - hoped that the international community would help pick up the tab of Aristide's stay here, the communications minister said.
Tell him not to call room service! There's speculation he's headed for South Africa which was sending him weapons last week and where the accomodations are undoubtedly better.

But aside from Bertie, it's instructive to see who else has their knickers in a twist. Hmm, how about Thugo Chavez who's feeling a bit nervous right now - Chavez Denounces Bush as Foes Fight Troops:
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush an "---hole" on Sunday and told him not to meddle as his opponents battled troops ahead of a ruling on a recall vote against him.
"I have to say to those here who would try to apply the Haiti formula, that Venezuela is not Haiti and that Chavez is not Aristide," he said.
The Venezuelan leader's comments came as fresh violence broke out on the streets of the capital where National Guard troops clashed with opposition protesters pressing for a referendum to end his five-year rule.

Military helicopters roared in low runs overhead as soldiers fired tear gas and plastic bullets to repel hundreds of opposition demonstrators who threw stones and set up burning barricades in eastern Caracas.

A soldier and a cameraman were shot and injured during the clashes and an opposition protester was wounded in the head by gunmen firing from motorbikes, witnesses and officials said. It was unclear who opened fire during the confused battles.

One demonstrator carried a banner reading: "Bye bye Aristide, Chavez you're next," referring to Haiti's leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide who fled into exile on Sunday in the face of an armed rebellion.
From your lips to God's ears. Thugo had offered Bertie some of his troops, but I guess they were needed at home. It must be getting lonely in the leftoid wingnut despot club - first the Talibunnies, then Saddam, and now Bertie all had to let their memberships lapse.

I agree that only having Mugabe and Castro to tea could get rather old, but not for the usual suspects in the US Congress:
Many black political leaders blamed President Bush yesterday for failing to focus enough on the humanitarian problems boiling in Haiti, and said the administration's unwillingness to support the government of its now-exiled president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, set a dangerous precedent.
I get it, it's all the President's fault!
"Democracy has a black eye in Haiti this morning," said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. "By the inaction of the United States government and our allies over the last several years, the democratically elected president of Haiti has been undermined and forced to leave his country. With the sudden departure of President Aristide, the Congressional Black Caucus is very concerned that violence does not overtake the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince."
Er, Earth to Elijah - that won't exactly be novel for Haiti. He must have missed Aristide's gangbangers brutalizing the populace over the past few years and that they're the ones currently rioting.
The frustration of black political officials in the United States, however, is clear. Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, said the United States permitted Aristide's government to collapse by insisting on a political settlement before sending in troops to stabilize the situation.

"I don't know what's going on, but we are just as much a part of this coup d'etat as the rebels, as the looters or anyone else," Rangel said on ABC's "This Week." "All we had to do was to send 200, 300 troops over there and tell those people to put down the arms."
That sounds awfully unilateral, Chucky! Why do they love this thug so much? Something kinky no doubt.

And speaking of both kinky and unilateral, Limousine Liberal Lurch weighed in:
Kerry (D-Mass.) said he would have sent troops to Haiti even without international support to quell the revolt against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"President Kerry would never have allowed that to get where it is," Kerry said, though he added he's not "a big Aristide fan."

But he insisted the White House "has empowered the insurgents, and they've done it quite purposely out of their dislike ... for Aristide."

A Kerry administration would have given the rebels a 48-hour ultimatum to come up with a peaceful agreement - "otherwise, we're coming in," he said.
Does he always refer to himself in the 3rd person?