The Hatian Coup Connection
Date: Thursday, October 28 @ 14:02:33 UTC
EXTRACT: The Coup Connection
By Joshua Kurlantzick
How an organization financed by the U.S. government has been promoting the overthrow of elected leaders abroad
Several leaders of the demonstrations -- some of whom also had links to the armed rebels -- had been getting organizational help and training from a U.S. government-financed organization. The group, the International Republican Institute (IRI), is supposed to focus on nonpartisan, grassroots democratization efforts overseas. But in Haiti and other countries, such as Venezuela and Cambodia, the institute -- which, though not formally affiliated with the GOP, is run by prominent Republicans and staffed by party insiders -- has increasingly sided with groups seeking the overthrow of elected but flawed leaders who are disliked in Washington.
In 2002 and 2003, IRI used funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to organize numerous political training sessions in the Dominican Republic and Miami for some 600 Haitian leaders. Though IRI's work is supposed to be nonpartisan -- it is official U.S. policy not to interfere in foreign elections -- a former U.S. diplomat says organizers of the workshops selected only opponents of Aristide and attempted to mold them into a political force.
The trainings were run by IRI's Haiti program officer, Stanley Lucas, the scion of a powerful Haitian family with long-standing animosity toward Aristide -- Amnesty International says some family members participated in a 1987 peasant massacre. "To have Lucas as your program officer sends a message to archconservatives that you're on their side," says Robert Maguire, a Haiti expert at Trinity College in Washington, D.C.
IRI's anti-Aristide focus appeared to have support from the Bush administration. The former U.S. diplomat in Haiti says Lucas was in constant contact with Roger Noriega, the administration's top Latin America official, who had previously worked for Senator Jesse Helms and had long sought to oust Aristide. Noriega and conservative Republican congressional staffers kept in close touch with IRI-trained opposition leaders and pushed for additional funding for IRI's Haiti activities. "The USAID director in Haiti was under enormous pressure [from Congress] to fund IRI," says the former diplomat.
Full Article : venezuelanalysis.com