Magazine article Newsweek International

Haiti's Zero-Sum Game; to Fix a Troubled Nation, America and Others Will Have to Disarm the Rebels, Then Alter a Culture of Poverty and Corruption

Magazine article Newsweek International

Haiti's Zero-Sum Game; to Fix a Troubled Nation, America and Others Will Have to Disarm the Rebels, Then Alter a Culture of Poverty and Corruption

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Contreras, With Adam Piore in New York

He was the king of Port-au-Prince for two days--a boyish, clean-shaven figure in black fatigues who proclaimed himself Haiti's new military supremo after former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's fall from power. But rebel leader Guy Philippe's reign over Haiti ended as swiftly as it had begun, aborted by a 15-minute meeting with a U.S. Marine colonel who told him bluntly that it was time for his men to lay down their arms. Within hours the 36-year-old former police commissioner had withdrawn his fighters from Port-au-Prince and said he would make his way to the northern city of Cap Haitien, from where he'd directed the bloody uprising.

At the weekend, the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince were firmly under the control of more than 1,000 U.S. Marine infantrymen, and the government of interim president Boniface Alexandre started laying the groundwork for a post-Aristide transition that could culminate in the election of a new president and legislature later this year. But there was no evidence that Philippe's fighters were surrendering their guns--and in the absence of a concerted U.S. and French effort to round them up, there was nothing to reassure Haitians that there wouldn't be a new bloodbath in the coming months.

The Bush administration does not want Philippe or any of his cohorts to hold any leadership posts in a new government. "They do not have a role in this [transition] process," says State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. …

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