Chomsky Criticizes U.S. Policy

U.S. foreign policy towards Haiti is hypocritical and imperialist, said Noam Chomsky last night to a crowd of 300 at MIT's Kresge Auditorium.

Chomsky, a professor of linguistics at MIT, criticized the Clinton administration's insistence on controlling Haiti's fate--while claiming to support the principle of democracy.

The U.S. government has "no interest whatsoever in restoring to power the progressive priest [ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide]," Chomsky said.

Aristide, Haiti's popularly-elected president, was deposed in a September 1991 coup d'etat after serving nine months in office. Chomsky said Clinton has perpetuated the Bushadministration's policy of only supportingAristide's reinstatement as a figurehead in agovernment made up of the current military leadersand other wealthy elite.

Chomsky also questioned the Clintonadministration for intensifying Bush's efforts toreturn refugees to Haiti, though Clintoncriticized Bush for such a policy during the 1992campaign.

The audience laughed when Chomsky said hequestioned why the U.S. blockade could regulateevery boat carrying refugees--but was "unable tointercept a single boat bringing drugs in and outof Haiti."


Chomsky said the U.S. has traditionallyintervened on the part of the wealthy rulingclass, and was the last great power to recognizeHaiti as an independent nation in the 19thcentury. It did so only after the Civil War as aplace to send unwanted freed slaves, he said.

When the U.S. Marines invaded and occupiedHaiti in 1915, Chomsky said President WoodrowWilson's administration deemed the Haitiansincapable of self-government because they wereBlack. The Haitians refused to accept theconstitution which the U.S. forced on them, and"well, that was Woodrow Wilson's Progressivepolicy," Chomsky said.

Chomsky said the administrations of the pastseveral decades have funded Haitian regimes whichhad "horrible" human rights records.

The fact that the Bush administrationcriticized Aristide's relatively minor record isindicative of the Reagan and Bush administrations'"delicate sensitivity about Human Rights," saidChomsky to a chorus of snickers from the audience

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