Rice visits Haiti
Condi Rice made a trip to Haiti on Tuesday, urging all parties to abide by democratic norms as the November 20 elections approach. As a precaution against violence, her trip was not announced until the day before she left. The question is whether any leader can take the place of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who lives in exile in South Africa. He claims that the U.S. government forced him out of office in February 2004, and most of his followers believe it. The interim government has little authority, as warlords rule the streets at night. Without the presence of occupation forces from various Latin American countries, there might be a civil war. This, in turn, highlights the stiff challenge to the Bush strategy of promoting democratization as an antidote to extremism and terror. One wonders what combination of inducements and threats Secretary Rice made on the Haitian leaders, should they fail to carry out peaceful, free elections.