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Author Topic: The Coup Connection  (Read 6519 times)
Posts: 1531

« on: December 01, 2004, 09:16:04 AM »

How an organization financed by the U.S. government has been promoting the overthrow of elected leaders abroad

Joshua Kurlantzick
November/December 2004 Issue

In early 2004, chaos overwhelmed Haiti. In January, a rebellion erupted against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former slum priest who had frequently angered the United States with his leftist rhetoric. Aristide had twice been elected, but he had alienated many Haitians with his increasing demagoguery and use of violence against the opposition. Yet polls showed that Aristide remained relatively popular, so even experienced Haiti watchers were surprised when, in late February, armed militias marched on the nation's capital while demonstrators shut down the streets. In the violence, some 100 Haitians were killed. At dawn on February 29, with the militias closing in, Aristide left Haiti on a U.S. government plane.

But did the rebellion really spring from nowhere? Maybe not. 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.

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