Haiti's problems solved by Haitans, not US help
Regarding Randall Robinson's Jan. 23 Opinion piece "Haiti at brink again - US owes help": I was a former foreign service officer at the United States Embassy in Haiti for two years beginning in the summer of 1989, and I assure you the embassy and our Washington colleagues made every reasonable effort to cooperate with Jean-Bertrand Aristide after the December 1990 election.
Within days of Aristide's victory and until my departure two months before the military coup that sent Aristide into exile, we worked closely with him and his staff to untie previously blocked US assistance and promote investment in Haiti.
The "economic elite" whom Mr. Robinson lumps into a monolithic opponent of "the broader masses" was in fact a collection of different factions that included a strong, progressive democratic one. Robinson uses the term "US-trained Army" in connection with the overthrow of Aristide as if it had been trained to do just that. The fact is our military attaché worked to persuade the Army to guarantee the security of the elections that brought Aristide to power.
An embassy officer somewhat impertinently cautioned Ambassador Al Adams when he arrived in Port-au-Prince that Americans would not be able to fix Haiti - only the Haitians could do that. Robinson still seems to maintain the opposite illusion.
Eugene P. Tuttle
Regarding Daniel Schorr's Jan. 23 opinion piece "US, hat in hand, back at UN": A United Nations role in the establishment of a free and democratic Iraq would help to create peace in a notoriously unstable area. UN-supervised elections - seemingly the wish of Iraqis, if not of the US - would contribute a sense of fairness and of freedom after a year-long military occupation.
Regarding your Jan. 23 editorial "Marriage Skills, Federal Style": Rather than spending $1.5 billion to promote marriage, our response should be to educate, train, and support poor women so that they can earn sufficient salaries and become independent and financially secure.
We must assure that mothers who work full time enjoy a livable wage, freedom from abuse, and sufficient child care and healthcare, rather than insisting that they return to men who caused their poverty in the first place. Then, if and when they marry, it will be a choice that enhances their lives and those of their children, rather than a desperate act of survival.
Daniel Schorr's Jan. 16 opinion piece "The leak that went awry" highlights the Bush administration's unwillingness to assume responsibility for irresponsible actions. The investigation into the leak that revealed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame has dragged on with little visible support from the White House. Perhaps Americans should pressure columnist Robert Novak to tell what he knows.
Regarding the Jan. 22 article "New doubts over the old school name": Efforts to change the names of Southern schools named after Confederate generals are acts of intolerance. Can't we learn to tolerate the symbols and heroes of others?
Changing the names on these Southern schools is a great idea. Why should black students attend schools named for people who would have kept them in chains?
Zenaida Gonzales San Antonio
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