Present Situation: The Haitian crisis has continued for some two and a half years without evident progress toward resolution, but unfortunately with very clear deterioration of the life of Haiti itself. Partial sanctions designed to bring the military rulers into compliance with democratic norms have been applied, removed, applied again, yet restoration of the constitutional order seems no closer today.
Among potential options to achieve that goal, direct military intervention, spoken of favorably by some of Aristide's partisans, seems out of the question politically, if not ethically. Starting new negotiations with the Haitian military, who have shown disdain for previous accords, is being advanced by some. Making the embargo truly effective has long been called for by many, but the political will to accomplish that is not in evidence.
To be fully effective, the embargo would have to be mandatory and global, not partial and voluntary as the OAS/UN measures have been, and would in particular have to seal the presently porous border with the Dominican Republic and end non-commercial flights to Haiti.
USCC Position: From the beginning of the present crisis, the USCC has made clear its repudiation of the violent coup that overthrew the elected government and called for the restoration of President Aristide. We have criticized the violence and violations of human rights committed both by the supporters and opponents of Aristide, before, during, and after his time in office. We have repeatedly insisted on the need for a more compassionate US response to the Haitian refugees, strongly opposing the policy of interdiction and automatic return. And we have advocated generous economic aid to this poorest of hemispheric nations upon the restoration of the constitutional order.
The Issue: The question that has to be confronted with urgency is how the international community can join to protect the human rights of the Haitian people, hasten the restoration of the constitutional order, and start the rebuilding of a devastated economy.