Gil Noble, toward the end of his enlightening discussion of the media with journalists Les Payne and Milton Allimadi, interjected a remark that should leave us all -- especially journalists and U.S politicians -- quite a bit embarrassed.
Noble commented on the startling absence of reporting on the ouster from office five years ago of then Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide [photo].
With just days remaining in the life of the notorious Bush II era, a looming question hangs over his foreign policy.
Is it true, as is widely suspected, that U.S. officials engineered the kidnapping of Aristide from office and his send-off to the Central African Republic?
There are others, besides Bush, whose biographies are potentially tainted here. There are some Haiti watchers who believe that America's behavior in Haiti at that time, just prior to Aristide's ouster, was a low point in the tenure of then Secretary of State Colin Powell.
For Powell was unwilling or unable to stop those in the Bush Administration, notably one Roger Noriega, who had wide powers over Latin America, from doing the bidding of right-wingers in Haiti.
Pity that the esteemed journalists on Noble's "Like It Is" were not able to follow through on that topic. Payne was in overall charge of foreign coverage at Newsday during many of the years Aristide was in power. (Very recently Payne ceased writing columns for that paper, a quiet but noteworthy development that was the subject of an article in The Nation, written by a former foreign editor at Newsday, Peter Eisner.)
Yours truly, by the way, was a foreign correspondent who made many trips to Haiti when Payne and Eisner were in power at Newsday.
Much of my reporting suggested that the United States backed Haitian right-wingers who ousted Aristide in 1991. That was during the presidency of Bush I.
Aristide was returned to power later in the decade, in a restoration carried out by U.S. troops under President Bill Clinton. It was one of the more noble actions of the American military in recent history.
Aristide was elected yet again by Haiti's largely impoverished majority, but his 2004 ouster, variously referred to as another "coup" or simply a "kidnapping," ended his regime.
Since then, he and his supporters, claiming he was (is?) Haiti's sole legitimate authority, have been so many voices in the wilderness.