SANTO DOMINGO – The Organization of American States removed its special representative in Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus, from his post, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
The move came after the publication in a Swiss newspaper of remarks attributed to the diplomat in which he questioned the role of the U.N. Stabilization Mission for Haiti, or Minustah, which has been in the country since 2004, and the policy of the international community toward the Caribbean nation.
Seitenfus said in the interview published Dec. 20 that the U.N. had “imposed” the presence of its troops in Haiti despite the fact that the country was not involved in a civil war.
“Haiti is not an international threat. We’re not in a situation of civil war. Haiti is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. However, the (U.N.) Security Council, given the lack of any alternative, has imposed the blue helmets since 2004, after the exit of the president (Jean-Bertrand Aristide),” the OAS diplomat told Switzerland’s Le Temps.
The Brazilian diplomat, who had been scheduled to leave the post anyway in the coming months, also said in the interview that Haiti “is on the international stage mainly due to its great proximity to the United States. Haiti has been the object of negative attention on the part of the international system. For the U.N., this is about freezing power and transforming the Haitians into prisoners on their own island,” namely Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic.
“The Haitians committed the unacceptable in 1804 (the year of their independence): a crime of lese majesty for an anxious world. The West (was) then a colonial, slave-holding and racist world that based its wealth on the exploitation of conquered lands. So, the Haitian revolutionary model made the great powers afraid,” Seitenfus said.
The OAS official also analyzed the role of non-governmental organizations in Haiti, in particular after the Jan. 12 earthquake, and he said that “the cooperative (organizations) that arrived after the quake are not very old; they came to Haiti without any experience ... (and) after the earthquake, the professional quality fell a great deal. There exists a maleficent or perverse relationship between the NGOs’ strength and the Haitian state’s weakness.”
Seitenfus, in addition to his responsibilities with the OAS, was that organization’s delegate to the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, or IHRC.