Monday, March 01, 2004

Aristide's Last Stand

Details are hazy regarding President Aristide's sudden departure from Haiti on Sunday. Although Aristide seems to think he was kidnapped by US forces, the Bush Administration denies this account, claiming that Aristide chose to leave.

The same accounts that claim Aristide was kidnapped portray him as a man willing to fight to a violent end, a choice that would have almost certainly meant the end for his contingent of bodyguards.

Whereas you may think these bodyguards were die-hard Haitian partisans, loyal to their President even as the walls came crashing down, Aristide's bodyguards are American contractors, employees of US security firm The Steele Foundation. Haitian rebels would probably have cared little that these soldier/contractors were just doing their job -- it's likely that they would have met the same bloody end as the desperate man they were hired to protect.

Aristide may not be a villain on par with other despots around the world; however, as long as the US allows corporations to deploy bodyguard/mercenary teams for protection of global VIPs, there will always be the possibility that some of these teams will find themselves too close to the business end of some Marine's M16.

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