Back in 1969, when Secretary of State Clinton was writing her senior thesis at Wellesley on Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky, she must have come across this line on page 9 of Alinksy's book "Rules for Radicals":
"Revolution by the Have-Nots has a way of inducing a moral revelation among the Haves."
"The region's foundations are sinking into the sand," Clinton said, calling for "political reforms that will create the space young people are demanding, to participate in public affairs and have a meaningful role in the decisions that shape their lives." Those who would "prey on desperation and poverty are already out there," Clinton warned, "appealing for allegiance and competing for influence."
As Secretary Clinton made her remarks, the Times noted, "unrest in Tunisia that threatened its government while serving to buttress her arguments" was among the events that "echoed loudly in the background."
Friday, Tunisian president Ben Ali has reportedly fled the country and the Tunisian prime minister says he is now in charge.
Popular protest can bring down the government in an Arab country. Who knew?
Congresswoman Maxine Waters sent a letter to Haitian President Rene Preval today - copied to Secretary of State Clinton - to express her concerns about the the arbitrary exclusion of political parties from the upcoming elections in Haiti. The text of the letter is below; the PDF is here.
December 23, 2009
His Excellency René Préval
President of Haiti
c/o Embassy of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
I am writing to express my concerns about the decision of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to exclude more than a dozen political parties from the Parliamentary elections scheduled for February and March 2010. I am concerned that these exclusions would violate the right of Haitian citizens to vote in free and fair elections and that it would be a significant setback to Haiti’s democratic development.
As you know, I have a longstanding commitment to supporting democracy and development in Haiti. I led efforts in the United States Congress to obtain debt cancellation for Haiti. These efforts culminated in the World Bank’s announcement last June that Haiti reached the “completion point” for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and would receive complete cancellation of its multilateral debts. I am also working to increase United States bilateral assistance to Haiti.
It is imperative that Haiti’s next elections be free and fair and that they be perceived as free and fair. Political parties should not be excluded from an election without a legally compelling reason, determined through a transparent, impartial process.