Yesterday, following the tragic earthquake in Haiti, the conservative Heritage Foundation suggested that “President Obama…reach out to a senior Republican figure, perhaps former President George W. Bush, to lead the bipartisan effort” to assist the beleaguered Caribbean country. Indeed, it is now being reported that Obama has asked the former Republican president to join with U.N. special envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton to raise funds for the nation:
Former US president George W. Bush will join former president Bill Clinton to help lead the US relief effort in response to the earthquake that devastated Haiti, an official close to Bush said Thursday.
Bush, President Barack Obama’s predecessor, “will join president Clinton in helping with disaster relief” after the catastrophe, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
While Bush can lead a sorely needed hand to help assist raising funds for the recovery effort, it’s also important to recall the former president’s legacy on the island nation. Under Bush’s watch, the democratically elected leader of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was deposed by a military coup led by rebel elements, which the Bush administration and allied groups supported. Following the coup — after which looting “cost Haitian businesses hundreds of millions of dollars,” over half of the country’s police “officers quit,” and the price of rice “more than doubled” — Aristide was interviewed by CNN and described his Bush-ordered exodus from the country as a “coup d’etat.”
Read Max Blumenthal’s update on how American policies have contributed to Haiti’s inability to cope with its disaster here.