Cultural Revolutions

Economic Crisis in the Caribbean

Black mischief continues to bubble in the Caribbean, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson, U.S. Representative Charles Rangel (Democrat, New York), the American Bar Association, the Church World Service, and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights have demanded that the Bush administration grant temporary political asylum to the 14,000 Haitian refugees taken off small boats by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Haitians are fleeing what the administration identifies as the economic crisis resulting from the embargo imposed by the Organization of American States pending the reinstatement of the deposed president. Father Aristide, and what the Reverend Jackson perceives as "political persecution."

The federal judiciary had until recently blocked large-scale repatriation of the refugees and forced the U.S. government to investigate claims for political asylum on a case-by-case basis. To date, about two thousand Haitians have been granted the favor. "There's no question," Rangel has charged, "if they were not poor, if they were not black, that we would find some compassion to let these people in," while Jackson has emphasized what he sees as a want of consistency in Washington's policies. "If we can restore the emir to his throne in Kuwait," he insists, "we can restore democracy in our own hemisphere."

It is ironic that the United States, which is regarded by so much of the world and...

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