Letter The New York Times Refused to Print Responding to "Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos"

February 2, 2006
 
Washington, DC – In response to the three page, 7,745-word article, “Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos” that appeared in The News York Times, IRI submitted a 183-word Letter to the Editor.  The Times refused to print the letter as submitted and went as so far as to edit the substantive content of the letter.  Below we have provided both letters so you, the reader, can see for yourself.
 

First, in working with The New York Times to print the Letter to the Editor, IRI originally included the sentence, “Bogdanich managed to find support for some of Curran’s allegations amongst a small number of Haitians, all of whom spent years on former President Aristide’s payroll or are accused death squad leaders.”  In editing that sentence The Times stated, “The News Department disputes the accuracy of ‘support for some of Mr. Curran’s allegations among a small number of Haitians, all of whom spent years on former President Aristide’s payroll or are accused death squad leaders.’”  Accuracy notwithstanding, The New York Times does not have the right to edit the substantive content of an individual’s Letter to the Editor.

Second, IRI also included the sentence, “You also neglected to mention that Curran’s predecessors and successors in Haiti praised IRI’s programs; you even cropped Curran’s predecessor (appointed by President Clinton) out of a photo with IRI officials.”  The Times completely removed any mention of the cropped photo.

Third, IRI stated, “You neglected to mention that Colin Powell contradicted a basic tenet of your story when he told you he didn’t accept your view that he differed with his Assistant Secretaries over Haiti policy.”  However, The Times changed the sentence so drastically that it no longer conveys that sentiment.  The Times version reads, “Contrary to a suggestion in the article of two American policies in Haiti, there was only one policy.  Indeed, as you wrote: ‘Colin L. Powell, the secretary of state at the time, said that the American policy in Haiti was what Mr. Curran believed it to be, and that the United States stood by Mr. Aristide until the last few days of his presidency.’”

Letter The New York Times refused to run.
Letter as The New York Times edited it.
To the Editor:
 
In echoing a 2004 Mother Jones piece, your 1/29/06 article found support for some of disgruntled ex-Ambassador Dean Curran’s false charges only among a few Haitians, most of them former associates of President Aristide.  All have obvious motivation to impugn IRI’s work and none presented any evidence to back their accusations.  You also neglected to mention that Curran’s predecessors and successors in Haiti praised IRI’s programs; you even cropped Curran’s predecessor (appointed by President Clinton) out of a photo with IRI officials.  You neglected to mention that Colin Powell contradicted a basic tenet of your story when he told you he didn’t accept your view that he differed with his Assistant Secretaries over Haiti policy. 
 
IRI is not the reason Aristide had to flee Haiti.  If Haiti’s democracy had advanced under Aristide, no one would have been happier than IRI and our Haitian employees.  Instead, as then-Secretary Powell said, Aristide was “a man who was democratically elected, but he did not democratically govern, or govern well. And he has to bear a large burden, if not the major burden, for what has happened.” 
To the Editor:
 
"Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos" (front page, Jan. 29) found support for some of former Ambassador Brian Dean Curran's charges among only a few Haitians, most of them former associates of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. All have obvious motivation to impugn the International Republican Institute's work, and none presented any evidence to back their accusations. You did not mention that Mr. Curran's predecessors and successors in Haiti praised I.R.I.'s programs. Contrary to a suggestion in the article of two American policies in Haiti, there was only one policy. Indeed, as you wrote: "Colin L. Powell, the secretary of state at the time, said that the American policy in Haiti was what Mr. Curran believed it to be, and that the United States stood by Mr. Aristide until the last few days of his presidency.''
 
I.R.I. is not the reason Mr. Aristide had to flee Haiti. If Haiti's democracy had advanced under Mr. Aristide, no one would have been happier than I.R.I. and our Haitian employees.
Instead, as Secretary Powell said at the time, Mr. Aristide was "a man who was democratically elected, but he did not democratically govern, or govern well, and he has to bear a large burden, if not the major burden, for what has happened."
Lorne W. Craner
President
International Republican Institute
Lorne W. Craner
President
International Republican Institute

###