[R-G] re: Mother Jones, Haiti
afenton at riseup.net
afenton at riseup.net
Sat Oct 30 13:15:43 MDT 2004
> In early 2004, chaos overwhelmed Haiti. In January, a rebellion erupted
> against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former slum priest who had
> frequently angered the United States with his leftist rhetoric. Aristide
> had twice been elected, but he had alienated many Haitians with his
> increasing demagoguery and use of violence against the opposition.
It still seems (unless one means the self-defense units he was allegedly
encouraging near the time it became crystal clear that the US was
willing to kill thousands of Haitians to get him out) that this claim of
"violence against the opposition" needs to be substantiated, not merely
passed off as the common wisdom.
As far as I've been able to determine, this "violence against the
opposition" is little more than bullshit, much like the bullshit
accusations they try and use to destabilize Chavez. The fact that Aristide
disbanded the military in '94 was used against him in the ensuing
campaign. If there was violence committed against the putschists they
probably had it coming...point is that the violence under Aristide nowhere
near reaches the levels of post-February 29th. I believe under 100 deaths
occured in the 3 years prior to his ouster, contrasted against some 4,000
and counting in the 8 months since. Also, many of the muders that took
place in the period 1999-Feb 2004 can be attributed to the same people
that are today enjoying impunity, Guy Phillipe, Jean Tatoune, Butteur
Metayer, Winter Etienne, and countless others, including FRAPH, and
Macoutes. Prosper Avril, for example, who was finally extradited from the
U.S., one of the few international terrorists of the countless residing in
Miami who have actually been extradited; well, he was magically freed from
prison on March 1st along with approximately 3,000 others prisoners;
nobody knows his whereabouts...
> polls showed that Aristide remained relatively popular, so even
> experienced Haiti watchers were surprised when, in late February, armed
> militias marched on the nationâs capital while demonstrators shut down
> the streets. In the violence, some 100 Haitians were killed. At dawn on
> February 29, with the militias closing in, Aristide left Haiti on a U.S.
> government plane.
> But did the rebellion really spring from nowhere? Maybe not. Several
> leaders of the demonstrations -- some of whom also had links to the armed
> rebels -- had been getting organizational help and training from a U.S.
> government-financed organization. The group, the International Republican
> Institute (IRI), is supposed to focus on nonpartisan, grassroots
> democratization efforts overseas. But in Haiti and other countries, such
> as Venezuela and Cambodia, the institute -- which, though not formally
> affiliated with the GOP, is run by prominent Republicans and staffed by
> party insiders -- has increasingly sided with groups seeking the overthrow
> of elected but flawed leaders who are disliked in Washington.
This sounds like the NED. What about the weapons? This is the real
kicker; a country with no military *could* seem like a sitting duck.
The information on the weapons has not been confirmed, though what has
been confirmed is that going back to 2000 the Army of the Dominican
Republic with the complicity of the US Embassy, incorporated several
former Haitian military, including Guy Philippe, into their ranks,
Philippe and others were trained, armed, paid, eventually with the direct
involvement of the International Republican Institute, affiliate of the
NED, and headed by Senator John McCain. Obviously the Mother Jones
analysis above is quite weak...
> When the uprising against Aristide began in late 2003, the White House did
> little to stop it. In February 2004, as the militias were marching on
> Port-au-Prince, President Bush issued a statement blaming Aristide for the
That's our first clue.
I'd say the first clue is the fallacy that the "uprising" began in 2003.
The first serious coup attempt was in October 2000, a few weeks before the
Presidential elections. Guy Philippe was implicated but fled to the DR,
one of several times that he would do this, and was given refuge,
immunity...The press, including, evidently, Mother Jones, has blotted this
crucially important context out of its collective memory...
In late February, the administration urged Aristide to leave
> Haiti, and on February 29 he was flown into exile in the Central African
> Republic on a U.S. plane dispatched by the Pentagon. Today, conservative
> politicians and the military are reinstalling themselves in power, Haiti
> experts report; the countryâs infamous intelligence services are being
> re-created, and violence against Aristide supporters is commonplace.
Kidnapping is something we can't merely rename "flown into exile".
We can if we decide to deny that there was a 4 year destabilization
campaign against Aristide, ala Allende, with subsequent circumstances
reflecting those of Juan Bosch in the Dominican, 1965. Reporting on the
unilateral U.S. invasion of the DR in 1965, the international (and
Canadian, where the invasion was front page news for several days...)
"forgot" that it was the CIA/Pentagon under Kennedy who had overseen the
ouster of Bosch in '63. Paul Martin Senior and Lester Pearson effectively
supported Johnson's invasion which amounted to the repression of the
majority political party in the DR, a targeting very similar to what we
are seeing in Haiti presently...
> Haiti is not unique. In Venezuela, Cambodia, and other nations,
> IRIâunlike other government-funded democratization groupsâhas
> increasingly focused on training opposition parties intent on toppling
> elected governments. The institute is one of several democracy-promotion
> groups financed by USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED);
> others include the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the AFL-CIOâs
> international wing.
This reminds me more of Otpor in Yugoslavia, or the "opposition" in
Belarus right now... The AFL-CIO is rightly listed, but do they have an
actual hand in the Haiti debacle?
I'm not sure as yet, but it wouldn't surprise me, especially given the
roles played by seemingly benevolent Canadian groups such as Rights and
Democracy and Development and Peace, among others...
Under their bylaws, the groups are supposed to work
> with actors across the political spectrum in democracies. In Haiti, for
> example, NDI, which is controlled by Democrats, worked with members of
> Aristideâs party as well as opposition parties, and was lauded for its
> grassroots efforts.
Mother Jones feels the need to side swipe a little bit, but that can be
forgiven, should they stick to the truth. Why then do we not speak of
the on-the-ground actions of the occupation (beyond phrases like
"violence against Aristide supporters is common place")?
Overall, in my view a poor analysis based on what Macdonald has sniped out
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