02 February, 2010

Haiti, the REFERENCE story of USA crimes of capital

USA crimes against humanity in Haiti

With all the talk of America taking charge of Haiti for a while, it would be
prudent for us to take a step back and review the history of our various
interventions in Haiti, and the outcomes of those efforts.

For there is another kind of aid that the people of Haiti need that isn.t
being talked about. They need us to understand their real history, their
culture and their potential.

They need us to stop patronizing them and interfering with their progress so
they can realize the freedom they are still seeking two centuries after
officially casting off the shackles of slavery. [For more on that era, see
Consortiumnews.com.s .Haiti and America.s Historic Debt..]

If there.s one lesson we.ve had to learn in Haiti over and over, it.s that
the solutions to Haiti.s problems can never be imposed from the outside.
They must be allowed to grow from within.

And we have to let those solutions flourish, instead of trying to shape them
to the liking of our business class, as we have repeatedly attempted to do,
with disastrous effect.

The Military Occupation

In 1915, the United States began a nearly 20-year military occupation of
Haiti, ostensibly to guarantee the country.s substantial debt repayments to
American and other foreign lenders. But historian Hans Schmidt, among
others, questioned this motive, as he found that Haiti.s record of repayment
had been .exemplary. compared with that of other Latin American countries.

The larger reason for the occupation, according to Schmidt and others, was
to keep European financial interests (German and French in particular) from
economically colonizing Haiti at a time when America, having recently
completed the Panama Canal, was hoping to expand its own sphere of influence
in the Caribbean.

And potential investors in Haiti, such as the United Fruit Company (whose
name is familiar to anyone who has studied the CIA.s coup in Guatemala),
weren.t going to move in unless the U.S. took over the government and
brought stability.

To be fair, it.s not like America alone ruined the place. Haiti was a mess
when the U.S. forces got there. Of the 11 presidents who had held office in
Haiti from 1888 to 1915, only one had apparently died a natural death, and
none had served their full term. Seven presidents were killed or overthrown
in 1911 alone.

And from 1843 to 1915, Haiti had been through, according to Robert and Nancy
Heinl in their book Written in Blood, .at least 102 civil wars, revolutions,
insurrections. or as one commentator called it, a series of .bloody
operettas..

Years of various colonization attempts had divided Haiti into an economic
and cultural caste system that was in part racially based. The whites and
lighter-skinned people often held the money and position; the darker the
skin, the lower down the economic totem pole one was likely to be.

Efforts to spread modern technology among the peasant population fell flat,
and working all day for someone else.s profit wasn.t much of an incentive
for people who had few needs and were accustomed to scarcity.

In addition, many Americans who came to Haiti looked down on the native
people, often due to racial prejudice. The Americans typically didn.t
recognize the value of the natives. knowledge, and believed that America
knew what was best for Haiti.

One notable exception was Major Smedley Butler, who noted that .The Haitian
people are divided into two classes; one class wears shoes and the other
does not. The class that wears shoes is about one percent. .

.Ninety-nine percent of the people of Haiti are the most kindly, generous,
hospitable, pleasure-loving people I have ever known. They would not hurt
anybody [unless incited by the shoe-wearers; then] they are capable of the
most horrible atrocities..

.Those that wore shoes I took as a joke,. Butler added. .Without a sense of
humor, you could not live in Haiti among these people, among the shoe
class..

Ignorance and Arrogance

You.d think that if you wanted to help a people become a prospering
democracy that the first thing you.d offer them would be an education. But
over 10 years into the U.S. occupation, 95 percent of the Haitian population
remained illiterate.

The one educational effort the U.S. put forward was the Service Technique, a
training program in agricultural and industrial technology. The problem with
that, as Schmidt noted, was that the elite .traditionally held that manual
labor was demeaning, while the peasants were enmeshed in subsistence farming
and were reluctant to risk an already tenuous existence in outlandish
experiments that were fundamental to American technological progress..

In addition, American arrogance even prevented an exchange of ideas that
could have benefited American businesses. For example, the Haitians had
developed a much more efficient way of farming cotton than the industrial
farming methods employed by the Americans. But Americans pushed their own
technology instead.

Not surprisingly, the Americans failed to win many converts.

What little profit Haiti did make, financially, was used to pay off American
bankers, sometimes in advance of the payment schedule. Funding education and
public projects -- the very projects the loans had been provided for -- were
not the priorities.

Haitian laborers were paid pennies an hour to work 12-hour days. Raising
wages was discouraged for fear it might cause capital to seek a more
favorable climate.

In 1925 and 1926, in an attempt to make the country more attractive to
farming interests such as United Fruit, the Marines took aerial photographs
of the land in the hopes of creating a cadastral survey showing actual
boundaries of property.

But the photographs were destroyed in a fire, and American officials for the
large part refused to pressure the masses into selling their tiny,
title-less but generations-held property to American businesses.

When the market crash in 1929 rippled around the world, Haiti.s productive
coffee farms lost their markets, and the people returned to
subsistence-level farming. Students began striking to protest the American
occupation, and soon others joined in a general strike.

An early attempt at .shock and awe. failed as miserably in Haiti as it did
in Iraq. The Marines dropped bombs in a harbor where a particularly
aggressive group of protesting Haitians had gathered. But instead of cowing
them, the demonstration seemed to instigate them further. The Marines had to
fire on the group to disperse them.

Ultimately, the depression turned the tide of opinion in Haiti against its
American occupiers, increasingly seen as oppressors.

By 1932, tensions had come to a head, and President Hoover began taking
steps to end the occupation. President Roosevelt completed the action in
1934.

Evaluating the Effort

What did the United States leave the Haitians with in return for the
occupation? The U.S. did bring them some years of relative stability, law
and order. The U.S. built some hospitals and rural health clinics as well as
some roads and bridges and airstrips.

But for all that, as a contemporary observer noted, .the Haitian people are,
today, little better fitted for self-government than they were in 1915..

U.S. military forces also killed thousands of Haitians in efforts to achieve
security.

The aforementioned Major Butler became quite outspoken about the role he.d
been forced to play. .I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the
National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of
half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I
helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown
Brothers in 1902-1912.

.Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he
could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three
continents."

Did the U.S. learn from this failed attempt at nation building? No. The U.S.
just kept intervening, with repeatedly disastrous results.

Cut to 1957. Whatever modernization was achieved from the U.S. occupation
was already a distant memory. Bridges and roads had fallen into disrepair.
The same drive that in 1934 took two hours to complete by 1957 took nine
hours by jeep (in good weather) due to unpaved potholes and the island.s
.wrinkled paper. topology.

And that was just one road.

Imagine a country without a telephone system, with failing bridges, ports
with crumbling docks, patients lying ill on the floor of dirty hospitals,
political institutions in shambles or even nonexistent. Imagine what you.re
seeing now, post-earthquake, as the everyday state of things.

.President for Life.

Enter François Duvalier, a Haitian man of medicine who became known as .Papa
Doc.. He was an educated man, not a soldier. He was a black man who wore
suits and ties. He looked like the kind of conservative figure American
business interests could support.

But Duvalier was also an adept of Voodoo. He studied Machiavelli. He
mastered his country.s history, and learned what hadn.t worked for his
predecessors, and took steps to avoid their mistakes.

Despite the New York Times. initial portrait of him as .mild-mannered
doctor,. Duvalier, upon winning the presidency in 1957, became a ruthless,
corrupt dictator.

Duvalier knew he needed to gain control over the military, since most of the
previous coups against Haitian leaders had come from that source. He built
his own private strike force, the Tonton Macoutes, and got rid of opposition
leaders in the military.

He brought back the death penalty, which had been abolished for years.
Private radio transmitters were confiscated. Journalists were followed,
harassed, and in some cases beaten into silence. He quickly turned Haiti
into a police state, ruling by terror and brute force.

In 1958, Duvalier hired a U.S. consulting firm to review his government and
offer suggestions for improving its efficiency. And then he ignored their
advice. He had already learned that the easiest way to get money from the
U.S. was simply to raise the threat of communists in his country.

In 1961, Duvalier ran a slate of candidates for top government positions
under his own name, and when they were .elected. (by 1.3 million people out
of 1 million eligible voters), baldly claimed that he himself had been
re-elected to a second term, as his name had been at the top of the ballot.

Second terms were expressly forbidden by the Haitian constitution. But since
Duvalier held the military in tow, no one dared press that point. The U.S.,
however, refused to recognize the legitimacy of his claim, and President
Kennedy promptly recalled the American ambassador in Port-au-Prince.

When Duvalier had first come to power under the Eisenhower administration,
the U.S. had given him aid money to help get him off to a good start. But
after the sham of an election in 1961 and additional atrocities that
followed, President Kennedy slammed the brakes on American aid and by August
1962 began closing out operations.

The 70-person AID mission was reduced to eight people, who remained to
administer a malaria-prevention program and to supervise the distribution of
surplus food. U.S. military assistance programs were cancelled.

(Duvalier later celebrated when President Kennedy was assassinated, and sent
an emissary to gather some air from Kennedy.s grave site, among other items,
so he could attempt, through Voodoo, to capture Kennedy.s .soul. and harness
it for his own purposes.)

In 1962, Duvalier.s Foreign Minister threatened to block an Organization of
American States (OAS) vote unless the U.S. gave him aid money. An angry Dean
Rusk agreed, causing desk officers to joke that Dean.s expense account for
the day read, .Breakfast: $2.25. Lunch with Haitian Foreign Minister:
$2,800,000.00..

American Backing

On his way to power, Duvalier had quietly suggested to some that he had
American backing.

Indeed, Clemard Joseph Charles, an American with a variety of financial
ties, became .banker and bagman. for Duvalier, paying off military officers
to support Duvalier.s ascent to power. Charles was the president of the
Banque Commerciale d.Haiti.

According to various witnesses interviewed by the House Select Committee on
Assassinations (HSCA) in the late 1970s, Charles received funding from
businessmen in Texas and had numerous CIA ties. Charles. work included
finding ways to join American capital with Haitian development projects. He
also managed to obtain two American fighter jets for Duvalier.

In May of 1963, Sam Kail, an army intelligence officer working closely with
the CIA.s Miami station, thought Duvalier might be of use to the CIA in
their efforts to remove Castro from power.

(Oddly enough, Walt Elder, CIA Director John McCone.s assistant, told the
Church Committee that the CIA was arming rebels in the hopes that they would
overthrow Duvalier. A CIA document notes Duvalier had become intractable and
that overthrowing him would help the CIA.s image, which was regarded in
Latin America as primarily propping up repressive regimes.)

Kail asked Dorothe Matlack, who served as the Assistant Director of the
Office of Intelligence in the Army as well as a liaison to the CIA, if she
would see Clemard Charles in Washington, D.C., during Charles. upcoming
trip.

Matlack invited Charles to speak with her and CIA officer Tony Czaikowski,
whom she introduced to Charles as a Georgetown professor. Charles, for his
part, brought George de Mohrenschildt and de Mohrenschildt.s wife to the
meeting.

George de Mohrenschildt was a White Russian who had befriended that
.communist. Lee Harvey Oswald at the request of J. Walter Moore, a CIA
officer in Dallas.

According to Edward J. Epstein, who interviewed de Mohrenschildt, Moore
asked de Mohrenschildt to meet with Oswald, as Oswald had just returned from
Minsk and Moore knew de Mohrenschildt had grown up in that area.

De Mohrenschildt responded that, while he knew there could be no strict quid
pro quo, he.d appreciate some help from the U.S. Embassy to aid in an oil
exploration deal he was trying to accomplish with Duvalier.

Matlack told the HSCA that Charles seemed .frantic and frightened. as he
urged Matlack to get the U.S. Marines to overthrow Duvalier. (Czaikowski
suggested in his notes of this meeting that a cousin of Charles might
eventually succeed Duvalier. Elsewhere, Charles and de Mohrenschildt
suggested Charles himself as a potential candidate. In 1967, Duvalier
imprisoned Charles.)

Matlack was unnerved by the way de Mohrenschildt seemed to .dominate.
Charles. Matlack wondered what the true nature of their relationship was,
and didn.t believe the explanation they gave her -- that they were
developing a jute business together in Haiti.

.I knew the Texan wasn.t there to sell hemp,. Matlack told the HSCA.

Matlack was so disturbed by de Mohrenschildt.s behavior that she notified
the FBI liaison, about it. And she wasn.t the only one disturbed by de
Mohrenschildt.s behavior.

Another witness told the HSCA that de Mohrenschildt used to follow people in
his car, that he appeared to have .some intelligence connections,. and that
a mutual acquaintance who swam in intelligence circles said some $200,000
had been deposited in de Mohrenschildt.s Haitian bank account (though not
the one at Charles. bank) shortly after the Kennedy assassination.

The money was later paid out, but the acquaintance wasn.t sure to whom.

George McMillan, who wrote a book that claimed James Earl Ray killed Martin
Luther King (a finding a jury did not uphold in a civil trial in 1999), and
who was married to Priscilla Johnson McMillan (who wrote a book about Oswald
and whose CIA file listed her as a .witting collaborator.), wrote in the
Washington Post that he had once stayed with de Mohrenschildt and his wife
in Haiti at their home in Port-au-Prince.

McMillan noted the de Mohrenschildt.s lived, .not insignificantly, I
suppose, within the compound where Papa Doc Duvalier then lived. We had to
pass through heavily guarded gates as we came and went..

Why was de Mohrenschildt so close to Duvalier? Was he keeping tabs on the
dictator for the CIA? Or was he keeping tabs on the CIA for Duvalier?
Whatever the truth, this 1964 State Department document sadly sums up
America.s priorities at the time when it came to Haiti:

.United States interests range from the need to protect American citizens
and property interests to ensuring that Haiti votes on the merit of
questions of importance to the United States and the free world in
international organizations and forums. The United States also has an
abiding interest in the social and economic welfare of the Haitian people..
[Emphasis added.]

In June 1964, Duvalier rewrote his country.s constitution so that it
included a provision by which he could be named .President for Life,. and
then had his hand-picked legislators .vote. to make him so. He now
officially met anyone.s definition of a dictator, in full bloom.

Throughout both Duvaliers. rule . .Papa Doc. and his son who was called
.Baby Doc. . the U.S. sent selected Haitian officials to the infamous School
of the Americas, where they were trained in torture techniques and other
methods of oppression. The graduates were then returned to the Haitian
military and civilian police forces, giving Americans increasing control
over the military during the Duvaliers. regimes.

.Papa Doc. Duvalier.s shrewd manipulations continued even after his death.
He had made provisions for his son to rule in the event of his passing.
Observers didn.t think the son, Jean-Claude .Baby Doc. Duvalier, had the
grit to run the country.

But the son managed to hold the presidency for 15 years after his father.s
death before a coalition of forces that included the U.S. ousted him due to
the cumulative horrors perpetrated under the family.s rule and the
disastrous economic mess they had created.

In 1981, Hurricane Allen ripped up the Haitian countryside as well as the
usually untouched Port-au-Prince at a time when the Haitians were already in
economic despair. Unable to vote in any meaningful way at home, many
Haitians started voting with their feet, and left Haiti en masse to seek
refuge in America.

No Haitians Allowed

But unlike the Cubans who fled their homeland, Haitians were not welcomed in
the U.S. with open arms.

The new administration under Ronald Reagan claimed there was no racial bias,
that the Cubans were political refugees whereas the Haitians were merely
economic refugees. (It probably helped that the Cubans were fleeing a
leftist government, while the Haitians were fleeing a right-wing one.)

When bevies of volunteer lawyers rushed to defend the incoming poor from
Haiti, the Reagan administration, with Jean-Claude.s acquiescence, stationed
a U.S. Coast Guard ship off the coast to head off refugees before they got
to U.S. shores.

As part of this agreement, U.S. aid money to Haiti increased. In addition, a
former World Bank official named Marc Bazin, whom the U.S. favored, was
installed as the new finance minister.

But conditions in Haiti continued to worsen. Arable land was declining due
to dramatic deforestation. Diseases still ravaged the island, including now
AIDS. Literacy rates continued to be obscenely low, and corruption was as
rampant as ever. And as usual, to control the populace, violence was too
often employed.

By 1986, the citizens were in full revolt. Fearing widespread bloodshed, and
urged out by the United States, Jean-Claude departed the country. Anything
and anyone related to the Duvaliers and other oppressors became a subject of
attack.

The Duvaliers sent Papa Doc.s coffin to France so the masses couldn.t get to
it. Streets were renamed back to their original Haitian names. A statue of
Columbus was toppled.

While Jean-Claude denied that the U.S. forced him out, he accepted a flight
on a U.S. cargo plane to leave the country for France. (France had only
offered him temporary asylum, but no other country would take him.)

Another series of revolving door leaders would temporarily preside over the
country.

The Haitians have a saying in their native créole language: Piti, piti, wazo
fe nich li. .Little by little, the bird builds its nest..

Freed of the powerful grip of the Duvaliers in 1986, and despite a
dysfunctional system, little by little, the Haitians undertook the difficult
work of rebuilding their nation into a more democratic place from within.

They formed trade unions, created independent radio stations, initiated
literacy programs, and built silos to store their grain so they could wait
for better prices before selling their crops.

Meanwhile, a quiet, small Haitian man who spoke eight languages and who had
declared capitalism a .mortal sin. was espousing a brand of liberation
theology too radical for the Catholic Church that had ordained him.

In 1988, the Catholic Church expelled Jean Bertrand Aristide for preaching
class warfare in a move that, ironically, made him far more powerful.

Undaunted, Aristide, called affectionately by the diminutive .Titide,.
opened a medical clinic, ran a children.s shelter, and continued to speak to
the people.

As Haiti headed into its first internationally supervised election, the U.S.
was banking on Marc Bazin, now their chosen candidate for president. But the
majority of the Haitians saw Bazin as .America.s Man. and refused to support
him.

The strongest leftist candidate, however, was considered lackluster, and the
other candidates were too little known to win.

On Oct. 16, 1990, just two months before the elections were to be held,
Aristide entered the race. He called his movement and its followers the
Lavalas, a créole word for torrents of water that rushed down gullies,
sweeping away everything in their path. He summed up his platform in three
words: .participation, transparency, justice..

Predictably, the U.S. government, then headed by President George H. W.
Bush, was disconcerted. One businessman probably summed up a lot of
businessmen.s thoughts when he called Aristide .a cross between Fidel and
the Ayatollah..

Just before the election, Ambassador Andrew Young, at the request (he said)
of former President Jimmy Carter, tried to persuade Aristide to sign a
letter accepting Bazin as president if Bazin should win, in the hopes of
forestalling a violent reaction from Aristide.s followers. William Blum, in
his book Killing Hope, noted the Bush White House likely had a hand in this
as well.

Hope, Then Tragedy

On Dec. 16, 1990, in the country.s first internationally supervised
election, Aristide won with over two-thirds of the vote, proving the Lavalas
worthy of their name. The margin also gave him the largest majority of any
democratically elected leader in the Western Hemisphere.

But in a sad parallel to some recent U.S. elections, when the time came to
vote for the legislature and other offices, turnout was light. An
opposition-dominated legislature then thwarted much of the legislation that
Aristide proposed.

Still, Aristide upset the status quo. He initiated .programs in literacy,
public health, and agrarian reform,. Blum wrote. Aristide also sought to
increase the minimum wage; he asked for a freeze on the prices of basic
necessities; and he created a public works program to generate jobs.

Aristide also criticized the business class, accusing some of the Haitian
elite of corruption. He also sent a youth group from Haiti on a friendly
visit to Haiti.s neighbor to the west, Castro.s Cuba.

Aristide, who had survived assassination attempts in the past, created a
private force that he could trust. He further antagonized the military by
making temporary appointments to key positions rather than permanent ones.
He hoped this would encourage good behavior, but instead it rankled those
stuck in tenuous situations.

But perhaps Aristide.s greatest affront to the military was to crack down on
smuggling and drug-running, which were rampant in Haiti. According to Robert
and Nancy Heinl in their book Written in Blood, Aristide.s actions .were
putting a dent in many officers. life styles..

Janus-faced America

Any student of real history can guess what happened next. The military
overthrew Aristide a short nine months into his five-year presidential term.

And as Blum notes, while there is no direct evidence that the CIA or the
United States supported the coup, given the CIA.s role in training and
supporting the Haitian military, the coup could hardly have come as a
surprise.

Bob Shacochis supports Blum.s suspicions in his book The Immaculate
Invasion, where he wrote that President George H.W. Bush .swiftly announced
that the coup would not stand, then just as quickly receded into embarrassed
silence when informed by his staff that his own crew in Port-au-Prince not
only had foreknowledge of the putsch but had allowed it to advance without a
word..

Shacochis decried how America had been essentially .Janus-faced. toward
Haiti due to a the split between those in the U.S. willing to support a true
democracy, no matter how messy, and those whose knee-jerk reaction was to
decry the leftist president, despite the fact that .the Haitians
democratically chose Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the only Haitian president who
ever attempted to lead his people out of darkness; the only Haitian chief of
state who seemed to display an ideology beyond self..

Initially, only the Vatican recognized the new government. The United
Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) and U.S. still
supported Aristide. An embargo on oil and weapons was ordered, if not fully
supported.

Once again, the desperate Haitians, suffering under yet another military
regime, took to their boats and headed for Americas shores. The U.S. created
a temporary camp at the Guantanamo base in Cuba to house some of the
intercepted refugees. But it was clear from the start this solution would
not hold.

Meanwhile, the gap between the rich elites and the poor peasants in Haiti
bordered on the obscene.

As the Heinls. described, .To provide additional generating capacity at
Péligre [a hydro-electric project], water was being diverted ., further
crippling agriculture, but in Pétionville the elite dined well off French
wines and Norwegian salmon..

The rich eschewed the unreliable public utilities and turned to private
generators. And while the elite .could not avoid traveling on the ruined
roads whose upkeep they refused to pay taxes for,. they bought four-wheel
drive vehicles to navigate the rocky terrain instead -- an option not
available to the masses, the Heinls noted.

The U.N. reluctantly began talking of the need for a full-scale military
invasion to return Aristide to power. By this time, U.S. voters had ditched
Bush Sr. in favor of Bill Clinton, a man who, on the face of it, seemed more
sympathetic to the restoration of democracy in Haiti, despite the fact that
quickly after the election, he vowed to continue Bush.s Haitian
anti-immigration policies.

As President Clinton sought an agreement between Haitian leaders and the
U.N. to restore Aristide for the remaining portion of his presidential term,
a paid CIA informer named Emmanuel Constant was working with FRAPH, a
paramilitary organization -- a death squad, essentially . he had formed in
Haiti, to prevent Aristide.s return and to terrorize the ousted president.s
former supporters.

Constant led an anti-American demonstration at the dock in Port-au-Prince
when Clinton dispatched the first U.S. troops seeking to facilitate
Aristide.s reinstatement. In the face of Constant.s demonstration, the
administration lost its nerve, and the American troops turned back.

Trashing Aristide

At this point, an all-out effort was launched domestically in the U.S. by
right-wing elements to keep President Clinton from authorizing another
landing. Aristide was accused of inciting his followers to violence and of
being mentally deranged.

A serious, if dubious, charge was made in an effort to turn the liberals in
Congress against Aristide. A video was surfaced ostensibly showing Aristide
urging his supporters to .necklace. opponents, i.e., to put a burning tire
around their necks. But what did Aristide really say?

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, entered the following translation into the record,
but added the caveat that the only tape he had seen had been obviously
edited, so he was not certain this was fully representative of what Aristide
had said. The State Department.s translation of the incendiary section read
as follows:

.You are watching all macoute activities throughout the country. We are
watching and praying. We are watching and praying. If we catch one, do not
fail to give him what he deserves. What a nice tool! What a nice instrument!
[loud cheers from crowd] What a nice device! [crowd cheers] It is a pretty
one. It is elegant, attractive, splendorous, graceful, and dazzling. It
smells good. Wherever you go, you feel like smelling it. [crowd cheers] It
is provided for by the Constitution, which bans macoutes from the political
scene..

Combined with the spliced in shots of burning tires, this passage clearly
sounded like Aristide was urging people to punish the macoutes in a violent
way. But that was out of character with other parts of the speech, where he
said:

.Your tool is in your hands. Your instrument is in your hands. Your
Constitution is in your hand. Do not fail to give him what he deserves.
[loud cheers from crowd]. That device is in your hands. Your trowel is in
your hands. The bugle is in your hands. The Constitution is in your hands.
Do not fail to give him what he deserves..

In that section, clearly the law was the weapon Aristide was urging his
supporters to employ.

Later, an Internet poster who claimed to be present during this speech
vigorously denied Aristide had approved of necklacing:

.I was present at that famous speech when Aristide returned from the USA.
The speech was taped and cut and spliced to make it appear that Aristide
condoned...even encouraged necklacing; such *was not* the case. Aristide
said that he understood peoples' desire to necklace, but he emphasized that
it was positively immoral.

.He said words to this effect: I understand your desire to smell their
burning flesh; but that is not the way of Jesus. We will win without
violence; we will overcome. The anti-Aristide people spliced the tape to
make it come out this way: I desire to smell their burning flesh. We will
win with violence; we will overcome!.

CIA Report

That same day that Harkin entered the text into the record, Sen. Jesse
Helms, R-North Carolina, had invited longtime CIA analyst Brian Latell to
Capitol Hill to talk about the agency.s report on Aristide.s psychological
state.

The report claimed that Aristide was a psychopath, had been treated for
depression in a Canadian hospital, and was taking ongoing medication. In
other words, he was too unstable to be returned to Haiti.

The problem was, none of that was true.

A Miami Herald investigation found that the hospital the CIA named had no
record that Aristide had ever been treated there. Three other facilities in
Montreal were investigated, but not one of them had ever treated Aristide.

Aristide had been hospitalized for hepatitis in his teens, but had never
been to a hospital for any reason thereafter, and was not taking any
medication. No evidence ever surfaced to support Latell.s claims.

Latell also told Congress how peaceful Haiti was under their man, former
World Bank executive Marc Bazin, who had been appointed Prime Minister by
the people who overthrew Aristide.

But Latell.s claim that there was no systematic or frequent violence against
civilians lay in stark contrast to the record observed by human rights
groups and others.

.Obviously, we have visited two different countries,. Amnesty
International.s program officer for the region said. .That anyone could go
to Haiti at that time and not observe repression by the military is absurd..

Indeed, in Aristide.s absence, FRAPH had gone from heinous to horrific,
forcing new members to watch existing members rape and kill people. During
the initiation process, the members were forced to participate in the raping
and killing.

Why would the CIA want to defend these murders over the leftist Aristide?
According to the right-wing Washington Times, intelligence analysts were
particularly concerned about Aristide.s opposition to privatizing some
industry in Haiti.

And as for that longstanding canard that the CIA only follows orders from
the President and never makes policy, the Washington Times reported on Nov.
28, 1995, that .The CIA.s Directorate of Operations . successfully opposed
efforts by the White House to take covert action to unseat Haiti.s military
leaders to pave the way for restoring Mr. Aristide to office, even though he
had been elected in a popular vote in 1990, the sources said. They said such
action was deemed not suitable..

Turning to the Military

President Clinton, unable to persuade the CIA to do his bidding, turned to
the military instead; there, at least, he was still recognized as Commander
in Chief.

In the wake of the failed landing in 1993 that was intended to reinstitute
Aristide, as the violence in Haiti perpetrated by the ruling military junta
against its citizens increased, even the Army War College, hardly a liberal
outpost, issued a 60-page report decrying America.s timidity in this
situation.

Eventually, the trio of former President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Sam Nunn and
retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell were able to construct
an arrangement that would return Aristide to power.

But by then, Aristide had only a year left in his term to serve, and by
then, the problems he faced were even greater than the ones he had started
with.

In addition, the agreement that brought Aristide back included a promise not
to prosecute the coup leaders for their crimes. Forgiveness and
reconciliation were the watchwords of the new Aristide administration.
Justice was never on the menu.

Still, the public was so enthralled with Aristide that, after he stepped
aside and let his hand-appointed prime minister run the country for several
years, they voted him enthusiastically back into the presidency in the
elections of 2000. This time he managed to serve three full years before
being again ousted in a coup.

Aristide.s problems were compounded by the debacle in Florida that put
George W. Bush in the White House. The new Bush administration went after
leftists in the hemisphere with a vengeance.

Regarding Haiti, the Bush administration blocked loans that had been
approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). These loans were
targeted for projects that would provide health, education, roadwork and
clean drinking water.

The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation was so outraged by this blatant
obstructionism that it sued the IDB in U.S. District Court in Washington,
D.C. The executive director of the foundation, Todd Howland, railed, .There
have been actual deaths linked to the fact that the IDB never disbursed
these loans..

And to add insult to injury, the Haitian government had already paid $5
million in interest for the loan money it wasn.t receiving.

Annoying the French

Aristide made enemies in France as well when he tried to collect on a
200-year-old debt, dating back to when the Haitians won independence from
France in a devastating war in which African slaves overthrew their
slaveowners.

France remained covetous toward its former colony and demanded the
equivalent of $21 billion in reparations. France, which had benefited from
Haiti.s slave labor for many years, threatened to invade the country again
if the ex-slaves did not pay off their former masters, and Haiti agreed.

In 2003, Aristide convened a four-day international conference to construct
a plan to get that money back. France.s response was to ask Aristide to step
down.

But the action that may have most directly precipitated Aristide.s final
ouster might have been the one Aristide performed on Feb. 7, 2003: he
doubled the country.s minimum wage. He raised it from $1 a day to $2.

This action was opposed by an organization of wealthy business leaders
called Group 184, led by an American businessman named Andy Apaid, who ran a
garment factory in Port-au-Prince. Apaid and Group 184 pressed constantly
for Aristide.s removal.

Evidently, the business interests just couldn.t let a liberal leader do
right by his people. Not at their expense. As Mark Weisbrot opined in The
Nation (among other publications):

.The fix was in: The U.S. Agency for International Development and the
International Republican Institute (the international arm of the Republican
Party) had spent tens of millions of dollars to create and organize an
opposition -- however small in numbers -- and to make Haiti under Aristide
ungovernable.

.The whole scenario was strikingly similar to the series of events that led
to the coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in April 2002. The same
U.S. organizations were involved, and the opposition -- as in Venezuela --
controlled and used the major media as a tool for destabilization.

.And in both cases the coup leaders, joined by Washington, announced to the
world that the elected president had .voluntarily resigned. -- which later
turned out to be false..

And the 2004 coup against Aristide looked familiar to another infamous plot.
It reeked of the operation that removed Jacobo Arbenz from power in
Guatemala in 1954. In both cases, word of growing military opposition,
headed toward the capital, was trumpeted daily in the media.

In both cases, the powers of that coming military opposition were grossly
exaggerated. In both cases, had Arbenz or Aristide chosen to fight, they
would likely have been able to hold their ground against the rag-tag forces
that didn.t match the hype. But in both cases, neither leader knew this at
the time.

Two Faces

Officially, of course, America pronounced that no one who overthrew the
democratically elected leader of Haiti in a coup would be recognized as
legitimate. But few in Haiti trusted those pronouncements.

As friends of Aristide, African-American activist Randall Robinson and his
wife Hazel received a warning of a coming coup, which Robinson detailed in
An Unbroken Agony.

On Feb. 28, 2004, radio talk show host Tavis Smiley called Robinson.s wife
Hazel. Smiley was supposed to interview Aristide for his program the
following day.

But Smiley told Hazel that he had heard from former Democratic Rep. Ron
Dellums that Colin Powell had told Dellums that Guy Philippe (a former
Haitian police chief who had trained with the U.S. Special Forces in Ecuador
in the early 1990s) was leading a team to Port-au-Prince to kill Aristide
and that the Bush administration was going to do nothing to prevent it.

Philippe had been openly boasting that on his birthday, Feb. 29, he would
come to Port-au-Prince and kill the president.

Separately, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, called Hazel to offer help
finding Aristide safe passage out of the country.

Hazel passed all this information along to Mrs. Aristide, who said thanks
but no thanks, the president would not leave until he served out his full
term.

Fearing Aristide and his wife might be killed, Hazel called Dellums and
urged him to talk to the media, but her suggestion was met with silence.

Robinson called Peter Jennings and a couple of others in the media
suggesting they talk to Dellums. All three called him back later to say
Dellums declined to confirm the information. Someone had clearly set someone
up. But who?

Robinson came to believe that Colin Powell had given Dellums bad information
(that Phillipe was coming to attack, when in fact he was spotted leading his
team in the opposite direction just days earlier).

Dellums, however, apparently believed the information, but wasn.t willing to
jeopardize his relationship with Powell by confirming it, even though Powell
appears to have deliberately leaked false information to Dellums in the hope
that he would disclose it to frighten Aristide out of the country.

But that plan failed. So a different tack was taken.

Abdication or Abduction?

On Feb. 29, Hazel got a call from another Democratic Congresswoman from
California: Maxine Waters, who said CNN was reporting that the Aristides had
fled the country the night before. Hazel didn.t believe it, given the calm
manner in which Mrs. Aristide had responded the day before.

In addition, Hazel was incensed. .Did you see what the networks did?. Hazel
asked Waters. The networks had used old footage of Aristide getting on a
commercial plane, using file video to give the impression of a man
voluntarily leaving his country.

The next morning, Robinson received a call from Aristide, who told him, over
a fragile line, .They brought us to the Central African Republic,. and,
.Tell them for us it was a coup. ..

And then the line went dead.

Robinson later obtained a detailed statement from Frantz Gabriel, the
president.s helicopter pilot, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army, of how
Aristide was essentially kidnapped around 4:00 a.m. at gunpoint and removed
from the presidential palace in Gabriel.s presence.

My first blog post ever at my Real History Blog was about this event. As I
wrote at the time:

.I used to have the time to publish essays at my Real History Archives site,
but with events moving so quickly, I realized what I really needed was a
blog to keep up with the (dis)information being spewed at us daily.

.Today was a classic case in point. I had to get a blog up when I saw what
was being done to the Aristide coup story. A typical headline told us that
Aristide has stepped down from ruling Haiti to avoid bloodshed.

.But read a few more stories and you'll see that he said he was abducted,
that this was a coup helped along by the US Government. Bush (I refuse to
call an unelected man .President.) stated that Aristide resigned. But around
the world, other voices have reason to doubt. You would too, if you knew the
Real History ... stay tuned..

It.s taken me until the recent earthquake to tell the rest of that sad
story.

Aftermath

Had America let Aristide run his country, without interfering, or had the
United States interfered only to protect the Haitian people from the
Duvaliers, the Guy Philippes and the Andy Apaids, the suffering in Haiti
would have been greatly lessened.

If Washington had let them have their loans for health care, infrastructure,
and clean water, there might not be the degree of suffering that we are
witnessing in Haiti today.

America bears a huge burden of responsibility for Haiti.s poverty and
government dysfunction. But if Americans truly want to reduce Haiti.s
suffering now, there must be an end to U.S. support for those who would
exploit their own people for personal gain.

Let Haitians decide who will lead them and in what manner. The United States
must let their light shine, in whatever direction they choose to point it.
America must, for once, follow, and not lead. The Haitians know best what is
in their own interest.

Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li. Little by little, they will rebuild their nest.


consortiumnews.com

America's Sad History with Haiti, Part 2

By Lisa Pease
February 1, 2010

The Haitians have a saying in their native créole language: Piti, piti, wazo
fe nich li. .Little by little, the bird builds its nest..

Freed of the powerful grip of the Duvaliers in 1986, and despite a
dysfunctional system, little by little, the Haitians undertook the difficult
work of rebuilding their nation into a more democratic place from within.

They formed trade unions, created independent radio stations, initiated
literacy programs, and built silos to store their grain so they could wait
for better prices before selling their crops.

Meanwhile, a quiet, small Haitian man who spoke eight languages and who had
declared capitalism a .mortal sin. was espousing a brand of liberation
theology too radical for the Catholic Church that had ordained him.

In 1988, the Catholic Church expelled Jean Bertrand Aristide for preaching
class warfare in a move that, ironically, made him far more powerful.

Undaunted, Aristide, called affectionately by the diminutive .Titide,.
opened a medical clinic, ran a children.s shelter, and continued to speak to
the people.

As Haiti headed into its first internationally supervised election, the U.S.
was banking on Marc Bazin, now their chosen candidate for president. But the
majority of the Haitians saw Bazin as .America.s Man. and refused to support
him.

The strongest leftist candidate, however, was considered lackluster, and the
other candidates were too little known to win.

On Oct. 16, 1990, just two months before the elections were to be held,
Aristide entered the race. He called his movement and its followers the
Lavalas, a créole word for torrents of water that rushed down gullies,
sweeping away everything in their path. He summed up his platform in three
words: .participation, transparency, justice..

Predictably, the U.S. government, then headed by President George H. W.
Bush, was disconcerted. One businessman probably summed up a lot of
businessmen.s thoughts when he called Aristide .a cross between Fidel and
the Ayatollah..

Just before the election, Ambassador Andrew Young, at the request (he said)
of former President Jimmy Carter, tried to persuade Aristide to sign a
letter accepting Bazin as president if Bazin should win, in the hopes of
forestalling a violent reaction from Aristide.s followers. William Blum, in
his book Killing Hope, noted the Bush White House likely had a hand in this
as well.

Hope, Then Tragedy

On Dec. 16, 1990, in the country.s first internationally supervised
election, Aristide won with over two-thirds of the vote, proving the Lavalas
worthy of their name. The margin also gave him the largest majority of any
democratically elected leader in the Western Hemisphere.

But in a sad parallel to some recent U.S. elections, when the time came to
vote for the legislature and other offices, turnout was light. An
opposition-dominated legislature then thwarted much of the legislation that
Aristide proposed.

Still, Aristide upset the status quo. He initiated .programs in literacy,
public health, and agrarian reform,. Blum wrote. Aristide also sought to
increase the minimum wage; he asked for a freeze on the prices of basic
necessities; and he created a public works program to generate jobs.

Aristide also criticized the business class, accusing some of the Haitian
elite of corruption. He also sent a youth group from Haiti on a friendly
visit to Haiti.s neighbor to the west, Castro.s Cuba.

Aristide, who had survived assassination attempts in the past, created a
private force that he could trust. He further antagonized the military by
making temporary appointments to key positions rather than permanent ones.
He hoped this would encourage good behavior, but instead it rankled those
stuck in tenuous situations.

But perhaps Aristide.s greatest affront to the military was to crack down on
smuggling and drug-running, which were rampant in Haiti. According to Robert
and Nancy Heinl in their book Written in Blood, Aristide.s actions .were
putting a dent in many officers. life styles..

Janus-faced America

Any student of real history can guess what happened next. The military
overthrew Aristide a short nine months into his five-year presidential term.

And as Blum notes, while there is no direct evidence that the CIA or the
United States supported the coup, given the CIA.s role in training and
supporting the Haitian military, the coup could hardly have come as a
surprise.

Bob Shacochis supports Blum.s suspicions in his book The Immaculate
Invasion, where he wrote that President George H.W. Bush .swiftly announced
that the coup would not stand, then just as quickly receded into embarrassed
silence when informed by his staff that his own crew in Port-au-Prince not
only had foreknowledge of the putsch but had allowed it to advance without a
word..

Shacochis decried how America had been essentially .Janus-faced. toward
Haiti due to a the split between those in the U.S. willing to support a true
democracy, no matter how messy, and those whose knee-jerk reaction was to
decry the leftist president, despite the fact that .the Haitians
democratically chose Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the only Haitian president who
ever attempted to lead his people out of darkness; the only Haitian chief of
state who seemed to display an ideology beyond self..

Initially, only the Vatican recognized the new government. The United
Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) and U.S. still
supported Aristide. An embargo on oil and weapons was ordered, if not fully
supported.

Once again, the desperate Haitians, suffering under yet another military
regime, took to their boats and headed for Americas shores. The U.S. created
a temporary camp at the Guantanamo base in Cuba to house some of the
intercepted refugees. But it was clear from the start this solution would
not hold.

Meanwhile, the gap between the rich elites and the poor peasants in Haiti
bordered on the obscene.

As the Heinls. described, .To provide additional generating capacity at
Péligre [a hydro-electric project], water was being diverted ., further
crippling agriculture, but in Pétionville the elite dined well off French
wines and Norwegian salmon..

The rich eschewed the unreliable public utilities and turned to private
generators. And while the elite .could not avoid traveling on the ruined
roads whose upkeep they refused to pay taxes for,. they bought four-wheel
drive vehicles to navigate the rocky terrain instead -- an option not
available to the masses, the Heinls noted.

The U.N. reluctantly began talking of the need for a full-scale military
invasion to return Aristide to power. By this time, U.S. voters had ditched
Bush Sr. in favor of Bill Clinton, a man who, on the face of it, seemed more
sympathetic to the restoration of democracy in Haiti, despite the fact that
quickly after the election, he vowed to continue Bush.s Haitian
anti-immigration policies.

As President Clinton sought an agreement between Haitian leaders and the
U.N. to restore Aristide for the remaining portion of his presidential term,
a paid CIA informer named Emmanuel Constant was working with FRAPH, a
paramilitary organization -- a death squad, essentially . he had formed in
Haiti, to prevent Aristide.s return and to terrorize the ousted president.s
former supporters.

Constant led an anti-American demonstration at the dock in Port-au-Prince
when Clinton dispatched the first U.S. troops seeking to facilitate
Aristide.s reinstatement. In the face of Constant.s demonstration, the
administration lost its nerve, and the American troops turned back.

Trashing Aristide

At this point, an all-out effort was launched domestically in the U.S. by
right-wing elements to keep President Clinton from authorizing another
landing. Aristide was accused of inciting his followers to violence and of
being mentally deranged.

A serious, if dubious, charge was made in an effort to turn the liberals in
Congress against Aristide. A video was surfaced ostensibly showing Aristide
urging his supporters to .necklace. opponents, i.e., to put a burning tire
around their necks. But what did Aristide really say?

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, entered the following translation into the record,
but added the caveat that the only tape he had seen had been obviously
edited, so he was not certain this was fully representative of what Aristide
had said. The State Department.s translation of the incendiary section read
as follows:

.You are watching all macoute activities throughout the country. We are
watching and praying. We are watching and praying. If we catch one, do not
fail to give him what he deserves. What a nice tool! What a nice instrument!
[loud cheers from crowd] What a nice device! [crowd cheers] It is a pretty
one. It is elegant, attractive, splendorous, graceful, and dazzling. It
smells good. Wherever you go, you feel like smelling it. [crowd cheers] It
is provided for by the Constitution, which bans macoutes from the political
scene..

Combined with the spliced in shots of burning tires, this passage clearly
sounded like Aristide was urging people to punish the macoutes in a violent
way. But that was out of character with other parts of the speech, where he
said:

.Your tool is in your hands. Your instrument is in your hands. Your
Constitution is in your hand. Do not fail to give him what he deserves.
[loud cheers from crowd]. That device is in your hands. Your trowel is in
your hands. The bugle is in your hands. The Constitution is in your hands.
Do not fail to give him what he deserves..

In that section, clearly the law was the weapon Aristide was urging his
supporters to employ.

Later, an Internet poster who claimed to be present during this speech
vigorously denied Aristide had approved of necklacing:

.I was present at that famous speech when Aristide returned from the USA.
The speech was taped and cut and spliced to make it appear that Aristide
condoned...even encouraged necklacing; such *was not* the case. Aristide
said that he understood peoples' desire to necklace, but he emphasized that
it was positively immoral.

.He said words to this effect: I understand your desire to smell their
burning flesh; but that is not the way of Jesus. We will win without
violence; we will overcome. The anti-Aristide people spliced the tape to
make it come out this way: I desire to smell their burning flesh. We will
win with violence; we will overcome!.

CIA Report

That same day that Harkin entered the text into the record, Sen. Jesse
Helms, R-North Carolina, had invited longtime CIA analyst Brian Latell to
Capitol Hill to talk about the agency.s report on Aristide.s psychological
state.

The report claimed that Aristide was a psychopath, had been treated for
depression in a Canadian hospital, and was taking ongoing medication. In
other words, he was too unstable to be returned to Haiti.

The problem was, none of that was true.

A Miami Herald investigation found that the hospital the CIA named had no
record that Aristide had ever been treated there. Three other facilities in
Montreal were investigated, but not one of them had ever treated Aristide.

Aristide had been hospitalized for hepatitis in his teens, but had never
been to a hospital for any reason thereafter, and was not taking any
medication. No evidence ever surfaced to support Latell.s claims.

Latell also told Congress how peaceful Haiti was under their man, former
World Bank executive Marc Bazin, who had been appointed Prime Minister by
the people who overthrew Aristide.

But Latell.s claim that there was no systematic or frequent violence against
civilians lay in stark contrast to the record observed by human rights
groups and others.

.Obviously, we have visited two different countries,. Amnesty
International.s program officer for the region said. .That anyone could go
to Haiti at that time and not observe repression by the military is absurd..

Indeed, in Aristide.s absence, FRAPH had gone from heinous to horrific,
forcing new members to watch existing members rape and kill people. During
the initiation process, the members were forced to participate in the raping
and killing.

Why would the CIA want to defend these murders over the leftist Aristide?
According to the right-wing Washington Times, intelligence analysts were
particularly concerned about Aristide.s opposition to privatizing some
industry in Haiti.

And as for that longstanding canard that the CIA only follows orders from
the President and never makes policy, the Washington Times reported on Nov.
28, 1995, that .The CIA.s Directorate of Operations . successfully opposed
efforts by the White House to take covert action to unseat Haiti.s military
leaders to pave the way for restoring Mr. Aristide to office, even though he
had been elected in a popular vote in 1990, the sources said. They said such
action was deemed not suitable..

Turning to the Military

President Clinton, unable to persuade the CIA to do his bidding, turned to
the military instead; there, at least, he was still recognized as Commander
in Chief.

In the wake of the failed landing in 1993 that was intended to reinstitute
Aristide, as the violence in Haiti perpetrated by the ruling military junta
against its citizens increased, even the Army War College, hardly a liberal
outpost, issued a 60-page report decrying America.s timidity in this
situation.

Eventually, the trio of former President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Sam Nunn and
retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell were able to construct
an arrangement that would return Aristide to power.

But by then, Aristide had only a year left in his term to serve, and by
then, the problems he faced were even greater than the ones he had started
with.

In addition, the agreement that brought Aristide back included a promise not
to prosecute the coup leaders for their crimes. Forgiveness and
reconciliation were the watchwords of the new Aristide administration.
Justice was never on the menu.

Still, the public was so enthralled with Aristide that, after he stepped
aside and let his hand-appointed prime minister run the country for several
years, they voted him enthusiastically back into the presidency in the
elections of 2000. This time he managed to serve three full years before
being again ousted in a coup.

Aristide.s problems were compounded by the debacle in Florida that put
George W. Bush in the White House. The new Bush administration went after
leftists in the hemisphere with a vengeance.

Regarding Haiti, the Bush administration blocked loans that had been
approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). These loans were
targeted for projects that would provide health, education, roadwork and
clean drinking water.

The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation was so outraged by this blatant
obstructionism that it sued the IDB in U.S. District Court in Washington,
D.C. The executive director of the foundation, Todd Howland, railed, .There
have been actual deaths linked to the fact that the IDB never disbursed
these loans..

And to add insult to injury, the Haitian government had already paid $5
million in interest for the loan money it wasn.t receiving.

Annoying the French

Aristide made enemies in France as well when he tried to collect on a
200-year-old debt, dating back to when the Haitians won independence from
France in a devastating war in which African slaves overthrew their
slaveowners.

France remained covetous toward its former colony and demanded the
equivalent of $21 billion in reparations. France, which had benefited from
Haiti.s slave labor for many years, threatened to invade the country again
if the ex-slaves did not pay off their former masters, and Haiti agreed.

In 2003, Aristide convened a four-day international conference to construct
a plan to get that money back. France.s response was to ask Aristide to step
down.

But the action that may have most directly precipitated Aristide.s final
ouster might have been the one Aristide performed on Feb. 7, 2003: he
doubled the country.s minimum wage. He raised it from $1 a day to $2.

This action was opposed by an organization of wealthy business leaders
called Group 184, led by an American businessman named Andy Apaid, who ran a
garment factory in Port-au-Prince. Apaid and Group 184 pressed constantly
for Aristide.s removal.

Evidently, the business interests just couldn.t let a liberal leader do
right by his people. Not at their expense. As Mark Weisbrot opined in The
Nation (among other publications):

.The fix was in: The U.S. Agency for International Development and the
International Republican Institute (the international arm of the Republican
Party) had spent tens of millions of dollars to create and organize an
opposition -- however small in numbers -- and to make Haiti under Aristide
ungovernable.

.The whole scenario was strikingly similar to the series of events that led
to the coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in April 2002. The same
U.S. organizations were involved, and the opposition -- as in Venezuela --
controlled and used the major media as a tool for destabilization.

.And in both cases the coup leaders, joined by Washington, announced to the
world that the elected president had .voluntarily resigned. -- which later
turned out to be false..

And the 2004 coup against Aristide looked familiar to another infamous plot.
It reeked of the operation that removed Jacobo Arbenz from power in
Guatemala in 1954. In both cases, word of growing military opposition,
headed toward the capital, was trumpeted daily in the media.

In both cases, the powers of that coming military opposition were grossly
exaggerated. In both cases, had Arbenz or Aristide chosen to fight, they
would likely have been able to hold their ground against the rag-tag forces
that didn.t match the hype. But in both cases, neither leader knew this at
the time.

Two Faces

Officially, of course, America pronounced that no one who overthrew the
democratically elected leader of Haiti in a coup would be recognized as
legitimate. But few in Haiti trusted those pronouncements.

As friends of Aristide, African-American activist Randall Robinson and his
wife Hazel received a warning of a coming coup, which Robinson detailed in
An Unbroken Agony.

On Feb. 28, 2004, radio talk show host Tavis Smiley called Robinson.s wife
Hazel. Smiley was supposed to interview Aristide for his program the
following day.

But Smiley told Hazel that he had heard from former Democratic Rep. Ron
Dellums that Colin Powell had told Dellums that Guy Philippe (a former
Haitian police chief who had trained with the U.S. Special Forces in Ecuador
in the early 1990s) was leading a team to Port-au-Prince to kill Aristide
and that the Bush administration was going to do nothing to prevent it.

Philippe had been openly boasting that on his birthday, Feb. 29, he would
come to Port-au-Prince and kill the president.

Separately, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, called Hazel to offer help
finding Aristide safe passage out of the country.

Hazel passed all this information along to Mrs. Aristide, who said thanks
but no thanks, the president would not leave until he served out his full
term.

Fearing Aristide and his wife might be killed, Hazel called Dellums and
urged him to talk to the media, but her suggestion was met with silence.

Robinson called Peter Jennings and a couple of others in the media
suggesting they talk to Dellums. All three called him back later to say
Dellums declined to confirm the information. Someone had clearly set someone
up. But who?

Robinson came to believe that Colin Powell had given Dellums bad information
(that Phillipe was coming to attack, when in fact he was spotted leading his
team in the opposite direction just days earlier).

Dellums, however, apparently believed the information, but wasn.t willing to
jeopardize his relationship with Powell by confirming it, even though Powell
appears to have deliberately leaked false information to Dellums in the hope
that he would disclose it to frighten Aristide out of the country.

But that plan failed. So a different tack was taken.

Abdication or Abduction?

On Feb. 29, Hazel got a call from another Democratic Congresswoman from
California: Maxine Waters, who said CNN was reporting that the Aristides had
fled the country the night before. Hazel didn.t believe it, given the calm
manner in which Mrs. Aristide had responded the day before.

In addition, Hazel was incensed. .Did you see what the networks did?. Hazel
asked Waters. The networks had used old footage of Aristide getting on a
commercial plane, using file video to give the impression of a man
voluntarily leaving his country.

The next morning, Robinson received a call from Aristide, who told him, over
a fragile line, .They brought us to the Central African Republic,. and,
.Tell them for us it was a coup. ..

And then the line went dead.

Robinson later obtained a detailed statement from Frantz Gabriel, the
president.s helicopter pilot, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army, of how
Aristide was essentially kidnapped around 4:00 a.m. at gunpoint and removed
from the presidential palace in Gabriel.s presence.

My first blog post ever at my Real History Blog was about this event. As I
wrote at the time:

.I used to have the time to publish essays at my Real History Archives site,
but with events moving so quickly, I realized what I really needed was a
blog to keep up with the (dis)information being spewed at us daily.

.Today was a classic case in point. I had to get a blog up when I saw what
was being done to the Aristide coup story. A typical headline told us that
Aristide has stepped down from ruling Haiti to avoid bloodshed.

.But read a few more stories and you'll see that he said he was abducted,
that this was a coup helped along by the US Government. Bush (I refuse to
call an unelected man .President.) stated that Aristide resigned. But around
the world, other voices have reason to doubt. You would too, if you knew the
Real History ... stay tuned..

It.s taken me until the recent earthquake to tell the rest of that sad
story.

Aftermath

Had America let Aristide run his country, without interfering, or had the
United States interfered only to protect the Haitian people from the
Duvaliers, the Guy Philippes and the Andy Apaids, the suffering in Haiti
would have been greatly lessened.

If Washington had let them have their loans for health care, infrastructure,
and clean water, there might not be the degree of suffering that we are
witnessing in Haiti today.

America bears a huge burden of responsibility for Haiti.s poverty and
government dysfunction. But if Americans truly want to reduce Haiti.s
suffering now, there must be an end to U.S. support for those who would
exploit their own people for personal gain.

Let Haitians decide who will lead them and in what manner. The United States
must let their light shine, in whatever direction they choose to point it.
America must, for once, follow, and not lead. The Haitians know best what is
in their own interest.

Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li. Little by little, they will rebuild their nest.

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posted by u2r2h at Tuesday, February 02, 2010

1 Comments:

Blogger Lisa Pease said...

Please note that this article is from www.ConsortiumNews.com and that it was written by Lisa Pease. Thanks.

Tue Feb 02, 05:40:00 pm GMT  

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