12 March 2006

Shame and Scandal

Common Sense
John Maxwell

In a most important comment on the Haitian situation, Brian Concannon, head of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, points out that "February 7 was the fourth consecutive landslide victory for a presidential candidate from the Lavalas movement. In any other country, such electoral success would translate into a long period of stability, and an opportunity for the victors to implement the policies they were elected on.

Instead, for three of those terms, there have been two coup d'etats leading to five years of exile for the elected president, a nearly perpetual controversy over legislative elections and very little progress on the root causes of Haiti's misery." Source

The reason is simple; a tiny group of people, some of them Haitians, has managed to engage the money and power of a tiny but powerful minority in the United States to develop strategies which have made government - as most people understand it - impossible in Haiti.

Since the Duvalier dictatorship was brought to earth by popular protest and mass action 20 years ago, a group of mostly white people, some of them Haitians, have successfully conspired to produce in the Caribbean the most extreme ideal of the libertarian fringe - a country without a functioning government.

The Duvalier dictatorship (1957 to 1986) began as a popularly elected government led by a man with impeccable credentials - a medical doctor and sociologist who was an authority of sorts on his country's culture. Over the years, Dr Francois Duvalier forged important ties with Haitian businessmen and important figures on the racist right of US politics, which culminated in Duvalier's son's dictatorship.

Duvalier II developed into an extreme version of primitive fascism in which the state and the business community combined to terrorise and parasitise the poor people of Haiti.

The people brought down "Baby Doc" but, no matter how hard they have tried, they have not in the two decades since, succeeded in having a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The major reasons are to be found in the so-called 'Elite' of Haiti, ideological and spiritual descendants of the French mulattos who, from time to time, made alliances with the black majority or simply bought off their leaders in order to more efficiently exercise the power once held by the French slave-owners.

The interests of the slave-owners have been paramount in Haiti for much of the time since the Haitians abolished slavery. Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers of the United States ensured that Haiti would not provide a 'bad' example to the restive slaves of the Southern United States.

The French, formerly the colonial masters of Haiti, combined with the British and the Americans to ensure that Haiti could not export its produce and therefore not develop industrially. They simply insisted that the Haitians should pay France for their independence before they were allowed into the world markets.

The American bankers came to the "assistance" of the Haitians, lending them the money to pay off the evil French levy on their freedom. Soon enough, because of the crippled economy, Haiti ended up owing most of its GDP to American banks.

In the interest of the US Banks the American government intervened in 1915, attempting ruthlessly to obliterate any vestige of freedom from the people who had abolished slavery. The US even perfected its martial skills by dive-bombing unarmed Haitian peasants in 1919 to suppress their demand for freedom. The US left behind an army which was a bad carbon copy of the racist Marines who had occupied Haiti, and that army, allied with and at the service of corrupt politicians and the Elite, has tormented Haiti ever since and made true freedom impossible.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, fashionably denigrated as a slum priest, a ghetto priest, was the symbol of Haitian resistance to the army/Elite repressive coalitions which succeeded Baby Doc. When the pressure of the masses finally forced free elections in 1990, Aristide came from nowhere, it seemed, to win the election with 67 per cent of the vote. He was Haiti's first freely elected president. He didn't last long. Haitian freedom was too much for the Elite and the army, and in 1992, after failing to assassinate him, they managed to overthrow his government and send him into exile.

Then ensued a saturnalia of oppressive violence, in which the targets were members and leaders of the popular movement, Lavalas, which had supported Aristide.

The conscience of US President Clinton was finally touched by the agitation of black Americans, led by Randall Robinson, president of TransAfrica, who began a fast unto death which terrified Clinton, because if Robinson had died, his support among African-Americans would have been wiped out or, at least, seriously damaged. Clinton excused his intervention by referring to the fact that in Haiti, "people were having their faces chopped off".

Aristide was restored to the presidency of Haiti in 1994, but his mandate was so circumscribed by concessions extorted from him by the Americans that his remaining time was hobbled by the lack of money, the inability to enforce law and order and by the machinations of the Elite and their American friends now operating in force in Haiti. There were 5,000 Mormons alone, on the ground.

Official and unofficial organs of the US government, including USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Haiti Democracy Project, financed and organised anti-Aristide groups and political action committees made up of some who were legitimate opponents of Aristide and his movement, but also of left-over Duvalierists and easily bribed rabble rousers in all sectors of the society. During the term of Aristide's successor Preval, these groups kept up a steady drumbeat of propaganda and provocative actions which, they said, were in response to the authoritarian nature of the Lavalas governments.

Their propaganda, exemplified by a website called wehaitians.com called Aristide a criminal, the chief bandit, prehistoric, a 'bestial' dictator, a murderer, among other things, and claimed that he had made himself a millionaire. They even installed spy cameras in his Presidential residence, and published a photograph of Aristide, naked, in his bathroom. Some claimed he drank the blood of babies in some Satanic sacrament. When they weren't foaming at the mouth, presumably, they were busily enhancing democracy.

They employed the Haitian constitution, rewritten with American assistance, ambiguous and full of holes, to paralyse government action. During most of Preval's presidency, Parliament was, for all practical purposes, non-functional.

Part of the reason for this is that Haitian democracy is very new, and since so many people were illiterate, as well as unaccustomed to any kind of representative government, those who controlled the mass media and the non-governmental organisations - 'civil society' - were able to spread confusion and disunity. There were no organised parties, as we understand the word. The results of those campaigns continue to bedevil Haitian politics to this day.

In the latest presidential elections, the Elite and their American tutors made it as difficult as possible for the ordinary Haitian to make his voice and will heard and understood. Their leaders were murdered or jailed. The murderers and thugs of the Duvalier and post-Duvalier regimes were brought back into play. The army, disbanded by Aristide, was resurrected, an undisciplined gang of cutthroats who are in fact, mercenaries employed by the Elite.

If they were not enough, the American-Canadian-French coalition to destabliise Haiti brought in Kofi Annan and the United Nations Security Council, which established a so-called peace-keeping force whose function seemed to be to eliminate the grassroots leaders of Lavalas on the pretext of restoring law and order by killing gang leaders.

We in Jamaica know that this doesn't work. We also know that when Europeans of high rank come to our countries, they tend to talk mostly to other Europeans or to people who look most like Europeans.

MINUSTAH is not recorded as having any dealings with leaders of Lavalas, the majority of Haitians. They did converse with the light-skinned Elite, who, of course, must be witnesses of truth because they look like witnesses of truth. One such consultation had an unfortunate consequence. The newly appointed head of MINUSTAH, a Brazilian general, killed himself after a conversation with leaders of the Elite.

"After having assumed command of the UN military mission less then four months ago, the body of Brazilian officer Lt Gen Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar was found sprawled out on the balcony of the Hotel Montana, the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. According to several sources in the Haitian press, Bacellar had participated in a tense meeting with the president of Haiti's Chamber of Commerce, Dr Reginald Boulos, and Group 184 leader Andy Apaid the night before. Source

In May last year, in a meeting between the business community and Haiti's Chief of Police Leon Charles, Boulos demanded that the US-installed government of Gerard Latortue allow the business community to form their own private security firms and arm them with automatic weapons. This clearly was a demand for the Elite to be given licence to go hunting "chimères" and "Bandits" as the Elite describe Lavalas grass roots leaders.

After the recent election, Boulos, described by the Associated Press as 'one of Aristide's most ardent foes', said the private sector is "prepared to support and to unite behind the president . . . whoever it is, provided the international and national observers sanction this election as a fair one". Before the votes were fully counted, the campaign began to label the elections as "flawed".

This despite the incontrovertible fact that Preval got four times as many votes as his nearest rivals, even if the votes dumped and not counted are ignored. And this despite the fact that ordinary campaigning was impossible.

The Elite have long experience in understanding how the claim of "flawed" elections can bring immediate help - money and materiel - from those Americans who ensured that votes for Gore were not counted in Florida six years ago and votes for Kerry in Ohio were not counted two years ago.

The real problem is not only will the Elite pretend that Preval's legitimacy is in doubt, their expensive ploughing of the electoral landscape ensures that Preval will not have a parliamentary majority to carry out the programme on which he was elected. Since the local Lavalas leaders and organisers have been murdered, jailed, driven into exile or into hiding or otherwise intimidated, no coherent electoral campaign was possible across Haiti.

By separating the parliamentary and presidential elections, the Americans and their Elite friends have ensured that there is no 'coat-tail' effect - that people voting for Preval could not simply vote also for people who were pledged to support him.

This means that if Parliament is to function, Lavalas members or those supporting Lavalas will be subject to effective vetoes by Boulos and his gang, including Andy Apaid and Charles Henri Baker, Apaid's brother-in-law who came third in the presidential elections with less than 10 per cent of the vote.
It seems clear to me that this scenario is not intended for Haiti alone. As we have seen, elements of the 1970s anti-communist campaign in Jamaica have turned up in other places, including Venezuela, Lebanon, and Ukraine.

If the new Fascist programme for neutralising the majority works as expected, we may confidently expect that it will be introduced in one form or another into other parts of Latin America and after 'Lessons Learned' sessions, in carefully selected test beds in the United States itself, complete with bogus voting.
Mr Preval has two serious handicaps. Unlike President Bush, he was clearly the choice of his people, and unlike President Bush, he has no dependable Supreme Court to bail him out of trouble.

On the other hand, Mr Apaid, the real Gauleiter of Haiti, will continue to rule from behind the scenes. As an American citizen who fraudulently obtained Haitian 'citizenship' in 1986, Mr Apaid cannot run for election. However, Apaid and his stand-in, brother-in-law Charles-Henri Baker, decisively rejected by the Haitian electorate, and Reginald Boulos, will continue to have the decisive voices in the governance of Haiti.

USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute and the Haiti Democracy Project can be proud of the results of their Democracy Enhancement Project in Haiti. They will be invigorated for the trials ahead, including Jamaica, where they have already set up shop.


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