Supporters of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government are convinced that the U.S. has decided to do a "regime change" in Haiti before the world's first Black Republic celebrates its 200th anniversary, in 2004. Frustrated that a three-year, American-led aid embargo against Haiti has failed to topple the popularly elected Aristide, the Bush men are escalating their proxy terror campaign against Lavalas party activists and the island nation's fragile infrastructure, all the while threatening to further strangle the economy.

Worldwide celebrations have already begun in honor of the slave insurrection that defeated Napoleon's armies to establish Haitian independence in 1804. The Bush administration, probably the most symbol-obsessed regime in modern U.S. history, has deployed its diplomatic, military and propaganda resources to prepare an alternative scenario.

"The symbolism of having a populist government in Haiti, that represents the interests of the poor black majority, is intolerable to US foreign policy, especially as all the parallels with the history of US slavery are sure to be drawn," said a well-placed observer who must remain nameless due to the atmosphere of terror in the country. "They want a subservient client in power when the bicentennial comes down. They cannot control Aristide, therefore they must do as they always have in these situations, destroy him and his government by any means necessary."

Early this month, at least 20 commandos attacked a hydroelectric power plant on Haiti's central plateau, killing two security guards and setting the control room afire. It is common knowledge that incursions originate across the border in the Dominican Republic where, according to a Dominican priest known as Father J, members of the former Haitian military regime exercise mafia-like control over a million of their destitute countrymen. Father J has worked on behalf of Haitian human rights issues for the past 25 years. He reports that sectors of the Dominican military protect the Haitian mafia's operations, which fund the paramilitary incursions.

A May 10 Associated Press report tends to confirm that Haiti's armed opposition operates with near-impunity in the Dominican Republic. Under pressure from the Haitian government, authorities on the Dominican side of the border arrested and then released five men in connection with the attack on the hydroelectric plant:

The man Haitian authorities have accused of plotting to overthrow Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government says he supports a coup but isn't planning one.

Guy Philippe told The Associated Press that he wasn't plotting Aristide's ouster but that the time for a peaceful solution has passed. He wouldn't say, however, whether he would take up arms in the future. Dominican authorities released Philippe, a 35-year-old former Haitian police chief known for his flashy cars, expensive taste and strong-armed tactics to battle crime in the impoverished Caribbean nation, Thursday after finding no evidence he and four others were conspiring against the Haitian government. Haitian authorities told their Dominican counterparts Philippe and others were plotting against the Haitian government from neighboring Dominican Republic.

"I would support a coup," Philippe said in Spanish during an interview in a Santo Domingo hotel. "We have to get rid of the dictator." ...

Declining to say how he makes a living or what he does to spend his time in the Dominican Republic, Philippe said the international community needed to do more to push Aristide from power, but he said he would not support an armed invasion.

On the day Philippe was detained on the Dominican side of the border, police raided the house of Port-au-Prince mayoral candidate Judith Roy of the Convergence opposition. They claimed to have "found assault weapons, ammunitions, and plans to attack the National Palace and Aristide's suburban residence," said the Associated Press. Haitian authorities say Roy is close to Philippe, the former police chief of Cap Haitian.

There is evidence that the Republican Party is directly involved in plotting Aristide's overthrow. Stanley Lucas, an International Republican Institute operative based in the Dominican Republic, met with Philippe and his gang on Dominican soil, three months ago. Inside Haiti, the Institute functions as a political support group for the Convergence, a group of small opposition parties on the island.

Open subversion at the OAS

Private aid organizations, many of them with close ties to the opposition Convergence, have scaled back their work among the poor - suddenly, and with few explanations either to Haitians or the largely American donor public. At the Organization of American States, through which the U.S. has attempted to legitimize its campaign against Aristide's government, American diplomats cynically point to the suffering of the Haitian people as an excuse for intensifying restrictions on aid. According to an April 28 Haitian Press Agency (AHP) report, demands for Aristide's ouster circulate openly among the OAS diplomats. "One document's author suggested that it would be best if the situation kept deteriorating, saying that any aid should be blocked until 2005 in order to eliminate the party in power, Fanmi Lavalas [Lavalas Family], which will be of no help to the population, according to him," AHP reported.

Caribbean Community (Caricom) nations have so far blocked U.S. efforts to gain OAS approval for even harsher sanctions against Haiti.

Aristide's government has been forced to choose between servicing its debt or providing basic services to the people - a Catch-22 made in Washington. In it's April 23 - 29 edition, the weekly Haiti Progres reported:

Finance Minister Gustave Faubert said this week that the Haitian government no longer could continue to make payments on its debt arrears to multilateral lending institutions because of Haiti's dwindling foreign reserves.

"We have been paying out more money than we are receiving, which is not something normal," he said in an interview with Radio Galaxie. "The level of the country's net foreign cash reserves has become untenable, so the government has taken the decision, particularly for the IDB [InterAmerican Development Bank] and the World Bank, to use that money instead to carry out projects which benefit the population, which is suffering a great deal and is very hungry."

It appears the U.S. purpose is to create an environment of chaos and government impotence in Haiti, allowing Washington to declare the nation a "failed state," thus setting the stage for some form of American takeover. By now, the pretexts should be familiar to all: U.S. national security, with "humanitarian" concerns thrown in for good measure. Having starved Haiti for three years through its influence among the world's donor nations, and with the clock ticking towards the 2004 celebrations, Washington steps up the "contra"-type offensive while designating Haiti a "staging point" for terrorist infiltration of the U.S. (See "Ashcroft Targets Haitians as Threat," , May 8.)

The Bush men imagine themselves at the podium in Port-au-Prince next year, surrounded by dancing Haitians celebrating their "liberation" from the elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. These are the last people we want to see grinning at the 200th anniversary of the world's first Black Republic.

Danny Glover targeted

TransAfrica Forum's latest report on Haiti, "Withheld International Aid: The U.S. Weapon of Mass Disruption" is now available on the organization's website. Executive Director Bill Fletcher has also issued an "Urgent Action Appeal" on behalf of actor-activist Danny Glover, TransAfrica's board chairman, a vocal advocate for Haiti and opponent of the Iraq war. Fletcher is leading a "Dial In For Democracy and to Support Danny Glover" campaign:

Danny Glover, along with millions of other citizens and residents of the United States, dared to express their disagreement with administration policy on Iraq, and in general with the Bush Administration's rogue foreign policy. The response has been an attempt to have the telecommunications giant MCI distance itself from Danny Glover who has signed on to a series of television spots. In fact, the political Right is organizing a campaign demanding that MCI formally terminate its relationship with Danny.

The attack on Danny takes place at the same time that other courageous public figures are facing the wrath of the administration and their allies on the political Right for daring to challenge US foreign policy on Iraq, Cuba and countless other situations. The attempt to isolate and destroy political opponents is reminiscent of the McCarthy era. It happened to the great Paul Robeson in the 1950s, and from that lesson we should learn that this can NEVER be allowed to happen again ....

TransAfrica Forum calls upon its allies, friends and families, as well as friends and supporters of Danny Glover, to contact MCI immediately.

Let it be known that you appreciate MCI for its commitment to democratic values which are the bedrock principle of good corporate citizenship. Urge the company to hold firm to those values by refusing to buckle to pressure and continue to engage Danny Glover as a spokesperson.

Let your voices be heard!

TransAfrica provided the following MCI contact information:

Anyone can call the PR office to comment:
800/644-NEWS or 202/736-6700

MCI Customers can call Customer Service at

Email can be done through the website - there is an
electronic submission form:

The "Get-Glover" campaign is spearheaded by the far-right attack dog Judicial Watch, a truly primitive outfit. "MCI must fire Glover," howled Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. Outraged at Glover's support for lifting the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Fitton threw a ... fit. "Any more than it should have a spokesman supporting Osama bin Laden, it can't have a spokesman supporting terrorist Castro," he raged.

Sex less a factor in African AIDS

The religious Right struggles to hold AIDS relief to Africa hostage to sexual abstinence programs that preach to the hundreds of millions threatened by the pandemic. However, a report in Discover magazine suggests that excessive moralizing misses the point. Economic anthropologist David Gisselquist has concluded after 20 years of study that "unsafe injections, blood transfusions, and other medical procedures may account for most AIDS transmission in African adults. Their analysis indicates that no more than 35 percent of HIV in that population is spread through sex," said the magazine.

It has always seemed suspect that epidemiologists would insist that African sex practices were so uniquely bizarre or brutal as to emerge as the key factor in the holocaust ravaging the continent. How different can "African" sex be, that it must be viewed as some intractable obstacle to containing the disease? What about the abysmal health infrastructure south of the Sahara - could that be a huge part of the problem?

Gisselquist remembers his travels around Africa as a consultant for the World Bank. "They give you a syringe and say, 'Carry this with you, and avoid all the health care that you can.' We've been paying for third-world health care while advising ourselves to avoid it," he said. Gisselquist found that the mothers of 39 percent of HIV-positive Congolese babies were uninfected by the disease. The infants had probably been exposed to the virus by substandard health facilities. In Zimbabwe, said the article, "HIV incidence rose by 12 percent per year during the 1990s, even as sexually transmitted diseases sank by 25 percent overall and condom use rose among high-risk groups." Zimbabweans got the message, but the disease kept spreading.

Poverty and lack of development are the great abettors of AIDS in Africa - a fact that should have been obvious to anyone not intent on condemning Africans to some special, subhuman zone of amorality. It is clear that a racialist view of sex and AIDS is as virulent a threat to Africa as the disease, itself. Gisselquist's findings were recently published in the International Journal of STD & AIDS.

Cyber vote fraud

Jim Crow is lurking in cyber-space, preparing to steal your vote, digitally. American reporter Greg Palast, who had to move to London to escape corporate censorship of U.S. news, has teamed up with Martin Luther King III to issue a "new nationwide call and petition drive to restore and protect the rights of all Americans and monitor the implementation of frighteningly ill-conceived new state and federal voting 'reform' laws."

George Bush liked the 2000 election results in Florida so much, he had his party push through Congress a law that makes the Sunshine State the national elections standard. Palast and King published an excellent piece in the Baltimore Sun, explaining the looming "Floridation" of America and asking the question, "Do African-Americans have the unimpeded right to vote in the United States?" rates this a Must Read.

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Issue Number 42
May 15, 2003

Other commentaries in this issue:

Cover Story
The Jayson Blair - New York Times Affair: Blaming affirmative action for white folks’ mistakes

Malcolm X
05/19/1925 - 02/21/65

Neighborhood Chemical WMD

How Much Money Does a Great White Virtue Magnate Need? Class, Race, and
Legalized Gambling in the Casino Society
by Paul Street

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Commentaries in Issue 41 May 8, 2003:

Cover Story
Bush's Harvest of Shame - One Million Black Children in Extreme Poverty

Welfare Safety Net

Black Spinelessness in High Places: DC Mayor sells out on vouchers - for nothing!

The Issues
Lieberman seeks crossover GOP in SC... Ashcroft targets Haitians as threat... The quickest route to death row

The forbidden word, revealed... Enduring effects of "deep racism"... Can love bloom in the White House?

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.