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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:
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:
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:
TransAfrica provided the following MCI contact information:
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
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