United States has delivered George Bush’s ghoulish brand of democracy to Haiti.
The nightmarish components of Haiti’s ruling troika gathered
last Saturday, in Gonaives, the country’s fourth-largest city – a
macabre assemblage that seemed designed to assault the sensibilities
of civilized humans.
if to erase January’s
bicentennial celebrations from Haitian and world memory, the
fat man from Boca Raton superimposed himself on history. “From
today on we will be celebrating our 200th anniversary of independence,” said Gerard
Latortue, until only a few weeks ago a talk show host in
Florida, before that, an international business consultant, now
the U.S.-picked Prime Minister of Haiti. “I ask you for a moment
of silence for all the people who fell fighting against the dictatorship,
and especially for Amiot Metayer,” said Latortue, referring to
the slain commander of the drug-dealing Cannibal Army. "(In
the United States) they thought the people in Gonaives were thugs
and bandits,” said the puppet,
pretending to be a Haitian Ronald Reagan. “But they are freedom
brother, Butteur, wore a suit to signify his newfound respectability
and to dispel
the memory of his followers’ mutilations of
policemen’s bodies after the seizure of Gonaives in early February.
Lending further dignity to the occasion was Jean Tatun, the mass
murderer who escaped from a life term in prison to join his fellow
U.S.-financed “rebels” at their Dominican Republic bases, last
August. Guy Philippe, the Green Beret-trained, former police
chief who fled to the Dominican Republic in
2000 to avoid drug and coup charges, met the visiting dignitaries
at the helicopter landing zone. Philippe is a hit with the New
York Times, which called him “personable” and “media-smart,” and
reported that the “rebel leader” promised to “put his forces
under the prime minister's orders.”
Mateyar and Philippe rubbed elbows with Bernard Gousse, Latortue’s
new Justice Minister. Literally surrounded by criminals, Gousse
is nevertheless intent
on building a criminal
case against Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Defense Minister and
retired General Herard
Abraham represented the rapidly reconstituting Haitian Army,
whose sole purpose in modern times has been to repress the Haitian
people. After a meeting with
Abraham last week, Guy Philippe “boasted that Abraham had made
no mention of the need for the rebels to disarm, let alone quizzed
him about the modalities of any rebel disarmament.”
David Lee hobnobbed with the criminals on behalf of the Organization
States. Lee attempted to justify his presence, saying, “We're
trying to encourage reconciliation” – but succeeded only in further
confirming that the OAS is an instrument of U.S. policy. The
actual meaning of reconciliation is that French troops, who are
nominally responsible for northern Haiti, follow a laissez
faire policy regarding the gunmen of Guy Philippe, Butteur
Metayer, Jean Tatun and their ilk.
Gonaives ceremony signals that the gangsters are the “good guys,” not
to be interfered with. That puts them off-limits to the 450-man Canadian
contingent. “Any weapons that could potentially pose a threat
to the multinational force will be confiscated,” said Lieutenant-Colonel
Jim Davis. “We will disarm the bad guys, but those people entitled
to have weapons for any number of reasons yet to be defined will
have an opportunity to carry them.”
American commander on the ground has no intention of disarming
The commander of
a multinational force in Haiti insisted on Sunday it was
not his mission to disarm militants, differing with earlier
U.S. assertions that the force would confiscate weapons.
is a country with a lot of weapons and disarmament is not our
mission. Our mission is to stabilize the country," U.S.
Marine Corp. Brig. Gen. Ronald Coleman, head of the 3,000-strong
U.N.-sanctioned force, told Reuters.
helicopters provided limo service for the Gonaives ghoul-fest – a
macabre exercise in nation-building that could only have been
hatched by minds utterly consumed by racism. This is what Black
government looks like to George Bush.
The rogues gallery
summit in Gonaives horrified even some members of the anti-Aristide
Haitian elite. "We strongly
condemn this unholy alliance which the interim government has
struck with the Gonaives rebels,” said the National Coalition
for Haitian Rights (NCHR),
which is closely tied to anti-Aristide politicians and their
American allies (see December
4, 2003). “We note that such unholy alliances, in place
since 1994 when President Aristide returned from exile, have
weakened rather than strengthened law enforcement and governmental
authority..." Latortue is "fanning the flames
of lawlessness," said the New York-based group.
The NCHR told The
Guardian that “five police officers have been detained
on suspicion of killing five young men believed to be supporters
of Aristide's Lavalas Family party” in Port-au-Prince.
of the victims, ages 17-24, said the officers rounded up and
executed the men over the weekend and then dumped their bodies
throughout the capital, Aliazar said Wednesday. The officers
were detained Monday and were being held pending an investigation.
No charges have been filed.
stretches of the country are either wholly without law, or
the control of the most dangerous elements of society. Fort
Liberte, in the north, “is in the hands of escaped convicts,” according
to United Nations spokeswoman Elisabeth
Byrs. "The town is virtually deserted. There is no
market. Many houses have been burned. Prisoners control most
parts of the city," said Byrs.
may be preferable to the tender mercies of Latortue’s friends. “In
the seaside town of Les Cayes, armed rebels who helped oust
Haiti's first democratically elected leader carry out public
executions, unchallenged by police or foreign troops,” said
Haiti, mere suspicion of Aristide association may mark citizens
death – “reconciliation,” gangster style. The Associated
Press reports that Senator Yvon Feuille has “charged Lavalas
members were being hounded across the country and even being
Lavalas is a victim. Besides those physical massacres, we
see there is a political massacre being prepared behind Lavalas'
back," he said. "Without Lavalas, there is no solution.
Without Lavalas, there won't be the peace we need so much."
denounced what he said was a "white American and French
colonists' plan" to marginalize the movement that helped
bring Haiti's first democratic elections in 1990, which Aristide
won in a landslide.
The repression is
general in scope, yet sometimes maddening in its pettiness,
as in the case of the 12-year-old Cap Haitian girl targeted
for political retaliation because a death squad found a photograph
of her giving flowers to President Aristide (see San Francisco
Bay View, March
17). Death brings a shallow grave in places like the field
of bones near Titanyen on the coast road north of the capital.
There, a Miami
Herald reporter found scattered on the ground “two skulls,
three pelvic bones, dozens of femurs and tibias, fragments
of a jaw with good teeth. Hundreds in all” – the overflow from
Port-au-Prince’s morgues. No one knows who they are, or how
associated with the deposed Aristide government or the mass
of Lavalas enjoy none of the immunities accorded the corporate
media in Haiti. They are fair game for the death squads – who
since last Saturday are acknowledged partners in the U.S.-installed
government. There is, literally, no safe place for real journalism
in Haiti, thanks to the Bush regime.
But “Truth, crushed
to earth shall rise, again.” The Haitian Information Project
(HIP), begun in the months before the coup in cooperation with
Interfaith Taskforce, in northern California, has fielded
teams of young journalists from the ranks of the oppressed.
every assistance possible to HIP.) The Project’s reporters
must operate in what one of them calls “a witch-hunt environment,
where the term ‘chimere’ is used as a code word to justify
The Haiti Information
Project filed this report to from
somewhere in Port-au-Prince:
local media contribute to the hysteria of repression. For
Metropole recently broadcast claims of a Lavalas plot to
assassinate Latortue, with no evidence and no rebuttal. People
pay with their lives in the wake of rumors like that.
The “Boca Raton
government” contributes to this climate of terror. Anyone
who ever organized any kind function for Lavalas is now the
target of death threats. There is absolutely no political
space open to Lavalas. At least 2000 people are still hiding
from the death squads. There are nightly raids by the death
squads into the neighborhoods of Bel Air and Cite Soleil.
These guys somehow manage to slip past the peacekeepers.
Prisoners are held
in the local police stations throughout the capital and the
countryside. None are being transferred to the National Penitentiary.
It is extremely difficult for families to discover if their
loved ones are in custody, or have been made to disappear.
National Police look more and more like an army. Before
the coup, maybe ten
percent of the National Police were from the disbanded military.
Now, they are totally military. This is being referred to
as the militarization of the police. Although the U.S claims
that they are against the former military taking power, they
are militarizing the police “to the teeth.”
found on the streets are not an accurate measure of the
the death squads. When Lavalas militants fall, other militants
take the bodies away to give them a proper burial, so that
they won’t be taken away and burned, and so the families
will have a chance to grieve.
of this terror is supported by, created by the Bush Administration.
People are very clear about that, and refer to the foreign
presence as an occupation force. People do not consider what
is going on in Gonaives to be a real disarmament. The killers
only turn in old, inferior weapons. Where are the brand new
M-16s? The question is: Do they still have arms stockpiled
in the Dominican Republic?
Haiti Information Project correspondent pointed to the harsh
against the last large Lavalas demonstration, March 11, as
proof that “this ‘Boca Raton government’ is very afraid because
they have no base of support. The last thing they want is Lavalas
supporters throwing up five fingers in front of the Marines.
[The gesture signifies the five full years of Aristide’s elected
term in office.] The last thing they want is for the movement
of the poor to reassert itself. If they had elections today,
Aristide would win.”
last time Aristide was overthrown, in 1991, an estimated
5,000 of his supporters
were murdered and an untold number of women subjected to “political
rape.” Many women fear the curtain is descending again, reports
DeNeen L. Brown of the Washington
the three years until the United States restored Aristide
to office in 1994, survivors'
groups and human rights activists said, thousands of women
became rape victims as military and paramilitary groups
terrorized people they considered Aristide supporters….
a new government is formed following the latest political violence
and instability, the women in the group say it is unclear
whether those who were raped after the 1991 coup will
find justice…. In the darkened law office in Port-au-Prince,
several women sat alongside Deluce. They want to serve
as witnesses in the political rape cases, but identified themselves
by using only their initials, fearing reprisals if they speak
"It was for the return of democracy that we were raped," said M.V.,
44, a tiny woman wearing a black print dress and pearls. "We want the
minister of justice to give us justice. We don't want this to happen again for
women of Haiti."
The cell connection
thing is clear: during this period of repression, Haitians
will not be so isolated
as a decade ago. The cell phone is their link to the outside
world, and to news organizations like Pacifica Radio KPFA-FM’s Flashpoints.
Program executive producer Dennis Bernstein spoke with Andralese
Lafortune, a 49-year-old high school teacher from Gonaives
who is in hiding.
the last coup, we didn't have any way to reach the outside
world," Lafortune recalls. "For three years we suffered
under a repressive regime, while many were killed and tortured.
But we had no voice then. We were muzzled.”
technology means the killers cannot operate in total darkness,
the cloak of the superpower. Haiti activists in the U.S. have
been able to respond to the crisis in “real time,” eroding
the corporate media’s information monopoly and thus undercutting
their ability to act as a megaphone for the Bush men.
fascist-minded Haitian Americans are cyber-wise, too. Emboldened
by the gangster’s
return to power, U.S.-based thugsters have issued threats to
Aristide supporters on American soil. According to Marguerite
Laurent, Chairperson of Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network,
pro-gangster e-mailers are circulating detailed information
on potential targets.
light of the current bloodbath in Haiti against the ousted
President's supporters, this is extreme. Threats are being
made against pro-democracy Haitian-Americans living in the
U.S. Their names, sometimes U.S. addresses and passports
are included in the list of "marked persons" who
must be shut down!
Combined with the last "addresses" e-mail Mr. Johndannies sent
to us…it seems a very strategic plan to gut whatever is left of the pro-democracy
advocates not now in Latortue's jails in Haiti. Nothing should be taken for
said, since the “Boca
Raton government” is a wholly Bush-owned property.
deceit and assault on Haiti was received as a slap in the face
of Black America. Seldom in modern history has a foreign policy
issue so galvanized African American opinion, from the grassroots
to Capitol Hill. Although corporate media attempts to declare
the Haiti issue settled, the American Urban Radio Networks has
joined with Black World Today On-Line Newspapers and other
Black media to publicize a 30-day “Lend
a Helping Hand to Haiti” campaign.
is deep and wide. “We come seeking ways to restore stability
and wholesomeness to the people affected by the political unrest,” said
Rev. Justus Reeves, Minister of Missions for the Progressive
National Baptist Convention (PNBC). “Our dedication is to serve
as a bridge of hope to those whose lives have been destroyed.”
The PNBC has set up
Relief Fund to collect monies
during the campaign, in cooperation with Ron
Daniels, of the Haitian Support Project, and a host of
civic and religious groups.
Governor Jeb Bush this week gave backhanded credit to the
Black Caucus for standing up to brother George’s Haiti atrocity.
In the process, the Governor displayed naked
contempt for democracy in Black hands.
have watched the painful struggle in Haiti over the past 10
years, as Jean-Bertrand Aristide squandered his opportunity
to build a foundation for progress. Democracy means more than
elections. It means respecting the rule of law and supporting
a vibrant, robust civil society. Aristide destroyed these principles
in Haiti and replaced them with corruption and violence. Groups
such as the Congressional Black Caucus, who claim to support
democracy yet focus on Aristide's election, exacerbate his
betrayal of the Haitian people.
invent U.S. aggression against Haiti; that’s been U.S. policy
toward the Black republic since 1804. As we wrote in our March
11 Cover Story, “American
foreign policy structures are designed to undermine popular
movements and governments at every point of contact… These
U.S. foreign policy ‘structures of subversion’ are institutionally
connected to the Democratic Party and organized labor, and
must be dismantled, root and branch.”
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a principal American
tool of subversion, the “Trojan Horse” that guided and
financed the coup-makers in Haiti and the 2002 attempted
overthrow of Hugo Chavez’s popularly elected government
in Venezuela. Unless the Democratic Party and organized
labor sever their ties to the NED – and thereby delegitimize
it – U.S. subversion will continue under the guise of “spreading
Kerry this week signaled that he’s a coup-maker, too. His
bald bid for the Cuban Florida vote – while simultaneously
chastising Bush for the Haiti coup and the attempted coup
against Chavez! – puts Kerry in a doublespeak class of
his own. We submit the full
text of Kerry’s statement as a sordid example of unprincipled – and
incompetently executed – deception:
With the future
of the democratic process at a critical juncture in Venezuela,
we should work to bring all possible international pressure
to bear on President Chavez to allow the referendum to proceed.
The Administration should demonstrate its true commitment
to democracy in Latin America by showing determined leadership
now, while a peaceful resolution can still be achieved.
Throughout his time
in office, President Chavez has repeatedly undermined democratic
institutions by using extra-legal means, including politically
motivated incarcerations, to consolidate power. In fact,
his close relationship with Fidel Castro has raised serious
questions about his commitment to leading a truly democratic
President Chavez’s policies have been detrimental to our
interests and those of his neighbors. He has compromised
eradicate drug cultivation by allowing Venezuela to become
a haven for narco-terrorists, and sowed instability in the
region by supporting anti-government insurgents in Colombia.
referendum has given the people of Venezuela the opportunity
to express their views on his presidency through constitutionally
legitimate means. The international community cannot allow
President Chavez to subvert this process, as he has attempted
to do thus far. He must be pressured to comply with the agreements
he made with the OAS and the Carter Center to allow the referendum
to proceed, respect the exercise of free expression, and release
the switch-up, the point at which Kerry tries to scramble
back to the sane
side of the table.
often in the past, this Administration has sent mixed signals
by supporting undemocratic processes in our own hemisphere – including
in Venezuela, where they acquiesced to a failed coup attempt
against President Chavez. Having just allowed the democratically
elected leader to be cast aside in Haiti, they should make
a strong statement now by leading the effort to preserve
the fragile democracy in Venezuela.
Kerry methodically lays out the rationale for a U.S. overthrow
of Chavez, then blames Bush for actually trying to do it. This
man is dangerous. If elected, he will fight tooth and nail
to preserve the NED and the entire apparatus of U.S. subversion
around the globe. He is no friend to the people of Haiti, Venezuela,
or anywhere else in the developing world.
Chavez has offered President Aristide an unqualified welcome,
once his sojourn in Jamaica is over. As went
to press, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) was under unimaginable
pressures from the United States to give the “Boca Raton
government” of Gerard Latortue an audience at Caricom’s Intercessional
Meeting in St. Kitts – despite the puppet’s previous, pretentious
threat to sever Caricom ties over Aristide’s visit to Jamaica.
Bush men pressured Nigeria to offer asylum to Aristide, not
only because it is an ocean away but also, no doubt, because
Nigeria is home to Liberia’s Charles Taylor and other fallen “despots” – great
propaganda value for Administration spin-makers.
an interview with Democracy
Now! on Tuesday, TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson,
a close confidant of Aristide and resident of St. Kitts,
ventured that Bush’s campaign to drive Aristide out of the
Western Hemisphere “will collapse of its own weight,
and it should, upon the idiots in the State Department and
the White House who tried to implement such a fool hearty,
callous plan.” Robinson praised Jamaican Prime Minister and
current Caricom leader P.J. Patterson for distinguishing “himself
in making a place for President Aristide in Jamaica, and
he has met for that with threats by this administration directly
from the White House.”
all their bombast, said Robinson, it is fear that motivates
Gerard Latortue – the “new
president from Boca Raton…something of a buffoon” – and the
thugs in Washington and Haiti who support him:
fear that Mr. Aristide has enormous public support in Haiti.
not so afraid of that, they would have no great interest,
no sense of urgency about making sure that he was well outside
the Caribbean. This we have done to a democratically elected
leader, and it certainly shows that no democracy can be given
birth in Haiti until we all reckon with what happened there,
that we have removed a democratically elected leader who
still enjoys enormous support and were a new election held
today, Mr. Aristide would be overwhelmingly elected again….
The only person
we've tried to banish from the region is the democratically
elected president of the country who was toppled by people
bearing American arms and doing America's bidding. And that's
what you saw in Gonaives, the public meeting of the three
forces here, the United States, the thugs, and the new unelected,
American-installed president of Haiti.
issue is democracy. You cannot sustain or look towards a democratic
future erected from the ashes of a democracy that an external
power has destroyed. You simply can't forget the context story
and move on. [Aristide] has a year and a half left in his term.
The election that brought him to this term, he won by 94% and
by all accounts, fairly. Both occasions. And as evidence of
how popular he is, the United States has gone to such great
and foolish lengths to banish him from the region. You simply
cannot start again without reckoning with that, the Lavalas
people still overwhelmingly support President Aristide and
they comprise the overwhelming majority of the Haitian people.
We have to come to terms with that. That is democracy and the
Bush Administration apparently doesn't like it in Haiti any
more than they liked it in Florida.
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