Haiti is a prison ruled
by psychopaths, an angry wound in the body of the African Diaspora
by pirates at war with civilization, itself. It is the festering
evidence of the Bush men’s true intentions for the region and
hemisphere, a nightmare and a warning from the North to the South:
don’t even pretend that you are free.
Since February 29, when
the United States and France forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
and his wife
into an odyssey of exile, Haiti has endured the dictatorship
of an elite so tiny and morally depraved that its survival is
dependent on indigenous criminals and foreign soldiers. The U.S.-installed
government of Gerard Latortue – a rabble fronting for butchers
and thieves – now seeks legitimacy in the ranks of the Caribbean
Community, Caricom, the 15-nation regional body from which Latortue
recklessly withdrew in the aftermath of the coup.
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At a summit meeting this week in Grenada, Caricom’s
leaders withheld recognition of the Haitian Gangster
State, opting instead to send a delegation to
explore restoration of relations in the future. According to reports earlier
in the week, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago,
Grenada and the Bahamas pressed for immediate recognition of Latortue’s
regime, while a smaller bloc, led by St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Prime Minister Ralf
Gonsalves, sought to ostracize the U.S. puppet.
"The Heads or no group of Heads can go and meet Latortue,
and, if they go, they would not be representing me," said
Gonsalves. "Latortue was installed by the Americans, you do
not have democracy in Haiti today and there is no level playing
field, therefore whoever wants to recognize Haiti can, but the
Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not recognize
the Latortue administration."
The final compromise calls for Haitian readmission
to Caricom based on certain “conditionalities,” including
an early return to a constitutional government in Haiti, establishment
of a bi-partisan electoral council for competitive local, national
and presidential elections, and the disarming of armed bands.
Every Caribbean leader knows that the Latortue
regime cannot possibly adhere to such conditions, since it is
in a state of war with the
majority of Haiti’s people – the mass constituency that chose Aristide
as their President under the Lavalas party umbrella. Caricom’s
face-saving formula seeks to preserve the dignity of the organization
while allowing member states to attempt to make their peace with
the United States – the overwhelming presence at the Grenada meeting.
Jamaican Prime Minister P. J. Patterson was ready to compromise,
having borne the full fury of U.S. wrath at his decision to temporarily
harbor Aristide after his release from the Central African Republic.
There will be many such “compromises” – and, undoubtedly,
a host of outright betrayals – as the hemisphere and the world
wrestles with the great question of the age: How can nations, or
of nations, preserve the integrity of international law in the
face of a superpower that is intent on subordination or outright
destruction of the existing world order? In this context, the tiny,
super-vulnerable nations of the Caribbean may have shown as much
collective spine as can reasonably be expected.
Latinos bearing guns
In the estimation of Stan Goff and many other
opponents of U.S. imperialism, the leftist governments of Argentina,
Brazil and Chile
have stepped over the line into “grotesque betrayal and unabashed
political opportunism” by taking on UN “peacekeeping” duties in
Haiti. (See “ABC
of Opportunism,” Counterpunch, July 3.) As Goff points out,
all three of these nations were themselves victimized by American-backed
Has Argentina's [President Nestor Carlos] Kirchner
forgotten the US's supportive role during the Dirty War? Has
Chile's [President Ricardo] Lagos forgotten 1973 and the CIA
attack on Chilean popular sovereignty? And has Brazil's [President
Lula] da Silva developed amnesia with regard to [President Joao] Goulart's ouster at the hands of the same
CIA in 1964?
The Brazil-led UN force took over Haiti
occupation duties from a U.S.-led “multinational” force,
late last month, with a Security Council mandate to “encourage” disarmament
of armed groups in preparation for elections in 2005. Haitians
cannot be faulted for believing that only the accents of
the occupiers have changed. There is no question that, by
replacing U.S., Canadian and French troops, the Latin American
presence has the effect of “sanctioning the
controversial foreign intervention in which former Haitian
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was removed from power,” wrote Emir
Sader in the current issue of Foreign Policy In Focus.
However, Brazil sees the issue differently, perceiving its
UN mission as one that strengthens international order and
the rule of law. From President Lula da Silva’s perspective,
Brazil’s mission in Haiti represents opposition to
coincidentally, da Silva believes that his eagerness to participate
occupation of Haiti enhances Brazil’s candidacy for a permanent
spot on the UN Security Council – which in turn, by this line
of reasoning, advances the goal of a multi-polar world in which
large developing nations like Brazil, South Africa, India and
China act as counterbalances to North American and European
do the Haitian people no good at all, but must be expected
and understood as the inevitable result of the contradictions
into which the Bush Pirates have plunged the planet. When the Americans threaten to make the UN irrelevant
(in Bush pal Richard Perle’s words, “perhaps
we can dispense with the UN altogether”), nations
fearful for the future of international order become eager
to engage the world body as an alternative to “unregulated” U.S.
aggression. Thus, the United Nations gave cover to a decade
of U.S. and British aerial aggression against Iraq, and offered
its good offices to the farcical “transfer” of power to the “new” puppet
regime in Baghdad – all in the interest of staying in “the
game.” To preserve the appearance of the rule of law, the UN
stoops to legalizing lawlessness.
Secretary General Kofi Annan’s lap dog behavior – a repertoire
that features a “roll over” so predictable you can set your
watch by it – is a calculated defense of the institutional United
Nations. The UN has been Annan’s “home” for more than 40
years; he is a “citizen” of a vast, global bureaucracy
whose primary mission is to preserve itself. When resistance
to the superpower might endanger the institution, the UN seeks
a niche alongside the superpower – and calls it international
Brazil, Argentina and Chile followed the same map to Haiti.
As long as there exists no web of international relations that
can function effectively without the cooperation of the United
States, nations will justify their lack of solidarity with
the victims of U.S. aggression by waving the UN flag.
In Haiti’s case, UN bureaucrats speak of decades of international
stewardship over the country, as if it were a toddler nation,
rather than the second republic to emerge in the western hemisphere.
Better to “adopt” the child than leave it to its own devices,
or to the tender mercies of its abusive neighbors. So goes
the self-serving rationalization, with hardly a nod to the
UN’s own principles of national sovereignty and self-determination.
Like stunted sorcerer’s apprentices, the de facto rulers in
Port-au-Prince mimic their masters in Washington, pretending
that deposed Prime Minister Yvon Neptune is Haiti’s Saddam Hussein.
Neptune went underground in March to escape assassination by
the “freedom fighters” who are the muscle for Gerard Latortue’s
regime. In May, while still in hiding, Neptune wrote an Open
Letter to the U.S.-led occupiers of his country, the Organization
of American States (OAS), Caricom, and the UN:
“The Multinational Force will soon put an end
to its mission, it will be replaced by a United Nations Force. I
wish that neither will have been a tool put in the hands of
present Government, the group 184 and other coalitions of die-hard
anti-Lavalas sectors to chase away, isolate or destroy
those who share the yearning and the difficult and painful
struggle of the impoverished majority to move forward with
the process of building an inclusive and equitable socio-economic
system for the benefit of all.
”I am convinced that the historically violated, exploited,
deceived and repressed people of Haiti have the intelligence
and wisdom to create, identify and seize true opportunities
of stability, peace and improvement of their living conditions.”
Neptune was arrested by Latortue’s police on June 27, shortly
after coming out of hiding. He faces trial by the equivalent
of an Al Capone court. The prime minister’s imprisonment, said
former Aristide spokesman Mario Dupuy, "confirms, for those
who still had doubts, the hideous and revolting character of
this tropical fascism."
An estimated 3,000
Haitians have been murdered by Latortue’s thugs since the U.S.-engineered
coup of February 29.
United Nations will not bring justice to Haiti, so long as
otherwise busy itself. Even “progressive” Latin American states
have demonstrated that the “big picture” in their heads does
not include Haiti’s 8 million people. Nor can Haitians expect
their Caricom neighbors to risk their own sovereignty in the
quest for a free Haiti. Should he win the presidency, John
Kerry will not lift a finger on his own initiative to return
President Aristide from South African exile. Yet it is also
certain that the buffoonish Latortue regime, representing a
small and flight-prone elite, cannot impose its cruel discipline
on the great bulk of the population for long.
"If they want to kill all of us that's
OK, but we will not rest until Aristide is back," said Lesly
Gustave, an organizer of a 5,000-strong Lavalas demonstration
in Port-au-Prince, in mid-June.