Bookmark and Share
Click to go to the home page.
Click to send us your comments and suggestions.
Click to learn about the publishers of and our mission.
Click to search for any word or phrase on our Website.
Click to sign up for an e-Mail notification only whenever we publish something new.
Click to remove your e-Mail address from our list immediately and permanently.
Click to read our pledge to never give or sell your e-Mail address to anyone.
Click to read our policy on re-prints and permissions.
Click for the demographics of the audience and our rates.
Click to view the patrons list and learn now to become a patron and support
Click to see job postings or post a job.
Click for links to Websites we recommend.
Click to see every cartoon we have published.
Click to read any past issue.
Click to read any think piece we have published.
Click to read any guest commentary we have published.
Click to view any of the art forms we have published.

Haiti is a prison ruled by psychopaths, an angry wound in the body of the African Diaspora inflicted 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.


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 combinations 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 military coups:

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 American unilateralism.

Not coincidentally, da Silva believes that his eagerness to participate in the 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 power.

Such rationalizations 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 order.

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.

Thugs and thieves

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 the 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.

The United Nations will not bring justice to Haiti, so long as it can 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.

We smell an uprising.



July 8 2004
Issue 98

is published every Thursday.

Printer Friendly Version