UnderNews: News Links On The Haiti Coup
News Roundup On The Haiti CoupFrom Undernews – Edited by Sam Smith
BABY DOC DUVALIER WANTs TO RETURN
AP - Exiled Haitian dictator Jean-Claude ``Baby Doc'' Duvalier told a television reporter he wants to return to his homeland now that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has fled. ``This is my country,'' Duvalier told WFOR-CBS4 on Monday in an interview in Paris. ``I'm ready to put myself at the disposal of the Haitian people.'' But Duvalier said he doesn't plan to run for president.
ARISTIDE ANNOYED FRENCH BY DEMANDING REPARATIONS
JACQUELINE CHARLES, DECEMBER 2003 - Almost 200 years after rebellious slaves drove a humiliated French army from Haiti, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has fired the first shot in a new battle with France. In the months leading up to Jan. 1 bicentennial celebrations, Aristide has launched a controversial campaign to get France to repay its former colony billions of dollars in restitution. And he has already sent Paris a bill, down to the very last cent: $21,685,135,571.48.
The Haitian government says the money is the modern-day equivalent of the ransom, 90 million gold francs (originally set at 150 million gold francs) that Haitian President Jean-Pierre Boyer agreed to pay France. The European power refused to recognize Haiti's independence and threatened to re-enslave the Haitian people if the indemnity wasn't paid.
JESSE HELMS CRONY BEHIND ARISTIDE OUSTER
RON HOWELL NEWS DAY - The departure of Haiti's Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a victory for a Bush administration hard-liner who has been long dedicated to Aristide's ouster, U.S. foreign policy analysts say. That official is Roger Noriega, assistant U.S. secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, whose influence over U.S. policy toward Haiti has increased during the past decade as he climbed the diplomatic ladder in Washington. "Roger Noriega has been dedicated to ousting Aristide for many, many years, and now he's in a singularly powerful position to accomplish it," Robert White, a former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay, said last week. White, now president of the Center for International Policy, a think tank in Washington, said Noriega's ascent largely has been attributed to his ties to North Carolina Republican Jesse Helms, an arch-conservative foe of Aristide who had behind-the-scenes influence over policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean before retiring from the Senate two years ago. "Helms didn't just dislike Aristide, Helms loathed Aristide because he saw in Aristide another Castro," said Larry Birns, director of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which has been strongly critical of the Bush administration's policy on Haiti. Working hand in hand with Noriega on Haiti has been National Security Council envoy Otto Reich, who, like Noriega, is ardently opposed to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, say analysts such as Birns. Washington diplomats have seen Aristide as a leftist who is often fierce in his denunciations of the business class and slow to make recommended changes such as privatizing state-run industries. "On a day-to-day basis, Roger Noriega [has been] making policy, but with a very strong role played by Otto Reich," Birns said.
GUARDIAN - [The London] Times quotes a Haitian diplomat who points out Mr Aristide's resignation statement was faxed to the Haitian Embassy in Washington and its New York consulate by, er, the US State Department. "It's a funny thing," says the diplomat.
Writing in the Guardian, the academic Peter Hallward offers a complex version of Haiti's recent past: "With the enthusiastic backing of Haiti's former colonial master, a leader elected with overwhelming popular support has been driven from office by a loose association of convicted human rights abusers, seditious former army officers and pro-American business leaders."
The Independent runs a piece on the looting of Mr Aristide's villa. "It's our own system," it quotes a young looter saying. "As soon as a leader falls, we loot his palace."
SCOTSMAN - "White American, white military. They came at night. ... There were too many. I couldn't count them." - Aristide
BOSTON GLOBE - MAKE NO mistake about it: Jean-Bertrand Aristide's resignation yesterday as Haiti's elected president was a defeat for democracy. It was a defeat that the United States, so eager to inject democracy into the Middle East, could have prevented as recently as last week, when Aristide asked for foreign security forces to protect Haitian democracy from the armed insurgents threatening to overthrow it... Aristide was a deeply flawed leader who never managed to put in place two foundation stones of self-government: a trained and adequately staffed internal security force and a fair electoral structure. On each score he received some help from the United States after a US intervention in 1994 restored him to the presidency. (He had won office in 1990, only to be deposed by the military in 1991.) Unfortunately, this exercise in nation building was slammed by the Republican-led Congress, and the Clinton administration backed off long before Haiti had the police force or electoral institutions it needed. In a country of 8 million, Haiti's police number fewer than 5,000, and many were so poorly led that they put up no fight against the insurgents. Embittered by the Haitian Army's involvement in the coup against him and by its brutal killings of Haitian citizens, Aristide disbanded it. Former leaders of that army are now part of the insurgency.
BLACK POLITICIANS BLAME BUSH REGIME
WAYNE WASHINGTON, BOSTON GLOBE - "The problem for Haiti is that it's not oil-rich," said Representative Kendrick B. Meek, the Florida Democrat whose Miami district is home to the largest Haitian immigrant community in the United States. "It's a people of African descent. And they're not campaign contributors. I hate to say that, but I believe if the people's circumstances were different, I think they'd see a very different reaction from this administration."
Bill Fletcher Jr., head of the Trans Africa Forum, a policy group focusing on African and Caribbean issues, was particularly critical of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's role in pursuing the Bush administration's policy on Haiti. Fletcher said black officials should not have expected Powell to urge the administration to move more forcefully in Haiti simply because he is black. "We have to stop believing," Fletcher said. "We have to stop thinking that Colin Powell wants to do the right thing. If the brother wanted to do the right thing, he would have resigned."
The armed insurrection which contributed to unseating President Aristide on February 29th 2004 was the result of a carefully staged military-intelligence operation. The Rebel paramilitary army crossed the border from the Dominican Republic in early February. It constitutes a well armed, trained and equipped paramilitary unit integrated by former members of Le Front pour l'avancement et le progrès d'Haiti (FRAPH), the "plain clothes" death squadrons, involved in mass killings of civilians and political assassinations during the CIA sponsored 1991 military coup, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide
The self-proclaimed Front pour la Libération et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN) (National Liberation and Reconstruction Front) is led by Guy Philippe, a former member of the Haitian Armed Forces and Police Chief. Philippe had been trained during the 1991 coup years by US Special Forces in Ecuador, together with a dozen other Haitian Army officers. (See Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News, 24 February 2004).
In Haiti, [the] "civil society opposition" is bankrolled by the National Endowment for Democracy which works hand in glove with the CIA. The Democratic Platform is supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI) , which is an arm of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Senator John McCain is Chairman of IRI's Board of Directors.
It is worth recalling that the NED, (which overseas the IRI) although not formally part of the CIA, performs an important intelligence function within the arena of civilian political parties and NGOs. It was created in 1983, when the CIA was being accused of covertly bribing politicians and setting up phony civil society front organizations. According to Allen Weinstein, who was responsible for setting up the NED during the Reagan Administration: "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."
JEFFREY SACHS, FINANCIAL TIMES - The ease with which the US thereby brought down another Latin American democracy is stunning. What has been the CIA's role among the anti-Aristide rebels? How much US money went from US institutions and government agencies to help foment this uprising? Why did the White House abandon the Caribbean compromise proposal it endorsed just days before? These questions have not been asked. Then again, we live in an age when entire wars can be launched on phony pretenses with few questions asked.
MAR 2, 2004
FROM THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW
EDITED BY SAM SMITH
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