POV: why haiti? why now?
Mar 03, 2004 06:04 PST
Why Haiti? Why Now?
By J. Damu
Submitted to portside
Black people across America and throughout the world,
in fact all people who love and honor democracy and
social justice, have to be outraged at what was surely
the cloaked in darkness gunpoint kidnapping of Haitian
President Jean Bertrand Aristide by U.S. militarists,
this past Sunday, February 29.
We must speak as one to denounce this latest
"lebensraum" (living space) foreign policy of the Bush
administration, which is beginning to resemble more and
more that of the German nazi era.
Despite this moral outrage committed against the long
suffering people of Haiti, the first anywhere to
successfully rise up against their slave masters, an
act of defiance for which they've never been forgiven,
the questions asked by many protestors, as hundreds
streamed from San Francisco's underground rail system
to demonstrate against Bush's latest crime, were, "Why
Haiti?" and "Why now?"
Both questions can be answered simply and succinctly
with just two words-Cuba, Venezuela.
The removal of Aristide has been a long simmering coup
in the making that dates back at least to the Clinton
presidency and the refusal of Congress to release
promised funding to the economically devastated island.
However the timing and execution of the Haitian coup
has to be placed within a regional and world context.
The coup, or extra-democratic process, which brought
George Bush to the White House, allowed him to hand
over U.S. foreign policy decision making, as it effects
the Western hemisphere, to naturalized U.S. Cubans
dedicated to the overthrow of the Cuban revolution.
Their policies, although geared to the overthrow of
Fidel Castro and socialism in Cuba, converge neatly
with U.S. designs to destabilize the Caribbean and
Central-South American region and insure U.S. supremacy
and access to Venezuela's all important oil.
Therefore it is no surprise Otto Reich's fingerprints
are all over this weeks kidnapping of President
Aristide. Otto Reich, you will re-call is the Under-
Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere who
helped to orchestrate the short-lived kidnapping and
ouster of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. That
kidnapping was undone when the people rose up and re-
installed Chavez because the perpetrators of that
kidnapping had failed to remove Chavez completely from
the country. Not to make the same mistake twice.
In an overall strategy that parallels the world wide
concept of the Department of Defense to simultaneously
fighting one or one and half wars to extend U.S.
imperial power to control energy sources overseas,
under the cover of fighting terrorism; hard line,
reactionary Cubans within the U.S. diplomatic community
have been handed near carte blanche powers to
destabilize progressive regimes in the Western
In addition to Otto Reich, who as a diplomatic
appointee to Venezuela during the Reagan administration
helped to arrange the transferring and releasing to the
streets of Miami terrorist Orlando Bosch, mastermind of
the 1976 blowing up of the Cuban airliner is:
Reich's right-hand man Roger Noriega a former Jesse
Helms protégé who recently served as U.S. ambassador to
the Organization of American States and now is also to
the State Department's Western Hemisphere Bureau and:
John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations,
who also as a Reagan appointee served as U.S.
ambassador to Honduras and officially covered up if not
actually facilitated the dearth squads there in support
of that country's actions against Nicaragua's
There can be little doubt all three of these men, with
common roots in the hard line Florida community of
Cuban exiles and terrorists inside and outside the U.S.
played key roles in facilitating the events in Haiti
For instance it widely known that the thugs and
gangsters who make up the leadership of the so-called
Haitian rebels, Guy Phillippe, Emanuel Constant and
Jodel Chamblain were all trained at the U.S. held Manta
airbase in Ecuador.
This military installation, developed with U.S. funds
ostensibly to help launch strikes in the war against
the drug trade, is being used as a training and staging
area for paramilitary and military operations in the
region, much as Panama's Howard airbase was previously
used, according to former U.S. military's Southern
Command chief, General Charles Wilhelm. Published news
accounts say all three paid Haitian terrorists occupied
the same house at Manta airbase during their training
there and they admit to being on the CIA payroll for
some years now.
Of course there is an entire constellation of Haitian
and U.S. characters and organizations as well as
international policy and funding organizations that
helped create the machinery and climate for Aristide's
kidnapping and serve to diffuse attention from the
Cuban right wing policy makers. The Democratic
Convergence, the Group 184, the Republican Party
controlled National Endowment for Democracy, the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank.
maneuverings are all well documented. The history of
U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, James Foley (he who led the
pre-dawn kidnapping raid against President Aristide)
ties to KLA terrorist organization in Kosovo is also
However, it is the existence in the United States and
within the naturalized Cuban community a fascistic,
hard line element exemplified by Reich, Negroponte and
Noriega, that not only denied the U.S. people a
democratically elected president but now has
successfully overthrown the democratically elected
President Aristide and stage manages and facilitates
the de-stabilization of the Western Hemisphere.
The overthrow of Aristide was relatively simple to
physically accomplish-but the larger message was to
Cuba and Venezuela and even to Brazil-that dangerous
times lie immediately ahead.
Finally African-Americans in particular must express
outrage and shame at the complicity of Black U.S.
foreign policy spokespeople Secretary of State Colin
Powell and National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice
(Otto Reich's immediate superior during the Venezuela
coup attempt by the way) in this great crime against
the Haitian people. As if capitulating to political
reaction by endorsing the U.S. invasion of Iraq were
not enough, both have now become hand puppets for the
Miami Cuban pro-fascists who would extend U.S. imperial
policy against our brothers and sisters throughout the
[J.Damu is the acting Western Regional Representative
for N'COBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for
Reparations in America. For more information about how
you can help Haiti or to become involved please contact
the Haiti Action Committee at (510) 483-7481 or write
HAC, P.O. Box 2218, Berkeley, Ca. 94702 or visit their
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