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(en) Ireland: Workers Solidarity #81 - Haiti and US Terrorism

From "Andrew" <andrew@flag.blackened.net>
Date Mon, 24 May 2004 11:55:53 +0200 (CEST)

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The USA's outrageous occupation of Iraq is in serious trouble. It
has cost the lives of at least 15,000 Iraqis, 600 US soldiers and
enriched companies such as Dick Cheney's Halliburton Co. to the
tune of $16.8 million thanks to "God Oil". Not content with this,
the Bush administration felt it was time to make a new move in
its aggressive international policy. The new victim is a small
Caribbean country, which shares the same island as the
Dominican Republic: Haiti.

Like a police thriller, the victim "wasn't unknown" to the
Washington butchers. Murderers tend to go back to the scene of
their crimes. Haiti has long suffered from Uncle Sam's
interventions. Born through slaves' revolts against their French
masters, Haiti was the first black republic in the world -1804 -
and for that has paid a high price.

Despised by all other countries of the world, it suffered from
economic sanctions by the USA, the UK and France, the main
colonist countries of the time and monopolists of international
trade. Haiti was "forgiven" only in exchange for huge
"compensation" payments to France. Slaves learned the high
price of Liberty. Thus, the Republic was born carrying the
burdens of the legacy of slavery, wrecked by war, and damaged in
its possibilities of independent development by the debt it
contracted to pay France.

This condemned Haiti to little improvement from its previous
state: once known as the Pearl of the Antilles, it kept providing
coffee, sugar and tobacco to the Western world, after the new
elite, mercenaries of the old masters, learned to provide the
conditions for the reproduction of this extraordinarily cheap

During a political crisis (1915), the USA decided to intervene to
keep its control and its business safe. To keep high profit rates,
they introduced forced labour. Rebellions occurred, and the US
fled Haiti in 1934, leaving behind a deadly legacy and securing its
rule over the Caribbean. Always keeping an eye on the region,
they were aware of the atrocities of Dominican dictator Trujillo,
who executed 15,000 Haitians (1937), and of the Haitian dictator
Francois Duvalier, known as "Papa Doc", whose dictatorship
(1957-1971) cost the lives of 60,000 Haitians.

The USA not only was tolerant of them, but was supportive.
These dictators ensured the maintenance of the US's profits,
sweat-shops, plantations and of their political influence. They
were part of the US led anti-communist crusade that in the 1980s
alone cost 280,000 people's lives in Latin America and the
Caribbean. They supported the Duvaliers dictatorship for 30
years, until "Baby Doc", F. Duvalier's son (1971-1986), had to
flee the country amid riots, after looting the State's coffers. He
was never taken to international courts, where he might say too
much about his former employers in the White House.

In 1990 Haiti had its first democratic elections. The winner, a
leftist priest, Aristide, talked about education for the people and of
prioritising health over external debt. The USA thought this was
too radical. Bush Sr. financed a coup seven months after the
elections, leading to a new dictatorship and more bloodshed.
Aristide was exiled to the USA, where he was indoctrinated in the
catechism of neoliberalism. After he learned his lesson (Priorities:
World Bank & IMF before the poor), he was returned to power in
1994 . He was not going to alter Haiti's order: 80% under the
poverty line, and 60% unemployed.

With this record, could we seriously believe in a Humanitarian
Intervention of the USA? We get even more suspicious, knowing
that the February rebellion that ousted Aristide (not much of a
white dove himself anymore, but never supported by

the Republicans in Washington), was financed, armed and
trained by the CIA in the Dominican Republic. Behind the coup
are Haiti's elite, the US, and former Duvalierists responsi-ble for
human rights' violations. Their first measure was union-busting,
deepening the already-too-deep neoliberal policies, and
re-forming the army, loyal to USA, disbanded by Aristide to
prevent new coups.

What lies behind the coup? Certainly, US Republicans were not
fond of Aristide's populism; also, they disliked his demands that
France pay back the "compensation" made a century ago. They
distrusted Aristide, because despite all sorts of concessions made
to the IMF, he wasn't neoliberal enough when it came to
privatisations. But most of all, the Bush administration needed to
secure complete control over the region before the elections, as
Haiti gives a stable base from where to intervene in Cuba,
Venezuela, Panama,

Once again, the Haitian people are victims of multinationals and
imperialist states' "superior" interests. But their unity has
de-livered them from their masters in the past, and great courage
is appearing in the grassroots' daily resistance against the
occupation forces and the new government. Haiti's fate lies in the
ability of their own people to build a new society in which there is
space for everyone, except for those who've exploited and
oppressed them for ages.

Paddy Rua

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* Anarchism and the fight against Imperialism
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not including articles on imperialism and Ireland.
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'Workers Solidarity'.

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