News and opinions on situation in Haiti
New York Times Editorial: No Help to Democracy in Haiti
The NYT editorial copied below identifies Stanley Lucas’ employers, powerful Republican and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain IRI chairman and the Bush Adminstration as undermining Haiti’s fledging democracy. But the editorial falls short in not pointing out how USAID’s current “pacification” programs are consolidating the IRI obstructions and will work to deny Haitians free and fair elections next week.
Haiti was a deeply troubled democracy when the Bush administration took office. Now it is an even more deeply troubled nondemocracy. One thing contributed to Haiti’s present plight, our colleagues Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg reported Sunday, was a “democracy building” program financed by the United States government and run by the International Republican Institute.
The I.R.I., whose chairman is Senator John McCain and whose president is a former Bush administration official, is one of four institutes (the others are affiliated with the Democrats, the United States Chamber of Commerce and the A.F.L.-C.I.O.) set up during the 1980's to channel taxpayer dollars toward strengthening democracy in other countries. Congress intended this financing system to move American support for democracy in other countries out of the shrouded world of covert intelligence and into the daylight of political training institutes.
But according to the Times report, which the I.R.I. disputes, much of the Republican Institute’s activities in Haiti from 2001 to 2003 were carried out in a shadowy world of secret meetings and efforts to isolate and destabilize the democratically elected government. Diplomats, including the American ambassador to Haiti in those years, said that the I.R.I. program worked at cross purposes with the State Department’s policy of promoting compromise between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his many powerful opponents. It also undercut mediation efforts that appeared within reach of success.
With all hopes of compromise thwarted, a rebel army led by notorious criminals and cashiered police officers crossed into Haiti from the Dominican Republic and drove President Aristide from office. He fled on a United States-supplied plane after Washington made it clear to him that it would not protect his life if he remained or defend the democratically elected government.
That was almost two years ago, and Haiti is worse off today. Murder rules the slums of Port-au-Prince, and a United Nations peacekeeping force struggles even to protect itself. Dates for new elections have been repeatedly postponed. The latest date is now set for next week. We hope this begins to undo some of the damage done by the kind of I.R.I. democracy building described in The Times.
* Copyright 2006
Is the New York Times Feb. 3, 2006 Editorial, “No Help to Democracy” clearer and more unequivocal than the New York Timesí “Democracy Untold” article in pointing out that the Bush Administration’s policies and practices were NOT committed to building democracy in Haiti but in fact to undermining it? At least it refrains from reducing US intentional undermining of Haitian democracy simply to ìmixed signals.î
But, the damage done by NY Times and similar corporate media slants, spins, half-truths and lies reported about Haiti’s elected government, indiscriminately criminalizing Haiti’s youths and the entire Lavalas Movement – say from the fall of 2003, their coverage or lack of truthful coverage of the people’s demonstrations against the coming coup d’etat, of the state of the foreign-strummed instability, killings, chaos in Haiti during the bicentennial month of January 2004 and throughout the month of Feb. 2004 – is grossly negligent, definitely irreversible if not outright criminal. Not to mention that the damage caused by the eerie corporate media silence and pretexts after the coup d’etat, as the Haitian poor were spun into the chaotic and bloody consequences of Bush/Noreiga/McCain regime change in Haiti, simply cannot be undone or overstated. And, the corporate media has yet to write how USAID “aid programs,” after the coup d’etat, from Feb. 20 2004 to the present, have funded and supported a systematic campaign of repression against Lavalas and other popular organizations being executed by the “rebels” (death squads), the new militarized Haitian police force, and the international troops.
The current NYT editorial and Democracy Undone article pointing to what was going on in 2003 with IRI “aid programs” is a little too late for the 100 or so Haitian prisoners slaughtered in Feb. 2005; the poor massacred by US Marines with Haitian “police” and then UN troops with Haitian “police” in Bel Air, Fort National, Site Soley, Martissant, Solino, et al.
For, in simply centering on Brian Curran, who resign in 2003, the New York Times still has three years of truthful reporting on USAID/IRI “aid programs” to cover for their readers.
But this, when they get to it, won’t help, in general, Haitians whose lives and liberty, perhaps could have been spared, if the truth about US corrupting influence in Haiti and the reign of abuse and impunity it helped bring forth, had been contextualized and written about sooner (not almost 2 years later) by the influential corporate mainstream papers. See, Lucson Pierre-Charles’ ìHaiti After the Press Went Home: Chaos Upon Chaosî dated July 21, 2004 www.counterpunch.com/pierre06212004.html , and President Thabo M’beki’s “After the Press went home” www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/anctoday/2004/at29.htm#preslet
For over a DECADE now, HLLN, has been writing about how US ìaidî monies funds dependency, contains Haiti in poverty and undermines Haiti’s efforts at democracy and domestic development.
But itís not only HLLN that has talked about how US aid underdeveloped Haiti. Tons of books have been written about how foreign debt and ìaidî funds underdevelopes the developing nations and serves as the blueprint for colonialism. I’ve written, many years ago, how that blueprint started in Haiti with the 1833 French ìindemnity” (embezzlement) and then how the endless debt tool first field-tested in Haiti, was, forevermore used elsewhere, by the Western nations, to covertly render dependent and for the former colonial masters, to stealthily compromise and undermine their former colony’s sovereignty after independence.
Systematic use of US funds in Haiti
If the New York Times wrote the entire truth about Haiti, they would not only center on IRI, but point out that the clear history of USAIDís programs in Haiti, since USAID got to Haiti DECADES ago, shows a systematic US policy of supporting anti-democratic groups, like Haitiís wealthy few and their neoliberal economic interests. They would mention the current US ìpacification programsî suppressing the poor majority designed and funded by USAID. They would mention how USAID programs literally starves Haitians into more misery than not.
For example, in 1997, the group Grassroots International said that aid programs in Haiti where systematically undermining BOTH democracy and food security in Haiti.
When will the New York Times point out that there are US ìaid programsî beyond ìdemocracy enhancementî programs that also violate Haitiís human rights, destroys Haitian self-reliance, stability, rule of law and domestic economy?
USAID Pacification Programs:
How can the New York Times, this Feb. 3, 2006 editorial, begin to redress the damage done to Haiti’s peoples and dreams of democracy by its previous shoddy reporting, when even now, no NY Times article has yet to specifically point out how, currently, I mean, right THIS MINUTE in Haiti, USAID designed and funded, ìtransition initiatives,î otherwise known as USAIDís ìpacification programs,î are undermining the hope for a return to the rule of law and a Constitutional democracy in Haiti by attempting to legitimize the coup – helping to consolidate its bloody reign with exclusionary elections, sham elections? (See, Haiti’s Biometric Elections: A High-Tech Experiment in Exclusion by AndrÈa Schmidt,
When will the New York Times, and the corporate media, in general, write about how such USAID ìaid programsî have worked hand-in-hand with the corrupt ìpolice forceî and politicized Ministry of Justice to suppress the poor majority in Haiti, their right to demonstrate against the de facto regime, their freedom of speech and association. These USAID pacification programs, like the one with the International Organization for Migration, funded by US taxpayers, are, as I write these lines, abusing Haitian human rights, civil rights, cultural rights. These USAID ìpacification programsî are intended, like the IRI, NED, IFES, et al ìdemocracy enhancementî programs, to oppress the Haitians masses. These programs, such as the camp-for-peace, the soccer games et al, have been used to intimidate protestors, demobilize the grassroots protesting the killings in the poor neighborhoods, the warehousing of community activists into indefinite detention, and to empower the wealthy elites and uphold the Boca Raton regime. ( See, ìUSAID boasts ìsuccessî with pacification program in Haitiî by Kevin Skerrett; October 10, 2005 www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=8906§ionID=1
Where is the New York Times reporting of these sorts of USAID abusive ìaidî projects? Is it a legitimate US bi-partisan objective to fund aid programs in Haiti that are specifically intended to reduce the size of anti-government demonstrations and/or cast aspersions on the legitimacy of the peaceful protestors to the Boca Raton regime? When will the New York Times and other mainstream corporate media write an expose on these “pacificationî sort of USAID aid programs in Haiti?
In fact, letís go further and point out, EMPHASIZE, how the United States government and U.S. NGOs “aid programs” in Haiti, not only undermine Haitiís democracy, our peoples human and civil rights, Haitiís sovereignty, security, stability but our peoples very physical EXISTENCE. For, there are also US ìaid programs,î right now in Haiti, undermining FOOD security in Haiti. (See, for instance, Feeding Dependency, Starving Democracy: USAID Policies in Haiti, by Grassroots International www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43a/597.html )
When will the mainstream media tell the entire truth about how US policy and practices in Haiti brings death, dependency, endless debt, foreign domination and destruction; that it is not that Haitians are incapable of governing themselves, but that they have some very powerful, brutal and implacable Euro/US enemies, who have proven over and over again, for two long centuries and three hundred years of slavery before then, that they will stop at nothing to deny Haitians the right to live free and prosperous lives.
Marguerite Laurent, Esq.
“Men anpil chay pa lou” is Kreyol for – “Many hands make light a heavy
– HLLN’s position of the sham elections
– Turning Haiti into a (Penal) Colony:
The Bush bloodbath brought to Haiti – List (partial) of Victims and
5-point demands from the grassroots and Fanmi Lavalas-base in Haiti for
1. Liberation of all political prisoners including Father Gerard
2. The Latortue government must go.
3. The repression and killings in the popular neighborhoods must stop
4. Disarmament. Arms must be gone. There cannot be elections with all
5. President Aristide and all those in exile must be allowed to return
Demand a Stop to the killings in Site Soley, Bel Air, Martissant, Solino –
UN Machetes in Haiti | Haitian Perspectives by August 15, 2005 (Letter
HLLN’s Open Letter Demanding a stop to UN slaughter in Site Soley
– The Elections Game is On by Justin Podur:
– Haiti Today – Voter Registration by Brad Workman
HLLN Note: these “National ID Cards” sponsored by the OAS and other
– COHA: Haiti ñ And You Call This an Election? | Oct. 11, 2005