The Destabilization of Haiti
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, February 29,
This article was written in the last days
of February 2004 in response to the barrage of disinformation
in the mainstream media. It was completed on February 29th, the
day of President Jean Bertrand Aristide's kidnapping and deportation
by US Forces.
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).
The two other rebel commanders and associates
of Guy Philippe, who led the attacks on Gonaives and Cap Haitien
are Emmanuel Constant, nicknamed "Toto" and Jodel Chamblain,
both of whom are former Tonton Macoute and leaders of FRAPH.
In 1994, Emmanuel Constant led the FRAPH
assassination squadron into the village of Raboteau, in what was
later identified as "The Raboteau massacre":
"One of the last of the infamous
massacres happened in April 1994 in Raboteau, a seaside slum about
100 miles north of the capital. Raboteau has about 6,000 residents,
most fishermen and salt rakers, but it has a reputation as an
opposition stronghold where political dissidents often went to
hide... On April 18 , 100 soldiers and about 30 paramilitaries
arrived in Raboteau for what investigators would later call a
"dress rehearsal." They rousted people from their homes,
demanding to know where Amiot "Cubain" Metayer, a well-known
Aristide supporter, was hiding. They beat people, inducing a pregnant
woman to miscarry, and forced others to drink from open sewers.
Soldiers tortured a 65-year-old blind man until he vomited blood.
He died the next day.
The soldiers returned before dawn on April
22. They ransacked homes and shot people in the streets, and when
the residents fled for the water, other soldiers fired at them
from boats they had commandeered. Bodies washed ashore for days;
some were never found. The number of victims ranges from two dozen
to 30. Hundreds more fled the town, fearing further reprisals."
(St Petersburg Times, Florida, 1 September 2002)
During the military government (1991-1994),
FRAPH was (unofficially) under the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces,
taking orders from Commander in Chief General Raoul Cedras. According
to a 1996 UN Human Rights Commission report, FRAPH had been supported
by the CIA.
Under the military dictatorship, the narcotics
trade, was protected by the military Junta, which in turn was
supported by the CIA. The 1991 coup leaders including the FRAPH
paramilitary commanders were on the CIA payroll. (See Paul DeRienzo,
http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RIE402A.html , See also see
Jim Lobe, IPS, 11 Oct 1996). Emmanuel Constant alias "Toto"
confirmed, in this regard, in a CBS "60 Minutes" in
1995, that the CIA paid him about $700 a month and that he created
FRAPH, while on the CIA payroll. (See Miami Herald, 1 August 2001).
According to Constant, the FRAPH had been formed "with encouragement
and financial backing from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency
and the CIA." (Miami New Times, 26 February 2004)
The Civilian "Opposition"
The so-called "Democratic Convergence"
(DC) is a group of some 200 political organizations, led by former
Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul. The "Democratic Convergence"
(DC) together with "The Group of 184 Civil Society Organizations"
(G-184) has formed a so-called "Democratic Platform of Civil
Society Organizations and Opposition Political Parties".
The Group of 184 (G-184), is headed by
Andre (Andy) Apaid, a US citizen of Haitian parents, born in the
US. (Haiti Progres, http://www.haiti-progres.com/eng11-12.html
) Andy Apaid owns Alpha Industries, one of Haiti's largest cheap
labor export assembly lines established during the Duvalier era.
His sweatshop factories produce textile products and assemble
electronic products for a number of US firms including Sperry/Unisys,
IBM, Remington and Honeywell. Apaid is the largest industrial
employer in Haiti with a workforce of some 4000 workers. Wages
paid in Andy Apaid's factories are as low as 68 cents a day. (Miami
Times, 26 Feb 2004). The current minimum wage is of the order
of $1.50 a day:
"The U.S.-based National Labor Committee,
which first revealed the Kathie Lee Gifford sweat shop scandal,
reported several years ago that Apaid's factories in Haiti's free
trade zone often pay below the minimum wage and that his employees
are forced to work 78-hour weeks." (Daily News, New York,
24 Feb 2004)
Apaid was a firm supporter of the 1991
military coup. Both the Convergence démocratique and the
G-184 have links to the FLRN (former FRAPH death squadrons) headed
by Guy Philippe. The FLRN is also known to receive funding from
the Haitian business community.
In other words, there is no watertight
division between the civilian opposition, which claims to be non-violent
and the FLRN paramilitary. The FLRN is collaborating with the
so-called "Democratic Platform."
The Role of the National Endowment for
In Haiti, this "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. (See Laura Flynn,
Pierre Labossière and Robert Roth, Hidden from the Headlines:
The U.S. War Against Haiti, California-based Haiti Action Committee
(HAC), http://www.haitiprogres.com/eng11-12.html ).
G-184 leader Andy Apaid was in liaison
with Secretary of State Colin Powell in the days prior to the
kidnapping and deportation of President Aristide by US forces
on February 29. His umbrella organization of elite business organizations
and religious NGOs, which is also supported by the International
Republican Institute (IRI), receives sizeable amounts of money
from the European Union.(http://haitisupport.gn.apc.org/184%20EC.htm
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." ('Washington Post', Sept.
The NED channels congressional funds to
the four institutes: The International Republican Institute (IRI),
the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI),
the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the
American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS). These
organizations are said to be "uniquely qualified to provide
technical assistance to aspiring democrats worldwide." See
IRI, http://www.iri.org/history.asp )
In other words, there is a division of
tasks between the CIA and the NED. While the CIA provides covert
support to armed paramilitary rebel groups and death squadrons,
the NED and its four constituent organizations finance "civilian"
political parties and non governmental organizations with a view
to instating American "democracy" around the World.
The NED constitutes, so to speak, the
CIA's "civilian arm". CIA-NED interventions in different
part of the World are characterized by a consistent pattern, which
is applied in numerous countries.
The NED provided funds to the "civil
society" organizations in Venezuela, which initiated an attempted
coup against President Hugo Chavez. In Venezuela it was the "Democratic
Coordination", which was the recipient of NED support; in
Haiti it is the "Democratic Convergence" and G-184.
Similarly, in former Yugoslavia, the CIA
channeled support to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) (since 1995),
a paramilitary group involved in terrorist attacks on the Yugoslav
police and military. Meanwhile, the NED through the "Center
for International Private Enterprise" (CIPE) was backing
the DOS opposition coalition in Serbia and Montenegro. More specifically,
NED was financing the G-17, an opposition group of economists
responsible for formulating (in liaison with the IMF) the DOS
coalition's "free market" reform platform in the 2000
presidential election, which led to the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic.
The IMF's Bitter "Economic Medicine"
The IMF and the World Bank are key players
in the process of economic and political destabilization. While
carried out under the auspices of an intergovernmental body, the
IMF reforms tend to support US strategic and foreign policy objectives.
Based on the so-called "Washington
consensus", IMF austerity and restructuring measures through
their devastating impacts, often contribute to triggering social
and ethnic strife. IMF reforms have often precipitated the downfall
of elected governments. In extreme cases of economic and social
dislocation, the IMF's bitter economic medicine has contributed
to the destabilization of entire countries, as occurred in Somalia,
Rwanda and Yugoslavia. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The globalization
of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, 2003, http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/GofP.html
The IMF program is a consistent instrument
of economic dislocation. The IMF's reforms contribute to reshaping
and downsizing State institutions through drastic austerity measures.
The latter are implemented alongside other forms of intervention
and political interference, including CIA covert activities in
support of rebel paramilitary groups and opposition political
Moreover, so-called "Emergency Recovery"
and "Post-conflict" reforms are often introduced under
IMF guidance, in the wake of a civil war, a regime change or "a
In Haiti, the IMF sponsored "free
market" reforms have been carried out consistently since
the Duvalier era. They have been applied in several stages since
the first election of president Aristide in 1990.
The 1991 military coup, which took place
8 months following Jean Bertrand Aristide's accession to the presidency,
was in part intended to reverse the Aristide government's progressive
reforms and reinstate the neoliberal policy agenda of the Duvalier
A former World Bank official Mr. Marc
Bazin was appointed Prime minister by the Military Junta in June
1992. In fact, it was the US State Department which sought his
Bazin had a track record of working for
the "Washington consensus." In 1983, he had been appointed
Finance Minister under the Duvalier regime, In fact he had been
recommended to the Finance portfolio by the IMF: "President-for-Life
Jean-Claude Duvalier had agreed to the appointment of an IMF nominee,
former World Bank official Marc Bazin, as Minister of Finance".
(Mining Annual Review, June, 1983). Bazin, who was considered
Washington's "favorite", later ran against Aristide
in the 1990 presidential elections.
Bazin, was called in by the Military Junta
in 1992 to form a so-called "consensus government".
It is worth noting that it was precisely during Bazin's term in
office as Prime Minister that the political massacres and extra
judicial killings by the CIA supported FRAPH death squadrons were
unleashed, leading to the killing of more than 4000 civilians.
Some 300,000 people became internal refugees, "thousands
more fled across the border to the Dominican Republic, and more
than 60,000 took to the high seas" (Statement of Dina Paul
Parks, Executive Director, National Coalition for Haitian Rights,
Committee on Senate Judiciary, US Senate, Washington DC, 1 October
2002). Meanwhile, the CIA had launched a smear campaign representing
Aristide as "mentally unstable" (Boston Globe, 21 Sept
The 1994 US Military Intervention
Following three years of military rule,
the US intervened in 1994, sending in 20,000 occupation troops
and "peace-keepers" to Haiti. The US military intervention
was not intended to restore democracy. Quite the contrary: it
was carried out to prevent a popular insurrection against the
military Junta and its neoliberal cohorts.
In other words, the US military occupation
was implemented to ensure political continuity.
While the members of the military Junta
were sent into exile, the return to constitutional government
required compliance to IMF diktats, thereby foreclosing the possibility
of a progressive "alternative" to the neoliberal agenda.
Moreover, US troops remained in the country until 1999. The Haitian
armed forces were disbanded and the US State Department hired
a mercenary company DynCorp to provide "technical advice"
in restructuring the Haitian National Police (HNP).
"DynCorp has always functioned as
a cut-out for Pentagon and CIA covert operations." (See Jeffrey
St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch, February 27,
2002, http://www.corpwatch.org/issues/PID.jsp?articleid=1988 )
Under DynCorp advice in Haiti, former Tonton Macoute and Haitian
military officers involved in the 1991 Coup d'Etat were brought
into the HNP. (See Ken Silverstein, Privatizing War, The Nation,
July 28, 1997, http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/silver.htm
In October 1994, Aristide returned from
exile and reintegrated the presidency until the end of his mandate
in 1996. "Free market" reformers were brought into
his Cabinet. A new wave of deadly macro-economic policies was
adopted under a so-called Emergency Economic Recovery Plan (EERP)
"that sought to achieve rapid macroeconomic stabilization,
restore public administration, and attend to the most pressing
needs." (See IMF Approves Three-Year ESAF Loan for Haiti,
Washington, 1996, http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/1996/pr9653.htm
The restoration of Constitutional government
had been negotiated behind closed doors with Haiti's external
creditors. Prior to Aristide's reinstatement as the country's
president, the new government was obliged to clear the country's
debt arrears with its external creditors. In fact the new loans
provided by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank
(IDB), and the IMF were used to meet Haiti's obligations with
international creditors. Fresh money was used to pay back old
debt leading to a spiraling external debt.
Broadly coinciding with the military government,
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by 30 percent (1992-1994).
With a per capita income of $250 per annum, Haiti is the poorest
country in the Western hemisphere and among the poorest in the
world. (see World Bank, Haiti: The Challenges of Poverty Reduction,
Washington, August 1998, http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/External/lac/lac.nsf/0/8479e9126e3537f0852567ea000fa239/$FILE/Haiti1.doc
The World Bank estimates unemployment
to be of the order of 60 percent. (A 2000 US Congressional Report
estimates it to be as high as 80 percent. See US House of Representatives,
Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources Subcommittee,
FDHC Transcripts, 12 April 2000).
In the wake of three years of military
rule and economic decline, there was no "Economic Emergency
Recovery" as envisaged under the IMF loan agreement. In fact
quite the opposite: The IMF imposed "stabilization"
under the "Recovery" program required further budget
cuts in almost non-existent social sector programs. A civil
service reform program was launched, which consisted in reducing
the size of the civil service and the firing of "surplus"
State employees. The IMF-World Bank package was in part instrumental
in the paralysis of public services, leading to the eventual demise
of the entire State system. In a country where health and educational
services were virtually nonexistent, the IMF had demanded the
lay off of "surplus" teachers and health workers with
a view to meeting its target for the budget deficit.
Washington's foreign policy initiatives
were coordinated with the application of the IMF's deadly economic
medicine. The country had been literally pushed to the brink of
economic and social disaster.
The Fate of Haitian Agriculture
More than 75 percent of the Haitian population
is engaged in agriculture, producing both food crops for the domestic
market as well a number of cash crops for export. Already during
the Duvalier era, the peasant economy had been undermined. With
the adoption of the IMF-World Bank sponsored trade reforms, the
agricultural system, which previously produced food for the local
market, had been destabilized. With the lifting of trade barriers,
the local market was opened up to the dumping of US agricultural
surpluses including rice, sugar and corn, leading to the destruction
of the entire peasant economy. Gonaives, which used to be Haiti's
rice basket region, with extensive paddy fields had been precipitated
. "By the end of the 1990s Haiti's
local rice production had been reduced by half and rice imports
from the US accounted for over half of local rice sales. The local
farming population was devastated, and the price of rice rose
drastically " ( See Rob Lyon, Haiti-There is no solution
under Capitalism! Socialist Appeal, 24 Feb. 2004, http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2004/02/9095.php
In matter of a few years, Haiti, a small
impoverished country in the Caribbean, had become the World's
fourth largest importer of American rice after Japan, Mexico and
The Second Wave of IMF Reforms
The presidential elections were scheduled
for November 23, 2000. The Clinton Administration had put an embargo
on development aid to Haiti in 2000. Barely two weeks prior to
the elections, the outgoing administration signed a Letter of
Intent with the IMF. Perfect timing: the agreement with the IMF
virtually foreclosed from the outset any departure from the neoliberal
The Minister of Finance had sent the amended
budget to the Parliament on December 14th. Donor support was conditional
upon its rubber stamp approval by the Legislature. While Aristide
had promised to increase the minimum wage, embark on school construction
and literacy programs, the hands of the new government were tied.
All major decisions regarding the State budget, the management
of the public sector, public investment, privatization, trade
and monetary policy had already been taken. They were part of
the agreement reached with the IMF on November 6, 2000.
In 2003, the IMF imposed the application
of a so-called "flexible price system in fuel", which
immediately triggered an inflationary spiral. The currency was
devalued. Petroleum prices increased by about 130 percent in January-February
2003, which served to increase popular resentment against the
Aristide government, which had supported the implementation of
the IMF economic reforms.
The hike in fuel prices contributed to
a 40 percent increase in consumer prices (CPI) in 2002-2003 (See
Haiti-Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies,
and Technical Memorandum of Understanding, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
June 10, 2003, http://www.imf.org/external/np/loi/2003/hti/01/index.htm
). In turn, the IMF had demanded, despite the dramatic increase
in the cost of living, a freeze on wages as a means to "controlling
inflationary pressures." The IMF had in fact pressured the
government to lower public sector salaries (including those paid
to teachers and health workers). The IMF had also demanded the
phasing out of the statutory minimum wage of approximately 25
cents an hour. "Labour market flexibility", meaning
wages paid below the statutory minimum wage would, according to
the IMF, contribute to attracting foreign investors. The daily
minimum wage was $3.00 in 1994, declining to about $1.50- 1.75
(depending on the gourde-dollar exchange rate) in 2004.
In an utterly twisted logic, Haiti's abysmally
low wages, which have been part of the IMF-World Bank "cheap
labor" policy framework since the 1980s, are viewed as a
means to improving the standard of living. In other words, sweatshop
conditions in the assembly industries (in a totally unregulated
labor market) and forced labor conditions in Haiti's agricultural
plantations are considered by the IMF as a key to achieving economic
prosperity, because they "attract foreign investment."
The country was in the straightjacket
of a spiraling external debt. In a bitter irony, the IMF-World
Bank sponsored austerity measures in the social sectors were imposed
in a country which has 1,2 medical doctors for 10,000 inhabitants
and where the large majority of the population is illiterate.
State social services, which were virtually nonexistent during
the Duvalier period, have collapsed.
The result of IMF ministrations was a
further collapse in purchasing power, which had also affected
middle income groups. Meanwhile, interest rates had skyrocketed.
In the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, the hikes in
fuel prices had led to a virtual paralysis of transportation and
public services including water and electricity.
While a humanitarian catastrophe is looming,
the collapse of the economy spearheaded by the IMF, had served
to boost the popularity of the Democratic Platform, which had
accused Aristide of "economic mismanagement." Needless
to say, the leaders of the Democratic Platform including Andy
Apaid --who actually owns the sweatshops-- are the main protagonists
of the low wage economy.
Applying the Kosovo Model
In February 2003, Washington announced
the appointment of James Foley as Ambassador to Haiti . Foley
had been a State Department spokesman under the Clinton administration
during the war on Kosovo. He previously held a position at NATO
headquarters in Brussels. Foley had been sent to Port au Prince
in advance of the CIA sponsored operation. He was transferred
to Port au Prince in September 2003, from a prestige diplomatic
position in Geneva, where he was Deputy Head of Mission to the
UN European office.
It is worth recalling Ambassador Foley's
involvement in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in
Amply documented, the Kosovo Liberation
Army (KLA) was financed by drug money and supported by the CIA.
( See Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo Freedom Fighters Financed by
Organized Crime, Covert Action Quarterly, 1999, http://www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/co/2743/1.html
The KLA had been involved in similar targeted
political assassinations and killings of civilians, in the months
leading up to the 1999 NATO invasion as well as in its aftermath.
Following the NATO led invasion and occupation of Kosovo, the
KLA was transformed into the Kosovo Protection Force (KPF) under
UN auspices. Rather than being disarmed to prevent the massacres
of civilians, a terrorist organization with links to organized
crime and the Balkans drug trade, was granted a legitimate political
At the time of the Kosovo war, the current
ambassador to Haiti James Foley was in charge of State Department
briefings, working closely with his NATO counterpart in Brussels,
Jamie Shea. Barely two months before the onslaught of the NATO
led war on 24 March 1999, James Foley had called for the "transformation"
of the KLA into a respectable political organization:
"We want to develop a good relationship
with them [the KLA] as they transform themselves into a politically-oriented
organization,' ..`[W]e believe that we have a lot of advice and
a lot of help that we can provide to them if they become precisely
the kind of political actor we would like to see them become...
"If we can help them and they want us to help them in that
effort of transformation, I think it's nothing that anybody can
argue with..' (quoted in the New York Times, 2 February 1999)
In the wake of the invasion "a self-proclaimed
Kosovar administration was set up composed of the KLA and the
Democratic Union Movement (LBD), a coalition of five opposition
parties opposed to Rugova's Democratic League (LDK). In addition
to the position of prime minister, the KLA controlled the ministries
of finance, public order and defense." (Michel Chossudovsky,
NATO's War of Aggression against Yugoslavia, 1999, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO309C.html
The US State Department's position as
conveyed in Foley's statement was that the KLA would "not
be allowed to continue as a military force but would have the
chance to move forward in their quest for self government under
a 'different context'" meaning the inauguration of a de facto
"narco-democracy" under NATO protection. (Ibid).
With regard to the drug trade, Kosovo
and Albania occupy a similar position to that of Haiti: they constitute
"a hub" in the transit (transshipment) of narcotics
from the Golden Crescent, through Iran and Turkey into Western
Europe. While supported by the CIA, Germany's Bundes Nachrichten
Dienst (BND) and NATO, the KLA has links to the Albanian Mafia
and criminal syndicates involved in the narcotics trade.( See
Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo Freedom Fighters Financed by Organized
Crime, Covert Action Quarterly, 1999, http://www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/co/2743/1.html
Is this the model for Haiti, as formulated
in 1999 by the current US Ambassador to Haiti James Foley?
For the CIA and the State Department the
FLRN and Guy Philippe are to Haiti what the KLA and Hashim Thaci
are to Kosovo.
In other words, Washington's design is
"regime change": topple the Lavalas administration and
install a compliant US puppet regime, integrated by the Democratic
Platform and the self-proclaimed Front pour la libération
et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN), whose leaders are former
FRAPH and Tonton Macoute terrorists. The latter are slated to
integrate a "national unity government" alongside the
leaders of the Democratic Convergence and The Group of 184 Civil
Society Organizations led by Andy Apaid. More specifically, the
FLRN led by Guy Philippe is slated to rebuild the Haitian Armed
forces, which were disbanded in 1995.
What is at stake is an eventual power
sharing arrangement between the various Opposition groups and
the CIA supported Rebels, which have links to the cocaine transit
trade from Colombia via Haiti to Florida. The protection of this
trade has a bearing on the formation of a new "narco-government",
which will serve US interests.
A bogus (symbolic) disarmament of the
Rebels may be contemplated under international supervision, as
occurred with the KLA in Kosovo in 2000. The "former terrorists"
could then be integrated into the civilian police as well as into
the task of "rebuilding" the Haitian Armed forces under
What this scenario suggests, is that the
Duvalier-era terrorist structures have been restored. A program
of civilian killings and political assassinations directed against
Lavalas supporter is in fact already underway.
In other words, if Washington were really
motivated by humanitarian considerations, why then is it supporting
and financing the FRAPH death squadrons? Its objective is not
to prevent the massacre of civilians. Modeled on previous CIA
led operations (e.g. Guatemala, Indonesia, El Salvador), the FLRN
death squadrons have been set loose and are involved in targeted
political assassinations of Aristide supporters.
The Narcotics Transshipment Trade
While the real economy had been driven
into bankruptcy under the brunt of the IMF reforms, the narcotics
transshipment trade continues to flourish. According to the US
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Haiti remains "the
major drug trans-shipment country for the entire Caribbean region,
funneling huge shipments of cocaine from Colombia to the United
States." (See US House of Representatives, Criminal Justice,
Drug Policy and Human Resources Subcommittee, FDHC Transcripts,
12 April 2000).
It is estimated that Haiti is now responsible
for 14 percent of all the cocaine entering the United States,
representing billions of dollars of revenue for organized crime
and US financial institutions, which launder vast amounts of dirty
money. The global trade in narcotics is estimated to be of the
order of 500 billion dollars.
Much of this transshipment trade goes
directly to Miami, which also constitutes a haven for the recycling
of dirty money into bona fide investments, e.g. in real estate
and other related activities.
The evidence confirms that the CIA was
protecting this trade during the Duvalier era as well as during
the military dictatorship (1991-1994). In 1987, Senator John Kerry
as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International
Operations of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee was entrusted
with a major investigation, which focused on the links between
the CIA and the drug trade, including the laundering of drug money
to finance armed insurgencies. "The Kerry Report" published
in 1989, while centering its attention on the financing of the
Nicaraguan Contra, also included a section on Haiti:
"Kerry had developed detailed information
on drug trafficking by Haiti's military rulers that led to the
indictment in Miami in 1988, of Lt. Col. Jean Paul. The indictment
was a major embarrassment to the Haitian military, especially
since Paul defiantly refused to surrender to U.S. authorities..
In November 1989, Col. Paul was found dead after he consumed a
traditional Haitian good will gift-a bowel of pumpkin soup...
The U.S. senate also heard testimony in
1988 that then interior minister, Gen. Williams Regala, and his
DEA liaison officer, protected and supervised cocaine shipments.
The testimony also charged the then Haitian military commander
Gen. Henry Namphy with accepting bribes from Colombian traffickers
in return for landing rights in the mid 1980's.
It was in 1989 that yet another military
coup brought Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril to power... According to a
witness before Senator John Kerry's subcommittee, Avril is in
fact a major player in Haiti's role as a transit point in the
cocaine trade." ( Paul DeRienzo, Haiti's Nightmare: The Cocaine
Coup & The CIA Connection, Spring 1994, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RIE402A.html
Jack Blum, who was Kerry's Special Counsel,
points to the complicity of US officials in a 1996 statement to
the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Drug Trafficking
and the Contra War:
"...In Haiti ... intelligence "sources"
of ours in the Haitian military had turned their facilities over
to the drug cartels. Instead of putting pressure on the rotten
leadership of the military, we defended them. We held our noses
and looked the other way as they and their criminal friends in
the United States distributed cocaine in Miami, Philadelphia and
New, York." (http://www.totse.com/en/politics/central_intelligence_agency/ciacont2.html
Haiti not only remains at the hub of the
transshipment cocaine trade, the latter has grown markedly since
the 1980s. The current crisis bears a relationship to Haiti's
role in the drug trade. Washington wants a compliant Haitian government
which will protect the drug transshipment routes, out of Colombia
through Haiti and into Florida.
The inflow of narco-dollars --which remains
the major source of the country's foreign exchange earnings--
are used to service Haiti's spiraling external debt, thereby also
serving the interests of the external creditors.
In this regard, the liberalization of
the foreign-exchange market imposed by the IMF has provided (despite
the authorities pro forma commitment to combating the drug trade)
a convenient avenue for the laundering of narco-dollars in the
domestic banking system. The inflow of narco-dollars alongside
bona fide "remittances" from Haitians living abroad,
are deposited in the commercial banking system and exchanged into
local currency. The foreign exchange proceeds of these inflows
can then be recycled towards the Treasury where they are used
to meet debt servicing obligations.
Haiti, however, reaps a very small percentage
of the total foreign exchange proceeds of this lucrative contraband.
Most of the revenue resulting from the cocaine transshipment trade
accrues to criminal intermediaries in the wholesale and retail
narcotics trade, to the intelligence agencies which protect the
drug trade as well as to the financial and banking institutions
where the proceeds of this criminal activity are laundered.
The narco-dollars are also channeled into
"private banking" accounts in numerous offshore banking
havens. (These havens are controlled by the large Western banks
and financial institutions). Drug money is also invested in a
number of financial instruments including hedge funds and stock
market transactions. The major Wall Street and European banks
and stock brokerage firms launder billions of dollars resulting
from the trade in narcotics.
Moreover, the expansion of the dollar
denominated money supply by the Federal Reserve System , including
the printing of billions of dollars of US dollar notes for the
purposes of narco-transactions constitutes profit for the Federal
Reserve and its constituent private banking institutions of which
the most important is the New York Federal Reserve Bank. See (Jeffrey
Steinberg, Dope, Inc. Is $600 Billion and Growing, Executive Intelligence
Review, 14 Dec 2001, http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2001/2848dope_money.html
In other words, the Wall Street financial
establishment, which plays a behind the scenes role in the formulation
of US foreign policy, has a vested interest in retaining the Haiti
transshipment trade, while installing a reliable "narco-democracy"
in Port-au-Prince, which will effectively protect the transshipment
It should be noted that since the advent
of the Euro as a global currency, a significant share of the narcotics
trade is now conducted in Euro rather than US dollars. In other
words, the Euro and the dollar are competing narco-currencies.
The Latin American cocaine trade --including
the transshipment trade through Haiti-- is largely conducted in
US dollars. This shift out of dollar denominated narco-transactions,
which undermines the hegemony of the US dollar as a global currency,
largely pertains to the Middle East, Central Asian and the Southern
European drug routes.
In the weeks leading up to the Coup d'Etat,
the media has largely focused its attention on the pro-Aristide
"armed gangs" and "thugs", without providing
an understanding of the role of the FLRN Rebels.
Deafening silence: not a word was mentioned
in official statements and UN resolutions regarding the nature
of the FLRN. This should come as no surprise: the US Ambassador
to the UN (the man who sits on the UN Security Council) John
Negroponte. played a key role in the CIA supported Honduran death
squadrons in the 1980s when he was US ambassador to Honduras.
(See San Francisco Examiner, 20 Oct 2001 http://www.flora.org/mai/forum/31397
The FLRN rebels are extremely well equipped
and trained forces. The Haitian people know who they are. They
are Tonton Macoute of the Duvalier era and former FRAPH assassins.
The Western media is mute on the issue,
blaming the violence on President Aristide. When it acknowledges
that the Liberation Army is composed of death squadrons, it fails
to examine the broader implications of its statements and that
these death squadrons are a creation of the CIA and the Defense
The New York Times has acknowledged that
the "non violent" civil society opposition is in fact
collaborating with the death squadrons, "accused of killing
thousands", but all this is described as "accidental".
No historical understanding is provided. Who are these death squadron
leaders? All we are told is that they have established an "alliance"
with the "non-violent" good guys who belong to the "political
opposition". And it is all for a good and worthy cause, which
is to remove the elected president and "restore democracy":
"As Haiti's crisis lurches toward
civil war, a tangled web of alliances, some of them accidental,
has emerged. It has linked the interests of a political opposition
movement that has embraced nonviolence to a group of insurgents
that includes a former leader of death squads accused of killing
thousands, a former police chief accused of plotting a coup and
a ruthless gang once aligned with Mr. Aristide that has now turned
against him. Given their varied origins, those arrayed against
Mr. Aristide are hardly unified, though they all share an ardent
wish to see him removed from power." (New York Times, 26
There is nothing spontaneous or "accidental"
in the rebel attacks or in the "alliance" between the
leader of the death squadrons Guy Philippe and Andy Apaid, owner
of the largest industrial sweatshop in Haiti and leader of the
The armed rebellion was part of a carefully
planned military-intelligence operation. The Armed Forces of the
Dominican Republic had detected guerilla training camps inside
the Dominican Republic on the Northeast Haitian-Dominican border.
( El ejército dominicano informó a Aristide sobre
los entrenamientos rebeldes en la frontera, El Caribe, 27 Feb.
Both the armed rebels and their civilian
"non-violent" counterparts were involved in the plot
to unseat the president. G-184 leader Andre Apaid was in touch
with Colin Powell in the weeks leading up to the overthrow of
Aristide; Guy Philippe and "Toto" Emmanuel Constant
have links to the CIA; there are indications that Rebel Commander
Guy Philippe and the political leader of the Revolutionary Artibonite
Resistance Front Winter Etienne were in liaison with US officials.
(See BBC, 27 Feb 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3496690.stm
While the US had repeatedly stated that
it will uphold Constitutional government, the replacement of Aristide
by a more compliant individual had always been part of the Bush
On Feb 20, US Ambassador James Foley called
in a team of four military experts from the U.S. Southern Command,
based in Miami. Officially their mandate was "to assess threats
to the embassy and its personnel." (Seattle Times, 20 Feb
2004). US Special Forces are already in the country. Washington
had announced that three US naval vessels "have been put
on standby to go to Haiti as a precautionary measure". The
Saipan is equipped with Vertical takeoff Harrier fighters and
attack helicopters. The other two vessels are the Oak Hill and
Trenton. Some 2,200 U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary
Unit, at Camp Lejeune, N.C. could be deployed to Haiti at short
notice, according to Washington.
With the departure of President Aristide,
Washington, however, has no intention of disarming its proxy rebel
paramilitary army, which is now slated to play a role in the "transition".
In other words, the Bush administration will not act to prevent
the occurrence of killings and political assassinations of Lavalas
and Aristide supporters in the wake of the president's kidnapping
Needless to say, the Western media has
not in the least analyzed the historical background of the Haitian
crisis. The role played by the CIA has not been mentioned. The
so-called "international community", which claims to
be committed to governance and democracy, has turned a blind eye
to the killings of civilians by a US sponsored paramilitary army.
The "rebel leaders", who were commanders in the FRAPH
death squadrons in the 1990s, are now being upheld by the US media
as bona fide opposition spokesmen. Meanwhile, the legitimacy of
the former elected president is questioned because he is said
to be responsible for "a worsening economic and social situation."
The worsening economic and social situation
is largely attributable to the devastating economic reforms imposed
by the IMF since the 1980s. The restoration of Constitutional
government in 1994 was conditional upon the acceptance of the
IMF's deadly economic therapy, which in turn foreclosed the possibility
of a meaningful democracy. High ranking government officials respectively
within the Andre Preval and Jean Bertrand Aristide governments
were indeed compliant with IMF diktats. Despite this compliance,
Aristide had been "blacklisted" and demonized by Washington.
The Militarization of the Caribbean Basin
Washington seeks to reinstate Haiti as
a full-fledged US colony, with all the appearances of a functioning
democracy. The objective is to impose a puppet regime in Port-au-Prince
and establish a permanent US military presence in Haiti.
The US Administration ultimately seeks
to militarize the Caribbean basin.
The island of Hispaniola is a gateway
to the Caribbean basin, strategically located between Cuba to
the North West and Venezuela to the South. The militarization
of the island, with the establishment of US military bases, is
not only intended to put political pressure on Cuba and Venezuela,
it is also geared towards the protection of the multibillion dollar
narcotics transshipment trade through Haiti, from production sites
in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
The militarisation of the Caribbean basin
is, in some regards, similar to that imposed by Washington on
the Andean Region of South America under "Plan Colombia',
renamed "The Andean Initiative". The latter constitutes
the basis for the militarisation of oil and gas wells, as well
as pipeline routes and transportation corridors. It also protects
the narcotics trade.
Michel Chossudovsky is a frequent contributor
to Global Research.