US Campaign against Haiti: Why?
by Dale Sorenson, MITF Director
MITF Report, April 4, 2001
Why are the US government and its friends in the corporate
media mounting a new campaign against a country and people moving
towards genuine democratic development? Here's a thumbnail sketch
* Haiti is resisting corporate globalization.
Since 1994 the Haitian people and government have stood their
ground against intense pressure to adopt neoliberal economic policies
(opening markets to US goods, austerity programs, and the privatization
of state owned enterprises). Newly elected President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide has continued to be a spokesman for an alternative vision
that places human development at the center of all economic programs.
To date only the flour mill and the cement plant have been
sold. Now Aristide is back in power and the US is again tightening
the screws, hoping to force privatization.
* Haiti has a popularly elected government that bas committed
itself to making healthcare and education its top priorities.
The Fanmi Lavalas platform on which President Aristide based
his candidacy proposes decentralized rural development, funded
by Haitian government resources. It favors small-scale projects
over large-scale internationally funded projects like roads and
power plants. The centerpiece of the platform is a plan to build,
staff and equip a primary school and primary care clinic in each
of Haiti's 565 rural sections.
* Haiti is the only country in the world, aside from Costa
Rica, with no military.
In 1995, President Aristide disbanded the Haitian military.
Wildly popular in Haiti, the move caught the US by surprise. Created
during the US occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934, the Haitian
military served as a force of internal repression against the
Haitian people. As is the case throughout Latin America, the Haitian
military was a conduit for covert and overt US intervention in
Haitian affairs. The conduit is now gone.
The Haitian military once absorbed 40% of Haiti's national
budget. Today, Haiti spends zero on the military, making it a
model in devoting resources to human development rather than to
* Haiti has developed close ties with Cuba.
Cuba has hundreds of Cuban doctors and health promoters in
Haiti and is training hundreds of Haitians in Cuba to be doctors.
Cuba has agronomists and other technicians in Haiti, is helping
to improve their literacy program and is trading with Haiti. Cuba
is the archenemy of the US.
* Haiti is becoming a participatory democracy that threatens
the corporate and the political elites.
President Aristide, elected with over 70% of the popular vote,
is moving the country toward real democratic development. The
US shuns participatory democracy, preferring its formal democracy
with two parties that select candidates for the presidency who
represent the rich and powerful.
James Madison, one author of the US Constitution and one of
our founding fathers, stated that the reason the vote was limited
to property owners was "to protect the opulent minority from
the majority". The International Republican Institute and
Jesse Helms only support the "opulent minority" candidates
Just as in 1990 when President Aristide was first elected,
there is now a campaign to destabilize and isolate the Haitian
government and discredit it in the international media. In 1990,
this campaign contributed to the violent overthrow of Haiti's
elected government and the deaths of 5000 Haitians during three
years of military rule.
You can contact the Bay Area's Haiti Action Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Laura Flynn and Robert Roth of the Haiti Action Committee,
April 4, 2001.
Marin Interfaith Task Force on Central America . P.O. Box
2481, Mill Valley, CA 94942 · 415-924-3227 · email@example.com
4 April 2001