Why Haiti? Why Now?
by J. Damu
Sumitted to portside, March
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 hemisphere.
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 Sandanista government.
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 this week.
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 well known.
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
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 hemisphere.
[J.Damu is the acting Western Regional
Representative for NCOBRA, 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 website www.haitiaction.org.]
portside (the left side in nautical parlance)
is a news, discussion and debate service of the Committees of
Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It aims to provide
varied material of interest to people on the left.