National Endowment for Democracy
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International Endowment for Democracy,
U. S. Support for Right Wing Coalitions
in Nicaragua and Haiti. In a recent interview with Haiti Briefing,
Ben Dupuy, a spokesperson for the National Popular Assembly, 'drew
attention to... techniques pioneered in Nicaragua and now being
used in Haiti. After pointing to the similarities between the
US- organised Contra in Nicaragua, and the FRAPH in Haiti, and
the use of both to create a debilitating sense of insecurity,
Dupuy compared the US-led process of building opposition party
coalitions in both countries: "In Nicaragua it took the form
of uniting the extreme right and former Somocistas in a coalition
of reactionary forces that won the election in 1990. I think they
are trying to implement the same strategy in Haiti by creating
a kind of platform of different organisations that include the
party of the Duvalierist, Roger Lafontant, who staged an unsuccessful
coup against Aristide in January 1991. It (the coalition) will
put forward candidates in forthcoming elections, but I think they
will have trouble finding a presidential candidate like Chamorro."
The Nicaraguan National Opposition Union (UNO) that defeated the
Sandinistas was designed and sponsored to the tune of $30 million
by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a foreign aid programme
founded by President Ronald Reagan and funded by the US government
to "promote democracy abroad." Source: Haiti Support
Group, "Old Tricks, New Dog: US "Democracy Enhancement",
in "This Week in Haiti", Wed, December 22-29, 1998 *
Vol. 16, No. 40 (the English section of HAITI PROGRES newsweekly.)
For information on other news in French and Creole, please contact
the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100, (fax) 718-434-5551 or email at
The International Republican Institute
(IRI), a NED subsidiary, has been active in so-called 'democracy
enhancement' since 1995.
The IRI has offices in 15 countries including
Albania, Angola, Nicaragua, Russia, Serbia and South Africa. Its
web-site boasts that in Nicaragua in 1996 it helped to register
300,000 new voters who "provided a convincing margin of victory"
for the right wing Liberal Alliance and its presidential candidate.
It no doubt hopes to repeat this 'success' in Haiti where it vows
to continue "reinforcing dialogue among the parties, increasing
their level of cooperation and collaboration", and, in case
Haitians object to this interference, will also continue "progressively
diminishing its direct presence and making its direct interventions
increasingly more discreet."
Source: Haiti Support Group, "Old Tricks, New Dog: US "Democracy
Enhancement", in "This Week in Haiti", Wed, December
22-29, 1998 * Vol. 16, No. 40 (the English section of HAITI PROGRES
newsweekly.) For information on other news in French and Creole,
please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100, (fax) 718-434-5551
or email at email@example.com.
The National Endowment for Democracy,
in conjunction with the Agency for International Development,
gave $189,000 to several civil groups including
The Haitian Center for the Defense of
Rights and Freedom, headed by Jean-Jacques Honorat -- who became
the prime minister in the coup government.
In the years prior to the coup, the NED
also gave more than $500,000 to the Haitian Institute for Research
and Development, allied with the U.S. favorite Marc GBazin, former
World Bank executive.
Another recipient of NED largesse was
Radio Soleil, run by the Catholic Church in a manner calculated
not to displease the dictatorship of the day. "During the
1991 coup--according to the Rev. Hugo Triest, a former station
director-- the station refused to air a message from Aristide....
Source: William Blum, Haiti 1986-1994:
Who Will Rid Me of this Turbulent Priest?" excerpted from
the book, Killing Hope: U. S. Military and CIA Interventions Since
World War II.
The International Republican Institute (IRI), a NED subsidiary,
has been active in so-called 'democracy enhancement' since 1995.
This April, after months of organising
meetings and conferences, its efforts bore fruit when 26 small
right wing, Duvalierist, and what have been described as "ex-Lavalas
opportunist" political parties formed the Haitian Conference
of Political Parties (CHPP).
Dupuy characterised the activities of
the IRI as an attempt to "peddle a 'democracy' that is not
a real popular consultation but an exercise in propaganda and
advertising in which they transform the electoral process into
one between those who have money and those who don't." The
IRI is just one of a number of organisations that will receive
money from the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
which is engaged in a ten-year programme entitled 'More Genuinely
Inclusive Democratic Government.' In its submission to the US
Congress for funding for Haiti for the financial year 1999, USAID
requested some $170 million, of which $38 million will be allocated
Other recipients of the 'Democracy' funding
include the International Criminal Investigations Training and
Assistance Programme, an institution founded by the FBI in 1986,
and run by the US Justice and State departments, which is training
the new Haitian police force; the US law firm, Checci and Company,
which is running the judicial reform programme; and the America's
Development Foundation (ADF), which since the late 1980s in Haiti
has channelled funds from USAID and NED to right wing trade unions,
conservative media outfits, and apologists for the 1991-4 coup
regime, and now concentrates on "strengthening democratic
values and processes" among civil society organisations,
and 'helping' newly elected councillors and mayors.
Working alongside the IRI and ADF in the
task of 'grooming' Haiti's nascent democracy, and also receiving
USAID funding, is another organisation, Associates in Rural Development,
known in Haiti as Asosye. The particular focus for Asosye is the
system for decentralised local democracy based on municipal and
rural councils and assemblies. This system was created by the
1987 Constitution in an attempt to provide a counter-weight to
the excessive control exerted by the central government in the
capital, but elections for these positions have yet to be run
Asosye is well-placed to bring its influence
to bear over these potentially important local offices as it is
no less than a reincarnation under a different name of the widely-discredited,
'democracy enhancement' project, known as PIRED. During the early
1990s, and particularly during the three year coup period, PIRED
pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into popular organisations,
labour unions, peasant groups, foundations, and human rights groups.
PIRED also promoted the US refugee asylum processing programme,
through which at least 60,000 grassroots militants were interviewed
extensively about their activities, enabling the US government
to create a detailed database of the democratic movement which
many speculate has been used for more than immigration matters.
A spokesperson for a platform of Haitian NGOs and popular organisations
said he believed Asosye will use this information to buy off local
grassroots leaders across the country.
The importance of the local councils and
assemblies is linked not only to their potential to control political
and economic developments independently of the central government,
but also because, according to the Constitution, they are empowered
to choose the members of the Electoral Council that is tasked
with organising electoral contests at all levels. For Dupuy, the
Electoral Council is the key to the looming struggle for political
power at the national level between, on one side, the new anti-neoliberal
party of former President Aristide, and on the other, the OPL,
the party currently in a majority in the Parliament, and the new
right wing coalition, the CHPP. "The OPL and the coalition
realise that if they do not control the electoral machinery then
they are out of business."
Former Prime Minister under President
Aristide, Claudette Werleigh, told Haiti Briefing that she saw
the presence of the US-funded agencies in the countryside as part
of a medium to long term strategy. "I would not be surprised
if there are people who are asking them for their help. They say
they offer a service and when people don't have the basic infrastructure
or money I can understand that people don't even see the dangers
that you or I do." Some Haitians do however see the danger.
The leader of the Anti- neoliberal bloc of MPs, Jasmin Joseph,
said "IRI encourages impunity. It is an agent of US imperialism."
Independent MP, Alix Fils-Aime called for the IRI to be ejected
from the country, and referring to its role in creating the CHPP,
said, "You cannot have democracy with anti-democrats."
In July supporters of Aristide's Fanmi
Lavalas broke up a conference organised by the IRI in the town
of St. Marc. (See IRI's write-up of the event.) In September popular
organisations invited to an IRI meeting in the city of Aux Cayes
walked out when they were asked to fill out questionnaires detailing
their political activities and affiliations. They denounced the
"dubious methods of the IRI" and demanded its expulsion
from the country.
Source: Haiti Support Group, "Old
Tricks, New Dog: US "Democracy Enhancement", in "This
Week in Haiti", Wed, December 22-29, 1998 * Vol. 16, No.
40 (the English section of HAITI PROGRES newsweekly.) For information
on other news in French and Creole, please contact the paper at
(tel) 718-434-8100, (fax) 718-434-5551 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NED web site states it is a private, nonprofit, grant-making
organization created in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions
around the world through nongovernmental efforts. The Johns Hopkins
University Press publishes the quarterly Journal of Democracy
for the NED. Founded in 1990, the Journal has quickly become one
of the most widely read and cited publications on the problems
of and prospects for democracy around the world. A Smith (R-NJ)
amendment to increase funding for the NED under the Fiscal 1996
Foreign Operations Appropriations was adopted by voice vote on
July 26, 1995. The NED operates the Democracy Resource Center,
which loans its materials to other libraries and research centers
that are either members of the Online Computer Library Center
(OCLC), or can submit an ALA Interlibrary Loan form. The NED also
publishes Democracy News, which is an electronic mailing list
for sharing news, announcements, and information among democracy
activists, scholars, and others working to promote democracy around
National Endowment for Democracy (NED)