[News] WikiLeaks' lesson on Haiti
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 17 18:16:04 EST 2010
WikiLeaks' lesson on Haiti
Dec 17, 2010
What the US embassy cables reveal about
Washington's malign influence should make Latin
American nations quit the UN force
The polarisation of the debate around WikiLeaks
is pretty simple, really. Of all the governments
in the world, the United States government is the
greatest threat to world peace and security
today. This is obvious to anyone who looks at the
facts with a modicum of objectivity. The Iraq war
has claimed certainly hundreds of thousands, and,
most likely, more than a million lives. It was
completely unnecessary and unjustifiable, and
based on lies. Now, Washington is moving toward a
military confrontation with Iran.
As Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to
out in an interview recently, in the preparation
for a war with Iran, we are at about the level of
1998 in the buildup to the Iraq war.
On this basis, even ignoring the tremendous harm
that Washington causes to developing countries in
such areas as economic development (through such
institutions as the International Monetary Fund
and World Trade Organisation), or climate change,
it is clear that any information which sheds
light on US "diplomacy" is more than useful. It
has the potential to help save millions of human lives.
You either get this or you don't. Brazil's
president Lula da Silva, who earned Washington's
displeasure last May when he tried to help defuse
the confrontation with Iran, gets it. That's why
and declared his "solidarity" with embattled
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, even though the
leaked cables were not pleasant reading for his own government.
One area of US foreign policy that the
cables help illuminate, which the major media has
predictably ignored, is the occupation of Haiti.
In 2004, the country's democratically elected
president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was overthrown
for the second time, through an
led by the United States government. Officials of
the constitutional government were jailed and
thousands of its supporters were killed.
The Haitian coup, besides being a repeat of
Aristide's overthrow in 1991, was also very
similar to the attempted coup in Venezuela in
2002 which also had Washington's fingerprints
all over it. Some of the same people in
Washington were even involved in both efforts.
But the Venezuelan coup failed partly because
Latin American governments immediately and
forcefully declared that they would not recognise the coup government.
In the case of Haiti, Washington had learned from
its mistakes in the Venezuelan coup and had
gathered support for an illegitimate government
in advance. A UN resolution was passed just days
after the coup, and UN forces, headed by Brazil,
were sent to the country. The mission is still
headed by Brazil, and has troops from a number of
other Latin American governments that are left of
centre, including Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay.
They are also joined by Chile, Peru and Guatemala from Latin America.
Would these governments have sent troops to
occupy Venezuela if that coup had succeeded?
Clearly, they would not have considered such a
move, yet the occupation of Haiti is no more
justifiable. South America's progressive
governments have strongly challenged US foreign
policy in the region and the world, with some of
them regularly using words like imperialism and
empire as synonyms for Washington. They have
built new institutions
as UNASUR to prevent these kinds of abuses from
the north. Bolivia expelled the US ambassador in
September of 2008 for interfering in the country's internal affairs.
Is it because Haitians are poor and black that
their most fundamental human and democratic rights can be trampled upon?
The participation of these governments in the
occupation of Haiti is a serious political
contradiction for them, and it is getting worse.
cables illustrate how important the control of
Haiti is to the United States.
long memo from the US embassy in Port-au-Prince
to the US secretary of state answers detailed
questions about Haitian president Rene Preval's
political, personal and family life, including
such vital national security questions as "How
many drinks can Preval consume before he shows
signs of inebriation?" It also expresses one of Washington's main concerns:
"His reflexive nationalism, and his disinterest
in managing bilateral relations in a broad
diplomatic sense, will lead to periodic frictions
as we move forward our bilateral agenda. Case in
point, we believe that in terms of foreign
policy, Preval is most interested in gaining
increased assistance from any available resource.
He is likely to be tempted to frame his
relationship with Venezuela and Chávez-allies in
the hemisphere in a way that he hopes will create
a competitive atmosphere as far as who can provide the most to Haiti."
This logic is why they got rid of Aristide who
was much to the left of Preval and won't let
him back in the country. This is why Washington
recent "elections" that excluded Haiti's largest
political party, the equivalent of shutting out
the Democrats and Republicans in the United
States. And this is why
is still occupying the country, more than six
years after the coup, without any apparent
mission other than replacing the hated Haitian
army which Aristide had abolished as a repressive force.
People who do not understand US foreign policy
think that control over Haiti does not matter to
Washington, because it is so poor and has no
strategic minerals or resources. But that is not
how Washington operates, as the WikiLeaks cables
repeatedly illustrate. For the state department
and its allies, it is all a ruthless chess game,
and every pawn matters. Left governments will be
removed or prevented from taking power where it
is possible to do so; and the poorest countries
last year present the most opportune targets. A
democratically elected government in Haiti, due
to its history and the consciousness of the
population, will inevitably be a left government
and one that will not line up with Washington's
foreign policy priorities for the region. Thus, democracy is not allowed.
of Haitians have been protesting the sham
elections, as well as Minustah's role in causing
the cholera epidemic, which has already taken
more than 2,300 lives and can be expected to kill
thousands more in the coming months and years.
Judging from the rapid spread of the disease,
there may have been gross criminal negligence on
the part of Minustah that is,
dumping of fecal waste into the Artibonite river.
This is another huge reason for the force to leave Haiti.
This is a mission that costs over $500m a year,
when the UN can't even raise a third of that to
fight the epidemic that the mission caused, or to
provide clean water for Haitians. And now the
is asking for an increase to over $850m.
It is high time that the progressive governments
of Latin America quit this occupation, which goes
against their own principles and deeply-held
beliefs, and is against the will of the Haitian people.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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