Why Haiti? Why Now?

by J. Damu

Sumitted to portside, March 2, 2004


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 immediately ahead.

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.

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