A lot of speculation surrounds the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; popular reports suggest he resigned the presidency and is now in exile in the Central African Republic with his wife and close aides. Another report – verified by distinguished and independent observers – is that he was forced into exile by the US who have promoted the rebel cause ahead of the Haitian democratic mandate.
Whatever the true events are, one thing is clear. There are dangerous forces at work in Haiti.
This land of magic and mysticism, ravaged by decades of brutality by the Duvaliers and their dreaded Tonton Macoute militia, then by a string of military coups and puppet administrations has succeeded in oppressing Haiti to the unenviable statistic of poorest country in the hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world.
This land that gained independence from its French colonial masters 200 years ago has had few years of prosperity. Since Haiti fought and defeated France during the revolution that won its independence , it has faced oppression and domination by the other imperialist in the region – the US. From crippling sanctions and blockades to covert operations against progressives and support for ruthless regimes in return for maintaining the status quo of neo-capitalist economic ravages, the US has played a key role in getting Haiti to where it is today. But all of this is neither new nor ingenius. It is the same tried and tested formula used against Cuba, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua and it is the same that is being attempted in Venezuela today. Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, ‘popular’ dissent is engineered against democratically elected and progressive governments to promote the elitist agenda of resources of the many for the benefit of the very few.
Mr Aristide was the first democractically elected president of Haiti. Much was made of his being a former priest, the media profile of him was one of integrity and forthrightness. Whatever can be said about the progress or lack of, he was elected by the popular mandate of the Haitian people. No one should be able to remove him outside of the legal constitutional process – that is after all what a law abiding , democratic society is built on.
For the shadow of US intervention in removing Mr Aristide (kidnap, intimidation or otherwise) to hang over this whole affair echoes the days of black ops, CIA sponsored executions and illegal (under domestic US law and every international treaty – even under the far reaching powers of the US presidency) activities against sovereign states. So it seems that the CIA (and other intelligence agencies) cannot stop terrorists blowing up US institutions,but they are well capable of deposing democratically elected leaders in dirt poor islands and organising bloodthirsty militia into ‘rebel’ groups – hurrah!
The key complaints leveled against Mr Aristide’s administration by the US was the non-deliverance of key legal and economic reforms. All agreed and signed up to in regional talks (chiefly the organization of American States), but not delivered on. Was this as a result of actual non chalance on his part or were his efforts thwarted by those with their own agendas for this little island that stands (with Dominican Republic) at the gateway to the Caribbean.
Also at issue is the compelling corruption that has seen millions of dollars in aid siphoned away with little to show. So the solution was to boot him out by force, subverting every constitutional and legal route in the process.
Now, with the remnants of the older regime (of the Duvalier clan and their goons) securely installed in Port-au-Prince and controlling the reins of power over a destitute people, a distracted world may not even notice the renewed suffering of the Haitian masses.
Voodoo has always been the last weapon against oppression for the masses of Haiti in the past, perhaps it will be again. But certainly the machinations of those with sinister agendas have already produced far more sinister results with longer lasting consequences than any voodoo doll or zombie potion could conjure.