Lies, Malice and Machetes
On January 20, 1988, the Liberian registered freighter Khian Sea begins unloading 4,000 tons of toxic waste on the beach at Gonaives on the western coast of Haiti. The waste material - incinerator waste from the American city of Philadelphia. "Papers [which] describe the ash as fertilizer are signed by two brothers of military strongman Jean-Claude Paul.. " - Greenpeace International.
The Khian Sea saga was a long one. The ship set out from Philadelphia one year before it arrived in Haiti, trying to offload the ash in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guinea Bissau and the Netherlands Antilles.
"The 3,000 tons of ash has been on the move since 1985 when Philadelphia was searching for a place to put ash from an incinerator. More than 14,000 tons were loaded onto a bulk-cargo
ship, the Khian Sea, which in late 1986 began its voyage. For more than two years, the ship sailed the Caribbean searching for a dump site."- AP January 27, 2001.
Finally, somebody bribed the brothers of the interim Haitian strongman, Jean-Claude Paul and the ash was dumped in Haiti..
On the internet over the past two weeks, various people have been circulating the story that the Khian Sea was allowed to dump its ash in Haiti on the orders of ..you guessed it, Jean Bertrand Aristide.
Some people will go to any lengths to discredit Aristide but this allegation is particularly bizarre, because at the time the ash was being dumped, Aristide was a parish priest, trying to avoid being murdered by the goon squads of the elite rulers of Haiti
I have said before that the only thing Aristide has not yet been accused of is cannibalism, but that, no doubt, is part of Haiti's 'future'.
More Toxic Waste
The United States has been dumping on Haiti for a very long time.
Now, they have found the perfect scapegoat on whom to blame everything bad that's happened in or been done to Haiti over 200 years ..you guessed it- Jean Bertrand Aristide!
I can't remember reading as slimy a piece of literary garbage as the speech given to the American Enterprise Institute by a high US government official - the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega.
On Wednesday, Mr Noriega dumped the entire contents of a freighter-load of lies on Aristide, providing, for the comfort of the Haitian elite, at least, 'reasons' for the United States usurpation of the will and integrity of the Haitian people.
Mr Noriega's speech is entitled, with unconscious irony "Haiti at the Crossroads of Democracy" forgetting that Haitian democracy has had a stake driven through its heart by vampires who have triumphed over their victim and buried her, they hope, never to rise again.
After paying lip-service to the Haitian revolution Noriega dismisse
s the rest of the nineteenth century in a line:
"During its first century, Haiti endured international isolation and internal strife."
Haiti's second century gets similar summary dismissal: ". a succession of strongmen and failed attempts at implementing democratic rule were followed by the election in 1957 of Dr. Francois Duvalier, a popular leader known as "Papa Doc" who promised democratic reform but quickly resorted to demagoguery and political violence to maintain his self-proclaimed title, "President for Life." He was succeeded by his son, "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who reigned in Haiti until 1986 when a combination of international pressure and internal antagonism brought on by decades of brutal and corrupt misrule forced him from power."
Nowhere in the speech is mentioned the dominant role of the United States in Haitian affairs, suborning, aborting and subverting democracy by armed intervention, military threats and by menaces and blackmail.
Mr Noriega then proceed
s to the "real " history of Haiti, which is an attempted demolition job on Jean Bertrand Aristide.
"In hindsight, the Aristide regime bore too much of a resemblance to the Duvalier regime. Despite his early promise and lipservice to democracy, the Aristide years were yet another disappointing chapter in Haitian history. The lesson is that democracy is not an election, a street demonstration, or a dusty legal document, it is a way of living and working together and, as such, it is contingent on what people do and how they treat one another. Leaders can undermine a republic and their own legitimacy by their actions and that is how a people can lose their democracy."
The main factors, according to Noriega are:
".First, there is the culture of political violence and impunity that characterized his movement and his regime;
".Second, the corruption of the institutions of the state that flourished under him;
".Third, his polarizing rhetoric and willful (sic) refusal give any quarte
r to or compromise with political adversaries;
".And finally, his flouting of the concerns of his neighbors and friends in the international community."
As regards violence, Noriega alleges that Aristide was a "compelling and inflammatory orator, and his followers were known to have 'necklaced' opponents with gasoline filled tires and set them on fire. At least, Mr Noriega does not actually allege Aristide incited necklacing, as his elite enemies accused him in 1991.
"Critics and adversaries of President Aristide often wound up dead, while their killers went unpunished". Noriega instances Jean Dominique, a journalist and friend and supporter of Aristide (who, contrary to report was murdered during the Presidency of Dominique's protege and close friend, Rene Preval. )
According to Noriega, Aristide allowed corruption to flourish and says that the Lavalas gangs - 'chimeres' were paid out of the telephone company's funds: ".the national patri
mony was used as a piggybank to fund Aristide's ambitions". Other critics say that Aristide simply stole the money.
Mr Noriega says that Aristide also thoroughly corrupted the National Police, - HNP - after the US and the international community spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make it a credible guardian and enforcer of the rule of law.
"[Aristide] systematically removed professional policemen and replaced them with thugs and criminals loyal to him" according to Noriega. As I have reported before, the HNP project was aborted by the US for internal US reasons) and left unfinished, although the US insisted on the HNP's retaining known criminals from the Duvalier regime, giving it a built-in lever of subversion against Aristide.
But this is par for the course. Everything that Aristide supporters have alleged against the Duvalier Dobermans is thrown back as an accusation against Aristide.
The most brilliant example of this is in Noriega's 'account' of how Aristide "fl
outed the concerns of his neighbours and the international community".
It is common knowledge that Aristide's enemies refused to have any democratic involvement in the Haitian society, refusing even to discuss anything with Aristide from well before he became President for the second time, refusing to put up electoral candidates, claiming electoral corruption for which there is absolutely no evidence. According to Noriega it was Aristide who refused to talk.
In a classic paragraph, Noriega sums up the case against Aristide. I need to reprint this idiocy in full:
I am convinced that Aristide himself is to blame for his own political demise. Had he not encouraged and condoned political violence, he would have had much greater moral authority and political sympathy. Had he not corrupted the state and the HNP, his government could have withstood the challenge brought by a handful of rebels. Had he not alienated so many former allies and adversaries by grabbing for
power with both hands, he would likely have had continued success at the polls. Had he not turned his back on his neighbors and friends in the international community--especially when they were trying to help him resolve his political crisis by constitutional, electoral, and peaceful means, he probably would be in office today."
No doubt, Aristide invaded Haiti in 1915.
For those who are more familiar with the history of Haiti than most members of the public, Noriega's speech is a lunatic travesty of the facts. I am truly astonished to realise that the putschists are so desperate for apparent legitimacy that they need to depend on such a scabrous piece of obvious rubbish.
It may of course be useful to know that Mr Noriega is a protege of the late Jesse Helms, late Senator for North Carolina and racist of some distinction. Noriega, in his position as Assistant Secretary of State, succeeded someone even less wholesome, the deplorable Otto Reich, imp
licated in the 2002 coup against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Reich is a frenzied anti-Castroite and a man who, during the Reagan administration advised Californians that they were in danger of being bombed by Soviet MIGS based in Nicaragua!!! He narrowly escaped jail in the Iran-Contra scandal but, despite his record, was appointed to be Assistant Secretary of State by President George Bush in a manoeuvre (vainly) intended to escape the scrutiny of the US Senate. Noriega was brought in to succeed him. Reich is justly infamous for his efforts to protect and comfort among others, Luis Posada Carriles, the terrorist who, among other atrocities, killed a Cuban plane-load of people over Barbados in 1976.
Our problem and the problem of the United States, is that the people of the US are completely unaware that their country's reputation in the Western hemisphere, is and has been in the hands of such rascals as Reich and Noriega.
Meanwhile, in the name of Freedom and Democracy, doze
ns of Haitians, supporters of Aristide, are being murdered every week. The distinguished, diligent and glorious international press, as usual, is blissfully unaware. In their worldview, Haitians don't make the cut.
Copyright 2003 John Maxwell
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