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The Heritage Foundation Warns Haiti to Stay Clear of Candidates Who Are in Hugo Chavez' Camp

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The Heritage Foundation is at it again. Last time they suggested the militarization of aid to Haiti after the quake, on the fear that drugs from Venezuela would pass through Haiti. They opined that appointing Bush and Clinton to head relief efforts would be just swell bi-partisan politics. The very policies the U.S. then implemented. Now the HF is urging the U.S. to lock down control of Haiti's elections, preventing undesirable (Aristide-like?) candidates from being elected in order to foil Hugo Chavez' "evil" plan to make Haiti a part of his "camp."

Ray Walser, Ph.D. Senior Policy Analyst
The Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation is circulating an op-ed by Ray Walser titled: "An Aristide government would put Haiti in Hugo Chavez Camp."
An excerpt of Mr. Walser's bio from the Heritage Foundation website:
Walser's interests and emphasis in policy research include defending the values of freedom and individual liberty; strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law; and advancing free trade and free-market economies in the Western Hemisphere.
Among his subjects are how to protect U.S. security and meet the transnational threats posed by drugs, crime and terrorism in a global age. He devotes particular attention to the resurgence of anti-American and anti-democratic political forces in the Americas.
In reality, Mr. Walser's fears have evidently already come to fruition. It happened even without the evil presence of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti. Mr. Chavez was given a hero's welcome last time he visited Haiti in 2007. This happened just three years after the U.S. supported coup against the Aristide government. Mr. Chavez declared during his visit that Venezuela owed Haiti a debt for helping his country's revolutionary hero, Simon Bolivar win its independence from Spain.
Mr. Chavez insisted that his commitment to Haiti was a "duty, not charity." True to his word, Venezuela embarked on several trilateral agreements with Haiti and Cuba. One agreement was for discounted fuel to Haiti and aid in building an oil refinery. Money from this deal was used by the Haitian government in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 12 earthquake.
Additionally, Venezuela has launched, along with Cuba, an effort to improve Haiti's healthcare system. Venezuela was one of the first nations to cancel Haiti's debt after the quake, while urging other Latin American countries to also cancel their debt. Venezuela has kept their promise to support Haiti. Haiti has not been the only beneficiary of Venezuela's generosity; Venezuela has offered billions to countries in Latin America.
The Latin American countries participating in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) are creating an alternative to the neoliberal policies of the U.S. which has favored autocratic governments, the marginalization of workers, created a cycle of debt and dependency (using the IMF, IDB, WB and WTO) and contributed to the dramatic widened of the gap between the rich and the poor.
Venezuela and Haiti are further linked in that both countries have been targets of coups financed and supported by the U.S. In Venezuela, the coup was unsuccessful due to a popular uprising. Significantly, post coup, Chavez had support from some elements of the military, which Aristide did not, since he had disbanded the military with the jubilant approval of the people of Haiti. The Haitian military had long been the source of terror and oppression. They were often used by the U.S. to overthrow Haitian governments.
President Aristide currently resides in South Africa where he has been given asylum and protection by the S.A. government. For more information on how the U.S. destabilized Haiti visit the Third World Traveler's Haiti page or read about timelines and personalities involved in the 1991 and 2004 coups against Aristide at History Commons.
The destabilization campaign against Hugo Chavez government continues. The attack is on three fronts. One is the financial front; the financing of the opposition. The diplomatic front is second; the leveling of sanctions, on the basis of claims that Venezuela is trafficking in drugs, persons and arms. The third front is the military; including an increased military presence in the region.
In complete disregard for the resulting chaos following the two coups sponsored by the U.S. government in Haiti, Ray Walser's op-ed urges the U.S.' continuing intervention into Haiti's internal affairs, rather than independence and autonomy:
The United States and the world have their sights set upon on a Haiti-owned process for building a new, sustainable, productive island nation. Yet in a country where 80 percent of the populace lives on less than $2 a day and where hundreds of thousands live in tents, rough sketches of a better future are still on the drawing boards.
A more complete picture of the situation would have noted why the multinational corporations that operate in Haiti are able to pay slave wages in their sweatshops, bar union organizing, pay low/or no trade tariffs and receive other favorable concessions. They benefit directly from the "free trade" policies of the U.S. government. These policies have destroyed the Haitian economy.
Interestingly, former President Clinton apologized and said he regretted that his administration destroyed rice production and food security in Haiti. Too little, too late. It is very easy to find examples of this sort of economic terrorism imposed on Haiti throughout its two hundred year history.
Mr. Walser puts forward what he believes is required of a new Haitian government. He advocates for the continuation of a Haiti hamstrung by the occupations of the UN, NGOs, and the "international community":
It also requires an ability to work with the complex maze of international bodies: the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and key donors like Brazil, Canada, France and the United States.
Generally idealistic, sometimes cynical and always bureaucratic, this patchwork of forces provides the safety net that keeps Haiti from falling into the abyss. Without sustained international support, Haiti will collapse.
Unfortunately, except Brazil, the "key donors" Mr. Walser named have not come through with the pledged aid. Reportedly, only 9% of the aid money has materialized. Reportedly, Brazil, Estonia, Norway and Australia are the only donors who have followed through on their pledges. Venezuela is not credited by the mainstream media, but they have given substantial direct donor money to the Haitian government, as well as canceling Haiti's debt. The Haitian government only receives a penny of every donor dollar given, so it has limited resources to aid the population, never mind undertaking the reconstruction of the country.

Cuban doctors were already in Haiti in large numbers (350+).Cubans established medical infrastructure before the quake.

Also giving Haiti substantial aid on the ground is Cuba. For political reasons this fact is not publicized by the U.S. mainstream media. The Cuban doctors and Haitians trained as doctors in Cuba were the first responders after the devastation of the earthquake. Haitian students were permitted to train as doctors in Cuba because Haiti's first (free) medical school, built by the Aristide administration, was shut down and occupied by troops of the U.S. Southern Command. The troops where there to assure the removal of Aristide. Symbolically, after the U.S. removed Aristide, they flew him to the Central African Republic, where he was detained in the former French colony and military regime temporarily.
The Cuban doctors who have operated in Haiti for years have been struggling to keep their medical services free in the face of opposition from the private sector in Haiti--private hospitals for one. They even went on strike briefly to protest the imposition of fees on their patients.
The supposed "generally idealistic" motives of the United Nations must be a joke. The United Nation's Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is conducting a brutal military occupation of Haiti. Putting a smiley face on that is pretty cynical. Especially when you take a look at the brutally violent way MINUSTAH stiffed dissent in the shantytowns where Haiti's most popular party Lavalas has the most support.
This flash video was removed for security reasons
Massive non-violent demonstration originated from these poor communities. They demanded the return of Aristide. They were often attacked violently during these protests and unarmed protestors shot. MINUSTAH also conducted bloodie raids, which most view as massacres into the communities of Cite Soleil and Martissant. If MINUSTAH was there to protect the Haitian population this was not evidenced by their criminal actions.
Mr. Walser quickly glosses over the fact that Lavalas is barred from the upcoming November 28 elections. What should be noted is that elections without the participation of Haiti's largest political party are illegitimate. Additionally, elections under occupation are illegitimate.
Also quite ludicrous is the writer's statement that "without sustained international support, Haiti will collapse." By that Mr. Walser means that not only should the UN occupation of Haiti continue, Haiti's new de facto Governor General, Bill Clinton (co-head of Haiti Interim Reconstruction Commission-HIRC) should be given carte blanche to usurp Haiti's sovereignty. Never mind that Clinton has admitted that his past actions have had disastrous consequences for Haiti; i.e. the lowering of trade tariffs, privatization and other interventions into Haiti's internal affairs, such as insisting that Aristide negotiate and work with the criminals who plotted a coup against his government.
The writer is concerned that the elections "pose a risk that political divisions will further fracture the nation" -- but according to the title of his piece, the primary concern seems to be for the influence that Hugo Chavez would have on Haiti, not for the recovery and well-being of Haiti itself. In any case, wouldn't it be advantageous to the U.S. if Haitians were too divided to challenge the occupation of Haiti by the U.S.' proxies?
Who or what, is a radicalizing influence on how the world views the U.S.? If polled most people with negative views about the U.S., they would most likely say U.S. foreign policy -- not the venerable Hugo Chavez. Mr. Chavez has kept his promise in Venezuela to close the poverty gap and empower the population. Poverty in Venezuela has fallen from 70% in 1996 to 23% in 2009. A significant change. Unfortunately, in the U.S., the gap between the rich and the poor is on the rise.
In Mr. Walser's opinion, Aristide's return would make Haiti "ungovernable"-- the question that arises is: for who? The U.S. wants to keep control of Haiti, that much is clear. Aristide was removed by Washington because he was not privatizing as fast as they wanted him to. Aristide's government (although Haiti is a very poor country) was put on an aid, loan and trade embargo by the U.S. What other purpose could that have had except to destabilize and remove the Aristide government? The actions undertaken by the U.S. government were not only inhuman, immoral and collective punishment, they were a human rights violation. Collective punishment is recognized by the Geneva Conventions as a war crime.
The U.S. has waged an undeclared war against Haiti since the enslaved won their independence from France in 1804. America's first action against Haiti, which had just won freedom from the tyranny of chattel slavery, was by the slave owning Thomas Jefferson, who declared a trade embargo against Haiti that lasted from 1804 to 1862.
Americans are fed the idea that they have a lot to fear from Hugo Chavez. He is an imminent threat to "freedom" and "democracy." The problem with this ideological stance is that it doesn't take into account that Americans are under a more pressing concern; its for their way of life. They are suffering through an onerous financial depression. The situation is not helped by the spending on preemptive wars of aggression and other priorities that many don't support. The U.S. is also spending about 9 million dollars financing the Venezuelan opposition. Surely, the same story is repeated in Ecuador, Bolivia and anywhere else where the feared left holds sway. The U.S. government will spend 3 billion dollars to keep Israel armed to the teeth and marginalizing and killing Palestinians. Just maybe Americans think that their government's priorities are all screwed up.
Heritage Foundation, how about advancing "free trade" and "free market" economics in the U.S.? If one were to take a look at the thriving city of Hiroshima, Japan and contrast it with American cities like Detroit or Flint in Michigan, it would be hard to believe that the U.S. won WWII. An article about how "dozens of U.S. cities may have to be bulldozed in order for them to survive" in the UK Telegraph, should be a wake up call to Think Thank ideological right-wingers and the Obama administration alike. The U.S. should find a system that works to take care of their people, their infrastructure and their economy before they impose their failed economic systems on the rest of the world, never mind the Western Hemisphere.
What kind of stupor must the American people be in that some actually believe Mr. Walser's and the U.S. government's contention that Hugo Chavez threatens their "freedom" and "democracy?"
The right-wingers at the Heritage Foundation also want people to believe that Haitians are to blame for all that has befallen them over the years, not the criminal actions of the U.S. government and the "international community." They write articles that berate Haiti's bad governments, corruption and incompetence. So one would think that the U.S. celebrated with Haitians when the Duvalier dictatorship was forced out by a popular uprising. Not so, this was the reaction of major league baseball (MLB) to the overthrow of Baby Doc Duvalier:
MLB in alliance with Rawlings Sporting Goods conspired to help destabilize Haiti after the overthrow of dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier in the late 1980's andmoved their baseball factories to Costa Rica, throwing thousands of Haitian women out of work, the professional sports organization should acknowledge their long, exploitative relationship with the devastated nation and make a much more significant donation to help rebuild the nation from which it made so much money.

Daniel Fignolé Provisional President of Haiti.
05.25.1957 - 06.14.1957
The U.S. corporate run government has more often then not, thrown their support behind autocratic governments in the global south. They supported the Duvalier dictatorships of Papa and Baby Doc, a terrorist regime that killed over 50,000 Haitians.
The U.S. pushed out the government of Daniel Fignolé a populist who held the Haitian presidency for about a minute before Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Fignolé was "a liberal labor organizer in Port-au-Prince so popular among urban workers that he could call upon them at a moment's notice to hold mass protests... He pledged to raise the daily wage and expressed determination to remain in office, angering his opponents."
Those were goals that did not suit the U.S., making Fignolé a threat to "freedom" and "democracy."

Why did Daniel Fignolé anger the U.S.?

Although Fignolé promised an FDR-style New Deal and was explicitly anti-Communist, his politics had long made him suspicious in the eyes of the Cold War era American administrations. CIA director Allen Dulles warned President Eisenhower that Fignolé had "a strong leftist orientation." The administration refused to recognize the Fignolé government, whose political program was seen as "comparable with the Soviets." Eisenhower told the French Embassy in Washington that he was worried Fignolé "might eventually become another Arbenz," referring to the social-democratic President of Guatemala overthrown three years earlier in a CIA-backed coup d'etat.
With foreign governments and most elements of Haiti's traditional power structure arrayed against him, Fignolé could not hold onto power. After just 19 days, the Haitian armed forces, with U.S. foreknowledge, broke into the presidential chambers. They seized Fignolé, forced him at gunpoint to sign a resignation letter, and bundled him into a waiting car.
The U.S. has evidently financed and supported coups in Haiti. Despots and criminals like Raoul Cedras and Guy Philippe, former members of the Haitian military received training at the infamous School of Assassins. Reportedly, Raoul Cedras is living in luxury in Panama at the expense of the U.S. government.
Guy Philippe was pursued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on drug charges briefly after he indicated on Haitian radio that the Haitian private sector was involved in the 2004 coup against Aristide, but has since been allowed to roam freely in Haiti. He even ran for elected office in 2006. The people Philippe named were those that were considered the "opposition" by the U.S. government. The "opposition" were supported through USAID, the IRI and other "democracy building" organizations.
Let's be clear, Haiti's democratically elected government was destabilized and removed by the U.S., France and Canada. It was all planned at the Ottawa Initiative. The intervention put Haiti in a precariously dangerous position because the country was left more vulnerable to the natural disasters that hit the country in quick succession, culminating in the earthquake.
Now the geologists say that Haiti's earthquake was caused by a previously "unknown" fault. Who's fault was it?
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Chantal Laurent is a Haitian-American who blogs about Haiti, socio-economic, environmental and political issues at thehaitianblogger
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