Archive for the 'Haiti' Category

Hillary off in a rush to… Haiti, where she vows to undermine democracy.

This sort of stuff never ceases to amaze me. In the midst of the huge upheaval in Egypt, Hillary Clinton is on a plane. To where?

To Haiti.

The reasons for this should be extremely insightful to how she and the current US government really feel about democracy.

A) Haiti is trying to ignore US demands that certain candidates be thrown out of the upcoming election, and

B) Ignoring the US explicit wishes (especially highlighted by recent wikileaks revelations) Haiti has announced it will issue a passport to Aristide.

Of course, the threat is on the table, that if the Haitian slaves do not obey their masters in Washington D.C., all financial aid will be cut off to this extremely poor and beleaguered nation. Truly, our nation is run by secret combinations, of the type that would make Book of Mormon authors blush. An insightful article on this situation comes from Mark Weisbrot:

Haiti Resists US Pressure; Announces Aristide Can Return

It didn’t get much attention in the media, but U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did something quite surprising on Sunday. After taping interviews on five big Sunday talk shows about Egypt, she then boarded a plane to Haiti. Yes, Haiti. The most impoverished country in the hemisphere, not exactly a “strategic ally” or a global player on the world’s political stage.

Inquiring minds might want to know why the United States’ top foreign policy official would have to go to Haiti in the midst of the worst crisis she has faced. The answer is that there is also a crisis in Haiti. And it is a crisis that – unlike the humanitarian crisis that Haiti has suffered since the earthquake last year – Washington really cares about.

Like the Egyptians, Haitians are calling for free and fair elections. But in this case Washington will not support free and fair elections, even nominally. Quite the opposite, in fact. For weeks now the U.S. government has been threatening the government of Haiti with various punishments if it refuses to reverse the results of the first round of its presidential elections. Washington wants Haiti to eliminate the government’s candidate and leave only two right-wing candidates to compete in the second round.

Just three weeks ago it looked like a done deal. The Organization of American States (OAS) “Expert Verification Mission” did a report on Haiti’s November 28 presidential elections, and on January 10 it was leaked to the press. The report recommended moving the government’s candidate, Jude Celestin, into third place by just 0.3 percent of the vote; leaving right-wing candidates Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady, and Michel Martelly, a popular musician, in first and second place, respectively. This was followed with various statements and threats from U.S. and French officials that Haiti must accept this change of result. U.S. officials strongly implied that aid to Haiti would be cut if the government didn’t do as told. It looked as if desperately poor Haiti would have to give in immediately.

But then there was pushback. President Preval noted that six of the seven “experts” from the OAS Mission were from the U.S., Canada, and France – the three countries that led the effort to overthrow Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2004.

Then the OAS report was found to be so deeply flawed as to be worthless in determining which candidates should proceed to a second round. The report ignored the problem of more than 150,000 missing votes that – given the voting patterns in the areas affected – would have shifted the result to Celestin. It also examined only a sample of the tally sheets, and did not use any statistical inference to estimate how the 92 percent of the tally sheets that it did not examine might have affected the result.

The call for new elections began to grow. It was joined from the beginning by 12 presidential candidates who had competed in the deeply flawed first round, in which only about a quarter of Haitians voted. This was down from 59.3 percent in the previous presidential election, partly because the country’s most popular political party – Fanmi Lavalas – was excluded from participating in the election.

Preval himself has been reported in the press to support new elections.

Then yesterday the Congressional Black Caucus leaders, in their first break with the foreign policy of the Obama administration, issued a statement that they called a “response to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s support of the OAS report”:

“The CBC urges the United States and the international community to uphold the ideals of fairness and support a new Haiti election process that is free and fair, respecting the rights of the Haitian people.”

But it is the rights of the Haitian people that Washington does not want to respect. Another reason that very likely contributed to Hillary Clinton’s sudden trip to Haiti on Sunday was that the Haitian government decided it is willing to issue a diplomatic passport to former President Aristide, who has been kept in exile in South Africa since the U.S.-organized coup ousted him in 2004. Recent Wikileaks cables show that the United States has pressed hard to keep him out of Haiti, and to keep him from exerting any influence from abroad. And his party, Fanmi Lavalas, was banned from participating in the November elections, as in other elections since he was removed from the country on a U.S. plane in 2004. Aristide issued a statement on January 19  that he was ready to come home.

It may seem strange that U.S. officials care so much about controlling a government as poor and without influence as Haiti, but they clearly do, having organized the overthrow of the country’s elected president in 2004, and contributed to the coup and subsequent death squads when Aristide was overthrown the first time in 1991.

The amazing thing about the last two months is that they are meeting such resistance from within Haiti, and from the Congressional Black Caucus – which forced then President Bill Clinton to restore Aristide to the presidency in 1994. Signs of further international support for democracy in Haiti were shown on January 26, when the OAS resolution on Haiti failed to endorse the recommendations of its own Mission’s report – due to resistance from left governments in Latin America. And the Rio Group, which includes 23 nations encompassing almost all of Latin America and the Caribbean, was also blocked by left governments from passing a resolution on Haiti.

The government of Haiti is scheduled to announce its decision on the elections today, and it may well fold under the enormous pressure from Washington. But with Aristide’s return imminent, the battle is far from over.

It is not only Egyptians that want free and fair elections, and not only the Arab world that is resisting U.S.-backed tyranny.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/02/haiti-usforeignpolicy

Why is the US military blocking aid to Haiti?

Why indeed?

The airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is now an American military base and relief flights have been re-routed to the Dominican Republic. All flights stopped for three hours for the arrival of Hillary Clinton. Critically injured Haitians waited unaided as 800 American residents in Haiti were fed, watered and evacuated. Six days passed before the US Air Force dropped bottled water to people suffering thirst and dehydration.

The first TV reports played a critical role, giving the impression of widespread criminal mayhem. Matt Frei, the BBC reporter dispatched from Washington, seemed on the point of hyperventilation as he brayed about the “violence” and need for “security”. In spite of the demonstrable dignity of the earthquake victims, and evidence of citizens’ groups toiling unaided to rescue people, and even an American general’s assessment that the violence in Haiti was considerably less than before the earthquake, Frei claimed that “looting is the only industry” and “the dignity of Haiti’s past is long forgotten.” Thus, a history of unerring US violence and exploitation in Haiti was consigned to the victims. “There’s no doubt,” reported Frei in the aftermath of America’s bloody invasion of Iraq in 2003, “that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East … is now increasingly tied up with military power.”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24519.htm

Here the Haitian Prime Minister also expresses frustration with the US military:

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Bellerive expressed his frustration with security decisions made by the US military that are hindering the earthquake relief effort.

“Haitians don’t care about the security, they just want the water, food and medicine to get to them … they don’t feel that there is the need for so much security,” he said.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/01/2010129151615240430.html

Pilger hints that it has everything to do with the US pursuit of dominance over Haiti and nations like it that drives this:

When I was last in Haiti, I watched very young girls stooped in front of whirring, hissing, binding machines at the Port-au-Prince Superior Baseball Plant. Many had swollen eyes and lacerated arms. I produced a camera and was thrown out. Haiti is where America makes the equipment for its hallowed national game, for next to nothing. Haiti is where Walt Disney contractors make Mickey Mouse pjamas, for next to nothing. The US controls Haiti’s sugar, bauxite and sisal. Rice-growing was replaced by imported American rice, driving people into the cities and towns and jerry-built housing. Years after year, Haiti was invaded by US marines, infamous for atrocities that have been their specialty from the Philippines to Afghanistan.

Just give the people what they need.

Mormons throwing food at Haitians

I am happy to contribute to the relief effort in Haiti through my church, but I must say that I would rather that my church behave differently than is described here by Sharif Abdel Kouddous on Democracy Now:

And I just want to describe a story that I think is extremely illustrative of the problem. Yesterday, when we were in Léogâne, we were—we came to an area where a helicopter from a Mormon charity had landed. It was on the ground, and there was Haitians all around, young and old, waiting for food to be handed out. This helicopter took off, off the ground, and began throwing the food down at the Haitians. It did not distribute it when it was on the ground. They threw the food from the air. These were packets of bread that they were throwing. It ignited just fury and indignation on the ground by the people there. They began screaming. One man started crying. He said, “We are a proud people. We are not dogs for you to throw bones at.” It was a scene that I will never forget. And it really illustrates the problem with aid distribution here and the relief efforts here, that they are—they are not seen as people. As Haitians keep saying, they say, “This can happen to anybody. How would you like to be treated in this way?”

Remember, the Savior passed out the loaves and the fishes from the ground level.

http://i1.democracynow.org/2010/1/19/haiti_is_shaken_to_the_core

You can help Haiti

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday, thousands of Americans are sending financial support — through their mobile phones.

Anyone with a mobile phone and an account with a major wireless carrier can text the phrase “Haiti” to the number 90999 and donate $10 to the Red Cross. That amount is charged to the donor’s cellphone bill.

The texted donations are being handled by a company called mGive, which started the campaign in a joint effort with the State Department and the Red Cross late Tuesday night. Thanks to a mention on the White House’s blog and lots of word of mouth on Twitter and Facebook, the campaign had raised more than $1.2 million by Tuesday evening, mGive said.


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