Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle. We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.
Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
The Haiti Boomerang
When President Bush took to the airwaves on Wednesday of this week, touting his Haitian counter-exodus measures, my suspicions of a repeat of 1991s coup d’etat were confirmed. The Coast Guard is to establish a wet line-of-defense, protecting the Cuban Shangri-La of Miami from boatloads of greasy, AIDS infected, odiferous Haitians. A carte blanche gifted to the water patrol units, granting cutter vessels total amnesty from any outcry resulting from dubious repatriation practices. The message was clear; this country will not tolerate another influx of non-European immigrants, especially those who defied our French brethren 200 years past.
Paraphrasing the State Department’s policy vis-a-vis Les Haitiens: Haitian refugees are not to be granted asylum of any kind because their flight results from economic pressures versus political oppression. This decision was put into law during the Reagan administration only to be re-signed by President Clinton (after having rallied on the issue of fair immigration policies, gaining support from the Haitian community). Even if one were to starkly ignore Haiti’s riotous political history and the undeniable reciprocity between instability and abject poverty, the above rationale would seem at the very least laughable. One needs only to analyze the diametrically polar legal regard for Cuban exiles to bring on the hysterics. Above all else, the recent upheaval in Haiti is the offspring of two feuding superpowers, the US government and public opinion.
The ruling elite of the U$, since its savage conception, has harnessed trepidation for the will and power of the masses. Constitutional voting measures were implemented to indefinitely postpone the rampage of the "bewildered herd" (James Madison); this complemented by a myriad of other dealings now recognized as laws. As astute as this despotism was, the "founding fathers" recognized implicitly the inherent limitations to totalitarianism under the guise of democracy; aside from the fist of governmental nuances, how else could the power structure go about ensuring its supremacy? Not out ruling direct intervention by para-militaristic forces, erudition from Western European models of media-manipulation (Anglo-Franco Industrialist Revolutions) gave way to the American propaganda model: In simpler terms, the mode by which to bring about compliance through the dissemination of mass-disinformation, or, the manufacturing of consent. Assuming the aforementioned synthesis to be true, the two world super powers are inexorably dyadic, veritable mutually non-exclusive creatures in perpetual dialectic being.
The past decade of political affairs in Haiti provides a fantastic backdrop to analyze this "theory" (which is in no way shape or form, remotely mine); even more apt to conclusion is a brief glance at the current state of terror, through the eyes of the mainstream media body. In 1990, Haiti celebrated its first freely elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide. The previous 187 years of alleged independence observed a lineage of brutal dictatorships, directly supported by the U$, funded by and in compliance with the Haitian Bourgeoisie. In addition to an openly racist hatred for the first Black Independent country in this hemisphere, the U$ government & private sector were desirous to solidify Haiti as one of many cheap-export platforms throughout the region (long before the coining of the term Globalization / Neo-Liberalism, the practice was in effect). Aristide defied the coming of age to third world power. A poor priest turned politician, who would woo the proletariat and peasantry of the country, a romance ultimately leading to his inauguration via an unprecedented 67% popular vote.
As with the vast majority of elections in Latin America, the U$-elitist constituents were in full form, pursuing the implementation of a puppet leader (under the guise of free elections). In this case, the dove was former World Bank aficionado Marc Bazin. The prowess of abject poverty at the time was immeasurable (as it is now). Aristide capitalized on the hunger and distress of the Haitian populace on a platform of quasi-socialist rhetoric and Liberation Theology. The propaganda model failed in 1991, ensuing was the unacceptability of Third World peoples freely electing a leader. In the view of the U$ government, President Bush and the Haitian elite, the Negroes veered from their path, they needed be put back in their place.
10 months following this hemispheric catastrophe, a coup d’etat occurred. Columns of Haiti’s rogue army, under the leadership of General Raoul Cedras, mounted an offensive on the democratically elected government of Aristide. In ironically queer resemblance to the July 26th movement of Che and Fidel, this campaign began in the Plateau region of Haiti; consequently the nucleus of Aristide’s then greatest constituency, MPP (National Peasant Movement of Papye). In their descent to Port-Au-Prince, the rebels left aback a crater of devastation, rape, murder and pillage (although the mass of killing was yet to come). Within weeks, Aristide fled the country, temporarily parting ways with the citizenry responsible for his success. During these months, the Haitian Bourgeoisie was uncannily oblivious to the tyranny of the moment. The expected denunciations from the State Department were broadcast en masse. In response to this miscarriage of Democracy, the U$ prepared and enacted a slew of embargoes on the impoverished nation, ostensibly aimed at pressuring Cedras and his tripartite cabinet to step down. These embargoes were seen by virtually every Human Right’s organization as globally criminal, unjustifiable and incomprehensible. The effect of these sanctions was an unequivocal dismantling of the resistance to Cedras and his goons, whilst simultaneously bleeding the populace of their diluted blood. This allowed Cedras to carry out a reign of Terror comparable to the wiles of Stalin, Pinochet, Pol Pot, and Duvalier.
It was pretty obvious that these Presidential electives were perfunctory in pursuit. President Clinton and the U$ government had never stopped providing aid to the coup leaders and Haitian elite. Both Bush and Clinton authorized Texaco to deliver oil to the country, supplying the murders with fuel by which to continue a horde of assassinations and tyranny. When the media pawns finally caught wind of these blatant violations, congressional hearings were scheduled, at which CIA officials vehemently denied the exportations. The lies and deceit were profound.
In 1994, the benevolent "Big Dawg," Clinton, graced the Negroes with his leniency, sending 20,000 Marines to "restore order" (rumor has it that the Haitian people had perhaps learnt their lesson). Aristide was allowed to return with the Yankee boot across his neck. The tacit conditions on his re-implementation were oddly analogous to the candidate who had received 14% of the 1991 vote, Marc Bazin: Harsh Neo-Liberal polices were imposed on the nation; IMF / World Bank dogma in quest to privatize the general public wealth of the nation. Aristide proved unwilling to capitulate to this demagogy and was reprimanded by a second onslaught of foreign aid related sanctions. His incapability to deliver on many of his campaign promises were directly correlated to this Neo-Liberal shackling. Those who scrutinize and critique Haiti’s plummet under Aristide’s leadership, would be moronically remiss in not acknowledging the extenuating circumstances amidst a subjectively lackluster tenure.
If Frantz Fanon were an oligarch, he may have classified the recent rebel uprising as a "boomerang" movement. Barring numerous discrepancies of historical parallel, we are taking sight to a carbon copy of what transpired in 1991.
The following are excerpts from an article in The Guardian Unlimited, written by Paisley Dodds, 2-22-04.
Rebel commander Jean-Baptiste Joseph, formerly head of an association of ex-soldiers from Haiti’s disbanded army, declared “It’s the army that’s in charge here. It’s the army that will free Haiti.”
- Curiously undemocratic rhetoric from the "liberators" …
“We came in today and we took Cap-Haitien; tomorrow we take Port-au-Prince,” said Lucien Estime, 19. “Our mission is to liberate Haiti.”
- Yes, and so shall you hijack power and fatten the pockets of your constituents…
Some looted the pro-Aristide Radio Africa station, and rebels shot up the building while a crowd clapped. One man, said to be an Aristide supporter, lay dead in the street from a bullet to the stomach. A second man, whose allegiance was not known, was shot in the head and killed.
- Conform an already suspect press, assassinate journalists, very American…
“The people are happy. Finally we’re free from terror,” said Fifi Jean, 30, unperturbed as she stood in front of the blazing police headquarters building, where people looted everything in sight.
- When all is looted and pillaged, your hunger will remain…
Is it mere coincidence that the same disbanded army responsible for 1991s coup be the same perpetrators now in service? Is it similarly a twist of fate that both the U$ government and opposition parties / Haitian elite denounce the violent actions of this rogue squadron but inexorably profit from their thuggery? Is it by chance the U$ has evacuated its Embassy except key personnel? Is it happenstance the umbrella opposition party, The Democratic Popular Group, be spearheaded by the same wealthy families of the Democratic Convergence (the original rivals to Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas and recipients to 100+ million USD via USAID)?
Without a doubt, even a casual observer can deduce that Aristide has conducted questionable dealings in the past and present. There are serious dilemmas pertaining to his ability to constructively govern a Democratic society; of earsplitting concern, the tolerance of violence against his opposition, by Lavalas supporters and or Police units. These are evident truths. What is all the more transparent is the assault on the automata of global citizenry by the media heads in cohorts with the U$ powers. They, in coordination with the Haitian elite, yearn to paint the political unrest in Haiti and the proceedings of this rebel army, as representative of the will of the people. Out-of-the-way of the illegal occupation of Iraq, the world-jury has lightly ruled contrary to direct-interventionist policies. Deploying platoons to whip the serfs into shape is an infinitely easier task than the complex actions of 1991 & 2004. The second world power has triumphed above the first, how fantastic!
JG is the lead Emcee for the politically leftist Hip-Hop duet, Over The Counter Intelligence ( JG & HavikenHayes), based in Fort Lauderdale Florida. They are most recognized through their support of various grassroots organizations throughout the country; most notably The Coalition of Immokalee Workers — The Taco Bell Boycott. They are of the best known Indie-Hip Hop groups nationwide. JG has written songs, articles and editorials specific to the oppression of the Haitian Global Village, most importantly, the virulent immigration statues pertaining to Haitian Refugees. He has recently recorded a solo album entitled "Insurgent," which will be released this year via record label. JG & Over The Counter Intelligence will be performing at this year’s Taco Bell Boycott, 3-5, Irvine, CA.
He can be reached by email: JG_1804@hotmail.com