FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Pawn in Their Coup?

by YVES ENGLER

Does the new Canadian Prime Minister support democracy in the Americas or U.S. orchestrated coups?

In his first major foreign policy move Paul Martin’s government faithfully followed the U.S. (and French) lead in removing the legally elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, from power. Contrast this with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) whose chairperson, Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, said in a statement that CARICOM deplored “the removal of [Haitian] President Aristide ” from office, as setting “a dangerous precedent for democratically-elected governments anywhere and everywhere.” In other words, Canada has sided with the two “colonial” powers with a centuries-old tradition of meddling (to put it mildly) in Haitian affairs, instead of with the Caribbean nations which have endured a shared history of slavery and other forms of exploitation.

Three weeks into an armed insurrection that left the country in turmoil and Aristide gone Martin said that he hoped “all parties …respect constitutional order and the rule of law.” Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham did no better with his comment that a “constitutional transition ” was underway.

The constitutional transition Mr. Graham refers to was a “coup” backed by the revival of Haiti’s military force that has always served the country’s tiny elite _ less than two percent of the population holding at least half the nation’s wealth _ and the most reactionary faction of the U.S. political establishment. Whether President Aristide was actually kidnapped by U.S. forces, as U.S. Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters alleged, or was just presented with “an offer he couldn’t refuse,” there is no question that the Bush administration played the decisive role in this regime change.

Let us connect the dots.

In 1990 Aristide overwhelmingly won Haiti’s first democratic election. Since he was a voice of the poor and oppressed, alarm bells went off among right-wing U.S. politicians and the corporations they represent. Bush the First immediately moved to undermine the new Haitian government by withholding aid and supporting opposition groups. Nine months into his mandate Aristide was ousted by General Raoul Cedras _ backed by the CIA _ who instituted a military reign of terror that led to the death of more than three thousand people, mostly supporters of Aristide.

The Organization of American States announced an embargo against the illegal Haitian regime, which the U.S. promptly ignored. Not until the new Clinton presidency did the U.S. restore Aristide to power _ on condition that he adopt the harsh neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund. One of the IMF policies _ the elimination of tariffs on rice _ led to a massive increase in subsidized U.S. rice exports that devastated Haitian rice growers.

Still, in 2000 Aristide again won the presidency and his Lavalas party took more than 80% of the local and parliamentary seats in legislative elections. In several multi-candidate contests where Lavalas gained a plurality rather than a majority of votes they should have faced a second round election. Instead a few candidates simply took their seats. (Imagine an MP with a plurality instead of an absolute majority!) In response the new Bush administration (and others) froze foreign aid until new elections could be agreed upon. This effectively gave the opposition a veto over international aid. Even after the senators in question stepped aside, the opposition continued to reject new elections because they knew they couldn’t win at the ballot box. And with the country cut off from bilateral and multilateral financing Haiti’s economy went into a tailspin, spurring political discontent.

The International Republican Institute, a Republican-Party backed arm of the National Endowment for Democracy, gave the Haitian opposition political parties three million dollars a year. A month ago “rebels” armed with American-made weapons marched into the country from the Dominican Republic. This unsavory lot of wanted murderers, former coup plotters and narco-traffickers includes Emmanuel Constant who has already gone on record saying that in the mid 1990s he was on the CIA payroll. Rebel leader Guy Philippe was trained by the U.S. military as an army officer in Ecuador, according to a report published Friday by Human Rights Watch. Already it’s been reported that Philippe has met with high-ranking members of the political coalition that opposed Aristide and he’s been seen around U.S. marines.

Last week the Bush administration stepped up its pressure by undermining Aristide’s personal security when it blocked him from increasing his bodyguard staff hired from the U.S.-based security firm, the Steele Foundation.

Was there a coup and did Canada support it?

We do know Canadian troops were present at the airport when Aristide left the country.

We do know Canada stood by and did nothing to support the legally elected president of the country as he faced armed opposition. We do know right wing American politicians are already touting Canada’s complicity as justification for U.S. policy in Haiti.

Unfortunately the evidence suggests Paul Martin has turned his back on millions of Canadians who want this country to support and build real democracy around the world. Instead, he has joined with right wing extremist elements in the U.S. who tell the world ‘it’s our way or the highway.”

YVES ENGLER recently finnished his first book, Playing Left Wing from Hockey to Politics: The making of a student activist, studied Haitian history at Concordia University. He can be reached at yvesengler@hotmail.com

 

 

More articles by:

Yves Engler’s latest book is ‪Canada in Africa: 300 years of Aid and Exploitation.

Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
Robert Koehler
War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell
Mike Bader – Mike Garrity
Senator Tester Must Stop Playing Politics With Public Lands
Kenneth Culton
No Time for Olympic Inspired Nationalism
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Final Days of the Regime
Irene Tung – Teófilo Reyes
Tips are for Servers Not CEOs
Randy Shields
Yahoomans in Paradise – This is L.A. to Me
Thomas Knapp
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying
Mel Gurtov
Was There Really a Breakthrough in US-North Korea Relations?
David Swanson
Witness Out of Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
George Brandis, the Rule of Law and Populism
Dean Baker
The Washington Post’s Long-Running Attack on Unions
Andrew Stewart
Providence Public School Teachers Fight Back at City Hall
Stephen Cooper
Majestic Meditations with Jesse Royal: the Interview
David Yearsley
Olympic Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail