FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

"Progressive" Latin American Leaders Support the Coup in Haiti

After a coup d’etat planned, coordinated, and executed by the most reactionary elements in Haiti, with the substantial material support of the governments of the United States and its ever-obedient Dominican Republic, the proud nation of Haiti is again under foreign military occupation. The shameful fact, however, is that this time the occupation is being carried out by not only by the French, whose savage imperial history there is well known, and by the Canadians (perennial handmaidens of the US), but by Argentina, Brazil, and Chile–three nations who have themselves been victimized by the covert operations establishment of the United States, and governments who are making the now-specious claim that they are “progressive.”

The Haitian people and their popular organizations are utterly astonished by this grotesque betrayal and unabashed political opportunism. More than one Haitian with whom I spoke while there for three weeks in June posed the question: How will these allegedly leftist governments respond when and if we attack them?

This was not a rhetorical question.

Almost everyone with whom I spoke said explicitly that they would welcome such an attack as a needed catalyst to initiate another general uprising. The spectrum of opinion on this question ranged from those who merely asserted that attacking occupiers was a right, to those who said it will become a patriotic duty. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not speak with the macouto-bourgeois faction in Port-au-Prince who had been on the payroll of the US Embassy, via the International Republican Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy.

In fact, I spoke with few urban dwellers at all. On this trip, it seemed appropriate — given the demagogy about democracy with which we are constantly assailed — to go where the Haitian majority lives: the countryside. I encountered not a single peasant (at least in the Central Plateau) who accepted Latortue or anyone else in the de facto government appointed by the United States. They regard them not even with fear, but with derision as fools. What might surprise those unfamiliar with Haiti was how well many peasants understand the paradox of these Latin American occupiers. Almost all had heard of the landless peasants’ movement in Brazil, and wondered if these kinds of formations in Latin America might not rise up against their own governments for participating in the consolidation of the coup d’etat in Haiti.

The timing of this coup d’etat–Haitians believe, and I agree–on the bicentennial of the Haitian Revolution constitutes an intentional humiliation of Haiti, shepherded as it was by Roger Noriega, former aid to arch-racist Jesse Helms. That intent festers with every passing day in the sullen and smoldering determination that this will not stand.

The people of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile (A,B, & C) should perhaps grasp the ABC of American covert operations better than their ostensible leaders. Lending the US a hand in one imperial enterprise will not protect them from the predations of the US. In fact, it only strengthens the hand of the US foreign policy establishment to commit the same crimes against them when it’s expedient. That applies to the liberal US establishment — now out of power — that wants to increment its domination through financial structures, but it applies even more immediately to the black-shirted reactionaries of this administration who, if we look closely, are an aging replication of the self-same clique that brought us the Iran-Contra-Cocaine scandal — men who left thousands of Latin American bodies in their wakes.

Has Argentina’s Kirchner forgotten the US’s supportive role during the Dirty War? Has Chile’s Lagos forgotten 1973 and the CIA attack on Chilean popular sovereignty? And has Brazil’s de Silva developed amnesia with regard to Goulart’s ouster at the hands of the same CIA in 1964?

How is it, then, that these nations, of all nations, can send their militaries to prop up the transparent coup d’etat against yet another democratically elected government? How have they become obliged, in the face of their own histories of struggle against US plotters and assassins, to support this racist subjugation of a fellow Latin American nation?

Driving through Gonaives, I saw pimply-faced youth in Canadian uniforms waving from atop their armored personnel carriers in the apparent expectation that they will be received with accolades — a la the Chalabi hallucination of cheering crowds in Iraq — only to be met with hostility and contempt from the street. The flags of A,B, & C snapped in the wind from behind barricades at Toussaint L’Overture Airport in Port-au-Prince, but the post-pubescent lads from those countries will soon be pushed out into Haiti’s genpop, and it is inevitable that some will be attacked.

How will these governments — all claiming to be progressive — explain themselves to their own general populations then? The United Nations imprimatur will be cold comfort indeed for the families of the fallen and a puny poultice for the political wounds resulting not from the actions of an external Right, like the manufactured crisis that culminated in the kidnapping of Aristide in Haiti, but from the home grown Left in A, B, & C themselves.

This acquiescence — no, collaboration — with the diktat of the US will not loosen the parasitic grip of the Imperial Center on a single Latin American, nor will it ameliorate that Center’s intent to continue exploiting the entire region until it is used up and dead. This pious fantasy that cooperation will be rewarded has been the downfall of many a leader, including Aristide who was taken from his home after calling for “peaceful mobilization” even in the faced of murderous paramilitaries.

It looks more and more, at least to this writer, like there are only three Latin American leaders left with a spine — Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Manuel Marulanda. With the commitment of troops to the coup against Haitian popular sovereignty, Kirchner, de Silva, and Lagos have displayed a craven disregard for their own people and for their own histories. They now stand objectively as allies of Jesse Helms — a man who praised D’Abuisson’s death squads, and who never relented in his commitment to American Apartheid.

May they all admit this terrible error and quit Haiti now, or may history mark them with shame.

STAN GOFF is the author of “Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti” (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and of the upcoming book “Full Spectrum Disorder” (Soft Skull Press, 2003). He is a member of the BRING THEM HOME NOW! coordinating committee, a retired Special Forces master sergeant, and the father of an active duty soldier. Email for BRING THEM HOME NOW! is bthn@mfso.org.

Goff can be reached at: sherrynstan@igc.org

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
January 23, 2020
Richard Moser
Ten Best Messages for Waging Peace
Thomas S. Harrington
The Catalan Crisis Threatens to Reopen a Debate That the EU’s Power Brokers Thought They Had Long Ago Quashed
Martha Rosenberg
SARS-Like Disease Could Become a Pandemic
Ron Jacobs
A Cesspool of Constitutional Nonsense-Impeachment in the Senate
Gaither Stewart
One Hundred Years: the Proletariat in Search of a Class
Nick Pemberton
Final Phallus
Russell Mokhiber
PBS Public Editor and the Disease of Contempt
Thomas M. Magstadt
The Myth of the Free Market
Mandy Smithberger
How the Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder in Contract After Contract
Russell Rickford
The Paradox of Populism
Howard Lisnoff
Action Research: Acquiescing to the Awful
George Ochenski
Comes Now the Winter of Our Discontent
Binoy Kampmark
Diminishing Returns: Calculated Misery in Air Travel
Nick Licata
Do Republicans Have More to Lose Than Democrats in the Impeachment Trial?
Dean Baker
The Myth of China’s Population Crisis
John Kendall Hawkins
Steal This Whistle
January 22, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Media and the Military Mindset
John Davis
The Real Megxit Deal
John O'Kane
The Obama Legacy: Reform Versus Revolution
Kenneth Surin
The “Evolving” Scotty Morrison From Marketing
Martin Billheimer
“The Cops & the Klan Go Hand in Hand!”
Thomas Knapp
Executive Power: Alan Dershowitz’s Imagination Versus the Constitution
Jacob G. Hornberger
Egypt and the Destruction of Civil Liberties in America
Justin Podur
The People of Colombia are Cracking the Walls of War and Authoritarianism
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson
Our Final Decade to Get Climate Policy Right
Jonah Raskin
Terence Hallinan: Fighter for the People and for the Legalization of Marijuana 
Colin Todhunter
Challenging the Flawed Premise Behind Pushing GMOs into Indian Agriculture
January 21, 2020
Sheldon Richman
Warmonger Cotton Accuses Antiwar Think Tank of Anti-Semitism
John Feffer
Trump Makes Space Great Again
Patrick Cockburn
The US and Iran’s Perpetual Almost-War is Unsustainable – and Will End Badly
James C. Nelson
Another Date That Will Live in Infamy: 10 Years After Citizens United
Robert Fisk
Iran Will be Changed Forever by Admitting Its Great Mistake, Unlike the West Which Ignores Its Own Misdeeds
Dean Baker
Did Shareholders’ Benefit by Paying Boeing’s Fired CEO $62 Million?
Susan Roberts
The Demise of the Labour Party and the Future For UK Socialism
Binoy Kampmark
Janus-Faced on Climate Change: Microsoft’s Carbon Vision
David Levin
The Teamster Revolt Against the Hoffa Era
Victor Grossman
Defender and Spearheads
Russell Mokhiber
BS Public Editor and the Disease of Contempt
Tiffany Muller
Get the Money Out of Politics: 10 Years After Citizens United
Laura Flanders
Iowa is Not the Twitterverse
Graham Peebles
Education: Expanding Purpose
Elliot Sperber
Handball in Brooklyn 
January 20, 2020
Paul Street
Trump Showed Us Who He Was Before He Became President
Eric Mann
Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Ipek S. Burnett
MLK and the Ghost of an Untrue Dream
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail