Time to Support Haiti

Time to Support Haiti

Post by » Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:36 pm

[quote]Time to Support Haiti
by Michael Deibert
Op-Ed submitted to The Henry Jackson Society (UK)
23rd April 2006

On 21st May, if everything goes according to plan, Haiti will inaugurate Renè Garcia Prèval as its new president. Shortly thereafter, the country will install new senators and deputies for its upper and lower houses of parliament. Mr. Preval, who served as Haiti's president from 1996 until 2001, will take over the leadership of a country courtesy of a ballot supervised by the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and replace an unelected interim government that has overseen convulsing violence and economic stagnation since the flight of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.

MINUSTAH, lead by former Chilean Foreign Minister Juan Gabriel Valdès and consisting of 7,519 UN peacekeeping troops, 1,776 police and a staff of 1,132 civilian personnel, has been widely and often accurately criticised for its inability to impose order in Haiti's lawless capital, Port-au-Prince. The city has seen hundreds, possibly thousands, killed in waves of kidnappings, gang wars, blanket police retaliation and vigilante justice since Aristide fled amid an armed rebellion and massive street protests against his rule. But the mission, even despite the timid turnout for this month's second-round vote, must nonetheless be congratulated on pulling off in the first round a feat that even a few months before many would have thought impossible: mass participation in an electoral process now widely viewed as legitimate in a country riven by class and political hatreds.

Preval is a complex figure, not at all the Aristide puppet that many have long accused him of being nor the humble country man he sometimes likes to portray himself as. He has a massive task ahead of him: depoliticising and professionalising a police force that was intentionally infiltrated with gang members and criminal elements during Aristide's reign, reversing deforestation estimated at over ninety-eight percent and its attendant environmental catastrophes, and making a more equitable and open economic system in a country where eighty percent of the population is mired in chronic poverty. While it is true that one does not survive as long as Prèval has in Haiti's brutal political climate without having finely honed political skills, the fact that Prèval remained untouched at his home in rural Marmelade in northern Haiti as violence swept through the country in early 2004 (and Aristide loyalists were being killed, jailed or driven off) is testament to just how well-regarded he was by the people in that part of the country. The response of the broader Haitian electorate demonstrated just how much hope people have that he will help ameliorate the situation. Unlike the international community's previous intervention in Haiti when Mr. Aristide was retuned to power and a military government deposed in 1994, this time it is essential that the international community stay involved in Haiti for the long haul.

Had the international community listened to some of the voices in the Haitian debate, these elections might have never occurred. The support of self-described 'progressive' forces outside of Haiti has unfortunately all-too-often fallen by the wayside in deference to short-term political goals. The descent into the facile 'saviour politics' that Mr. Aristide exploited so successfully during his political career came at the expense of a sustained and even-handed attempt to help the vast majority of decent, honest Haitians strengthen their country's institutions, create a more open and equitable economic system and reinforce a truly open, democratic political process. If progressive forces are serious about helping Haiti's eight million people, this is a dynamic which must change.

On 3rd February, four days before Haiti's presidential election, the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), long an uncritical supporter of Mr. Aristide's government, released a statement entitled Botched Job: The UN and the Haiti Elections (1) assailing the ballot. COHA wrote that 'the elections, which are central to the Bush administration's desire to get the island off its foreign policy agenda, are unlikely to offer a way out of the current nightmare of instability, chaos and violence'. In support of this contention, they quoted the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which asserted that the ballot would suffer from a 'lack of democratic legitimacy.'

The IJDH itself is a curious creature. The Miami attorney Ira Kurzban is listed as 'one of the founders of IJDH', and 'a member of the Board of Directors' in a 24th March 2005 letter (2) sent by the IJDH to Santiago A. Canton, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS. According to US Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings, (3) Kurzban's law firm received $3,569,026 from the Aristide government of behalf of its lobbying efforts between 2001 and 2003, and he has been identified as Mr. Aristide's personal attorney in, among other places, a 16th March 2004 press release from the office of United States Representative Maxine Waters. While employed by the Aristide government, in addition to representing its interests in the United States, Mr. Kurzban was responsible for helping to fund (4) the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Haiti, which included on its staff a gifted US attorney, Brian Concannon. Mr. Concannon is now the lead attorney with the IJDH and, though the organisation is ostensibly headquartered in Oregon, where Mr. Concannon resides, donations are directed to be sent to a Florida address, the region where Mr. Kurzban resides. The group's 2005 annual report (5) lists $53,836 of contributions from 'individual supporters,' several of whom have long-standing links to Mr. Aristide.

Mr. Concannon, in an August 2005 interview on Flashpoints Radio in the United States, repeatedly referred to the vote to which Haitians responded so magnificently in February, as a 'phony election', saying that 'ninety percent of the Haitian people want nothing to do with this election.' Echoing Concannon, Washington-based Centre for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot, who is often unable to get even the basic details of Mr. Aristide's second term in office correct, wrote in The Nation (6) magazine last November that the vote would be a 'farce'.

In tandem with this effort to de-legitimise the vote, Haitian organisations advocating on behalf of the nation's workers and peasantry have been particular victims of a scurrilous campaign. These groups were at loggerheads with the Aristide government due to, among other offences, the brutal (and illegal) March 2002 eviction of peasant farmers from the Maribaroux Plain by government security forces to make way for a low-wage factory there, and the machete attack that same year by government partisans against a group of farm workers agitating for better conditions at a factory in the town of Guacimal. The latter attack left two dead and eleven summarily imprisoned.

When peasant activist Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, who has been organising subsistence farmers against abusive governments and working to halt Haiti's environmental degradation in the country's Plateau Central for over thirty years, was the recipient of the 2005 Goldman Environmental Prize, the IJDH denounced him on Flashpoints Radio as 'a strong organiser behind the political end of the coup which drove Haitian President Aristide from power' (The award is sponsored by the San-Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Foundation, and is the world's largest prize program honoring grassroots environmentalists). Jean-Baptiste, the leader of the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) peasant union and the twenty-thousand member Mouvman Peyizan Nasyonal Kongre Papay (MPNKP) (both named for the village of Papay where they are based), was also the subject of a March 2006 article by Tom Reeves in Counterpunch (7) magazine which stated that 'Chavannes was mentored by Aristide since his youth'. This statement was a complete falsehood that ignored the fact that Jean-Baptiste is a full decade older than Aristide and had began organising peasants in 1973 when Aristide, a former priest, was still in seminary school. Providing no supporting evidence, Reeves goes on to write that 'according to former MPP members from Mirebalais and Thomond in the Plateau (towns many miles from Papay)...interviewed in March 2004, Chavannes welcomed (rebel leader Louis Jodel) Chamblain and even held a dinner for his band at Papay.' This allegation stands in stark contrast to a 24th February 2004 communiqué (8) in which Jean-Baptiste and the MPP pointedly, and at no small risk to themselves, said they would not aid the rebels, nor demonstrate for them, stating that 'collaboration (with the rebels) is not possible…We (the MPP) cannot make an alliance with this group just because we are both against Aristide.'

A similar smear campaign has been waged against one of Haiti's most militant and effective labour unions, Batay Ouvirye (Worker's Struggle), for receiving financial support from the liberal AFL-CIO's American Centre for International Labour. This support (9) included $20,000 for a Workers' Centre in the town of Ouanaminthe on the Dominican border and the possibility for an additional $50,000 to facilitate a free trade zone in Port-au-Prince. The organisation had received no money from the AFL-CIO before Aristide's February 2004 ouster. In the midst of the attacks, the New York-based Grassroots Haiti organisation bravely stated that 'the inherent weaknesses in the international left and especially in the US progressive movement (is that) solidarity too often focuses on charismatic leaders with access to state power while overlooking the struggles of actual workers and others on the ground. The international left would be in a better position to criticise if it had been providing a meaningful level of concrete support to Batay Ouvriye and other grassroots organisations over the years.' It is indeed odd to watch privileged North American activists lecturing working-class Haitians on how they are and are not allowed to attempt to better their country's lot.

My own dealings with this current of political thought following the publication of a memoir of my time in the country, Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti , written after having spent the better part of a decade visiting and reporting there and having seen first-hand what the Aristide government had become, were of a similar vein. In The New Left Review and on the Znet website, which has quoted the IJDH eight times over the past two years while never mentioning its connection to Aristide, a Canadian activist and occasional journalist by the name of Justin Podur, who speaks no Kreyol and the sum of whose personal experience in Haiti consisted of one month-long trip in the fall of 2005, penned a pair of juvenile personal attacks on myself and the book, producing a supposed 'smoking gun' to discredit the work. This was a statement from one Patrick Elie, denying his presence outside a church, the Eglise Saint Pierre, in the capital on 3rd December 2002 (where I addressed him by name and in English), at the beginning of what became a day of attacks against anti-Aristide demonstrators in Haiti's capital. Podur described Elie as a 'Haitian activist' as well as a 'very courageous and brilliant individual.'

A former junior cabinet minister and confidante of Mr. Aristide who has thus far wisely been excluded from involvement in Prëval's re-emergence on the political scene, Mr. Elie was heretofore perhaps best known for being arrested outside of Washington, DC in April 1996 and jailed for nearly two years in the United States for, among other offences, apparently threatening the life of Prëval's ambassador to the United States at the time, Jean Casimir. Subsequently held for falsely claiming to be a diplomat and for using a false address on a federal firearms transaction, court documents (10) from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit show that US diplomatic security and police inventoried from Mr. Elie's hotel room at the time a Colt .223 semi- automatic assault rifle with a round in the chamber and six magazines loaded with armour-piercing ammunition, a Remington .22 calibre bolt action rifle equipped with a telescopic sight, a loaded Steyr 9mm semi-automatic pistol with 264 9mm rounds (including 180 rounds of hollow-point ammunition), night vision equipment, two knives, approximately $4,800 in cash, purchase receipts for three additional firearms and documents relating to the activities of Mr. Casimir. Mr. Elie's connections among Haiti's elite economic and political class saved him on that occasion, but one cannot help but to speculate as to what exactly was being planned. And one must question how Znet could put stock in the words of such a plainly unstable and unreliable individual, so obviously a thorough product of Haiti's dysfunctional political milieu. It certainly points to their operating on a far different moral compass from that of the grassroots activists I have met in Haiti over the years.

Claiming to be progressive, Znet, The New Left Review and journalists such as those mentioned above have, in fact, been doing the work of Haiti's reactionary landowners and upper-class. These forces within Haiti have been attempting for many years to marginalise peasant and worker activists from international support and thereby facilitate their continued oppression by an unfair economic system, one that Aristide and his party milked as effectively as any political leaders ever have in Haiti. At present, sectors of the international left are helping them in this task.

It is high time that some in the progressive movement give up their illusions about Haiti and set about helping the millions of brave and resilient people who are struggling daily to improve their lot there in substantive and demonstrative ways. The time for ruling class activist fantasies about Haiti is finished. The time for concrete action is at hand.

If Mr. Preval is to succeed in bettering the lives of Haiti's long-suffering people, something we all hope for, the international community, and particularly the progressive community, must openly and honestly support organisations working for progressive change and an open and free society rather than continuing their de facto support of the 'corrupt, immoral, thieving, charlatan, incompetent, bankrupt, criminal, anti-worker, pro-imperialist and reactionary' remnants of the anicen regime, as Haitian activist Mario Pierre once memorably described them.

I have written before that what is at stake in Haiti is too important to surrender the dialogue to mercenaries, opportunists and novices, and that has never been truer than it is right now.

Michael Deibert is the author of Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti (Seven Stories Press). The views in this article are his own. His website is www.michaeldeibert.com.



1. "Botched Job: The UN and the Haiti Elections"
Friday, 3 February 2006, The Council on Hemispheric Affairs.


2. "Letter to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights," 24 March 24 2005.


3. Foreign Agents Registration Unit (FARA) Semi-Annual Reports (Haiti), 2001-2003.


4. IJDH Fundraiser Invite, 1 November 2005.


5. IJDH Annual Report 2005.


6. "Undermining Haiti" by Mark Weisbrot, The Nation, 22 November 2005.


7. "The Puzzling Alliance of Chavannes Jean-Baptiste and Charles Henri Baker: Haitian Election Aftermath," by Tom Reeves, Counterpunch, 1 March 2006.


8. "MPP Speaks to the New Dimension of the Haitian Crisis," press release, 24 February 2004.

9. Batay Ouvriye press release, 9 January 2006.


10. "United States of America vs. Patrick Elie," United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 28 April 1997.


[/quote]

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:17 pm

[quote]...If anyone have any thoughts on the actual arguments presented in the piece, m'ap tande.[/quote]
Can you count how many references (direct or indirect) you have about Aristide? Maybe you should consider changing the title of your piece to reflect your obsession with the one who <i>fled amid an armed rebellion and massive street protests against his rule...</i>. That's just one</b> thought.

gelin

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Glasshouses and stones...

Post by Charles Arthur » Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:46 am

[quote]...the machete attack that same year by government partisans against a group of farm workers agitating for better conditions at a factory in the town of Guacimal. [/quote]

Guacimal is not a town, it is a rural area - the Third Communal Section of Bouyaha, in the Commune of St-Raphaël, to be precise. In this rural zone, there is a orange tree plantation. The company owning this orange plantation is called Guacimal S.A. Its HQ is in Cap-Haitien. The oranges grown at the plantation near St Raphael have, for many years, been processed at what might be termed a 'factory' in the hamlet of Madeline, near Cap-Haitien, also owned by the Guacimal company. The orange plantation near St Raphael, and the orange 'processing factory' at Madeline near Cap-Haitien, are two distinct and different places, some distance from eah other.

The events referred to - "the machete attack by government partisans" - took place near the orange plantation near St Raphael, not in a town. Furthermore, the group of "farm workers" were indeed agitating for better conditions, but not in a factory. As the phrase implicitly suggests, they were agricultural labourers - not factory workers - and they wanted better working conditions at the plantation. The workers employed at Madeline processing plant in Madeline near Cap-Haitien had been involved in their own campaign for better pay and conditions, and had formed their own union (also suported by Batay Ouvriye) but the two labour disputes were quite distinct, taking place in different places and at slightly different times.

I wonder if these misunderstandings originate with a NCHR-Haiti report into the events referred to, which, if my memory serves me well, made repeated - and erroneous - mention of the "Guacimal usine" near St Raphael.

Charles Arthur

For further details, see
The Haiti Support Group campaign for union rights, pay increases and improved conditions for Grand Marnier and Cointreau orange workers, online at:
http://www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org/fea_ ... index.html

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:29 pm

It is very interesting to see how People become more and more intolerant of anyone's taste or Political choices.
I am beginning to think that a lot of Activists became DIctators, where freedom of speech does not exist. HOw Ironic!
Haiti is or stays the same, it's either you're with them or against them! If one doesn't agree with Titid's agenda, he or she is considered as THE Enemy... Sad, but true!
I wish I could find the right medicine for this disease. It is also adopted by the Bush administration, "It's either you're with me or against Me".
I remember in December 1990 when I went to Haiti. AristideI was elected President. I mentioned to a lot of Friends and Supporters of Titid (like me) when He had the famous speech concerning his love for the odor of tires (pE lebrun) that was not appopriate. I remember that they thought that I was a Diaspora against the Lavalas movement. Until, a few years ago, they realized that Titid was a Dictator using the masses at his own advantages.
He was this "Toutis" who did not accept any idea from noone. For, He was the king with all his very Rich Knights around Him. One can use the Past as Reference to avoid reoccurrence...
Now, am I considered as the enemy for saying that? It depends on which context applied.
So far, I haven't read MD's book yet. But, I probably will when I get to the States. By then, I will make my own judgement without any catalyst.
I can predict a lot of it are true based on my own infos. Besides, I think that He had some good points on the way which Preval are trying to reach every sector or Country. I also think that Haiti would need his Sons/Daughters the same way that It will need a lot of Friends. We can not afford to alienate anyone! Every help will be greatly appreciated.
May 14th will be Preval first day (I suppose). So, everyone can fasten his/her seatbelt for a New Haiti. I believe that we are on the right track! We can start supporting Haiti by accepting one another regardless.
NOu gen anpil tan nan dezinyon, mwen panse ke kout klewon an pwal sonnen pou rasanbleman an.
L'union fait la Force
leonel

Gelin_

Re: Time to Support Haiti

Post by Gelin_ » Wed May 03, 2006 10:48 am

[quote]Preval is a complex figure, not at all the Aristide puppet that many have long accused him of being nor the humble country man he sometimes likes to portray himself as...[/quote]
It doesn't matter what others think of Preval, and it doesn't matter what Preval does with his life or how he likes to portray himself. What matters is what MDeibert thinks of Preval. I wonder how MD sees himself or how he likes to portray himself. Does he know himself better than anybody else? If Yes, could this be true also for Preval? After all, the Haitian People seem to know Preval - at least they think they do.

[quote]I have written before that what is at stake in Haiti is too important to surrender the dialogue to mercenaries, opportunists and novices, and that has never been truer than it is right now.[/quote]
Exactly! And would the list of opportunists and novices include a few humble scribes like MDeibert? We'll have to ask him that... :lol:

gelin

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Post by admin » Wed May 03, 2006 1:04 pm

[quote]And would the list of opportunists and novices include a few humble scribes like MDeibert? We'll have to ask him that... :lol:[/quote]
Gelin, so far, you've been a voice of reason, sometimes tough but within the boundaries of fairness. With this last remark though, it would appear that you enjoy dabbling in personal attacks!(?)

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Wed May 03, 2006 1:16 pm

[quote][quote]And would the list of opportunists and novices include a few humble scribes like MDeibert? We'll have to ask him that... :lol:[/quote]
Gelin, so far, you've been a voice of reason, sometimes tough but within the boundaries of fairness. With this last remark though, it would appear that you enjoy dabbling in personal attacks!(?)[/quote]
If it comes across that way, I apologize - to you, others, and MD if he happens to see it that way also. It's not intended. Having said that, I think MD should stop trying to present himself as an expert on Haitian affairs - while exhibiting his skewed approach to things. Haiti is a small country with a glorious past and great hopes for its future. Things must be done according to the law of the land, or at least discussed within that framework.

gelin

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Post by admin » Wed May 03, 2006 1:35 pm

[quote]Haiti is a small country with a glorious past and great hopes for its future. Things must be done according to the law of the land, or at least discussed within that framework.[/quote]
Amen to that!

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Wed May 03, 2006 3:17 pm

[quote]Gelin, kindly inform list members what financial advantage I have gained as a journalist from taking an interest in Haiti?[/quote]
I already apologized for what could be seen as a personal attack. I don't fly that low. And I don't care either about your possible financial advantage or lack thereof. I was looking at the content of your statement.

[quote]And, having spent substantial time in Haiti in 1997, 2000, 2001-2003, 2003-2004 and 2005, traveled the length and breadth of the country in tap-taps and public taxis, read voluminously of its history in four languages and speaking Kreyol, how could one describe me as a "novice" when compared to those who visit the country for one month?[/quote]
I was not comparing you with those who visit for one month, and Jaf already addressed the value of your experience in Haiti. You are no expert on Haitian affairs. That reminds me of a Canadian student who came to Haiti as part of an exchange program. After a field trip near Aquin, we stopped to take a few pictures together. Guess how he called himself? The foreign expert. The guy was just an undergraduate student.

[quote]When was the last time you traveled from Port-au-Prince to Hinche/Jacmel/Gonaives in the back of a tap-tap and listened to what people had to say there?[/quote]
Now, you are asking for trouble...:-) I was born and raised in Haiti, and incidentally I am from Plateau Central (Hinche, Lascahobas, Mirebalais...). I have been to all those places you mentioned and I have seen many things, good and bad. Haiti (even as Saint-Domingue) has seen countless "commission civiles", and many foreigners (like yourself - no offense) have built their career as self-proclaimed experts on the plight of this tormented land. But it is my opinion that respect for the law of the land is all we need, no more no less...unless you can argue your case from the perspective of the constitution, well, it won't fly for me. Sorry!

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Thu May 04, 2006 3:13 am

It's gonna look that I am defending MD all the time. Not true, I am stating what I believe it's true!

I don't think one can give a well through assessment on a specific population or inhabitants if he/she is travelling as a tourist. But, as a journalist, maybe so. I've met foreigners like Jenny Smith, for instance, who had been to places I myself wouldn't go to. They spoke with people, we didn't even know their existence. Do we?

Now, Gelin, I've known so many provinces in Haiti excluding North/North West and Jacmel. But, that does not make me an expert on the Actual Haiti!

What a lot of you do not like is a foreigner telling what was bad about Aristide and his famous Lavalas Mouvement! Please, guys, it started OK at the beginning. But, it deteriorated when the Leader started putting people from Organisation Populaire on different administration payrolls including Teleco and other wrong-doings. This was the same practice the Duvaliers adopted. Nan bon kreyol, nEg t'ap touche chEk mO paske yo nan OP etc, etc.

I wish that some of us could accept the fact that everything was wrong with the Aristide's administration...

Well, like I said it before. We should focus on the next administration which I believe would do a much better job!

Remember, almost everyone of us supported Lavalas at one point at the beginning perhaps. Then, came the first Coup d'Etat. After that, we saw someone who would do anything to stay in power. He even suggested having a woman (his wife) as President during his last days in office.
Anyway, we can still argue without personal attacks. Which I wanted to point something out. In our arguments, most of the time, we do it with our ego. I am not saying "never". But, I rarely saw one of us come with compromises or acceptance of defeat! Pa akzanp, pou oun moun parEt a opinyon l. A la fen diskisyon an, pou'l admEt ke li aksepte sa lOt moun nan te di a Right...

We have a long way to go! Do you imagine 8 million people with their ego and raging hormones? <It's My Way or the Highway>

Haiti needs a lot of Help! Since Dessalines til Titide, the leaders are a bunch of <Je>...

L'union fait la Force,
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Thu May 04, 2006 10:28 am

MD and leonel got it wrong: I have never defended Aristide or his party and never will.

My issue with the current article is simple: the title and the body don't match. If MD would like to help raise support for Haiti (as his title seems to indicate), here are a couple of things he could do:

a) work for the cancellation of Haiti's debt. The poorest country of the western hemisphere was forgotten in the last gracious move, and it's ironic.

b) study Haiti's constitution and make it known to his many friends. Haiti will never move forward unless the law of the land is respected. And that's how I judge almost everything related to the 'eternal crisis', whether it's from natives or foreigners (again, there is nothing wrong with the word "foreigner" per se and it should not ne taken in a negative sense. Haiti has received many kinds of help from foreigners who treat its people and its laws with respect).

gelin

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Thu May 04, 2006 1:09 pm

[quote]...We have a long way to go! Do you imagine 8 million people with their ego and raging hormones? <It's My Way or the Highway>[/quote]
leonel, are you referring to the "Zéro Tolerance" strategy presented by Kplim and adopted later by G-184 with the promise to bring peace to the country within 48 h...? It was their way or the highway, right? And it wasn't 8 million people either....

gelin

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Thu May 04, 2006 2:11 pm

[quote]...I think what has Gelin so irritated is meeting a foreigner who can and does (on this forum) quote that constitution when criticizing that class...[/quote]
It sounds like you enjoy kidding yourself. Or, you don't see my point at all. You can criticize Haiti's leaders - past and present - all you want, and that's no problem for me.

But if you pretend to write a piece entitled "Time to support Haiti", you have to develop it in a way that people can see and understand the country. Two choices:

a) Keep the title and offer ways, good sound ways, to support Haiti, like the points I mentioned earlier (debt cancellation, respect for the law...). Many others (foreigners and natives alike) have done it before you, and are still doing it today.

b) Or keep the body of your text and put another title on top of it, like "My obsession with Titid" or "How to remove Haiti from under Aristide's shadow", or something of that nature. Many people hate Aristide and countless others love him. If you happen to be one of those addicted to his life/charisma, that's your choice and you can write articles and book about him; but don't try to mislead people with deceptive titles.

And again, MD, it's nothing personal. I have had heated arguments with my best friends and we always understand that people are different from their ideas. In our case here, I simply disagree with you.

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri May 05, 2006 7:16 am

Frantz, I could back it up. But, it would not be fair to the people where I got my sources from. For, they were and still are close to the former President.

One of our problems is for some of us, if I stated anything in favor of Aristide, a lot of you would be clapping. But, guess what? I am my own self. I was against the Coup d'Etat and still am. But, the Man wasn't a Saint like some of us would like to think.

I wish I could name some names of the very reliable sources...

Responding on Jaf's personal attacks on anyone, I believe that the only one who could not be influenced by stupidity is Jaf alone.

I was restrained from being too personal, because I respected you as a friend. I could have mentioned your flipflapping about the elections which you were against... I could have gone even further into whatever that you are involved with. Epi, Epi, Anyen!

I don't have an electrical plug or a remote control from any group, unlike others. I am not crying wolves to sell any book... I am stating what is, according to me, the truth!

I would challenge anyone who could say, that there was no corruption in Aristide's administration. I would also challenge anyone who could deny Aristide's involvement with a lot of gangs in Cite Soleil and elsewhere.

Check the list of the people working in Contribution, Teleco and elsewhere. Just because that they are Heads of an Organisation Populaire.

[quote]Any stupid rumour can be put out there (like JBA planning to transfer power to Mildred, eating 2004 baby hearts etc...) and you will find folks like Leonel too happy to help spread them around. [/quote]
In terms of intelligence, that does not affect me. For, what has intelligence done for you lately?

I had respected you at first. Then I realized that, ou mEt abiye bourik, depi midi sonnen fO l ranni...

When someone presented an argument or facts which you do not agree with, you should not call him Stupid by accepting any "Stupid Rumor". I understand that one's upbringing has a lot to do with lack of Respect of others. But, control your instincts and challenge them without any insulting words!!!

You know what? Why don't we get Aristide back with GNBs, Zenglendos, Rat pap kakas etc. ? Haiti will be the perfect land going backwards while others are enjoying the Good life that your adopted country can provide.
I agree with Frantz, let's move on! For, some people never learn! You have to agree with whatever they say, The king has spoken!!

L'union fait la Force,
leonel

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Post by admin » Fri May 05, 2006 9:43 am

I DO RECALL a speech by Aristide (and I will research it) where he repeatedly asked his audience whether it wasn't time for a woman to lead the country. In that speech, he never said the name of his wife Mildred, explicitly. Certainly people felt free to make inferences, speculations, deductions, conclusions. They could be erroneous, of course, but given the fact that Aristide usually spoke in paraboles about concrete ideas, one certainly could not dismiss his comments as just "a stupid rumor". Perhaps, Aristide had some other woman in mind, or no woman in particular. Only he probably knows for sure (that's the virtue of speaking in paraboles).

When Bill Clinton was President of the United States, if he made the exact same comments that Aristide vocalized (and I promise you that I will do my best to locate them, because it was far from a stupid rumor), I have lived long enough in the United States to know that the Press (including all talk radio programs, TV talking heads, and newspapers) would be quick (on the same day or the day after) to discuss Clinton's attempt to promote his wife's candidacy to highest office. Clinton would not have to actually say "Hillary for President". It would not have mattered. His words and demeanor would have been fair game for analysis and political dissection. Of course, Clinton should feel free to say "Hillary for President!" now, though I have yet to hear him say it, explicitly. They have tried to corner him to say it on occasion, but I think that Clinton has learned a trick or two from Aristide.

Was it Aristide's intent to advance Mildred as his potential successor? I don't think he has left a paper trail to prove this assertion or to disprove it. But the temptation to circumvent the constitution to clone successors in a position of power must have been strong, as any student of History would attest, particularly the History of Haiti (the Duvalier clan), the Dominican Republic (the Trujillo-Balaguer clan), the United States (the Bush clan), etc.

I remember when I was eighteen years old. I had lived almost my entire life then under Papa Doc Duvalier. One day, ALL OF A SUDDEN, all of the radios and newspapers started extolling THE VIRTUES OF YOUTH, and this went on for a few months. All of a sudden, the youth of Haiti was put on a pedestal, and the propaganda was rather relentless. The Duvalierist machine had discovered the power and beauty of its youth. I had turned eighteen and was really puzzled over the entire media was fawning about Haiti's youth. Overnight, I had become a demigod, at least in print because I never truly felt treated like one. I knew instinctvely that if I ever opened my mouth to say anything critical of the government, my newly assumed attributes of energy, wisdom, and superiority would be instantly reduced to bloody ashes. I wondered what the heck this was about, but I never even dared ask my parents, as I also instinctively knew that my father's stare would reduce me to complete silence (why would I be insane enough to formulate any thought or response to something political I may have heard, he would have implied without uttering a single word). So, I tried to put all of this daily talk on the radio out of my mind, as though they were talking maybe about the youth in another planet.

Good thing I did.

But a few months later, I realized what my new power was all about: As an eighteen year old, I could vote for another eighteen year old to become President for Life of the Republic of Haiti.

Ah... rumors!

Now the one about Aristide eating eating 2004 baby hearts, though is true. The guy ate 2004 baby artichoke hearts, interspersed with baby hearts of palm, and got quite an indigestion as a result.

But really, Jaf, this one was not advanced by anyone on this forum... Stop reading moun.com for godssake!

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Fri May 05, 2006 10:18 am

Guy, I did research the news about Boniface's grand daughther's death inside the presidential palace but could not find it. I wonder how people like Vladimir Jeanty would have reacted if one of Aristide's daughters had suddenly died there in the same condition. I am almost sure it would not have been perceived as a mere accident, but as an act of worship or sacrifice to the devil. And the half-baked story would be quickly picked up by the media...and who would really know? Sometimes rumors are close to the truth, other times they are far from it.

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri May 05, 2006 10:34 am

Guy, I am not only using the fact that people who were close to him said...

But, it was very evident! Of course, it wasn't gonna be like Duvalier. But, with the majority of people voting in Haiti for whomever Aristide presented to them in his party. One does not need to be an expert to know the outcome. Remember when Aristide wanted to go after K-Plim for mayor, he used Manno, who by the way was discarded (I don't know if this was legal) after many disagreements with his agenda.

Why do you think that a lot of people do not want Aristide to be any part of politics in Haiti?

Did you know about number two at his own organisation (Lavalas)?

For a President on his last term, was he pushing anyone in His Party?

My problem is some people think that if you say anything bad about Aristide, you're associated with GNBs. Not me, I wrote and write selon mes pensees et faits. I was one of the people against the Kidnapping. I was outraged by the "Pile tibebe" story. But, I said since the beginning that we need to be very careful of "Faux Prophete". I was referring to no one else than him.

Haiti does not need us to be apart anymore. We have so much in common. We do not have to like the same guys. But Haiti needs the Rule of Law, Respect, Discipline from everyone of us. President or not. We can not afford to be blind. We were blinded by his acts as a preacher. But a lot us couldn't see the Real Deal. I beg you to talk to some who were very close to him.

Why do you think that almost everyone who was working with him had beef with him?

Was he the only good one in Haiti? We have to ask that question sometimes. For instance, if everyone who is working with Guy tells you that Guy has a problem. Don't you think that the problem is with him. Not hundreds of co-workers. Sorry, I had to use Guy. It could have been any other name...

Money and Power can really change someone!

The support for our Country is now. And, we need to reevaluate the criteria we use to choose Leaders.

Ke li te papa m a manman m, si yo fE tenten. FO'm ka di ke se flE ke y'ap voye. Mwen pa manm ankenn pati.

Moun chanje tout tan nan diferan sikonstans,
leonel

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Post by admin » Sat May 06, 2006 9:39 am

I wish I could bring an end to this discussion that has gone far off track. But in a public forum, it's important to dot the i's and cross the t's. A couple of remarks:

- One, we have to learn to restrain our language, even while making our points strongly, or we will lose friends unnecessarily. I knew well where Jafrikayiti was coming from, in theory, but when he wrote: "Any stupid rumour can be put out there (like JBA planning to transfer power to Mildred, eating 2004 baby hearts etc...) and you will find folks like Leonel too happy to help spread them around," I immediately knew that the statement was written in a way that would offend Leonel on a personal level. If I were Leonel, I absolutely would have been offended too, yet I think that I know Jafrikayiti well enough to appreciate his high level of humanity and solidarity which may sometimes get obscured by his zeal for ideological purity in his writing. The fact of the matter, if Jafrikayiti is willing to re-read his statement carefully, is that if (I) am "too happy" to help spread "any stupid rumour", then it follows in my mind that (I) am pretty stupid too, no matter what the grammatical construction. I believe that anyone who put himself in Leonel's shoes would feel offended as well. However, there is another fact of which I am absolutely certain: Were Jafrikayiti and Leonel facing each other, when making their points, they would have managed to convey their thoughts to each other without so much offending each other. Hence, we have to be somewhat careful when we write, so we can focus on the message without making unnecessary collateral casualties that we may later on come to regret. In fact, one of the big troubles among Haitians and politics, in general, is that when all is said and done, after every one has made their points, you may not find two individuals standing together to carry out some necessary political reform. Everyone wants to be the one who got it perfectly right, rhetorically, and everyone may just end up fighting on a hill by himself.

Leonel got offended, of course, and made no bones about it. Then Jafrikayiti came back with "I said the RUMOUR is STUPID. I did not call you stupid. Don't try to avoid the real subject by playing outraged man." Well, Jaf, I do not think that Leonel was trying to avoid the real subject, it's just that we all lost track, it seems, of what the real subject was about. I am also sure that Leonel was not "playing" outraged man. He was outraged. Let's at least acknowledge each other's feelings for what they are.

- As for the rumour, how stupid it was, I don't really know, but what Serge and you demonstrated was that such a plan would have been stupid, and I believe we all know it. If the plan would have been stupid, it does not necessarily follow that the rumour in itself was stupid. Let us speak of what we know for sure, instead of being carried away with logical reasoning as if that was ever a notable characteristic in Haitian politics.

By the way, let's address squarely "the stupid rumor" invoked by Leonel, once and for all. Leonel wrote "He even suggested having a woman (his wife) as President during his last days in office." What Leonel DID GET WRONG in that particular quote is that such suggestion would have come "during his last days in office". NOT TRUE. The rumour, whether true or entirely false, had been circulating around at least a year beforehand (and I do remember the circumstances, Serge! They are a bit more specific than what you alluded to in your reply). Do I personally believe in such rumor? Not necessarily, though I do have reason to beleive that, at some point, a trial balloon was let out. But that was LONG BEFORE that period of time that Leonel refers to as "his last days in office". It appears to me, in general, that you guys do not pay enough attention to details. They may not be important enough in our long term struggle for a better Haiti, but this does not mean that we should summarily discard them to suit our ideological preferences. Sometimes, attention to little details can prevent big surprises waiting down the road.

- Speaking of details, but important ones, I believe (no, make that, I KNOW) that the second reference made by Serge to the Haiti Observateur story is not what H.O. published really. I am no friend of H.O. , I despise their habitual fabrication of "news", but they did not print that particular rumor, at least not the way that Serge describes it. I know, Serge, because I read it too, of course, and I recall it with precision.

- As for the nature of this thread itself, it started with an article by Michael Deibert, titled "Time to Support Haiti". Absolutely, it is time to support Haiti, it had ALWAYS been time to support Haiti and the cause of institutionalizing democracy in Haiti, though that democracy need not be a replica of what happens in the United States, for instance, which has steadily lost its democratic cover and whose government has been more tyrannical in many ways - because it could - than the government that Michael Deibert deplored so much in Haiti. I think that it is perfectly okay to lambast the Aristide government for whatever its faults were, but the one question I would have for Deibert is: "Did you write your book, and do you write your articles, as a justification for the coup in Haiti?" I wish that less time would be spent on discussing Michael Deibert's whiteness, the privileges conferred by his whiteness, how long he lived in the country, how he travelled through the country, whether he speaks Creole, whether or not he has enough credentials to write a book about Haitian government (many other white men who have written books about Haiti; the praises and critiques of such books fall, quite predictably, along ideological lines), etc. I wish more time would be spent on discussing facts and ideas rather than personal characteristics. When we delve so much in personal characteristics, and personal suspicions, instead of proving assertions and exposing lies, we get stuck in the past and cannot advance a progressive agenda. Who benefits from that?

Actually, folks, we do need to move on. A new administration will be sworn in, a week from now. What should be its priorities? How should it go about repairing the terrible damage caused by lab experimentation during the last few years? Can the so-called "progressives" mend their divisions and bring about real support for the government of Haiti? Is it possible??? How should the government of Haiti deal with the resources that should be available to it from the great Haitian diaspora? Can the Haitian diaspora become disciplined enough to stop its internal squabbling in order to fulfill a historic role in helping to save a country? Those and a few other vital questions...

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Post by admin » Sun May 07, 2006 1:55 pm

[quote]"the Aristide government deserved to be overthrown as much as any in Haitian history." [/quote]
Well, Michael, that is a damning statement, no matter what follows it. Take a larger view of Haitian History, and you will see that it is far from true that the Aristide government was among the worst of the lot. I do not wish to debate your particular experience of the Aristide government at this point, but I beg to differ from your historical assessment. It's not the facts that you relate that I dispute, in as much as they are facts (which others on this forum may find debatable, but I do favor distinct personal observations over generalities), but it is such a sweeping statement that I think might be better received from a true Historian and expert on Haitian History.

[quote]"But the way in which Aristide's departure was achieved, his flight into exile in the middle of the night, the continuation of armed groups such as the former rebels and the chimere to operate in Haiti afterwards,[/quote]
How would you have preferred to see his departure achieved, Michael???

[quote]the massive and well-financed propaganda campaign that began as soon as he arrived in South Africa,[/quote]
Whose massive and well-financed propaganda campaign???

[quote]and the weakness and inability of the Haitian judicial system to deal with the high-profile cases concerning members of his regime—[/quote]
Which high-profile cases are you talking about? I assume they include Yvon Neptune and Anette Auguste among others. Does the fault of the judicial system consist in the prolonged jailing without charge of Yvon Neptune and arbitrary arrest, in the middle of the night, of Annette Auguste in a U.S. Marines special operation, or is it in the Inspector-Javert-like pursuit of retribution by Pierre Espérance and Samuel Madistin that has characterized RNDDH and made it a caricature of a human rights organization in the view of most people I have met in the human rights field over the last 2+ years?

[quote]the Haitians have as of yet been deprived of having justice for the terrible crimes Aristide submitted them to[/quote]
I absolutely refuse to condone any crime by Aristide, but just reading that statement of yours, it would appear to the uneducated observer that the Aristide government exceeded its peers in criminality. If Haitians are entitled to justice for the terrible crimes committed against them, why must you insist in qualifying those crimes as "Aristide submitted them to" as opposed to "Latortue and Boniface submitted them to", or "Cedras, Biamby, François, and Constant submitted them to", or "Prosper Avril submitted them to", or "Namphy and Regala submitted them to", or "Papa Doc and Jean-Claude Duvalier submitted them to" ? Note that I have nothing against any reporter, black or white, domestic or foreign, getting the dirt on any government through detailed investigation of the facts surrounding human rights violations. I don't even expect those reporters to be "balanced" in their focus on specific historical periods, as one cannot possibly cover everything. But we have to be doubly careful when going beyond mere reporting and making bold moral pronouncements for our times that we are not missing the forest for the trees. Aristide was not the beginning of Haitian History and he is certainly not the end of Haitian History. You are perfectly free, as I see it, to investigate and report on the misdeeds of his government, and I personally do not care what color you are and all other sorts of litmus tests, as long as you are honest in reporting the facts. However, do not obsess or appear to obsess about a specific personality, because when other people see in your works a penchant for demonization of one particular individual disproportionately to all others, that is bound to reduce your effectiveness in advancing your particular version of Truth and Justice.

Finally, Michael, I do not think that the Aristide government deserved to be overthrown as much as any in U.S. History (this has never happened of course, unless we take into account some well-known assassinations). Never wish Haiti to be treated like a banana republic, if you truly care about the long term struggle for democracy, that will not take roots in Haiti through coups against constitutionally elected governments, no matter how bad you think they are. Should there be an impeachment process against bad governments, should there be votes of no confidence, should there be referendums for early elections... those are grave constitutional questions that Haitians should consider between themselves, in order to have some legal recourse in countering bad governance, dictatorial tendencies, and criminal misdeeds after a government gets elected. But to encourage coups, foreign-sponsored ones at that, appears to me like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. I bet you that someone is already planning a coup against Préval... even before he is sworn in.

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Post by admin » Sun May 07, 2006 11:58 pm

Just to dot the i's and to cross the t's:

[quote]I've never claimed to be an "expert" on Haiti[/quote]
I never wrote that you claimed to be an expert, either. I was just objecting to a brush stroke that you made, with ALL of Haitian History as the background. Michael, though you and I may disagree on whether an overthrow is deserved or not, the point I was making was not that you "claimed to be an expert". It's simply that the statement appeared to be immodest to me, because it so neatly encapsulated the extraordinarily complex history of a developing nation.

Perhaps you still do not see my point. It's not unlike when my father said to me one day that my mother was the most (physically) beautiful woman in the world. I was little at the time, and I remember thinking: "Well, I loved my mom to death... but how can I trust you that she is the most beautiful woman on the planet? Have you really seen them all?" I don't know about you, but I have always been careful about making such sweeping statements as "as much as any in Haitian history". Whether you would consider yourself an expert or not, I think that with this one statement, you are bringing an awful lot of history in the process. And that has always been a dangerous academic exercise, because it is so easily misleading! I have too much respect for History not to voice my concern about such statements. That's all.

By the way, if you do not mind, I would be very appreciative if one day you would list for us the 60-70 books on Haitian history that you have read. I am not being facetious here. I am damn serious. That would be an impressive personal reading list for the forum that could be of great service for many people who come to Ann Pale.

[quote]at this point I have read, I would say, nearly 60-70 books on Haitian history (many written by Haitian historians), several dozen works of Haitian literature, probably thousands of articles in the Haitian and international press, listened to hundreds of hours of radio broadcasts, interviewed and otherwise spoke with hundreds of individual Haitians of every economic class and political bent over a ten year period and traveled pretty much the entire country in public transportation.[/quote]
Quite commendable, Michael!

[quote]You may disagree, and that of course is your right, but I would say in all of its essentials 1) Rigged elections; 2) Repression of press freedom; 3) Arming of paramilitary groups (in this case, often juveniles) to attack its opponents in violation of the constitution; 4) the near-total politicization of the police; 5) the steamrolling of the independence of the judiciary and now (it appears); 6) the looting of public funds, citizens of any country would have a damn good case for getting rid of a government. [/quote]
No, why do you think I would disagree? But there are different ways to skin a cat. Let's review your points: 1) Rigged elections = Bush; 2) Repression of press freedom = Bush; 3) Arming (and training) of paramilitary groups = Bush and Bolton; 4) politicization of the police = well, I won't go there; 5) steamrolling of the independence of the judiciary = Bush and Ashcroft; 6) looting of public funds = vast transfer of wealth to fat cat friends of Bush and Cheney = same effect as looting. I don't know about you, BUT I SEE BUSH ALL OVER YOUR LIST, except (maybe) for the near-total politicization of the police. Do U.S. citizens, like you and I and millions of others have a damn case for getting rid of a government? I agree with your exposé and your conclusion. But it ought not to happen via a coup against the Bush government. Now, what is so hard for some people to understand (and I am not talking about you, if you also reject coups) that what is good for American democracy ought to be good as well for Haitian democracy? Why do they always want to prescribe to Haiti a different kind of soup?????

[quote]How would I have preferred Mr. Aristide's end in office to be achieved, you ask? I am no politician, but I think a more measured, peaceful, transparent process would have benefited all. Had there been a legitimate parliament, there could have been impeachment proceedings against the president, but by the time the crisis reached its boiling point at the beginning of 2004...[/quote]
Michael, I do not think that 2004 was just a coincidence, nor do I think that French soldiers putting boots on Haitian soil on the year of our bicentennial celebration of independence from France was just a coincidence of "the crisis reaching its boiling point". Some may call me superstitious, some may call me conspiracy theorist, others may call me whatever, but I remain convinced to this day that the coup was orchestrated and designed to happen precisely in 2004, in order to punish Haitians for the sins of their fathers, that is uppity negroes daring to get rid of their masters. They could well have gotten rid of Aristide in 2003 or 2005, but the bicentennial year was just an irresistible bonus.

[quote]As I outlined in the article that began this thread, there has, in my view, been a massive disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting Haiti's genuine progressive movements on behalf of a handful of disgraced political actors and their supporters. I pretty much said all I said to say about that above.[/quote]
All I am suggesting is that the massive disinformation campaign was not one-sided.

[quote]"When the Aristide government kept thousands of prisoners in jail without trial it was wrong, just as it was wrong when the interim government did so. When the police were summarily executing people under the Aristide government it was wrong, just as it was wrong under the interim government. When the Aristide government is arming civilians to commit mayhem on its behalf, it is wrong, just as it is for any other government." [/quote]
Play it, Sam! (I do agree with you on those points)

[quote]getting elected, in my view, is simply the beginning of responsibility, not its end, and is in no way carte blanche for the president to do whatever he wants, constitution be damned.[/quote]
I could not agree with you more, Michael.

[quote]I think very few Americans, for instance, take solace in the idea that George Bush was constitutionally elected and I don't think that makes his shredding of our constitution, destruction of civil liberties, endorsement of torture, war-mongering and empire-building any less heinous. [/quote]
Play it again, Sam! (I totally agree with you) ...

but I don't see an armed rebellion against Bush. Especially one armed and trained by some foreign country. All that I see is marches, and I have been to them, every time I can. I am not financed either by the Interamerican Haitian Institute or "Ti Woje No Yega". In fact, when I go and march in Washington DC and New York and New Jersey against that demented war Bush has been relentlessly waging, I do so on my own dime and I do not need big financiers like Andy Apaid. I do not need arms and ammunitions. I do not need to be trained in Canada, and illegally cross the northern border and participate in raids against the State Police.

[quote]You write that "to encourage coups, foreign-sponsored ones, (at that)" and I respectfully submit that this not only does me a disservice...[/quote]
I am not doing you any disservice, Michael. I was making a general statement, and one in which I believe very strongly. If you do not encourage coups, then my remark simply would not apply to you in any way. However, as long as we are on the subject of coups, you can always expect me from me such affirmations, no matter who my correspondent is.

[quote](I never suggested anything of the kind and, as I began writing the book in early 2003, it could hardly be a "justification" for something that had not yet happened) [/quote]
I asked you the question about "justification" earlier, not as an accusation, but as a straight and direct question designed to give you the opportunity to answer the swarming accusations from others that this was the reason for your book. There is nothing better than a direct question, in my book. So you had a real opportunity to express yourself fully on this particular point.

[quote]but to suggest that the only current moving against Aristide was the Cannibal Army and the rebels is not only false, but I think, very disrespectful to the heroic bravery of the tens of thousands of people who began protesting in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere and the end of 2003, braving teargas, gunfire and, not infrequently, murder, to demand a better country than the one their politicians were attempting to sleaze into existence.[/quote]
Well, first of all, you cannot eliminate the rebels from the equation. That would be false, as the armed rebellion did weaken considerably Aristide's grip on power, due to the stress on the resources of our poorly equipped police force and the overall psychological impact. That armed rebellion, though it may have not succeeded on its own, from a straight militaro-tactical point of view, completely delibitated Aristide's government in my view. Yes, you are right that this was not the only factor. But there is absolutely no freaking way that anyone could wish it away. It turned Haiti practically into Ethiopia, from a government standpoint.

Second, I am disrespectful of no one deserving of respect in the struggle for democratic and human rights.

Third, as to "the heroic bravery of the tens of thousands of people... to demand a better country than the one their politicians were attempting to sleaze into existence," let's just say that while this is the stuff that epics are written about, in reality there was some sleaze floating just about everywhere. Not to deny that certain individuals were heroically brave, but it just was not so black and white, was it?

[quote]They were onto something, those students, the peasants, the poor people and, yes, even some of their bourgeois allies, before the movement was hijacked by the men with guns who, if they were not a direct product of the regime they now opposed (the Cannibal Army) were in many ways a mirror image of some of its principals (the Ravix/Grenn Sonnen alliance was much more logical than some outside of Haiti thought, for instance). [/quote]
OK, this is exactly where I would expect a book such as yours to shed a lot of light. There must be some fascinating story about those alliances, detoriating alliances, and misalliances, as well as how the relationships of men with guns, politicians, and elite businessmen actually developed. Yes, of course, that story deserves to be written with dispassion and impartiality, because there is so much that we have to learn from it.

[quote]Haitians deserved and deserve a decent country, and we owe it them to help those who are working in solidarity to help them build one, and to expose those who, for narrow political and economic interests, would seek to push that decent country ever further away, and to obscure the real struggles of Haiti's poor majority through endless rounds of political bickering, backroom economic dealings and brutalizing violence. [/quote]
I can't argue against that position!

[quote]That may be a politically incorrect position,[/quote]
Politically correct or not does not matter. What is polically correct on one side of the fence is politically incorrect on the other side. And vice versa.

[quote]but it is, I feel, is the only coherent one for a true friend of Haiti to take, let the chips fall where they may.[/quote]
All true friends of Haiti understand the fundamental reality that no foreign military boots should have trampled the country on the bicentennial of its independence. That this was an affront to the spirits of our ancestors. That the U.S. Marines and French soldiers should have kept out of what is not "jaden papa yo". As I said before, one should never wish Haiti to be treated like a banana republic, if one truly cares about the long term struggle for democracy.

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Mon May 08, 2006 9:20 am

[quote]...no matter how long they have studied such a volatile and <u>unpredictable country</u>...[/quote]
Unpredictable country? That's a myth right there. There is nothing unpredictable about Haiti.

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 08, 2006 9:29 am

Amen to that, Guy.

I agree with all you wrote. And like you, I was and still am against the Kidnapping!

I know that there was a lot of corruption in Aristide's administration. Did that make him a bad Leader? Yes. Was He the worst we've known in Haiti? Far from it!

What about Boniface/Latortue?

One of my biggest concerns is the Total Power which our past presidents had! I hope that we can change that.

Also, the fact that we are so divided politically, we couldn't wait to take over and jail our opponents. Latortue had to jail Aristide's supporters. Then, when in Power, Aristide will do the same. This will be a perpetual revenge based on political affiliations.

Some People wouldn'tind advocating a Homogeneous Society where everyone shares the same opinions and thoughts. For, diversity is not allowed! It's too dangerous, I suppose. How do we support Haiti?

L'union fait la Force,
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Mon May 08, 2006 9:56 am

[quote]...How do we support Haiti?[/quote]
More than one way! One of them is to start by knowing and respecting its constitution, the law of the land. I have said it before: Those who were against the previous "elected" team were challenging it on the basis of its many violations of the constitution. That's ok and healthy. But what did they do? They violated the same constitution to get rid of them, and in turn, have continued to show the same lack of respect for the constitution - and it's still going on. One way to support Haiti is to find out what the law says, stand by it, and evaluate things from its perspective.

gelin

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Mon May 08, 2006 12:48 pm

[quote]Was it Aristide's intent to advance Mildred as his potential successor? I don't think he has left a paper trail to prove this assertion or to disprove it. But the temptation to circumvent the constitution to clone successors in a position of power must have been strong, as any student of History would attest, particularly the History of Haiti (the Duvalier clan), the Dominican Republic (the Trujillo-Balaguer clan), the United States (the Bush clan), etc.[/quote]

Guy,
You forgot about Schwartzeneger! LOL

I was late in this discussion, as I cannot log on Ann Pale from home. I need a private talk with Guy on that! I believe that my first amendments rights are being violated. :-)

Even though I am late, Leonel and Guy's posts reflected my opinions on the discussions. But I would like to add something concerning our response to published opinions of foreigners who are providing advice on Haiti.

Our response should be to attack, like Guy has done, weaknesses in their arguments and not to dismiss them as unqualified commenters just because they are not Haitian-born. The reason is that foreign governments rely on them to make decisions about Haiti just because the foreign governments believe that the foreigner's (like MD's) approach to decision-making is similar to theirs. You can destroy MD but that would not destroy the practice and approach used by foreign governments to make decisions about our country.

We could try to insulate Haiti from bad decisions made by bias-leaning foreign governments. But, we are centuries away from that happening, if we ever get there. Since we can't be effective preventing foreign governments having influence on our affairs now, our best bet is to make sure that our side, the truth according to us, is heard. And, that is exactly what arguments like Guy's and Leonel's do.

The other thing we may also try to do is to make people, like MD, sympathetic to our problems. In so doing, as they are humans as well and likely to have their opinions influenced by their emotions, they may be forced against their original intent, to present our emotional side as well when foreign governments are using them either as an excuse for decisions or as real reasons to make decisions that affect lives in Haiti. We would be serving our causes better by presenting a more rational plea for our arguments.

Even though Guy already made a good argument for it, MD, I strongly disagree with your finding a justification for the way a democratically elected government was removed. It shows disrespect for the Haitian people/voters and the application of a double standard. As Guy pointed it out it is very unlikely that you would advocate a coup against George Bush even though some may see his actions warranting it.

J-M.

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Post by admin » Mon May 08, 2006 1:04 pm

I refuse to approach this important discussion we are having from a personal, political, or ideological angle. I think that we all ought to stick to exactly what is written on those pages, instead of making all kinds of assumptions about hidden strategies and assumptions about other people's political alliances, etc. A forum like Ann Pale is a place where we debate on the ideas that are expressed or validate/invalidate the facts that are stated. Point by point. The forum has no strictly defined political agenda. Its ideal is to be like an open university. After all, that is how other people will learn tomorrow from what we write today.

I cannot force anyone to participate or not in Ann Pale or any particular thread in Ann Pale. That is, and always will be, a matter of individual choice. But what I can and do ask is this: Debate IDEAS and not your perceptions of personalities and agenda. When someone writes something that you think is not correct, by all means feel free to challenge it, but let us stop this game of identifying people as "Lavalas" or "GNBists" or whatever. Windows on Haiti offers everyone a rare opportunity to make their points, rationally, vigorously, but it should be without the rancor attached to angry, personal disputes. What I see in Ann Pale is the potential to teach upcoming generations something about the history that we live and that we all impact. Other people will not learn much from our anger (at least not on this forum!). But they will be able to learn much from a precise Deconstruction of bad ideas or falsehoods and the Reconstruction of good ideas and real facts, even when they do not fit our preferred ways of looking at the world.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 08, 2006 1:22 pm

Word up!
I believe a few years ago, we were not into that "Good vs Evil" attitude. But, following the Kidnaping/Coup d'etat, things had changed a little...
We are in a position of, It's either you're with me or against. I think this Bushism has to stop if we want to go forward and learn from one another.
Now, I agree with Gelin. But, we also need a very consistent, self-sufficient system where all necessary needs are met. We need to stop Individualism! Infrastructure for everyone to enjoy. Education and Healthcare for all. And most of all, Respecting One another.
That is my five cents on Time to Support Haiti.
L'Union fait la Force,
leonel

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Post by admin » Mon May 08, 2006 4:49 pm

[quote]"When the Aristide government kept thousands of prisoners in jail without trial...". [/quote]

[quote]That's the strategy, among all the talk, a blatant lie is introduced, then repeated often enough that people start thinking it is true:

Michael Deibert wrote:

"When the Aristide government kept thousands of prisoners in jail without trial it was wrong, just as it was wrong when the interim government did so".

Who are these thousands of prisoners? How come none of the key opposition figures make that list?[/quote]

What blatant lie? I would not want to point the finger of blame on Aristide for all the ills that have ever afflicted Haiti, but it is rather common knowledge that thousands of people, including children, have languished in Haitian jails without trial, and likely under most if not all of our successive governments, due to the bankruptcy of Haiti's Judicial System.

It sounds like Jaf actually read the word "political" in front of "prisoners" in Michael Deibert's statement.

As long as I have lived, there has been a crying need for reform of the judicial system in Haiti, where there are never enough judges to process those who are arrested, most arbitrarily in the majority of cases. Aristide inherited the problem and did not exactly solve it... not by a long shot! Why is that so? Well, you could just blame Aristide, since one can easily do so, or you could search for the root causes, and that takes a little more investigation. The U.S. for instance claimed to have spent 1 billion dollars in reforming Haiti's Judicial System, when they returned Aristide from exile in 1994. But has it ever produced a full accounting of that billion dollars? I saw a CBS documentary, it was on "60 Minutes" that showed a lot of mismanagement of the allocated funds, not by Haitians (mind you), but primarily by U.S. consultants. A director of the program was even an ex-convict from the California Penal System, if memory serves me right.

How could Aristide have solved the huge problem of reforming the Judicial System, when he was besieged politically and tied up in knots financially? Easy, you might say! Just empty all the prisons, of innocents and criminals alike. He could have decreed a general amnesty and called it a day.

Or could he?

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