[Marxism] Stan Goff: ABC of Opportunism "Progressive" Latin American Leaders Support the Coup in Haiti
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Sun Aug 1 08:08:25 MDT 2004
ABC of Opportunism "Progressive" Latin American Leaders Support the Coup in
By STAN GOFF
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
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 aide 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
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
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 at mfso.org.
Goff can be reached at: sherrynstan at igc.org
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