[Marxism] UK media version of Haiti coup

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Tue Mar 2 11:38:23 MST 2004

Consider the Times’ version of these events:

“Mr Aristide will doubtless protest that a democratically elected
figure such as himself should never be asked to submit to the will of
self-appointed rebels. He has a point, but, in his case, it is a
limited one. Mr Aristide won a second term in office four years ago in
a manner that suggested fraud on a substantial scale. The resentment
left by his flawed victory, his increasingly despotic and erratic rule
and the wholesale collapse of the local economy inspired the rebellion
against him.” (The Times, Editorial, March 1, 2004)

This is the same Times which, in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait
in 1990, called for “a worldwide expression of anger at a small nation
’s sovereignty rudely shattered by brute force”. (‘Iraq’s naked
villainy’, Editorial, The Times, August 3, 1990)

The cause in Kuwait was “simple on a world scale”, the Times wrote
grandly, “the defence of the weak against aggression by the strong”.
(‘No mock heroics’, Editorial, The Times, January 18, 1991)
In an article titled, ‘The little priest who became a bloody dictator
like the one he once despised’, the Independent’s Andrew Gumbel writes
of Aristide:

“Then in 1994, undaunted, he returned, messianic again, backed by
20,000 US troops and disbanded the Haitian military. He had the
goodwill of the world, the overwhelming support of his electorate and
plentiful funds from international aid agencies to breathe life into
Haiti’s moribund economy.” (Gumbel, ‘The little priest who became a
bloody dictator like the one he once despised’, The Independent,
February 21, 2004)

As we described in Part 1 of this Media Alert, the “goodwill of the
world” was expressed by supporting the massacre of the grassroots
movement that had brought Aristide to power.
Writing of the rebels in the Daily Mail, Ross Benson buries the known
facts past and present:

“One of their commanders is Louis Jodel Chamberlain, leader of the
army death squads before and after the 1991 coup, who is held to be
responsible for the death of 5,000 men, women and children. He is not,
to put it mildly, the kind of man that any American administration
would wish to deal with.” (Benson, ‘The land of voodoo, The Daily
Mail, February 28, 2004)

For the Independent’s Adrian Hamilton, the US’s worst crime is

“It is quite wrong to wash our hands of Haiti’s future as we are now
doing. It doesn’t mean instant invasion, but it does mean making clear
that we will not accept a military regime without democratic
legitimacy.” (‘Why it is wrong to wash our hands of Haiti’, Adrian
Hamilton, The Independent, February 26, 2004)
The BBC writes:

“Haiti’s political opposition has rejected a US-backed power-sharing
plan aimed at ending the country’s crisis.” (‘Haiti power-sharing plan
rejected’, 25 February,

Once again, the US is depicted as an ‘honest broker’, as though Haiti
had no history. The BBC is happy to report without comment the
proposal that a democratically elected government might share power
with a gang of killers with a history of gross human rights abuses.

In similar vein, prior to Aristide’s departure, ITN’s Bill Neely
talked of George Bush “losing patience” with the Haitian president –
Bush as the benevolent father-figure in the wings. (ITN, 10:15 News,
February 28, 2004).

Reversing the truth on BBC1 News, Kathy Kay reports:

“Long-term stability in Haiti isn’t likely without a long-term
American commitment.” (Kay, BBC 10:00 News, February 29, 2004)

Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News writes:

“The democratically elected leader finally gave in to the rebels
saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed while the international community
stood by and did nothing. Sometimes it seems, it isn’t worth waiting
for elections. The US had helped Aristide before, restoring him to
power years ago, but they were not going to do it again and said his
resignation was in the interests of the Haitian people.” (Snowmail
bulletin, February 29, 2004

The Guardian writes:

“Despite what Mr Aristide says, Haiti has no terrorists, no al-Qaida
cells, as in Afghanistan.” “Yet what, at this moment of dire need,
have the powers done about it? Nothing much is the answer. For all
their doctrines and declarations, they have dithered and debated,
ducked and dodged, and danced that old, slow diplomatic shuffle.”
(‘Failure of will’, Leader, The Guardian, February 28, 2004)
... for Ross Benson of the Daily Mail, Aristide is the problem with no
redeeming achievements worth mentioning:

“Instead of enacting a programme of social and economic reform ‘to
give the people what is rightfully theirs’, Aristide allowed his
cronies to plunder the national till, as so many have done before in
this lush island paradise with its turbulent past of bloodshed, greed
and endless tyrannies.” (Benson, ‘The Land of voodoo’, The Daily Mail,
February 28, 2004)

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