[Marxism] US officials disassociate themselves publicly from rightist gangs
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Mar 4 03:18:08 MST 2004
Washington is now seeking to firmly disassociate itself from the
rightist gangs that are openly making a claim to power. The French-US
goal is not an open restoration of Duvalierism but the creation of a
more subservient regime that will effectively keep the oppressed and
exploited, whether they supported Aristide or not, out of political
life. From tht standpoint, the general slaughter of Aristide supporters
in the population, which has so far been able to put up effective
opposition to the rightists or the occupation of Haiti, would be
counterproductive at this time.
This doesn't eliminate, however, the criminal reality of the effective
freedom of the streets which the imperialist ouster of Aristide has
given the rightists. Political killings are on the rise. The attempt
of the New York Times to equate the rightists' role with the
comparatively very modest role of the gangs that supported Lavalas is a
lie. Aristide's popularity was based primrily on his identification
with the expulsion of the army and the Tonton Macoute and the Duvalier
clique from political life in Haiti. The US removal of Aristide has
registered the reversal of this gain, for which imperialism is primarily
Washington-Paris has every reason to avoid open identification with this
-- as in the highly visible blocking of the new army's move to kill
Prime Minister Neptune. Given the fact that they have been able to
force out the government and occupy the country without substantial
resistance, they have no need to publicly identify with the rightists
and every reason to seek out Aristide supporters who will go along with
The creation of a subservient government with a bourgeois-democratic
cover is the course they followed when they ousted a
bourgeois-nationalist ruler in Panama, and that they have attemptd to
follow again in Iraq. It is the course that they ended up following in
Nicaragua and Grenada. That means there will also be pressure on the
former Tonton leaders and army officers to go along with the program.
The creation of an openly Duvalierist, Tonton, and military government
in Haiti would not be useful at home or abroad (in attacking Venezuela
or Cuba, for example).
This goes side by side with the silencing of the Aristide and the
extension of his effective imprisonment in the Central African Republic.
Aristide's statements clearly put the administration under pressure,
heightening the need to disassociate themselves from the rightists
forces that they supported against the Aristide government.
Washington's interest is in a "democratically elected" government with
the armed rightists as a force in the background for intimidating the
masses -- as part of the real basis of the state, but not as the form of
US-France-Canada out of Haiti! Let Aristide speak and release him from
the Central African Republic, where he is basically a prisoner!
U.S. Sees No Rebel Role in New Haiti Government
By CHRISTOPHER MARQUIS
Published: March 3, 2004
WASHINGTON, March 2 A day after armed rebel leaders swept into Haiti's
capital in triumph, the Bush administration declared Tuesday that the
paramilitaries would not play a role in the country's political
reconstruction and urged them to lay down their arms and go home.
Administration officials said they would seek to reach an understanding
with the Haitian political opposition and leaders loyal to former
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who left for exile on Sunday morning.
There is no room in that effort, officials said, for gun-toting bands of
former army and police officers who deposed Mr. Aristide.
"The rebels do not have a role in the political process," said Richard
A. Boucher, the State Department spokesman. "The rebels need to disband
and go back to their homes. And I want to be quite clear that that's our
At the White House, the spokesman, Scott McClellan, said the
administration intended to deal only with the business people, civic
leaders and politicians who make up the nonviolent opposition to Mr.
Aristide and his Lavalas party.
But some Haiti observers said the Bush administration was drawing a
false distinction between the political leaders, whose fortunes were
enhanced by the rebel assault, and the rebels themselves.
Representative Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat, said the Bush
administration had assisted government opponents whether gunmen, or
politicians in a "coup d'état."
"We're on the side of the crooks and the thieves, and you're asking me
how do we distinguish among them?" he said.
It was not immediately clear where American and international officials
would draw the line. While the first wave of international forces, led
by the United States Marines, took up positions, armed groups exerted
their influence on the ground. One of the most prominent rebels, Guy
Philippe, declared himself head of the new Haitian Army, a reincarnation
of a much feared institution that Mr. Aristide abolished in 1995.
Pentagon and State Department officials declined to define the
military's specific role in arresting or disarming insurgents. The
United Nations resolution that authorized the troop deployment holds
that "there will be individual accountability and no impunity for
violators" of international law.
Some lawmakers and human rights advocates voiced concern that the rebels
some of whom are implicated in atrocities would be allowed to resume
their lives in Haiti with impunity. They called on the Bush
administration to arrest and prosecute the worst violators and establish
a screening mechanism to prevent abusive officers from getting new
positions in government security forces.
"They need to be excluded from any position of authority in the new
government," said Joanne Mariner, an analyst at Human Rights Watch.
"There needs to be a filter so people with horrendous human rights
records don't enter the police."
Rights groups have highlighted the prominent role played by figures like
Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a former sergeant in the Haitian Army who is tied
to numerous political murders during the early 1990's, when the military
ran the country, including the assassinations in 1993 of Antoine Izméry,
a prominent businessman, and Guy Malary, the justice minister. Mr.
Chamblain was sentenced to life in prison, but he escaped to the
Dominican Republic, only to return for the current uprising.
Mr. Philippe, who had said previously that he welcomed the American
troops and would not seek a political role, is a fugitive from Haitian
justice, having fled an arrest for plotting a coup in 2000, according to
Human Rights Watch.
Administration officials said capturing or trying such figures was not
as important as the immediate goal of establishing a government of
national unity. Under that plan, a tripartite commission and a council
of elders will select a new prime minister, who will then form a
government with officials from Lavalas and the opposition.
"The first focus has to be putting together a government that's in
charge," said Adam Ereli, a State Department spokesman.
The Bush administration, which was reluctant to send forces to Haiti, is
not interested in sorting out old disputes, said a diplomat at the
Organization of American States, a regional compact that Washington is
relying on to take the lead in stabilizing the country.
The diplomat said the top priority for the Marines and the French and
Canadian forces should be to establish a climate in which pro-Aristide
forces would feel safe now that the rebels had the upper hand. Until
last week, gangs armed by Mr. Aristide were seen as intimidating his
foes. "Haiti is a winner-take-all society," the diplomat said. "Now, the
roles are reversed."
Administration officials seemed to be keeping the hope that the rebels
would simply melt away, now that Mr. Aristide has left and the police
force under his influence is to be reformed.
Roger F. Noriega, the assistant secretary of state for the Western
Hemisphere, told lawmakers on Tuesday that Mr. Philippe, despite his
omnipresent image on cable TV, "is not in control of anything but a
ragtag band of people." As the international force takes hold, Mr.
Noriega said, "I think he will probably want to make himself scarce."
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