Rooster, Your insistence on American intervention led me to...

< Previous | Home | Next >

Reply to Msg 26201

Rooster, Your insistence on American intervention led me to believe that this this article may refresh your mind a bit.


President BILL CLINTON (TV address, 15 September 1994): "The dictators have rejected every possible solution.

The terror, the desperation and the instability will not end until they leave.

Once again, I urge them to do so."

President CLINTON (TV address, 18 September 1994): "My fellow Americans, I want to announce that the military leaders of Haiti have agreed to step down from power."

RANDALL ROBINSON: The last thing in the world I would have wanted to see was an American military intervention, particularly given the behavior of the American military historically in this part of the world, and particularly in Haiti.

NARRATOR: As scholars surmise, history does tend to repeat itself.

Certainly that's the case with US-Haitian relations.

What has once again let the United States down "The Road to Intervention in Haiti?"

("AMERICA'S DEFENSE MONITOR" program introduction.)

Admiral EUGENE CARROLL, Jr.: The dramatic events in Haiti on Sunday, the 18th of September gripped Americans everywhere.

President Carter negotiated with the Haitian military even while American warplanes were en route.

How did this crisis develop?

Our program today takes a close look at the origins of this confrontation and you will get a clear picture of the problems we face in Haiti today, economic, political and social.

The Sunday showdown was only a beginning, not a solution to these problems.

NARRATOR: The Republic of Haiti is located on the western third of the Caribbean island Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic.

Most of the six and a half million people of Haiti are black and their national languages are Creole and French.

Port-au-Prince is the capital and also its leading commercial port. Haiti has a low-income, peasant-based economy and has long been the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Many Americans believe that the current conflict between the United States and Haiti is a new development.

But in fact, it is only the latest chapter in a troubled history of US-Haitian relations that go back to the creation of both nations.

This statue commemorates the "Unknown Maroon," who rallied the slaves of Haiti to revolt against their French colonial rulers in the 1790s.

Mr. ROBINSON: Haiti perhaps is testament to the notion that no good deed goes unpunished.

NARRATOR: Randall Robinson is the noted executive director of TransAfrica.

It was his hunger strike in April 1994 that drew public attention to the situation in Haiti and pushed the Clinton administration to change its policy towards Haitian refugees.

To understand the current crisis, Robinson believes we must look back on the origins of US-Haitian relations.

Mr. ROBINSON: The Haitian slave revolt became the first successful slave revolt in the world.

It took a long time and they succeeded and wrenched from France their most prized colonial possession.

And it, of course, wasn't to be tolerated.

And the United States and the other powers involved in one way in the slave trade, of course, couldn't countenance this either, because it was sending the wrong signal to slaves in the United States and throughout the Caribbean.

And so, Haiti began its life of quote, unquote, "freedom" slapped with an embargo by the United States.

NARRATOR: These US soldiers are boarding a ship bound for Haiti.

It's 1994, but this sight is very reminiscent of 1915, the last time US Marines boarded their ships and invaded Haiti.

US foreign policy was then driven by the Monroe Doctrine, which committed the United States to guard against European intervention in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1915, the ruler of Haiti was killed in a popular uprising.

The US used this as a pretext to invade and ensure its dominance in the region.

While the invasion lasted only a few hours, the 20,000-troop US occupation lasted for 19 years.

During that time, the US instituted changes to Haitian society that were to have lasting effects on that culture.

Haitian-borne Jean-Claude Martineau is a spokesperson for the exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

JEAN-CLAUDE MARTINEAU: The United States occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934. If we look at the whole occupation, the result of it is a Haiti which is almost completely dependent economically to the United States.

And we had laws in our country whereby foreigners couldn't own the land and these laws were repealed and the most fertile land became properties of foreigners.

There is another legacy, that the United States formed a national guard; that is what we still have right now in Haiti.

NARRATOR: The Haitian populace resisted US military and economic involvement.

During the occupation, 86 US soldiers were killed and wounded.

The death toll for the Haitians was over 3200. In 1930 a special commission appointed by President Hoover to study conditions in Haiti reported, "The social forces that created [instability] still remain: poverty, ignorance, and the lack of a tradition or desire for orderly, free government." In essence, Haiti was no better off than before the US occupation.

When the last US Marines finally left Haiti in 1934, they transferred their power to the national guard, the only cohesive and effective institution left in Haiti.

The military has plagued the vast majority of Haitian people ever since.

Mr. MARTINEAU: All their victims, and there have been hundreds of thousands, were all Haitians.

So, it is an army at war with its own people.

NARRATOR: During the Cold War, the US military interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean were justified by raising the specter of Soviet bases and Soviet-supported communist regimes so close to home. This led US decision makers to intervene both overtly and covertly in the region.

The CIA supported an invasion of Cuba in 1961. We sent troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965, to Grenada in 1983, and funneled covert aid to the Contras in Nicaragua during the 1980s.

Also under the cover of the Cold War, the United States supplied military and development aid to a brutal father-son dictatorship in Haiti.

Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier came to power in 1957.

In 1958, the US Marines once again returned to Haiti, this time staying for five years to train "Papa Doc" Duvalier's military.

Before "Papa Doc" died, he made his son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, his successor.

Together their violent rule lasted 27 years.

Dr. Paul Farmer is a Harvard Medical School professor and a member of the international relief organization, Partners in Health.

He has spent the last 12 years working in rural Haitian villages to improve the health of the Haitian poor. He is also the author of a new book, The Uses of Haiti.

Dr. Farmer offers one explanation of why the United States supported the Duvaliers.

Dr. PAUL FARMER: Back during the Cold War we used Haiti as a sort of pawn in this anti-communist game. Where if Duvalier, for example, the dictator, especially "Papa Doc," would vote against Cuba, then it would be rewarded with either military aid or other kinds of aid.

NARRATOR: Elliott Abrams was the assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs for the Reagan administration.

Mr. Abrams was a staunch supporter of US aid to the Contras in their war against the government of Nicaragua.

He offers a justification for US Cold War policies.

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: During the Cold War, we were quite concerned about avoiding additional Cubas; that is, additional communist governments.

So that any government that was clearly anti-communist obviously had a leg up. But by saying that, I don't want to suggest that the United States was indifferent to democracy.

I don't think we were indifferent to democracy.

Mr. MARTINEAU: The Duvalier regime was a regime without constitution and with the dictator doing whatever he pleases, wherever he pleases, and anytime.

Under Duvalier there was no rights whatsoever for anybody.

As a result, the Duvalier regime killed about 30,000 people.

NARRATOR: Political repression and corruption were wide- spread during the Duvalier regime.

"Papa Doc" Duvalier created a civilian militia, the "Tonton Macoutes," to crush political opposition and civil unrest.

This is Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the School of the Americas' foreign officer training program.

It provides American-style military training for officers of foreign countries we consider our "allies." The United States has been training foreign officers in programs like this since the 1950s.

To date, 833 Haitian officers have been trained under the International Military Education Program, or IMET. According to the Department of Defense Security Assistance Agency, the United States spent over $3 million training Duvalier's Haitian army officers.

Because of deteriorating economic and social conditions, the US forced "Baby Doc" Duvalier to flee Haiti in 1986, taking with him a considerable portion of the country's wealth.

From 1986 to 1991, Haiti entered into a period of successive military regimes.

During this time, US support for the Haitian military was reduced, but Haitian officers continued to be trained under the IMET program.

Two of the program's graduates during this period were Colonel Raul Cedras and Major Joseph Francois, who both went on to lead a 1991 military coup.

Dr. FARMER: In the Fall of 1987, after the army sponsored a spectacular massacre of voters, we declared that we were ending all military aid to Haiti, but in fact that was not true. We later discovered that the CIA continued to funnel up to a million dollars a year to the same army, in fact, to the very same officers who overthrew Aristide in September of 1991.

NARRATOR: Although the Duvalier government was gone, most of the population in Haiti continued to live under severe poverty.

It was in this climate of desperation that a Catholic priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, came to power.

On December 16th, 1990, in elections monitored by United Nations observers, Aristide was swept into office with

67 percent of the vote, becoming the first democratically elected president of Haiti.

Jean-Claude Martineau describes who Aristide's supporters were.

Mr. MARTINEAU: The "avalanche" is made up of students, workers, business people, peasants, poor people, and even rich people, and all of these people with their own demands.

The students want to have a say in the university, and the peasants have to have the land, and the workers want better wages because, you see, they are making $2.64 a day. And all of these demands combined form what we call the "avalanche."

NARRATOR: Aristide's avalanche barely had time to get rolling before his government was overthrown by the military on September 29th, 1991. Lieutenant General Raul Cedras became the new head of the Haitian government.

Shortly after the coup, the Organization of American States, or OAS, condemned the coup leaders and initiated a trade embargo against Haiti.

The UN General Assembly also condemned the coup and refused to recognize the military regime.

While the Bush administration joined the international condemnation of Haiti, some observers felt that the US could have done more.

Mr. ROBINSON: Michael Manley, who was then prime minister of Jamaica, and the prime minister of Canada, and the president of Venezuela went to President Bush and said that those three countries at that time would be prepared to participate in an intervention force with the United States.

And, of course, Bush was unresponsive to that. And so, that kind of commitment from those countries was not appreciated by the very president who had had a hand in training the Haitian military that overturned democracy.

NARRATOR: Following the coup, political repression by the Haitian military against Aristide supporters resulted in over 3000 deaths and caused thousands of Haitians to flee their country and head for the United States.

President Bush reacted to the influx of refugees with a policy of repatriation.

This sent many Haitians back to Haiti and an uncertain future.

Then-candidate Bill Clinton vowed to change the Haitian refugee policy when he got into office, but once in office waited until public pressure forced the issue.

In May of 1994, the US changed its policy of arbitrarily returning Haitians and began sending refugees to a "safe haven" at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba. Up to 15,000 Haitians were detained at the base, awaiting processing at an estimated cost of over $300 million.

In searching for non-military means to drive the coup leaders from power, the US joined an existing economic embargo of Haiti.

The use of economic sanctions was thought to be an effective tool for crippling the military government.

But the embargo also came under criticism for making life harder for the poor of Haiti, but not being strong enough to bother Haiti's rulers.

Dr. FARMER: The poor, when they were interviewed early on in this coup, stated that they supported the embargo.

But, in fact, they continued to see all sorts of goods pass into Haiti, and through whose hands?

Through the hands of those most likely to either be involved in corruption or those most likely to control the borders.

And, of course, those were the military and business elites and they became more and more powerful, many of them, because of the embargo.

NARRATOR: Along with a porous economic embargo, the Haitian coup leaders were emboldened by mixed signals from Washington and beyond.

Harriet Babbitt is the US Ambassador to the Organization of American States.

Ambassador HARRIET BABBITT: Haiti is an isolated island, in many respects, but in other respects they get an awful lot of information about what goes on Capitol Hill and in the corridors of the UN. And it is harmful to the solution of the crisis to have those mixed signals going out.

NARRATOR: After persistent stonewalling by Haiti's military, the Clinton administration threatened to use military intervention to oust them. But some members of Congress, who in the past supported US military interventions in places like Panama and Grenada, now opposed the use of US force.

Elliott Abrams elaborates.

Mr. ABRAMS: What we would be trying to do or are trying to do in Haiti is building democracy, which is a lot harder.

If you compare Grenada, a country which had decent government as a British colony, and then -- for, I don't know, 10, 20 years -- democratic government as an independent country, then there was a coup, we were restoring democracy.

That's not the case in Haiti.

You're starting from nearly scratch.

Mr. ROBINSON: When do you reach points in countries where the international community feels that it has a duty and a responsibility to intervene?

I think we've reached and passed that point in Haiti.

NARRATOR: Pressure from Randall Robinson's fast and urging from Congressional Black Caucus members seems to have moved Clinton to take a harder line against Haiti's military rulers.

At that time, some thought that the administration should have acted sooner and more aggressively to prevent a long drawn out entanglement.

Mr. ABRAMS: I think this could have been handled by a more resolute administration through diplomacy, or even by a slightly less resolute administration through covert action.

That is, I think you put the fear of God into these generals early on. And you make it clear to them, 'You're not going to be around, buddy.

And I'm not saying you're not going to be around because you'll be in Paris.

You'll be six feet under, believe me.'

Mr. ROBINSON: If sanctions had been imposed at the current strength levels immediately after the coup, no intervention would be necessary

NARRATOR: In early July 1993, in an agreement signed at Governor's Island in New York, Haiti's rulers agreed to leave and make way for Aristide, but they failed to live up to their promise.

In July 1994, the United Nations Security Council authorized the United States to lead a multinational invasion of Haiti to drive out its military rulers.

With the UN resolution, the international community clearly showed its support for invading Haiti to restore democracy.

However, its support in terms of military troops and materiel was less than overwhelming.

The multinational invasion force was to consist of more than 15,000 US troops and a symbolic group of soldiers from other countries, like Bangladesh, Barbados, Guyana, Ghana and Great Britain.

COL PIERS WOOD: It is significant that those allied forces are envisioned being used in the aftermath, and that's the most difficult phase of this operation.

Nonetheless, it a pretty disproportionate contribution.

NARRATOR: Lieutenant Colonel Piers Wood is a military analyst at the Center for Defense Information in Washington, D.C. He is an expert in low intensity warfare.

COL WOOD: We're really not going to be equipped to make the lives of Haitians better.

We'll have in our charge the basket- case of the Western Hemisphere, where poverty's rampant and public systems don't function, where there essentially are no utilities, and we're going to be in the business of trying to make Haitians' lives better and bring order to a place that hasn't seen order in decades and decades.

Mr. ABRAMS: The whole relationship between the government we have, quote, "restored," close quote, and our troops becomes extremely difficult.

Our role in preventing violence, our role in punishing violators, all this is extremely obscure and I think very difficult.

Mr. ROBINSON: But at the end of the Cold War, with much of the world in turmoil, if the US does not want to be the world's policeman, we have to cooperate with other countries to quell this sort of thing.

NARRATOR: Clearly, the US and the world community were frustrated by watching Haiti's military rulers sneer at sanctions, toy with the UN, and systematically execute democratic leaders in cold blood.

President CLINTON (TV address, 15 September 1994): "The message of the United States to the Haitian dictators is clear: Your time is up. Leave now or we will force you from power."

NARRATOR: The Clinton administration's direct threat of military action and the Haitian military's refusal to budge made it appear a US invasion was inevitable, even though a large majority of the American public voiced opposition.

INTERVIEWER: How about you?

MAN in the STREET: I don't think an invasion at this time would be beneficial to the United States.

We got enough problems here to solve first.

WOMAN in the STREET: I kind of have mixed feelings about it, but I'm more like a no-side.

Because I think the United States already have a lot of problems of its own and I think that we should focus in on like other problems, like our homelessness, and the hungry people, and just everything that is going on here instead of going to Haiti to invade.

INTERVIEWER: Do you think the US should invade Haiti?

MAN in the STREET: Yes, I think they have to at this point.


Same MAN in the STREET: We've made too much of it, of a point of saying that the government there has to be removed, and our credibility is very much at stake.

NARRATOR: At the eleventh hour, a US delegation, led by former President Jimmy Carter, traveled to Haiti and convinced the military leaders to step down. It appeared that a face-saving opportunity backed by the threat of a US invasion prompted Haiti's dictator Raul Cedras and his two lieutenants to agree to leave office by October 15th.

The way was opened for a US-led occupation force to land in Haiti, to maintain order and provide for transition back to an Aristide government.

The multinational force, while comprised of mostly US troops, does include contributions from 24 countries and is due to stay in Haiti until a UN peacekeeping force of 6000 troops can take over.

But what sort of problems will the occupying force inherit in Haiti?

That force faces a devastated economy, over a million citizens are malnourished, and serious health hazards such as tuberculosis, typhoid, AIDS, malaria and parasitic infections afflict numerous Haitians.

JAMES MATLACK: The record shows that the US hasn't shown that kind of long distance support in these situations.

We will fight the crisis or fight the war, we will not help pay for and build the peace, and that's a very sad commentary.

NARRATOR: James Matlack is the director of the American Friends Service Committee in Washington, D.C. The AFSC has been providing medical assistance and training to Haitians for over ten years.

He stresses that Haiti's economic and institutional problems will not be solved by the departure of the coup leaders.

Mr. MATLACK: That will not be enough without addressing the economic process -- how to create jobs, incomes, something that's viable in terms of how people earn a living -- under circumstances that are very daunting, in terms of developmental economic prospects.

Therefore, outside support will be needed and will be needed long enough to build up some of the levels of education, health, entrepreneurial activity, and so on.

COL WOOD: That the United States military is not truly equipped to do. The military in the United States are equipped, trained and organized to kill people and destroy things, and they're quite good at it. But they're not very good at economic development, social development.

NARRATOR: The most difficult challenge of dealing with the Haitian crisis lies ahead.

As the US should know from its past dealings with this island nation, Haiti is a country burdened with no history of democracy and an economy that has mostly benefitted a tiny ruling elite class at the expense of masses of poor Haitians.

The tradition of injustice is still in place in Haiti.

Whether it can be replaced with new institutions that can sustain democracy and a workable economy remains to be seen.

Admiral CARROLL: The confrontation in Haiti clearly demonstrates the limits on military power.

Despite our over-whelming military presence, we cannot solve Haiti's long standing economic, political and social problems.

Democracy and prosperity will not come to Haiti or anywhere else at the point of a gun.

Nevertheless, the United States is spending more than $270 billion a year to prepare the capability to fight and win two major regional conflicts anywhere in the world.

The reason given is that it is necessary to promote democracy and prosperity around the world.

It makes one wonder how many more Haitis lie in America's future.

Until the next time, for "AMERICA'S DEFENSE MONITOR," I'm Eugene Carroll.

[End of broadcast.]


(Center for Defense Information)

(C) Copyright 1994. Center for Defense Information.

All Rights Reserved.

Do you still insist, Rooster?

Baron Samedi, February 12 2011, 8:56 PM


Start a NEW topic or,
Jump to previous | Next Topic >

< Previous | Home | Next >


Messages in this topic

101 - 110 of 223 « First  ‹ Prev  7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16  Next ›  Last »
Rooster, I am with you on this one;Haiti can't afford to build an army. Besides, an army at this time and place has no... read more >
Baron Samedi, 12-Feb-11 4:05 pm
An expert army filled with young people like Egypt is needed in Haiti and MINUSTAH has to leave Haiti soon. You are... read more >
Samba, 12-Feb-11 4:18 pm
I think Haiti need both its own armed services and a sound economic development plan. Haiti at some point has to be... read more >
Jynee, 12-Feb-11 4:51 pm
Samba, I don't think I understand where you are coming from. I believe the MINUSTAH has to leave Haiti. A local police... read more >
Baron Samedi, 12-Feb-11 4:52 pm
Joubert, your post was really funny; Are you telling Jenny not to pay attention to someone who is paying her a... read more >
Linda, 12-Feb-11 5:31 pm
a website that discusses Haiti natural resources! there's this mass misconception that Haiti is poor in resources when... read more >
Jynee, 12-Feb-11 6:04 pm
All you want is this you want us to treat our oppressors good while they are oppressing us. You are pretending... read more >
Joubert, 12-Feb-11 6:23 pm
Baron, if Castro had said the same Cuba would never be a sovereign country with 99.9% educated Cubans with good... read more >
Samba, 12-Feb-11 6:31 pm
Jynee, I'm sorry to tell the the same thing again: American Intervention. read more >
Ablerooster, 12-Feb-11 7:00 pm
Rooster, Your insistence on American intervention led me to believe that this this article may refresh your mind a... read more >
Baron Samedi, 12-Feb-11 8:56 pm
101 - 110 of 223 « First  ‹ Prev  7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16  Next ›  Last »


< Previous | Home | Next >