Media Critiques History of U.S. Intervention in Haiti By...

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Media Critiques
History of U.S. Intervention in Haiti
By Nicholas Low
Mar 4, 2004, 23:11
Rooster, Keep reading --
The Bush Administration claims it sent Marines into Haiti in late February not to intervene in the overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide but to protect the U.S. Embassy against a possible rebel attack.

The Guardian newspaper in London gave an overview of the country on its 200th anniversary, looking back on 13 coups and 19 years of American occupation, and looking forward to more bloodshed and instability.

Haiti's political class must bear its share of responsibility for where they go from here. Western powers, particularly France and the United States, must also take responsibility for how they got into this parlous place to begin with.

From 1804 until 1864, the United States refused to give diplomatic recognition to the world's first independent black republic, fearful Haiti might set an example for the enslaved African population in the South.

The Guardian says that ever since Haitian slaves gained national independence, Western powers attempted to strangle its democracy and quash its prosperity.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte sent 22,000 soldiers to Haiti to stop a slave rebellion and recapture the plantations that once made it an economic giant.

Napoleon said that the recognition of the freedom of the slaves would be a "rallying point for freedom-seekers of the New World."

The United States backed France in ordering Haiti to pay 150 million francs in gold to compensate for the costs of the war it won. In return, Haiti would supposedly be granted international recognition.

Repayment locked Haiti into the role of a debtor nation -where it remains today.

Beginning in 1850, U.S. warships remained almost a constant in Haitian waters for 60 years.

According to historians, this pattern of gunboat diplomacy led to the first U.S. occupation of Haiti, which began in 1915 and lasted 19 years.

The U.S. invasion and occupation was sparked by the fall of the Haitian president at the time. A pro-government general ordered the execution of 163 political prisoners and caused a popular uprising against the landed elite.

The United States declared the Haitian people unfit to rule themselves.

Americans seized land and created an army and police force, specialists in preventing revolt and protecting American capital.

Paul Farmer, author of The Uses of Haiti, describes how Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier emerged in 1957 and organized a society of terror that received U.S. military assistance.

Farmer says, "During his first four -and bloodiest--years in power, Papa Doc received $40 million from Washington, much of it in the form of outright gifts.

The U.S. even went so far as to send Marines to protect this regime from any popular movement that might threaten its rule."

When Baby Doc took over upon the death of his father, he hired public relations firms to help sell his regime's legitimacy to the people of the world.

In February 1986, a massive rebellion or "flood" of poor people, who became known as the "Lavalas," ended almost 30 years of pro-American dictatorship.

Baby Doc left the country on an American cargo plane.

The overthrow led to three more un-elected presidents.

In 1990, Haiti held a national democratic election, and Priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide won the presidency with 70 percent of the votes.

Aristide created literacy programs and began to make democratic reforms.

In 1991 to counter the reforms, the military stormed Aristide's residence.

The military set up the Frappe death squads that murdered over 1,500 people.

With thousands of Haitian refugees fleeing the island, President George H.W. Bush enacted a trade embargo against Haiti.

President Bill Clinton would later complain of America's leaking borders and strengthen the blockade against the refugees.

In 1994, Clinton ordered American forces to intervene to "protect American interests and stop the brutal atrocities that threaten tens of thousands of Haitians".

The Administration drew up a plan creating a new Haitian police force and restoring Aristide to power.

Perhaps because he threatened U.S. interests, Aristide's return to power was limited to finishing the last year of his term of office.

Nevertheless, he dissolved the armed forces that for generations had backed the tiny Haitian elite.

Haiti law prevented Aristide from running for a consecutive term. A story in the magazine of the North American Council on Latin America chronicled the growth of the cocaine traffic through Haiti from 1998.

Aristide won re-election in 2000. Another NACLA story described the divisions within the populist Lavalas movement and the rise of political opposition of middle class blacks in favor of making economic concessions to end the blockade of Western investment.

The opposition protested against electoral violations in a dozen parliamentary seats.

An armed faction funded by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute mounted cross-border raids from the Dominican Republic on the Spanish-speaking side of the island.

When insurrectionary force estimated at under 200 men invaded, the United States refused requests from the Aristide government to provide military support.

Aristide's presidency ended on Feb. 29 when U.S. uniformed personnel removed him from the presidential residence at gunpoint and flew him to the Central African Republic.

The mainstream U.S. media presented U.S. military presence as a mission to prevent bloodshed.

2011 - Let us end this idea about another American intervention.

Baron Samedi, February 12 2011, 9:37 PM


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Media Critiques History of U.S. Intervention in Haiti By Nicholas Low Mar 4, 2004, 23:11 Rooster, Keep reading -- The... read more >
Baron Samedi, 12-Feb-11 9:37 pm
Baron, i understand that America has an atrocious track record in Haitian affairs, but it does not necessarily follow... read more >
Ablerooster, 13-Feb-11 9:58 am
Baron, I believe a Public Treaty in which America disavows economic hegemony in the Haitian economy, would be a good... read more >
Ablerooster, 13-Feb-11 10:12 am
A lottery should be put in place by which those who are literate in Kreyol are given an opportunity for business... read more >
Ablerooster, 13-Feb-11 11:18 am
Jynee, I agree with the basic thrust of your message, with one exception: The reason france sold the Louisiana... read more >
Ablerooster, 13-Feb-11 11:47 am
Jynnee, when arguing about the French territories on the United States, one must say the "Louisiana Territory" and not... read more >
Petrus, 13-Feb-11 12:19 pm
Petrus, what did I say to indicate that I am confused? read more >
Ablerooster, 13-Feb-11 12:32 pm
Ablerooster, Haiti must make a choice between the Protectorate or an Independent State Associated with the United... read more >
Petrus, 13-Feb-11 12:54 pm
Petrus, just when I start to trust your intentions you blind-side me with insults. I don't get it.... Here we go... read more >
Ablerooster, 13-Feb-11 12:55 pm
Ablerooster, I don't know what you said that keeps this conversation going about the contribution of Haiti to the... read more >
Petrus, 13-Feb-11 1:06 pm
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