Column on Haiti

This column from Mark Weisbrot provides some interesting background on the situation in Haiti. A sample:

The latest coup is in many ways a repeat of the military coup that overthrew Aristide in 1991. Although many Americans know that President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore Aristide to the presidency in 1994, they do not about Washington's role prior to that.

The United States, which occupied Haiti militarily from 1915-1934 and had plenty of support for the murderous Duvaliers who ruled the country from 1956-1986, had a problem when Haiti held the first democratic election in its history.

Aristide, a populist priest who preached liberation theology, was elected by a landslide in 1990.  After serving seven months in office, he was overthrown by the military. The officers who led the military coup were, as later reported by the New York Times, on the payroll of the CIA. But the Washington connection did not end there.

A death squad organization known by the French acronym F.R.A.P.H was formed, and murdered at least 3000 of Aristide's supporters over the next three years. The founder of the organization, Emanuel Constant, stated in an interview on CBS' 60 minutes that he was paid by the CIA to create and maintain the organization during the dictatorship. He now lives in New York.

Constant's second in command, convicted murderer Louis-Jodel Chamblain, was one of the leaders of last week's insurrection. The New York Times report on Tuesday summed up the situation after the coup: "These men, whom Mr. Powell characterized last week as "thugs," and a few hundred of their followers are for now the domestic face of national security in Haiti.

Night Of The Iguana has turned into Week Of The Reptile.

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Published on March 3, 2004 6:33 PM.

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