[Documents menu] Documents menu

U.S. Grooms More Puppets

By Pat Chin, in Workers World, 23 February 1995

With peasant groups and other popular organizations continuing their mobilizations for social and economic justice across Haiti, plans are now in place for April elections in that Caribbean country.

Washington views the balloting, originally scheduled for Dec. 1994, as important for maintaining a democratic facade. Underneath, however, is the U.S. government's need to maintain and upgrade Haiti as a source of super low-paid labor.

The White House is spending $24 million on the elections. Part of that money goes to grooming and backing people like mayoral candidate Reginald Boulos, who supports the IMF austerity prescription for Haiti.

In addition, billionaire financier George Soros has set up shop in Haiti. Soros, who made a fortune speculating in hedge funds, has worked hand in glove with the CIA in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. His background is to undermine progressive governments and movements through the ballot box.

Through Soros' foundations, like the one recently opened in Haiti, material aid is given to those reactionary forces aligned with U.S. imperialism. Linked to the Rockefellers, Soros' role is to promote the market economy, privatization and other 'neoliberal' economic policies. (Update on the Americas, Feb. 5, 1993).

But the people of Haiti are not asleep. This is true despite the whiteout of the popular democratic struggle in the big business media.

There have been scores of militant demonstrations across Haiti since the U.S. landed troops there on Oct. 15. The protests came after the military action paved the way for the return of exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Since his return, Aristide has been a virtual captive in his own country.

In Cap-Haitien, hundreds of people marched in the streets Nov. 18--Army Day--chanting: We won't reconcile with Macoutes. They should be judged! (Haiti Info, Dec. 3, 1994)

On Dec. 16, the fourth anniversary of Aristide's landslide election, 250 representatives of peasant and other popular organizations met in Petite Riviere de l'Artibonite to debate the upcoming elections. The groups resolved to vote only for candidates who are consequent and who been faithful to political convictions over the past three years of the coup.

Referring to the collaboration of U.S. forces and the Haitian army evidenced, among other things, by the failure of the U.S. to disarm the military and paramilitary forces, one peasant leader said:

These days they are talking about elections in a country that is not clean. Many people have guns; they are walking all over people, harassing them. (Haiti Info, 14 Jan. 1995).

In Port-au-Prince that same day, thousands of people gathered to denounce the U.S. occupation and interference, and especially its repeated attempts to block the democratic and popular movement.

Stops for the demonstrators included the National Palace where demands were made for justice for the coup victims, lower food prices and the firing of government ministers connected to the coup. At the Interior Ministry the crowd sang: There are Macoutes in there! (Haiti Info, Dec. 17, 1994).

More recently, an upsurge of anti-corruption protest has swept from Cap-Haitien down to Miragone, Les Cayes, Petit-Goave and Jeremie. Numerous state offices have been closed down by the people who seize the keys and sometimes nail the doors shut.

In Cap-Haitien, for example, five government offices including the water bureau and the post office were closed. The same was true in Petit-Goave on Jan. 3. The people there decommissioned several offices staffed by FRAPH members. Many state offices are now reportedly staffed with unpaid volunteers from popular organizations.

The U.S. is seen as increasingly siding with the repressive and reactionary forces of Haiti. Because of this, a growing number of organizations and individuals are now denouncing the U.S.-led occupation, as well as the anti-peasant, anti-worker IMF plans for Haiti.