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Date: Fri, 6 Aug 1999 20:45:07 -0500 (CDT)
From: Haiti Progres <editor@haiti-progres.com>
Organization: Haiti Progres
Subject: This Week in Haiti 17:20 8/4/99
Article: 72037
Message-ID: <bulk.2365.19990807151521@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Can Haiti be Recolonized?

From Haiti Progres,
Vol. 17, no. 20, 4-10 August 1999

Haiti, the first nation in Latin America to throw off colonialism, the product of mankind's only successful slave revolution, is now targeted for "long-term" foreign stewardship.

With the UN Security Council mandate allowing foreign troops to be stationed in Haiti running out on Nov. 30, the U.S. wants to concoct a new formula to keep its troops and economic overseers on the ground indefinitely, perverting the U.N. Charter in the process.

Normally, the U.S. would simply use its usual recipe of bribes and threats in the Security Council to have the U.N. mandate extended. Indeed, since foreign troops invaded Haiti on Sept. 19, 1994, their mandate has been renewed four times.

However, permanent Security Council member-state China has made clear that it would veto any further extensions of the U.N. occupation of Haiti, and so the Council said that there would be no more renewals after the one last November (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 16 No. 37, 12/2/98). China, like the majority of the world's nations, has grown annoyed with Washington's cavalier manipulation of the Council, which is the only U.N. body empowered to marshal armed forces.

Now U.S.-instigated bureaucrats have resurrected an obscure U.N. agency to circumvent the Security Council and China's veto. They seek an informal occupation.

"Foreign diplomats are scrambling for a formula that would maintain a permanent international presence in [Haiti] beyond year's end," the Jul. 10 Miami Herald reported. "Washington would like to see a continued U.N. presence for such things as police training, human rights monitoring and aid to the justice system currently being done by the U.N. police advisory mission and MICIVIH [the International Civilian Mission in Haiti]. The U.S.- led effort is focusing on the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a largely dormant organization in recent years."

The ECOSOC is, in fact, one of the six original agencies established in Chapter 3 of the U.N. Charter, drawn up in 1945. It is answerable to the General Assembly, with no executive powers and whose mission is to make studies, reports, and recommendations about "international economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related matters," the Charter states. The 54-member ECOSOC may also "enter into agreements" with other specialized U.N. agencies, like those doing relief work in Haiti, and "co-ordinate [their] activities."

Most important, however, is Article 65 which states that ECOSOC "may furnish information to the Security Council and shall assist the Security Council upon its request." Even U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has referred to the clause as a "dormant article," since it has never been applied in the organization's 53-year existence.

But Washington has been eyeing the vague clause since last year. It wants the U.N. to establish a "long-term programme" in Haiti, beyond the usual humanitarian projects, which includes peace- keeping and included wording in last November's resolution which "invites United Nations bodies and agencies, especially the Economic and Social Council, to contribute to the designing of such a programme." In this way, the U.S. hopes to thrust upon ECOSOC responsibilities beyond its original power.

Accordingly, after a meeting last week in Geneva, the ECOSOC adopted a resolution for "the execution of a programme of long- term aid to Haiti." Despite its humanitarian ring, the key clause of the resolution asks for the U.N. to continue its work of "training and perfecting the national forces of the Haitian police, and toward this end recommends to the General Assembly to envisage setting up a special program of training and technical assistance for the Haitian National Police." This is essentially what the Security Council's Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) does today in Haiti. There is only one problem. The General Assembly and the ECOSOC have no power to deploy an armed force training mission in a country. That falls under the Security Council's authority alone.

Once again, the U.S. does not intend to let a little international law get in its way.

Presently there are 147 U.N. police trainers in Haiti, who are protected at their barbed-wire-ringed airport compound by a 133- member Argentine SWAT team. Moreover, this force provides camouflage for the much larger force of 500 U.S. soldiers, which is not under U.N. command and is stationed in Haiti under a secret accord "indefinitely," according to U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Back on May 7, the ECOSOC created the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti composed of U.N. Ambassadors from Indonesia, Latvia, Mauritius, Brazil, and Canada (the usual U.S. surrogate in Haitian affairs). In their Jul. 2 report, the five diplomats claimed that their group "sought to maintain a constant dialogue with the official representatives of Haiti and to involve them in all its activities." The operative word in that last quotation is "sought" because in reality the Ad Hoc Advisory Group held almost two months of meetings before ever sitting down with Haitian government or other Haitian representatives.

First they had to consult "various sources" at U.N. Headquarters in New York to see who to consult (May 13). Next they sat down with the World Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Dept. of Peacekeeping Operations, and other U.N. agencies (May 28). Then they met with Julian Harston, head of the MIPONUH, Colin Granderson, head of the MICIVIH, and Oscar Fernandez- Taranco, resident U.N. coordinator in Haiti (Jun. 7). Next was the turn of the "Friends of Haiti," namely representatives of the U.S., Canada, France, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela (Jun. 15). Finally on Jun. 18, they traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with "various stakeholders of development assistance," including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Union, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Not until Jun. 27-29 did the Ad Hoc Advisory Group meet with Haitian government officials, as well as "Haitian political leaders and members of a broad spectrum of civil society." Therefore, it was ironic to hear the committee call for "strengthening the leadership role of the Government in aid coordination" when ECOSOC's program and goals were formulated without Haitian government interference. This irony was underscored by Haitian Ambassador Pierre Lelong's embarrassing Jul. 27 statement at the U.N. in New York where he thanked ECOSOC for recognizing "the leading role which the Haitian government must play in defining the objectives and priorities of the aid."

But the U.S. doesn't just want to dictate Haiti's development path. It wants to "ensure the smooth integration of United Nations development system activities with the United Nations political and peacekeeping role in Haiti," which is the job description of Fernandez-Taranco, who acts both as UNDP head and MIPONUH deputy head. This "smooth integration" is what ECOSOC is supposed to achieve. Except, to disguise their aims, the U.N. always resorts to the most infantile name-switching. Since only the Security Council can deal with peace-keeping matters, the ECOSOC repeatedly declares that it will handle "peace-building."

And so that there will be no mistake, the Ad Hoc Group repeats twice, verbatim, like a mantra in the same report that "there is a vital link between national stability and economic and social development." One might think that they are saying Haiti's poverty has to be alleviated through massive aid before there can be an end to political instability. In fact, they are saying just the opposite: "the provision of adequate and sufficient assistance to Haiti is largely subject to a return to political stability." In other words, hold elections of which we are the final arbiter or else.... Furthermore, they dictate, it is "of the utmost importance that all political forces support the forthcoming elections." With such impossible demands, it is no wonder they want to maintain a "peace-building" force.

In short, Washington wants to maintain a foreign military presence in Haiti, in violation not only of international law, but also of Haitian law. As we have repeatedly pointed out, last year's Judicial Reform Law specifically states that the Haitian government must obtain the immediate "departure of all foreign armed forces" from Haiti. The Haitian people, in numerous demonstrations, have also demanded that foreign troops leave. No amount of name changing and semantics will trick them.