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From editor@haiti-progres.com Sat Dec 30 11:55:50 2000
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 23:07:23 -0600 (CST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Haiti_Progr=E8s?= <editor@haiti-progres.com>
Subject: This Week in Haiti 18:41 12/27/00 (Corrected)
Article: 112106

New accord brings disaccord in Lavelas ranks

Haiti Progres, This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 18, no. 41, 27 December 2000 - January 2 2001

On Dec. 19, the Haitian Parliament ratified an international accord allowing U.S. military forces to unilaterally enter Haitian airspace and waters, supposedly to better combat drug trafficking through Haiti.

But fifteen parliamentarians of the Lavalas Family party (FL) of president-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide bucked party line and voted against ratification, saying the accord infringed on Haitian sovereignty.

In a Dec. 22 statement, the National Popular Party (PPN), which has been an FL ally, applauded the dissident parliamentarians, calling the accord a pretext to justify trampling Haiti's national sovereignty.

The accord not only permits the Pentagon to enter Haitian territory at will, but allows U.S. agents to carry out arrests in Haiti. The U.S. has forced this treaty on many other small or compliant nations in the Caribbean and Latin America. Countries like Cuba and Venezuela have refused, however.

President René Préval signed the accord when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Haiti on Oct. 17, 1997. But due to a drawn-out political crisis, the 46th Haitian legislature never ratified the accord before its mandate expired in January 1999.

Now, in an apparent forced march, the FL-dominated 47th legislature has been recklessly ratifying financial and political accords this past month in an effort to reopen international aid spigots and blunt the political assault from right-wing opposition parties, which have announced they will launch a parallel government on Feb. 7, Aristide's inauguration day (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 18, N. 40, Dec. 20, 2000).

In the weeks ahead, the FL will demonstrate whether it is committed to the nationalist and anti-neoliberal positions it has espoused since its founding in early 1997 and for which it was overwhelmingly elected by the Haitian people in this year's municipal, parliamentary, and presidential elections. Last week's split over the bill allowing U.S. incursions may just be the first portent of a shift in the FL's ideological direction.

For me, this accord will undercut our sovereignty, said Nawoom Marcellus, an influential FL deputy from the northern town of Grande Rivière du Nord, after the vote. Unfortunately, it has already passed but we will fight on another level for the government to take accompanying measures to reinforce a national policy... and to do all possible to limit territorial encroachment and violation of our airspace.

In response, Justice Minister Camille Leblanc argued that the accord in fact strengthened Haiti's sovereignty. The fact that criminals are using Haitian territory for trafficking is what puts the country's sovereignty in danger, Leblanc argued, because it discourages investment, creates instability by criminal organizations and corruption in all state institutions.

But history belies Leblanc's argument. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union a decade ago, U.S. president George Bush launched the war on drugs as a substitute for the war on communism which had previously cloaked U.S. aggression around the world, argued Ted Galen Carpenter and R. Channing Rouse of the Cato Institute (Perilous Panacea: the Military in the Drug War, Policy Analysis, Feb. 15, 1990). The war on drugs in Latin America provides an alternate justification for maintaining an extensive U.S. capability for low-intensity warfare against non- compliant governments, the authors write. Several observers see the drug war fast emerging as a substitute for the communist threat. Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland was perhaps the most perceptive in noting that transition. 'Instead of beginning his presidency by dispatching military advisers to Vietnam to contain communism, as John F. Kennedy did more than two decades ago, Bush has dispatched military trainers to Colombia to fight drug traffickers. History may come to record Bush's decision as a symbolic turning point in America's world role.'

Now a decade later, George Bush's son, George W. Bush, is poised to assume the presidency with, as his vice-president, Dick Cheney, who was the senior Bush's Defense Secretary and the first champion of drug war. Already the U.S. government is stepping up its wars against Marxist guerrillas in Colombia and the nationalist Chavez administration in Venezuela. Most likely, Republicans will continue to paint Haiti as a narco-state, especially after Aristide comes in, since certification as a drug-fighting state is primarily determined by that nation's obedience to U.S. dictates, not by its drug-fighting.

We have a proverb which says 'Say good morning to the Devil or not, he is still going to eat you,' said the PPN's Ben Dupuy. No amount of concessions on Aristide's part is going to appease Washington. The accord will just make it easier for the U.S. to go after its political adversaries in Haiti on the grounds that they are drug-dealers.

In other recent conciliatory gestures, Aristide has studded his transition team with representatives from the Haitian bourgeoisie while eschewing any representatives from the popular organizations whose mobilizations made his party's electoral victories possible.

Such defensive posturing has worried the popular sector that the FL, to appease the gods of world finance, could sacrifice a key popular demand: No privatization of Haitian state enterprises.

All these concerns are addressed in the Dec. 22 PPN's statement, of which we now present large extracts.

The National People's Party (PPN) applauds the 15 parliamentarians who refused to bow before foreign countries which want to impose their wishes on the Haitian people. The leaders of the Lavalas Family just rammed down the throat of the 47th legislature one after another a bunch of conventions, accords, and treaties which the legislature didn't even have time to read and analyze and which will tie the country to the table- leg of the big countries.

That is how the accord which President Préval signed with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1997 was ratified in a rushed way on Tuesday Dec. 19. It gives the United States the right to enter the waters and skies of Haiti as if it was their father's garden. They come with the pretext of fighting drug-trafficking to justify trampling Haiti's national sovereignty. In fact, the U.S. is not fighting drug trafficking; it is just a political weapon to demonize their political enemies.

We cannot act as the border patrol for other countries. If they have a drug problem, fight it at home because that is where the drug dealers are.... It is not because the Lavalas Family leaders want to appease the reactionaries in the [opposition's coalition, the Democratic] Convergence that they should give away the country of [Haitian revolution leader Jean-Jacques] Dessalines and [U.S. military occupation resister] Charlemagne Péralte to foreign countries.

We also say that it is time for horses to stop prancing while the donkey works. The election is over. The transition team is formed with the private sector while the popular sector, which is the chef who cooked the food, can't sit at the table. [Haitian businessman Fritz] Mevs bought [the state sugar mill] HASCO then he closed it. He imports sugar and sells it for an arm and a leg. They illegally privatized [the state cement plant] Ciment d'Haïti and now they import cement from other countries, put it in the bag, and just like Mevs, sell it for an arm and a leg. The Haitian people did not vote in parliamentarians to become rubberstamp deputies or peddlers of the nation who would sell out their conscience.