Rights Under Attack
. . . about Chaos,
Reason, and Hope
More Pain for Devastated Haiti: Under the Pretense of Disaster Relief, U.S. Running a Military Occupation
(Arun Gupta, AlterNet, February 12, 2010)
Official denials aside, the United States has embarked on a new military occupation of Haiti thinly cloaked as disaster relief. While both the Pentagon and the United Nations claimed more troops were needed to provide "security and stability" to bring in aid, according to nearly all independent observers in the field, violence was never an issue. . . . the Western powers rushing in envision sweatshops and tourism as the foundation of a rebuilt Haiti. This is opposed by the popular organizations, which draw their strength from Haiti’s overwhelmingly poor majority. Thus, if a neoliberal plan is going to be imposed on a devastated Haiti it will be done at gunpoint. . . . The rapid mobilization of thousands of U.S troops was not for humanitarian reasons; in fact it crowded out much of the arriving aid into the Port-au-Prince airport, forcing lengthy delays. . . . In the first week, the U.S. commander, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, said the presence of the Haitian police was "limited" because they had been "devastated" by the earthquake. The real powers in Haiti right now are Keen, U.S. ambassador Louis Lucke, Bill Clinton (who has been tapped by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to lead recovery efforts) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When asked at the press conference how long U.S. forces were planning to stay, Keen said, "I'm not going to put a time frame on it" while Lucke added, “We’re not really planning in terms of weeks or months or years. We’re planning basically to see this job through to the end." . . . A new occupation of Haiti -- the third in the last 16 years -- fits within the U.S. doctrine of rollback in Latin America: support for the coup in Honduras, seven new military bases in Colombia, hostility toward Bolivia and Venezuela. Related to that, the United States wants to ensure that Haiti not pose the "threat of a good example" by pursuing an independent path, as it tried to under President Aristide -- which is why he was toppled twice, in 1991 and 2004, in U.S.-backed coups. . . . The latest scheme, on hold for now because of the earthquake, is a $50 million "industrial park that would house roughly 40 manufacturing facilities and warehouses," bankrolled by the Soros Economic Development Fund (yes, that Soros). The planned location is Cite Soleil. James Dobbins, former special envoy to Haiti under President Bill Clinton, outlined other measures in a New York Times op-ed: "This disaster is an opportunity to accelerate oft-delayed reforms" including "breaking up or at least reorganizing the government-controlled telephone monopoly. The same goes with the Education Ministry, the electric company, the Health Ministry and the courts." . . . It's clear that the Shock Doctrine is alive and well in Haiti. But given the strength of the organisations populaires and weakness of the government, it will have to be imposed through force. . . . For those who wonder why the United States is so obsessed with controlling a country so impoverished, devastated and seemingly inconsequential as Haiti, Noam Chomsky sums it up best. "Why was the U.S. so intent on destroying northern Laos, so poor that peasants hardly even knew they were in Laos? Or Indochina? Or Guatemala? Or Maurice Bishop in Grenada, the nutmeg capital of the world? The reasons are about the same, and are explained in the internal record. These are 'viruses' that might 'infect others' with the dangerous idea of pursuing similar paths to independent development. The smaller and weaker they are, the more dangerous they tend to be. If they can do it, why can’t we? Does the Godfather allow a small storekeeper to get away with not paying protection money?"
posted by Lorenzo 6:54 PM