Long and Bloody History
list of victims is long, the pattern unmistakable. Despite
conventional wisdom, propped up by propaganda and a complicit
press, the motivation of U.S. intervention in Latin America
and the Caribbean is anything but well-intentioned. Talk of
lofty goals and the "export" of democracy is something
more sinister than inflated rhetoric; it is a putrid lie.
The true aim of U.S. intervention in the region is to ensure
resulting governments agreeable to the neo-liberal
Domestic and economic reform in Latin America and the Caribbean
has been and is perceived as a direct threat to U.S. economic
interests, and if allowed to develop with any degree of success,
a dangerous example for other developing nations in the region.
Haiti is the most recent victim of the long-standing, aggressive
and extremely bloody foreign policy employed by the United
States. Empire is ever expanding its horizons, leaving legions
of hopeless, broken, dead and dying in its wake.
Guatemala lost its democratically elected administration
to a U.S.-backed
coup in 1954. After the overthrow, democracy, hope and
President Arbenz successfully dispensed with, the U.S. spent
the next four decades propping up bloody dictators, who subsequently
oversaw the murder of over 100,000 Guatemalan civilians.
In 1973, the CIA lent its terrorism expertise to the overthrow
of Chile's democratically elected Allende, allowing the rise
to power of the bloody dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet,
and marking the beginning of 17 years of military rule. President
Allende was killed during the military attack on the presidential
In 1981, the Contra
War, a Reagan Administration darling, was begun against
Nicaraguan civilians and the leftist Sandinistas. The brutal,
CIA-backed campaign brought the tiny country to its knees,
ravaging the economy and leaving multitudes dead. Again in
1990, through overt and covert means, the U.S. intervened
in the Nicaraguan election process.
U.S. intervention tactics are currently being employed in
Much like Aristide, President Hugo Chavez has made the grand
error of focusing on the plight of landless peasants and poor
workers, among other egregious sins. He has remained defiant
in the face of U.S. demands for capitulation, and it is becoming
increasingly clear that it will not be tolerated. Though the
coup planners previous attempt to remove Chavez failed, rest
assured that the game continues. The U.S. has great interest
in this particular region, namely the unhindered access to
oil and strategic land and water corridors. Chavez's reformist
policies are out of sync with the neo-liberalism the U.S.
prefers, demands and guarantees through overthrow and replacement
with pro-U.S. governments.
as I said, the list is long and soaked with the blood of the
innocent. The objective is simple: preservation of a structural
configuration of power which keeps the money flowing in the
right direction. The power must remain with the minority -
the wealthy corporate and industrial sectors - not the impoverished
majority. As I mentioned previously, social and economic reforms
as "both a direct threat to U.S. economic interests and
as a symbolic threat of a good example to other developing
A short time ago, the United States flatly refused to send
peacekeeping troops to Haiti to assist democratically-elected
President Aristide in restoring order to his beleaguered nation;
in fact, Colin Powell stood mute, aside from the usual rhetoric
and half-truths, as the world watched the bloody advance of
the "rebels", composed of former members of the
CIA-created terrorist group, FRAPH (Front for the Advancement
and Progress of Haiti), among other unsavory elements.
The so-called rebels were allowed to reach a point just 25
miles from the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Only after Aristide
had left the country, a departure of widely-disputed circumstances,
did U.S. authorities inform
the crew that they "have no role to play in this process,
and they need to lay down their arms and go home." Alarm
bells should have been ringing, and indeed had been long before,
for anyone paying close attention.
The latest attempt at democracy to be crushed under the
boot-heel of the neo-liberal agenda is in a state of smoldering
turmoil, threatening to erupt at any given moment. Aristide
remains in dubious exile, while the notorious, self-proclaimed
chief of Haiti's disbanded military, Guy Phillippe, struts
through the streets alongside U.S. tanks. In the early 1990s,
while in the military, Phillippe received training from U.S.
Special Forces in Ecuador. Later, as the chief of police in
Cap-Haitien, Phillippe was accused of drug-trafficking and
plotting a coup.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the recent the coup d'etat,
Phillippe was interviewed by mainstream reporters and repeatedly
glorified with the misleading title of "rebel leader."
Now that the coup d'etat is a fait accompli, we hear from
such champions of integrity and justice as U.S. Assistant
Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega,
that Phillipe will now "probably want to make himself
scarce." Alas, poor Phillippe. Yesterday's heroic rebel
leader, today just another "rag-tag" loser. Perhaps
Phillippe will land a gig on CBS' 60 Minutes, much
like Emmanuel "Toto" Constant (Constant is the
former leader of the murderous FRAPH group. He resides in
New York and has openly acknowledged working for CIA agents
while FRAPH was on its dissident-murdering spree) in December,
1995. He could then decry the unfairness of it all, sue the
U.S. government for besmirching his reputation and strike
a deal that enables him to roam the United States, a free
man with a work permit - so long as he keeps his mouth shut.
Another "rebel leader" present and accountable
for the recent violence in Haiti is Louis-Jodel Chamblain.
Chamblain was second in command of FRAPH. The fascist group
is suspected of killing at least 5,000 Haitians under the
leadership of Constant and Chamblain.
The mainstream media have done everything in their power
to demonize Aristide - to obscure the issue and frame the
dialogue, using carefully honed techniques, from subtle propaganda
to outright disinformation. On March 2, we were treated to
a rare appearance by Vice President Cheney, interviewed by
CNN's Wolf Blitzer. It seems the escalating cacophony surrounding
reports of a U.S. role in the forcible removal of the democratically-elected
President of Haiti was deemed serious enough to summon Cheney
from his spider-hole.
With characteristic sneering contempt, he stated,
"I'm happy he's gone. I think the Haitian people are
better off for it. I think now he'll [sic] have an opportunity
to elect a new government. And that's as it should be."
Such dedication to the principles of democracy our Vice President
displays. I won't pursue in-depth analysis of this statement,
but I'm certain you know where I would go with it. Suffice
to say, Mr. Cheney appears to be in dire need of a democracy
refresher course. He might also take a moment to scrutinize
the chain of events which led directly to his placement as
a head of state, and the downward spiral of our nation since
that fateful day. If claims of fraudulent elections and poor
leadership make violent coup d'etat an acceptable solution
in a democracy, well… the irony is palpable. Thankfully for
Cheney and his cohorts, most Americans have a better grasp
of the meaning of democracy than the current administration
We are living in dark times; however, the potential exists
for these times to grow even darker. As a free people, who
so happen to inhabit the most powerful nation on the earth,
we have a great responsibility to our less fortunate, oppressed
brothers and sisters across the globe. The responsibility
is inherent; it comes with the privilege and the freedom,
part and parcel. Apathy is not acceptable; neither is ignorance
The recent events in Haiti are a glaring example of the utter
contempt the United States government has for democracy and
its principles. We, the people, are responsible for our government
and its actions, each and every one of us. The time has come
for us to demand decency from our leaders, a common respect
and compassion for all people, of all nations. We must refuse
to take part in U.S. interventionist foreign policy - policy
which has historically resulted in human misery and death
on a grand scale.
It is not acceptable to tear other nations to pieces in order
to preserve the wealth and power of corporate interests and
corrupt governments. It is not acceptable to kill thousands
of civilians in a grab for resources, no matter how precious
those resources may be. It is not acceptable for Americans
to look the other way as our leaders commit treachery and
crimes against humanity in every corner of the globe.