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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 08:24 AM
Original message
Still having trouble understanding Haiti. Can someone help clarify?
I get that we orchestrated the whole situation there by destabilizing the government by pulling aid, arming the rebels and likely "kidnapping" Aristide. The fact that we now are looking to charge him and are offering huge "bribes" to Haiti and the other Caribbean countries boggles my mind.

What I don't understand is WHY? What is our strategic interest there? What is our motivation?
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. sweatshops, drug routes, ...
look at what companies have a presence there.

then, look at how many schools, clinics have been built in last few years.

then, ask yourself, what else would the u.s. do when faced with the POSSIBILITY of another socialist success story in the carribian?
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. What companies are there?
Is there a list?
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 08:43 AM
Response to Original message
3. The power of a bad example (& possibly cheap sweatshop labor?)
Chomsky writes often of the idea that US Cold War foreign policy is driven by the desire to ensure that the dangerous ideas of left-wing governments do not spread. Unforgiveable sins include land reform, nationalization of resources, and perhaps, populist governments that act like unions by raising the minimum wage for their citizenry. I know that Aristide was guilting of trying the latter.

There are actually some economic interests in Haiti -- garment factories. Cheap labor is to their liking.

The absurdity that this could drive foreign policy makes a normal person reject it as implausible. But in case after case over the last 50 years, Washington has toppled governments that have taken matters into their own hands on behalf of the people. It's the one thing that has been utterly consistent -- the fear of the dema-gogue -- of someone who 'speaks to the people'.

Aristide's writing in 'In the Parish of The Poor' is quite blunt about wealth and poverty, even going so far as to blame the wealthy who refuse to share 'the food at the table' for any revolution or bloodshed which might occur by the angry, hungry masses. It was written while the neocons were in the lesser ranks of the State Department in 1990. I think there are some in power today that simply despise Aristide and everything he stands for.
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Lone_Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
4. Corporate profits...
U.S. corporations view Haiti as a source of cheap labor. We overthrew Aristide, a priest with populist leanings, because he made the mistake of using some of Haiti's resources to improve the lives of Haitians. In the eyes of the corporations, Haiti's resources should be used to make the corporations that operate there more profitable.
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Still interested in what
corporations are operating there. Anyone have a link?

Also, someone mentioned many improvements in the lives of the poor. Where can I read more about that?
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
6. this might add some perspective
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. Andr Andy Apaid, Jr.
Andr Andy Apaid, Jr.,



Last December, after a powwow with the International Republican Institute in Santo Domingo, the Haitian opposition returned to Port-au-Prince to establish the Group of 184, a supposedly broad front of civil society organizations modeled on similar anti-government coalitions in Chavezs Venezuela and Allendes Chile.

The head of the 184" today is Andr Andy Apaid, Jr., also head of Alpha Industries, one of the oldest and largest assembly factories in Haiti.

On Nov. 11, Haitis Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert confirmed that Apaid is indeed a U.S. citizen, a rumor which had been circulating since the industrialists emergence on the political scene. According to Privert, Apaid was born to Haitian parents in the U.S. and came to Haiti in 1976 as a foreign businessman on a visitors visa.

After five years, any foreigner can obtain Haitian nationality by naturalization under the Constitutions Article 12, but Andy Apaid has never done this, according to the government.

Andy is following in the political footsteps of his father. As founder of Alpha Sewing in the 1970s, Andr senior was a close to dictator Jean-Claude Baby Doc Duvalier and remains a notorious Duvalierist, according to Eric Verhoogen in the Multinational Monitor (April 1996). Apaid senior headed up the civil society (read: bourgeoisie) campaign to support the 1991-1994 military coup against President Aristide, which successfully eased U.S. sanctions on the export of goods from Haitis assembly sweat-shops.

When asked at a business conference in Miami soon after the coup in 1991 what he would do if President Aristide returned to Haiti, Apaid replied vehemently, Id strangle him! Verhoogen wrote. At the time, Apaid was heading up the United States Agency for International Develop-ments (USAIDs) PROMINEX business promotion project, a $12.7 million program to encourage U.S. and Canadian firms to move their businesses to Haiti.

http://www.haiti-progres.com/eng11-12.html


ANDY APAID JR.:

The most outspoken leader of the opposition coalition, Apaid is a factory owner born in the United States. His family fled Haiti under Francois Duvalier, or "Papa Doc," who ruled from 1957 to 1971.

Favoring pressed pastel shirts and gold-rimmed glasses, Apaid looks like a Miami businessman but says he is totally Haitian at heart.

"I am just as much a part of this country as anyone," Apaid, in his early 50s, said recently. "That's why I am saying we must choose another path for the country."

But without a constitutional amendment, he will never become president because of his dual nationality. He has rejected the U.S.-backed settlement plan, saying Aristide must leave office.

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/0204/26haitiwho.ht...

The most outspoken leader of the opposition coalition, Andre (Andy) Apaid is a factory owner born in the United States. His family fled Haiti under Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, who ruled from 1957 to 1971.

Favoring pressed pastel shirts and gold-rimmed glasses, Apaid looks like a Miami businessman but says he is totally Haitian at heart.

"I am just as much a part of this country as anyone," Apaid, in his early 50s, said recently. "That's why I am saying we must choose another path for the country."

But without a constitutional amendment, he will never become president because of his dual nationality.

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/03/01/Worldandnation/Key_fi... ...

The Washington-backed Democratic Convergence opposition front and the Haitian bourgeoisies Group of 184 civil society front (G184), led by a U.S. citizen and sweatshop magnate Andr Andy Apaid, Jr. (see Hati Progrs, Vol. 21, No. 35, 11/12/03), have been quick to embrace, foment and urge on the student demonstrations.

So on Dec. 11, about 10,000 students, with the G184 and Democratic Convergence leaders in tow, marched through the streets of the capital. (Bourgeois radio stations inflated the demonstration up to 5 fold). On hand were Apaid, former Haitian Army colonel Himmler Rbu, Convergence leader Evans Paul, writer Gary Victor, the head of the Civil Society Initiative (ISC) Rosny Desroches, and dissident Lavalas senators Prince Sonson Pierre and Dany Toussaint. Later that day on Radio Kiskeya, Toussaint virtually called for a coup by saying that the international community was reluctant to remove Aristide from power only because they feared anarchy would result. But, he reassured them, he could restore order within 48 hours due to his connections in the police and former army.

http://www.haiti-progres.com/2003/sm031217/eng12-17.htm...
The Haitian Media: A Mouthpiece for Elites

The media outlets in Haiti will report any falsehood that has the effect of demonizing Aristide and his supporters. For example, when the "rebels" were surrounding the capital of Port-au-Prince, the radio was reporting that Aristide had fled days before he had actually left the country. This was an attempt to demoralize Aristide supporters who were preparing to resist the thugs. More recently, Guy Philippe told a mob of his supporters he had discovered small coffins which contained dead babies. He said President Aristide had sacrificed the babies in a "black voodoo ceremony." Haitian radio reported the story as a fact.

Andre "Andy" Apaid, the spokesman of the leading anti-Aristide group (Group 184), is the founder of Tele-Haiti. Tele-Haiti and the various radio stations owned by the ruling elite frequently air commercials inciting Haitians to overthrow the government. Apaid isn't even a Haitian citizen; he is an American citizen who owns sweatshops in Haiti. He is notorious for evading his taxes, supporting the Duvalier dictatorship, and forcing union organizers off his property at gunpoint. Working conditions in Haitian sweatshops are absolutely brutal. An employee for a subcontractor of Cintas, an American corporation, describes her working conditions: "They lock the gates on us and sometimes put security guards out in front with rifles to prevent us from leaving. The supervisors would yell and curse at us to finish our quota. My daily quota is sewing 90 dozen zippers on pants for 80 gourds (~$2 USD) . . . The factory gets so hot it is like working in fire. Inside the air is so hot and full of dust that I can't breathe, so I would put my handkerchief around my nose and continue working."

Thanks in part to Haitians being worked like beasts of burden, Cintas scored $234 million in profits in 2002. It is no wonder wealthy elites like Andy Apaid and those who own the Cintas subcontractors have no love for President Aristide. Aristide's administration has increased tax collection and doubled the minimum wage, an action that some say was "the straw that broke the camel's back" in the minds of Haiti's elite. To put it simply, Aristide worked to give Haiti's poor a bigger slice of the already very small economic pie, and that was unacceptable. It also flies in the face of the popular notion in the media that Aristide didn't accomplish anything while in office. Most reports will say something to the effect of "People hoped Aristide would bring them out of poverty, but today Haiti is more poor than ever." The New York Times referred disparagingly to "the mess left behind." Statements like this seem to carry the assumption that Aristide is personally responsible for Haiti's economic fate, which is frankly ridiculous. Equally ridiculous is the notion that Aristide has attempted nothing to improve the country's problems. People who say such things are not doing their homework. In order to understand why Haiti is so poor, one must first understand Haiti's history and the impact that racism and colonialism have had on the island nation.

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Mar04/Felux0314.htm

Haiti sweatshops: Your taxes at work
by Julia Lutsky
This article was reprinted from the March 23, 1996 issue of the People's Weekly World. For subscription information see below. All rights reserved - may be used with PWW credits.


No matter where you turn these days, the Walt Disney Company is already there telling you just what you and your children need most: T-shirts, pajamas, plastic sunglasses, all adorned with Mickey Mouse, Pocahantas and other Walt Disney logos.

If you suspect Disney might be making a tidy profit, a recent report confirms this beyond your wildest imagination. Take, for example, the Pocahantas pajamas you see at Wal- Mart for $11.97. They are made by workers at L.V. Miles, an assembly plant in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. L.V. Miles, under contract to the Walt Disney Company, pays each worker about $3.33 a day.

In one day, then, 20 workers earn $66.60, and together they produce 1,000 pairs of pajamas. That is $11,970 worth of pajamas for $66.60. Less than seven cents per pair goes to pay the workers who produced it. And the remaining $11.90? Disney CEO Michael Eisner was paid $203 million in salary and stock options in 1993.

A recent report, "The U.S. in Haiti: How to Get Rich on 11 cents an Hour," says, "If a Haitian minimum wage worker worked full-time, six days a week, sewing clothes for Disney, it would take her approximately 1,040 years to earn what Michael Eisner earned on one day in 1993," and notes that although L.V. Miles pays the minimum wage, it further subcontracts work to shops that pay even less.

The report was written by Eric Verhoogen, a labor researcher for the National Labor Committee (NLC), a human rights group funded primarily by labor unions. When he traveled to Haiti in August of last year, Verhoogen visited a sample of the approximately 50 assembly plants operating in the country and found contractors producing everything from Pocahantas pajamas to industrial gloves for U.S. companies like Wal- Mart, JC Penney and K-Mart.

http://www.pww.org/archives96/96-03-23-2.html
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks for the links!
This article was VERY thorough and cleared up a lot of things in my mind. I have a much better idea of what is going on.

The Haitian Media: A Mouthpiece for Elites
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Mar04/Felux0314.htm


What struck me, and I guess it shouldn't surprise me anymore by now, is that the same cadre of players were involved as are today in operations all over the world. I guess I never realized or wanted to believe how evil these people are and how deep all of this goes.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Maybe you haven't seen this yet
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Another well-researched post
Thanks for all of your efforts! Much appreciated.
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