Democratic Underground  

A Long and Bloody History
March 12, 2004
By Suspicious

The 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 agenda.

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 palace.

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 Venezuela. 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.

El Salvador, Grenada… 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 are seen as "both a direct threat to U.S. economic interests and as a symbolic threat of a good example to other developing nations."

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 does.

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 an excuse.

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.

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