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(Part II)

Stan Goff

© Copyright 2004, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.


Class and Complexity in Haiti

In this part of the world, it never pays to be intellectually lazy on these issues. They're tricky.

Haiti has two predominant ruling classes, one based on land and one based on money. Duvalier's base was among the landed class that exploited peasants in a sharecropping system. Their dominance was challenged by the mechanized capitalist form of agriculture that was imposed on much of the island in conjunction with the 19-year US Marine occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934. This accounts for Duvalier's hostility to the US, which was only resolved when both Duvalier and the US were alarmed by a leftist uprising in Haiti. Duvalier massacred the communists, and from then on the US and Papa Doc were on fine terms. But the class of cosmopolitans in Haiti who have survived through international trade sought the lowest price for export crops grown on these tenant plots, while the big landowners sought the highest price, which was a structural antagonism between the two. Given the nationalist xenophobia of the landowners and the desire for more foreign investment by the compradors, there was another, deeper, political antagonism. These two groups have fought fiercely in the past, and they share only one point of unity.1

Again, they fear the Haitian masses. Political empowerment of the majority through its own party is a very real threat to the larger social and economic power of both of these rich parasitic classes. That is why both groups have been so ruthless in policing the general population. Haitians are political, restless, and combative. The coup against Aristide was a coup against the Haitian people. And the coup attempt against Chavez was an attack on the Venezuelan people.

In the US South, since the final demolition of Reconstruction in the 1890s, the southern elites have divided into two factions – the planters and the modernizers. These factions co-existed and evolved within the Democratic Party until the Nixon Southern Strategy. The planters were nationalistic in the sense of their post-Civil War Southern chauvinism, and xenophobic toward most outsiders. This xenophobia was mobilized with particular force in the fight to preserve Jim Crow. The modernizers were more like the Haitian comprador-technocrats, cosmopolitan by nature and committed to the project of gaining investment and development (from which they would profit, of course). They were very much the “civil society” sector, as it has become fashionable to say of the professionals who act as the managers and mandarins for modernizers. The modernizers have evolved into the modern Southern Democrats and the vestiges of the planter class ideology, which clung stubbornly to white supremacy even as the modernizers learned to contain and co-opt legal equality – has taken root in the Republican Party in the South.

Both of these factions tended to unite to blunt any challenge from native populism and to prevent any meaningful exercise of Black political power. The modern Democratic Party, as we know, makes room for left-liberal populism and for African Americans without giving either group enough power within the party to challenge the basic relations of power. African Americans, in particular in the South, are still wedded by their comparative political weakness to the lesser-evilism of the Democratic Party, and are thus both contained within the Democratic Party and diluted within establishment politics.

Within the so-called Haitian “opposition” that is Convergence Democratique, there are the macoute-planters and the comprador, “civil society”, technocrats.2 Many who understand this class composition have referred, accurately in my opinion, to Convergence as a macouto-bourgeois alliance. Now that Aristide has been removed, we can count on these two factions to quickly resume their war against each other.

There was a natural economic and ideological affinity between the Democrats and the Haitian comprador-technocrats and between the macoute sector and the Republican Party.

The latter affinity is further reinforced by the hegemony within the CIA of the Republican Party. The macoute sector, based on the old sharecropping system, has steadily seen its own economic base destroyed by comprador export-capitalism. In tandem with that erosion of an economic base, the macoutes have morphed quite naturally into a kind of gangster class, where their nationalist xenophobia can be understood by referring to the Sicilian mafia's reference to its own practice as “our thing,” la cosa nostra. With their relative autonomy, their secrecy, and the armed bodies that evolved from the Ton Ton Macoute militia of Papa Doc into the FRAPH of Cedras-Francois, they were ideally situated to gain a foothold in the lucrative Caribbean drug trans-shipment business. Untraceable drug money – as we have previously noted – is the flame to the CIA moth, and this further consolidates the Republican-CIA relation to the macoute sector.

Like the Clinton administration, the Bush II regime shares one goal with its Haitian allies. Dump Aristide.

Haitian populism is seen as a terrible threat to Washington, who rules through these wealthy colonial surrogates, and who has no intention of letting another independent nation (besides Cuba) flourish outside the Washington Consensus in this region. It's a bad example that might infect the imagination of popular forces throughout the region. An example must be made.

Right now, it's the Republicans' example, and so it is color-coded for all the foregoing reasons. Color crosses these class lines in Haiti itself when it is seen as necessary, and it is mobilized against popular challenges to entrenched power when that is seen as necessary.

This same socially nuanced color consciousness in the Caribbean affects Venezuela. Anyone who hasn't yet seen the remarkable documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, filmed during the last coup attempt in Venezuela, needs to get a copy right away and watch. Aside from being among the most riveting and historically unique footage ever taken, the film of the ruling class in Venezuela makes its European phenotype dazzlingly obvious.

And one of the comments frequently made by the so-called opposition (a Venezuelan ruling class formation, assisted by the same US National Endowment for Democracy that has been busy-busy-busy in Haiti) is that Hugo Chavez is a “nigger.” This is even said on commercial television stations in Venezuela, including the news. Venezuelan corporate newspapers carry racist caricatures of Chavez almost daily. Chavez has both an African and indigenous lineage.

This Venezuelan white supremacy accounts for an especially visceral hatred that the Venezuelan elite bears toward Chavez, and we might well speculate about why the US press, who sends Spanish speaking correspondents to Caracas, never reports on this particular characteristic of the US-funded “opposition,” instead preferring to pass along innuendos about the allegedly undemocratic nature of the Chavez government.

I'll only digress for an instant to remind readers that Bush was appointed after he lost an election, while Chavez was elected with 57% of the vote in multi-party elections, and Aristide garnered 92% in his last election. What a relief that the Bush administration is available to teach these people about democracy!

How to Build a Coup

Q: Why has there never been a coup d'etat in the United States?

A: There's no US embassy there.

Diplomatic humor, but there's more than a grain of truth there.

With this background, we can proceed to look at some key similarities between the situation in Haiti and the one in Venezuela. In both cases, the elected leaders were referred to, even by the left, as populist and nationalist. But to leave it at that fails to take into account the relative rural-urban populations, the level and type of development, and the class compositions of these nations – to which we will return. In each case, both the local ruling elites and the United States felt a great deal of trepidation at the thought that the actual interests of the majority might be put center stage by the government and that those ruling elites would be marginalized and held accountable to a state they no longer directly controlled through their own political formations.

In the run-up to both coups (Chavez reversed the coup against Venezuela), there was a persistent effort by both the press (of each country as well as the US) and US State Department spokespersons to imply that these elected leaders were somehow autocratic. This charge is repeated without any factual antecedents, but that leaves the impression on the public that something specific did happen, which they, the public, merely failed to pick up. Since most Americans have no deep interest in the details of anything except television series, sex scandals, and Oscar nominations, they passively accept the characterization of these unspecified acts as undemocratic, autocratic, etc. This allows the maneuvering of the NED and whatever armed forces (paid-off members of the Venezuelan armed forces in one case, and US-supported paramilitaries in the case of Haiti) to coordinate their actions with the press blitz to first destabilize the country, then launch the coup.

In both cases, once the coup was enacted, the US passed the word along that these leaders “resigned,” when in fact in both cases they were taken away by military force and hidden from the public. And in both cases, the US was busted… even though the US press was – shall we say – less than aggressive about following up. The Aristide kidnapping situation right now is still in the air, and we will all anxiously await developments.

But Haiti and Venezuela are not the same. For starters, Venezuela has oil. This has not only given it leverage on the international scene, it creates the potential for some degree of autarky. The other key difference is that Aristide disbanded the Army in Haiti and replaced it with a 4,000 person constabulary, while Venezuela still has a substantial and competent military, the majority of which remains loyal to the democratically elected government and the Venezuelan Constitution. It was a combination of mass mobilization and this loyal military that reversed the US-supported coup d'etat in Venezuela last year.

Just days before Aristide was removed by the US military, I went back to Haiti for a few days to have a look around and barely managed to get out on Thursday, just hours before the airport was closed to prevent a riot among the rapidly swelling mass of would-be passengers. President Aristide had just held a press conference on Wednesday, where he appealed to the “international community” for assistance and used the word “peaceful” again and again. But the United Nations Security Council was blocked by the United States – whose antipathy for this Black nation's people is a well-established historical fact – and by France, who was seeking an angle to quash Haiti's attempt to seek $21 billion in reparations for France's colonial extortions against Haiti after it defeated Napoleon's armed forces to win Haitian independence.

France, the United States, and Canada met in February-March last year at Ottawa to plan the most recent coup, with the intention of making it happen before the January 1, 2004 Revolutionary Bicentennial. This shindig was organized by… Otto Reich.

This from WBAI is posted at William Bowles' website:

"[C]ode named the " Ottawa Initiative on Haiti," [it] wants regime change in Haiti this year before the Jan. 1, 2004 bicentennial of Haiti's independence, says the French-language article entitled " Haiti to be Under U.N. Control? " The group, which will next meet in April in El Salvador, has been convened by Canada's Secretary of State for Latin America, Africa, and the French-speaking World, Denis Paradis…[and] the U.S. State Department's "Continental Initiatives" representative Otto Reich and Organization of American States (OAS) assistant secretary general Luigi Einaudi"

The " Ottawa Initiative” story, if true, would complement nicely the calls for Aristide's extra-constitutional removal by the election-allergic Washington-backed Democratic Convergence opposition front. "It will be difficult to create the peaceful conditions necessary for the holding of credible elections in the country with Jean Bertrand Aristide in power," said Convergence leader Evans Paul of the Democratic Unity Confederation (KID) recently. "The electoral experiences with Aristide have all proven disastrous." Disastrous mainly because Convergence politicians remain tremendously unpopular in Haiti."

Haiti Progres, a Haitian newspaper, described it on March 5, 2003:

In addition to Denis and OAS officials, a meeting of the "Ottawa Initiative" in late January included French Cooperation Minister, Pierre-André Wiltzer, two U.S. State Department functionaries, and El Salvador's Foreign Minister, Maria Da Silva. "It was the first time that the European economic community and the Intergovernmental Agency of the French-Speaking World ever participated in a meeting with the OAS," the article states.

OAS Resolution 822 last year instructed the Haitian government to hold early parliamentary and municipal elections this year. "We see the ironic situation now where the Haitian government is anxious to hold elections, but the opposition is refusing to go and trying to block them," said Ira Kurzban, a lawyer who has represented the Haitian overnment for many years.

Aristide had agreed to hold new elections as part of a deal, but the US rejected this, as did the US-financed “opposition,” for the simple reason that – contrary to the horseshit being propagated by much of the press about Aristide's loss of popularity at home – Aristide and his Fanmi L av alas party would have won the election hands down… again. Claiming he had lost his popular support was part of a disinformation campaign that was relatively safe, since they never had the least intention of testing this claim in an actual election again.

The Convergence Democratique (now the political arm of the coup d'etat) and its US-sponsor, the National Endowment for Democracy, are about anything but democracy. Convergence has been trying to overturn the result of a legitimate election ever since Aristide was elected again in 2000 with 92% of the vote.

Some people think that ruling groups in capitalist countries don't study Lenin. That's absolutely not true. Lenin developed a huge body of revolutionary theory related specifically to the question of how to take political power. People who are preoccupied with that question should study it, and they have. But at the risk of egregiously oversimplifying, his theses on the conditions necessary for a seizure of power can be boiled down. There must be a historical confluence of at least three forms of social crisis: economic, political, and military. Without all three of these forms of crisis occurring simultaneously, stability in any one form provides the basis for restructuring to ameliorate the other forms of crisis.

Restructuring means making substantial changes without any transfer of power from one class to another. The New Deal was a restructuring. It inflicted pain on the dominant class and transferred some social power down, but was fundamentally a retrenchment to preserve existing relations of power in the face of a dangerous challenge.

Revolutionaries watch social developments for this confluence, influencing them where they can (though from a position of relative weakness, not having control over society's key institutions), then attempt to discipline and mobilize key sections of the masses to take power. Coup-makers attempt to create these conditions (because they operate from a position of relative strength and control key institutions), then move to displace political leadership by force and replace it with their own allies.

This admitted oversimplification remains very useful for analyzing US coup-making in Venezuela and Haiti, especially if we add the coup-makers' ability to define the situation using the awesome power of mass media. More than merely selecting the information to which you are and are not exposed, the mass media – which includes educational institutions – has the more basic power to determine how we know. This ability to construct the very framework of knowledge is a subtle and therefore immensely effective means of social control.

In the United States, and more and more in other societies, the population has been trained to see politics as a combination of personality and policy. Keep the population focused on personalities, and you can blind it to the historically developed social forces that underwrite their power. With enough emphasis on the cult of shiny individual action-figures, a good propaganda program (or its equivalent, the self-censoring corporate media) can portray whole societies as reflections of a single person – Khaddafi or Bush or Chavez or Saddam or Aristide. What is rendered invisible in this process is the fact that these leaders are more the reflection and product of their history and society than their society is a reflection of them. That's not to say these leaders don't have individual agency, but that a huge dimension of politics is concealed by this way of knowing and therefore a distortion of the social reality. What you can think determines what you can do.

By the same token, any social process you can't think about is available to other people for exploitation. People don't talk about the connection between Wall Street and the CIA because they don't understand the connection. People don't know about the social revolution that brought Khaddafi to power, or the relation of the Bush administration to The Southern Strategy, or the history of Ba'athism, or the origins of the Lavalas movement in Haiti. They don't understand that there is a connection between levels of technological development and the ability to command accountability within governments. They don't recognize the international “division of labor” within the American Imperium. So they're reduced to making simplistic judgments about individual leaders based on faulty and incomplete information and moral criteria that are intellectually undemanding. That way, the corporate media successfully use disinformation to portray Aristide or Chavez as “bad guys” (that acme of American moral reasoning); the majority of Americans are happy to believe it all, and the power elite (of which the media are a key element) walks away with the goods.

This perception management capacity is a force multiplier in the effort to economically, politically, and militarily destabilize a nation. I detailed some of the mechanisms for this perception management in my Counterpunch article of October, 2003, Piss on My Leg – Perception Control and the Stage Management of War.

That said, let me return to the economic dimension of the coup in Haiti and last year's coup attempt in Venezuela . I will only cover these briefly and provide links to more in-depth analyses.

From Media, Oil, and Politics: Anatomy of the Venezuelan Coup, by Eric Quezada:

Petroleros de Venezuela (PdV) – the state monopoly and its million member union, Venezuelan Worker Confederation – has operated as a state within the state and is widely seen as a corrupt mafia-like organization. The effort to reform the industry and its union is one of the major challenges facing Chavez. It also is one of the key elements used by the coup organizers to destabilize the country. With a series of strikes, supported by the national chamber of commerce and the mainstream media corporations, PdV's union mobilized the elite and middle classes to create a hostile environment in which a military-backed coup could take place. Also, fueled by centuries of ingrained racism, the ruling class went a step further and demonized President Hugo Chavez, a dark skinned mulatto. It is worth noting that the vast majority of poor Venezuelans are darker skinned and make up the core support for Chavez, the first dark skinned president in Venezuelan history.

The interests of the United States in overthrowing Chavez were manifold. Not only is Venezuela attempting to break free of Washington's control, it is doing so even as it exports more than 1.5 million barrels of oil a year to the United States, almost half its total production, and around 13 percent of the US import total.

Venezuela's rapprochement with fellow OPEC members and its decision to abide by OPEC production caps (which the COPEI government of Perdo Carmona had violated to provide cheaper oil to the US) alarmed and angered many in Washington. Their need to keep the overall system stable for capital accumulation remains the central motive of their destabilization programs. But it's not the only motive; every foreign policy has more driving forces than economics alone. Venezuela is a key country in a key region, where there is already rebellion afoot. In play are Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, all of which are experiencing serious social upheavals that include strong opposition to the Washington Consensus. Again, the imperial obligation to make an example of the “rebellious child” is a factor. And US international power no longer comes primarily from exploitative economic production, but from a monetary regime that extracts interest from the external debts of other nations based on rules it enforces, at the end of the day, with the power of the dollar backed by the military. Any attempt to develop any form of national self-sufficiency that could add weight to a regional or global default movement is a very real threat – perhaps the most real of all threats – to US global power.

The method for creating the economic crisis was mobilization of the oil company and its mafia-union to lock out workers and close the tap on state cash flow.

Any time an economic crisis is provoked, tempers get shorter, jobs are lost, the people become discontented with whomever they perceive to be their leaders. This is the first step in the agitation process of a coup. In Haiti, the Bush administration merely held back over $500 million in approved disbursements and loans to the Haitian government in order to break it, and – less widely known – embargoed certain products to Haiti, including new equipment, weapons, and ammunition to keep the police up to date.

These economic attacks are combined with a media blitz designed to “explain” the economic crisis in a way that places the blame on the seated government. This happened in both Venezuela and Haiti.

The economic attack is also combined with the organization of a political opposition. I alluded to this being the role of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Reagan-era break-off from CIA covert operations, whose sole function is to interfere in the elections of other governments. The NED has funded and organized political “opposition” groups to destabilize Nicaragua, the Balkans, Haiti, and Venezuela . In the latter two cases, they did not have elections after they destabilized them. They mobilized these “oppositions” as fake popular fronts against the governments for the purpose of overthrowing them. In the case of Haiti, the opposition refused to hold elections because they knew they'd lose… badly.

Once the economic and political crises are created, it's time to foment a security crisis. In both Venezuela and Haiti, they even resorted to setting up attacks against other “opposition” members in an attempt to lay the charge against the government that it had attacked them.

This is the juncture at which the military is required. It's a critical stage, whose handling made the difference between coup failure in Venezuela and coup success in Haiti .

To make the long story short, in Venezuela a handful of officers were bribed to participate in the coup against Chavez. When the majority of the military noted what was really going on, and when a massive popular uprising took the streets back from the coup-makers, the Venezuelan military chose their sovereignty over US imperialism, and they reversed the coup. Venezuela has a tough, capable, largely loyal military, and this – along with Iraqi ambitions and the protestations of other Latin American leaders – accounts for the fact that the US did not invade.

After his return to the Haitian presidency in 1994, Aristide rightly feared and distrusted the standing Haitian military. So he disbanded them and replaced them with a 6,000 person constabulary, trained in very basic police skills. To understand what this means, one has to understand the actual physical condition of Haiti.

The majority of the country is inaccessible by road, and the existing roads are all in disrepair. Some are passable year-round but take a terrible toll on vehicles, and some are impassable when it rains. Cell phones work in some places and don't work in others, and the police were equipped with land lines and FM radios, the latter having very limited range in mountainous Haiti . Like everyone else in Haiti, the police spend a great deal of time with plain day-to-day activities that we take for granted, but which are very time consuming there – hauling water, cooking, laundering, shopping for bare necessities in a plethora of markets where supplies of every commodity are iffy, etc. There is often little to no electricity. There is certainly not a great deal of close oversight and supervision, and there is little wherewithal to ensure the kind of professional development we might expect of law enforcement officers here.

They were making do, some better than others, many only marginally literate, often with mixed loyalties and personal problems, and some were certainly involved in corruption. The actually existing option was not between a perfect police force and this one, but between this one or no police force at all. It had one helicopter in the capital.

They were not trained to engage in military actions. In Port-au-Prince there was a riot control group called CIMO, and a SWAT contingent that had some semblance of military capacity. When the February attacks came, they were directed against plain police, who couldn't withstand a dedicated attack using large supplies of military weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns. The roads and the communications prevented any timely reinforcements, and the command structure as well as the political leadership – shocked at the ease with which these attacks succeeded – wrung their hands until it was over.

Those attacks were directed by Louis-Jodel Chamblain. He was second only to Emmanuel Constant in the FRAPH. The question of where those military supplies came from is still open. Given that Chamblain is a convicted criminal, an unconvicted one was used to give the “rebels” a public face: Guy Phillippe. The Guardian ran a background piece on March 7th that pointed out:

While in the military in the early 1990s, rebel leader Guy Phillippe received training from US Special Forces in Ecuador. He later became police chief in Cap-Haitien, where he was accused of drug-trafficking and plotting a coup. Another rebel leader, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, was second in command of the murderous FRAPH paramilitary group, suspected of killing thousands during the 1991-1994 military regime. Former FRAPH leader Emmanuel 'Toto' Constant, who lives in New York, has acknowledged working for CIA agents while FRAPH was massacring dissidents.

For the second time in less than two years, the Bush administration is fighting accusations that it backed the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government in Latin America. Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has charged the US with forcing him from power at gunpoint. US Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed that as 'absurd'. But there is growing international disquiet. As with the unsuccessful US-endorsed coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in April 2002, Washington faces charges that it is reverting to Cold War tactics to dispose of leaders it does not fancy…

…Aristide, like Chavez, has been accused of a gamut of abuses, including corruption and arming slum militias. But both were freely elected and continued to count on fervent support from their nation's poor majorities.

Chavez himself has declared Aristide's removal 'a tragedy'. 'These are our brothers who have also been trampled by the Haitian oligarchy and their foreign allies,' he said last week.,6903,1163799,00.html

The apologists, both Republicans and Democrats, for the coup d'etat in Haiti have taken on an intensely legalistic aspect in the last week, trying to prove that no one placed an actual gun to Aristide's head to make him sign his “resignation” before he was spirited away to the Central African Republic, a virtual US colony that is holding Aristide incommunicado… until, one might presume, he decides to commit suicide out of his despondency or some such thing.

This is an example of how spinmeisters decide what day to begin history. In this case, history began when Aristide's residence was surrounded by US troops and his bodyguards – all former US troops themselves – made a decision either not to fire on their former colleagues or not to commit suicide. It's even possible they were in on it. We simply don't know.

The fact that FRAPH paramilitaries were closing the distance between themselves and the presidential residence at Tabar – intent on killing Aristide and his family – is somehow not considered adequate duress to dismiss his “voluntary” resignation. The US troops did exactly nothing to stop the paramilitaries, but showed up for the express purpose of overseeing Aristide's resignation.

Two other events add weight to the circumstantial case for US-direction of the coup… if what we've already seen isn't enough.

During the last stage of the coup, when Aristide was attempting to conciliate with the US and its criminal allies, he called for additional security from the Steele Foundation, a private security agency that provides his bodyguards through contracts approved by the US State Department. The Steele Foundation called the US Embassy to determine whether they had State Department approval, which also means security back-up in the event of an emergency. The State Department explicitly told Steele that no such back-up would be provided, a clear message that the US government did not want Aristide's security detail enhanced.

This further suggests US official complicity in the coup.

Finally, there was the 1992 US military shipment of 20,000 new M-16s to the Dominican Republic, where the FRAPHists have enjoyed asylum for the last 10 years. This shipment was allegedly part of the US global effort against terrorism, which is curious because there have been no terrorist incidents in or from the Dominican Republic. These weapons did not garner much attention until the US attempted to slip a huge military training exercise called Jaded Task past the Dominican government in February 2003, igniting a firestorm of Dominican protest against the introduction of over 1,200 US troops in a nation that is still resentful of the fact that it was twice invaded and occupied by the Americans. The so-called joint counter-terrorism exercise was scaled back to 200, but people began to examine the Dominican books about those 20,000 M-16s.

Some have suggested – still with no proof – that the M-16s went to the ex-FRAPH paramilitaries that precipitated the military crisis that culminated in Aristide's removal. I don't buy that for two reasons, but I will suggest that it probably facilitated the armament of these paramilitaries.

First, I saw plenty of images of the paramilitaries when I was in Haiti two weeks ago. They very much enjoy having their pictures taken. Their weaponry was a mix, and I did not see any M-16A2s, the latest model before the US adopted the new M-4. I saw CAR-15s, a kind of cut-down commando weapon using an M-16 receiver, but these have been around for decades. I saw plenty of M-1 Garands, which was what predominated in their armories during the last coup in 1994, and which is a fine, reliable weapon. There were credible reports of light machineguns, which would give them a tremendous combat advantage over the police, and of rocket propelled grenades, which also are an overwhelming advantage against shotguns and side arms.

Second, the Dominicans would not pass the new weapons along to the Haitians.

More likely, a shipment of new weapons to the Dominicans – along with a modest monetary compensation through untraceable funds – allows the Dominicans to shed older weapons to a third party, in conjunction with some untraceable weapons from that third party acquired through battlefield recovery elsewhere.

Neither the DR nor Haiti has RPGs in its inventory. That is a Soviet-style weapon. RPGs, however, are ubiquitous around the world, especially in Southwest Asia, where the US has occupying troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq. This is the likely place where battlefield recovery would take place, and the US has long been in possession of very numerous RPGs and other Warsaw Pact armaments.

This is an hypothesis that remains to be tested by some intrepid investigative freelancer, but I find it to be a pretty compelling one.

That the ex-FRAPH have been living unmolested in DR for ten years is not an hypothesis. It is a fact. That Toto Constant has been living in Queens, NY, for ten years is a fact. That the US occupying forces stole 160,000 pages of Haitian documents left by the de facto government of Raoul Cedras and have refused to return these document to the Haitian government – papers that likely prove CIA collaboration with the 1991 coup-makers and the FRAPH – is a fact.

That this same “script for destabilization” is again being used against Venezuela as you read this… is a fact.

The reality is that the Iran-Contra-Cocaine plot never really ended. It was just a first act for the cast of characters that now constitutes the Bush “western hemisphere” team.

Stand by for a turbulent decade in the Americas.

1. Haitian society has been shaped by development of productive systems and instruments. Every society is. So don't look to this account for lurid and false descriptions of African religion (voudon) as what is essentially Haitian—the counter-revolutionary analysis from the right—or for accounts of Haitian cultural simplicity, charm, and victim-hood—a counter-revolutionary caricature from the infantile left. Haiti, like all societies, must be understood first by its economy.

Just as the introduction of more modern methods of production in the U.S. South created friction between landed semi-feudals and industrial capitalists, a contest for political power developed in Haiti between grandons-or planters-and compradors-the Haitian middle-men who profited from the export of commodities. The key difference, of course, is in the global status of the respective ruling classes. American capitalists lead a regional imperialist combine, and Haitian compradors constitute only a kind of colonial surrogate class.

These axes of economic interest-with grandon xenophobia and comprador dependence-account for the frequent flare-ups of nationalism among the grandons who have identified their future security with an element of insularity from international economic forces which they rightly fear will displace them.

This begins to clarify the antecedents of the current relationship between the U.S. and Haiti.

2. The famed Ton Ton Macoutes (literally “Uncle Gunnysack” – imagine a militia calling itself “Uncle Bodybag,” and you get the idea) were in fact a palace guard and secret police. Duvalier had studied his Machiavelli well, and needed a force personally accountable to him to offset possible comprador loyalties in the army.

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