U.S. OUSTS ARISTIDE: Another coup in Haiti
by Kiilu Nyasha
February 29, 2004
I woke up this morning to the terrible news that the U.S. and its criminal allies had succeeded in forcing duly-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign.
We, the people of the world, are losing yet another battle against Western imperialism, esp. the U.S., UK, and France.
I'm reminded at this time of when I found myself under attack for feeding breakfast to poor children in 1969 as a Panther. It was the onset of my political education and developing consciousness. Here we had a Haitian leader whose whole mission in life is to feed the people and raise their standard of living; to provide education, health care, decent wages and housing. Under his watch, hundreds of schools were built and a literacy campaign begun that dramatically increased the reading skills of Haitians young and old. A campaign to provide health care to Haitians in urban and rural areas was initiated by Paul Farmer and had made great strides in providing basic medical services to the population.
The following statistics tell just how dire the situation is in Haiti:
Only 45% of Haitians have access to safe water and 28% have access to sanitation. Seventy-six percent of Haiti's children under the age of five are underweight, or suffer from stunted growth and 63% of Haitians are undernourished. Eighty percent of the population lives in abject poverty and the unemployment rate is estimated to be around 60%. HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, maternal and child mortality, and many other life threatening diseases, are rampant and will only worsen under the present conditions.
The question often asked by those who know little if anything of Haiti's history is, "Why does the U.S. want Haiti? Or, of what value is Haiti to the U.S.?
I think the U.S. wants Haiti to continue to be a slave-labor market for U.S. corporations like Disney and Wal-Mart. But even more important is not to allow a popular democracy that seriously addresses poverty, literacy, health care, employment, to set such an example in this hemisphere. Just look at Chile in 1973, Venezuela and Cuba today. A people's government will not be tolerated by the imperialist powers that be in this hemisphere. And you can rest assured, that if we let Haiti go down, Cuba and Veneuela will be next.
What can we do?
Frankly, I think the time for police-escorted demonstrations and feel-good rallies has reached its limit. We must develop a new set of strategies/tactics to address the stark realities of fascism and global empire by violent means. As I write, violence is increasing on the ground in Haiti as the people fight for survival.
To continue political business as usual is suicidal. International solidarity must become practice, not just theory. We must combat narrow nationalism, our own tendencies not to be concerned with the problems of different peoples, different cultures or nationalities. We must value human life everywhere.
Americans, generally and collectively, should be deeply ashamed of ourselves. It's a sad commentary on our humanity that we have for so long stood by and allowed a tiny nation just a 3-hour flight away to suffer such misery. The very fact that there's a nation only 700 miles from our shores where people are needlessly dying daily while we bling bling ostentatiously is callous, inhumane, unchristian, ungodly, and mean-spirited. Why do "they hate us?" At least one reason is that we have no love. We are not kind, philanthropic, generous, or caring. In fact, we don't give a damn about Haitians, Iraqis, Afghans, or anyone else.
This is not the time to retreat into the system. It's time to resist, to fight back, to boycott, to shut down, to refuse to be a "good citizen" of fascism, to stop paying income taxes, to stop participating in their fraudulent, corrupted elections. To organize our communities to meet their own needs by any means at our disposal, to develop grassroots groups and committees to take charge of our children's health and education, to clean up our 'hoods, plant seeds and help them blossom, settle our quarrels (Mao's Red book is great on developing/maintaining unity), practice each-one-teach-one, and generally take care of one another. We do have resources -- unlike Haitians, and countless Africans, among others.
Color-struck, anti-darkskinnd racism is still the operative here. So I'm with Malcolm X when he said to White liberals, if you're not the "John Brown kind of white liberal, we'll get you later."
Some of you probably think it's easy for me to suggest folks stop paying income taxes. Wrong. I decided not to when I walked out of a black capitalist enterprise in Fall, 1971, never again to work for our oppressors. I do work. I work for the have-nots.
Capitalism/imperialism is the domestic and global problem. So we can decide to oppose U.S. allied empire with its tiny, international, filthy-rich minority making slaves of all the rest of us; or we can unite, strike and boycott their asses. We are the majority.
The Haitian people are our global leaders in valiant, collective movement that kicked Napoleon's ass and became the first Black Republic in the world comprised of former slaves of France who fought their way to independence in 1804.
Why has Haiti become synonymous with poor?
(Flash. I heard a white male racist say on national TV this morning that these people are "not capable of governing themselves.")
Military occupation, 33 coup d'etats, economic santions and embargoes, infiltration, sabotage by the same old criminals, today's international bullies.
As I write this,KPFA's Dennis Bernstein is continuing his excellent live coverage of the current situation. The latest news (about noon on 2/29) is that Aristide has been kidnapped and the Prime Minister was coerced into saying to the public that Aristide resigned. Sounds like the Chavez debacle all over again.
Will the people rise up and come to the aid of the Haitian people?
Or will we stand by and watch our neighbors, this courageous African people, be subjugated again by international criminals?
All power to the people!
People of the world, unite!