Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Haiti, I've seen a lot of articles and analysis lately about the historical criminality of especially France and the USA in reducing Haiti to destitution. The accompanying piece by John Maxwell, however, I think is on another level. Read it and weep... and then get pissed off as hell.

The following is from ChickenBones: A Journal.

No, Mister! You Cannot Share My Pain!
By John Maxwell

If you shared my pain you would not continue to make me suffer, to torture me, to deny me my dignity and my  rights especially my rights to self determination and self expression.

Six years ago you sent your Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to perform an action illegal under the laws of your country,my country and of the international community of nations.

It was an act so outrageous, so bestially vile and wicked that your journalists and news agencies, your diplomats and politicians to this day cannot bring themselves to truthfully  describe or own up to the crime that was committed when US Ambassador James Foley, a career diplomat arrived at the house of President Jean Bertrand Aristide with a bunch of CIA thugs and US Marines to kidnap the President of Haiti and his wife.

The Aristides were stowed aboard a CIA plane normally used for 'renditions' of suspected terrorists to the worldwide US gulag of dungeons and torture chambers.

The plane, on which the Aristides are listed as "cargo"  flew to Antigua – an hour away – and remained on the ground in Antigua while Colin Powell's State Department and the CIA tried to blackmail and bribe various African countries to accept ('give asylum to") the kidnapped President and his wife.

The Central African Republic—one of George W Bush's 'Dark Corners of the World'—agreed for an undisclosed sum, to give the Aristides temporary asylum.

Before any credible plot can be designed and paid for—for the disappearance of the Aristides—they are rescued by friends, flown to temporary asylum in Jamaica where the government cravenly yielded to the blackmail of Condoleezza Rice to deny them the permanent asylum to which they were entitled and which most Jamaicans had hoped for.

Meanwhile in Haiti the US Marines protected an undisciplined ragbag of rapists and murderers to allow them entry to the capital. The Marines chased the medical students out of the new Medical School established by Aristide with Cuban help and teachers. The Marines bivouac in the school, going out on nightly raids, trailed by fleets of ambulances with body bags, hunting down Fanmi Lavalas activists described as 'chimeres' – terrorists.

The real terrorists, led by two convicted murderers, Chamblain and Philippe, assisted the Marines in the eradication of 'chimeres' until the Marines were replaced by foreign troops paid by the United Nations who took up the hunt on behalf of the civilised world—France, Canada, the US, and Brazil.

The terrorists and the remains of the Duvalier tontons and the CIA-bred FRAPF declared open season on the remnants of Aristide's programmes to build democracy. They burnt down the new museum of Haitian Culture, destroyed the Children's television station and generally laid waste to anything and everything  which could remind Haitians of their glorious history.

Haitians don't know that without their help Latin America might still be part of the Spanish Empire and Simon Bolivar a brief historical footnote.

Imagine, Niggers Speaking French!

About ninety years ago when Professor Woodrow Wilson was President of the USA his Secretary of State was a fundamentalist lawyer named William Jennings Bryan who had three times run unsuccessfully, for President.

The Americans had decided to invade Haiti to collect debts owed by Haiti to Citibank.

General Smedley Butler, the only American soldier to have twice won the Congressional Medal of Honour, described his role in the US Army:

I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long.

General Butler said:

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. . . . My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical in the military service.

Butler compared himself unfavourably to Al Capone. He said his official racketeering made Capone look like an amateur.

Secretary Bryan was dumfounded by the Haitians; "Imagine" he said, "Niggers speaking French.

Smedley Butler and Bryan were involved in Haiti because of something that happened nearly a hundred years before. The French slave-masters, expelled from Haiti and defeated again when they tried to re-enslave the Haitians, connived with the Americans to starve them into submission by a trade embargo. With no sale for Haitian sugar, the country was weak and rundown when a French fleet  arrived bearing a demand for reparations. Having bought their freedom in blood, the Haitians were to be oblige to purchase it again in gold.

The French demanded, essentially, that the Haitians pay France an amount equivalent to 90 percent of the entire Haitian budget for the foreseeable future. ~~When this commitment proved too arduous to honour, the City Bank offered  the Haitians a 'debt exchange" paying off the French in exchange for a lower interest longer term debt. The terms may have seemed better but were just as usurious and it was not paid off  until 1947.

Because of the debt the Americas invaded Haiti, seized the Treasury, exiled the President, their Jim Crow policies were used to divide the society, to harass the poor and finally provoked a second struggle for freedom which was one of the most brutal episodes in colonial history.

Long before Franco bombed Guernica, exciting the horror and revulsion of civilised people,  the Americans  perfected their dive-bombing techniques against unarmed Haitian peasants many of whom had never seen aircraft before.

The Americans set up an Haitian Army in the image of their Jim Crow Marines and it was these people and the alien and alienated √Člite who with some conscripted blacks like the Duvaliers have ruled Haiti for most of the last century.

When I flew over Haiti for the first time in 1959 en route from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, I saw for the first time the border between the green Dominican Republic and brown Haiti.

First world journalists interpret the absence of trees on the Haitian side to the predations of the poor, disregarding the fact  that Western religion and American capitalism were mainly responsible.

Why is it that nowhere else in the Caribbean is there similar deforestation?

Haiti's Dessalines constitution offered sanctuary to every escaped slave of any colour. All such people of whatever colour were deemed 'black' and entitled to citizenship. Only officially certified  'blacks could own land in Haiti.

The American occupation, anticipating Hayek, Freedman and Greenspan, decided that such a rule was a hindrance to development. The Assistant Secretary of the US Navy, one Franklin D Roosevelt was given the job of writing a new, modern constitution for Haiti.

This constitution meant foreigners could own land. Within a very short time the lumberjacks were busy, felling old growth Mahogany and Caribbean Pine for carved doors for the rich and mahogany speedboats, boardroom tables seating forty etc. etc. The devastated land was put to produce rubber, sisal for ropes and all sorts of pie in the sky plantations.

When President Paul Magloire came to Jamaica fifty years ago Haitians were still speaking of an Artibonite dam for electricity and irrigation.  But the ravages of the recent past were too much to recover.

As Marguerite Laurent (EziliDanto) writes: Don't expect to learn how a people with a Vodun culture that reveres nature and especially the Mapou (oak-like or ceiba pendantra/bombax) trees, and other such big trees as the abode of living entities and therefore as sacred things, were forced to watch the Catholic Church, during Rejete—the violent anti-Vodun crusade—gather whole communities at gun point into public squares, and forced them to watch their agents burn Haitian trees in order to teach Haitians their Vodun Gods were not in nature, that the trees were the "houses of Satan."

In partnership with the US, the mulatto President Elie Lescot (1941-45) summarily expelled peasants from more than 100,000 hectares of land, razing their homes and destroying more than a million fruit trees in the vain effort to cultivate rubber on a large plantation scale. Also, under the pretext of the Rejete campaign, thousands of acres of peasant lands were cleared of sacred trees so that the US could take their lands for US agribusiness

After the Flood

Norman Manley used to say "River come Down" when his party seemed likely to prevail. The Kreyol word Lavalas conveys the same meaning.

Since the Haitian people's decisive rejection of the Duvalier dictatorships in the early 90s, their spark and leader has been Jean Bertrand Aristide whose bona fides may be assessed from the fact that the CIA and conservative Americans have been trying to discredit him almost from the word go.

As he put it in one of his books, his intention has been to build a paradise on the garbage heap bequeathed to Haiti by the US and the Elite.

The bill of particulars is too long to go into here, but the destruction of the new museum of Culture, the breaking up of the medical school, the destruction of the children's television gives you the flavour. But the essence is captured in the brutal attempt to obliterate the spirit of Haitian community; the attempt to destroy Lavalas by murdering its men and raping its women, the American directed subversion of a real police force, the attacks on education and the obliteration of the community self-help systems which meant that when Hurricane Jeanne and all the other weather systems since have struck Haiti many more have died than in any other country similarly stricken. In an earthquake, totally unpredictable, every bad factor is multiplied

The American blocking of international aid means that there is no modern water supply anywhere, no town planning, no safe roads, none of the ordinary infrastructure of any other Caribbean state. There are no building standards, no emergency shelters, no parks.

So, when I write about mothers unwittingly walking on dead  babies in the mud, when I write about people so poor they must eat patties made of clay and shortening, when I write about people with their faces 'chopped off' or about any of 8 million horror stories from the crime scene that is Haiti, please don't tell me you share their pain or mine.

Tell me where is Lovinsky Pierre Antoine and ten thousand like him?

If you share my pain and their pain, why don't you stop causing it? Why don't you stop the torture?

If you want to understand me, look at the woman in the picture, and the children half buried with her. You cannot hear their screams because they know there is no point in screaming. It will do no more good than voting.

What is she thinking: perhaps it is something like this—No mister! You cannot share my pain!

Sometime perhaps, after the camera is gone people will return to dig us out with their bare hands. But not you.

Copyright©2010 John Maxwell      

*   *   *   *   *

HLLN Will Not Tolerate

The maligning of the Haitian people

To the Mr. Champagne

Re: Mr. Champagne's Haitian Lawyers Association letter dated Jan. 19, 2010 and
copied below and made a part herein

Sir, in your letter dated January 19, 2019 to President Obama, you write, on behalf of the Haitian Lawyers Association, inter alia, that your organization, the Haitian Lawyers Association in Miami, Florida:
urge the administration to address the rising lawlessness, created by the criminals who have escaped Haiti's broken penitentiary. Not only does it threaten the current humanitarian relief efforts, but it also unacceptably increases the vulnerability of women and children, many of whom now orphans. More should be done to curtail the lawlessness before it becomes uncontrollable

Point one: As lawyers and advocates who represented many of the detainees who were in the National Penitentiary, we find your statements criminally negligent, odious, and irresponsible and not based on any verifiable facts. It is a well-known fact, that most of those detainees you are depicting as "criminals" who escaped from the National Penitentiary were poor Haitians from poor neighborhoods who were summarily rounded up into preventive or indefinite detention during the 2004 Bush/Bicentennial coup d'etat without ever being
charged, tried or convicted of any crime. As of 2008, it is reported that there were 8,204 prisoners in Haiti and of this only 1,764 have been convicted of a crime. Of the 8,204, 3900 were warehoused at the National Penitentiary.

The majority awaiting charge and a hearing, some suffering five years of prolonged detention, without ever having been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. These prison population statistics come from the 2008 US State Department Human Rights Report on Haiti and do "not include the large number of persons held in police stations around the country in 'preventive detention' (without a hearing or filed charges).

For your legal association to call them "criminals" is unethical. For most were indefinitely detained without any charges, hearing or trial and have never been charged with a crime.

Point two: It is reported that when the earthquake hit, the wall of the National Penitentiary collapse on these men, most of whom have suffered tremendous injustice of indefinite incarceration without charge, and whose wives, children, mothers and families lost valuable time they could have had with their love one but for their unjust and illegal incarceration. Their "escape" Mr. Champagne was when concrete fell on their heads!

There is NO EVIDENCE that these men are either criminals or committing crimes right now.

We don't know how injured they were when the Penitentiary collapsed on them or how many perished and for you to repeat, like a parrot, what you are hearing from CNN, Fox news and MSNBS is unprofessional. As a legal organization you are charged with knowing the law and speaking factually. This depiction is objectionable also, especially as most reporters and even the general on the ground have said there is no significant violence amongst the earthquake wounded, thirsty and hungry. This idea of POTENTIAL violence, or as you put it "the rising lawlessness, created by the criminals who have escaped Haiti's broken penitentiary" is defamation and libel against people who are not here to defend themselves but HLLN is and we demand a retraction.

Point three: HLLN runs the Ezili Danto Witness Project and we have people on the ground in Haiti. Their first hand account of the current situation is that a natural disaster of epic proportion has hit the poorest of the poor and they are wounded, hungry, hurt, traumatized and most without food, clean water and medical treatment since last Tuesday. For you Mr. Richard to criminalize and vilified these people at such a time is repugnant. The people of Haiti are not violent or naturally prone to lawlessness. The US is statistically more violent than Haiti and the only times, in the past 20 years, that the violence in Haiti increases is when the US supports death squads and regime change that
massacre the poor.

Point four: Haiti needs conscious disaster relief with human rights and dignity, it does not need your propaganda Mr. Champagne alleging the innate violence of people who were not ever committed of any crimes. Medical relief, food, shelter and water are its priority right now, not 12,000-pentagon gun,  to, as you write "curtail the lawlessness before it becomes uncontrollable." This projection of fear is arbitrary and capricious Mr. Champagne.

Here are two reports that contradict your irresponsible assertions about the current situation in Haiti:

1. Doctor: Misinformation and Racism Have Frozen Recovery Effort at General Hospital in Port-au-Prince |
"There are no security issues," says Dr. Evan Lyon of Partners in Health, reporting from the General Hospital in Port-Au-Prince in Haiti, where 1,000 people are in need of operations. Lyon said the reports of violence in the city have been overblown by the media and have affected the delivery of aid and medical services.

2. Tell CNN to stop hyping fears of violence in Haiti. For shame at

HLLN is working at over capacity right now.

But we are prepared to provide testimony, including from some who were held indefinitely, detained without ever having been convicted or charged with a crime, and who are now seriously injured and dying and who you are maligning. Their survivors are ready for a class action suit against the media and you and your organization, Mr. Richard, to take all to court for this vilification/defamation. As HLLN is working over capacity, we are prepared to make a general call to human rights attorneys who wish to assist should your organization not make a retraction IMMEDIATELY.

This letter will go public—on facebook, twitter, our blogs and all the social networks and to the Ezili Listserv. We are hereby asking civil rights and human rights lawyers who would like to assist the earthquake victims to help HLLN stop the maligning and criminalization of the people of Haiti and anticipate your retraction within the next 3 days.

Very Truly Yours,
Ezili Dantò
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

1 comment:

Pierre F. Lherisson said...

Agrarian reform in Haiti should be among the top priorities within the next 24 months