The Washington Post lies–Haitians want foreign military troops out!


The other day, I noted that the Washington Post was full of shit regarding Haiti. Today, an item in Aporrea confirms what I suspected: Haiti’s poor may want and need aid, but they don’t want it at gunpoint…from anywhere:

The opposition to the international military presence in Haiti consists mainly of followers of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted in 2004 and 1991 in coups attributed to the influence of Washington, and is based in neighborhoods such as Cité Soleil or Bel Air, where murals of Aristide’s face reside alongside graffiti of Bob Marley and Martin Luther King.

“Aristide built everything here, and the Brazilians destroyed it,” says a man named Jean, in one of the ruined streets of Bel Air, to a correspondent of the Brazilian newspaper, Folha de São Paulo. The Brazilians form the main contingent of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

One of the main tasks of MINUSTAH has been to disarm groups loyal to Aristide between 2004 and 2007. The Brazilian soldiers “are not our friends. They killed our people,” said a director of Popular Masses, Vanel Louis Paul.

Other sectors of the population are more favorable to the presence of MINUSTAH, whose military direction comes from Brazil, but the Folha correspondent underscored that a “radicalized sector” exists, which the international mission is well aware of.

“We will not stop watching closely and with concern the actions of the partisans of Aristide, in spite of the weakness of their position”, said the communications chief of the Brazilian battalion of MINUSTAH, Colonel Alan Santos.

Every year on the 28th of February, in Port-au-Prince, Aristide supporters demonstrate, recalling the coup d’état of 2004 and calling for the departure of MINUSTAH. This year, they will be joined by some 5,500 former members of armed groups, who were able to escape from prison in the earthquake of January 12.

The former president is exiled in South Africa, and has demanded to return to Haiti, promising not to run for office in the next presidential elections. However, his party, Fanmi Lavalas, still holds much influence, particularly among the poorest Haitians. “We’re all over the country. We are the majority party,” asserts the party president, Maryse Narcisse.

The former minister is diplomatic when speaking of the Brazilians, but still has asked for a timetable for their departure, something the UN says will not happen “for many years”.

“We can’t believe that MINUSTAH will be staying forever. We need international solidarity, but we must have dignity for ourselves,” Narcisse said.

Translation mine.

Recall that MINUSTAH has suffered its own blow as a result of the earthquake; the building that housed its headquarters was levelled, and the leader of the mission was killed. Little wonder, then, that Washington decided to send in the Fourth Fleet…to “stabilize” and “secure” Haiti, of course. (And also to make sure that the Cuban/Venezuelan/Dominican/etc. relief efforts are stymied and limited, so that their own star can shine all the brighter. Never mind how little of the cash spent on it actually goes to Haiti.)

Meanwhile, some other foreign invaders–religious, rather than military–are also facing rejection by the Haitian people:

A woman claiming to be the mother of five of the 33 children taken by a US church group intending to remove them illegally from Haiti last Saturday, came to the local police on Monday and said she was sorry for having handed over the children.

The woman, who gave her name as Magonie, made the statement at the Judicial Police Centre (a provisional seat of the Government of Haiti) in the company of others who also said they were mothers of some of the children, and told journalists they thought their children would be better off with the US citizens.

“I gave them to the pastor (who headed the group) so he would give them a better life, but now I’m sorry I did it,” said the woman, moments before police officers took her inside to make an official statement.

Translation, again, mine.

The article goes on to note that Haiti’s judicial system is still in place (shocking, eh?) and that a government minister demanded that it be respected. Also that the children being taken had no official documents, and therefore were definitely being removed illegally from the country (and, it turns out, their still living parents.)

There are all kinds of hinky things about this account of supposed do-gooders trying to give poor kids a better life, but the one that leaps out most at me is the claim that they were supposedly being taken to an orphanage–still under construction–in the Dominican Republic. Why house homeless kids in an unfinished compound in another country, especially if they’re not really orphans?

Again, it’s just one more example of “aid” that really isn’t. And that isn’t anything except shameless opportunism in disguise. The sort of thing, in short, that deserves loud boos from everyone, even in the US itself.

Especially there.

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