A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Barack Obama has the gall to claim that the U.S. supports democracy in Haiti when, as the world knows, “the United States snuffed out democracy in Haiti in 2004.” The farcical, U.S.-imposed elections have yielded grotesque results: “The most popular person in Haiti, Aristide, and his supporters are treated as political outlaws, while the presidency is guaranteed to go to an associate of the most hated man in Haiti, “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
The Election Charade Masks U.S. War Against Haiti
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“Barack Obama has no right to put the words Haiti and 'democracy' in the same sentence.”
In the South American nation of Chile, this week, President Obama delivered a fantasyland narrative on America’s benign intentions towards its southern neighbors, including an obscene claim that the recent elections in Haiti are proof of a U.S. commitment to democracy in the region. The truth, of course, is that the United States snuffed out democracy in Haiti in 2004, when it deposed, kidnapped and exiled the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide returned to Haiti only days ago over the most strenuous objections of the United States. These sham elections, in which only 22 percent of eligible voters participated in the first round, in November, were stage-managed by the United States to provide the form, but absolutely none of the substance, of democracy. The elections excluded Haiti’s most popular political party: Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas. The result was the exact opposite of democracy: the two U.S.-approved presidential candidates are both closely connected to former dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who returned to Haiti in January with the obvious blessing of the United States. Obama's version of democracy has produced the most grotesque spectacle imaginable: The most popular person in Haiti, Aristide, and his supporters are treated as political outlaws, while the presidency is guaranteed to go to an associate of the most hated man in Haiti, “Baby Doc” Duvalier. No democratic system could possibly result in such a travesty.
Barack Obama has no right to put the words Haiti and “democracy” in the same sentence. His fairytale of U.S. beneficence in the America’s or anywhere else in the world is an insult to humanity’s intelligence and fools no one outside an ignorant and self-possessed audience in the United States. It is as if he were taunting the Haitian people, whose rightfully elected president was stolen from them by force of arms by George W. Bush. Barack Obama has made himself a full accomplice in the crime.
“The criminality of the U.S. in Haiti is ongoing in nature – a crime in progress that began with the armed invasion, and now includes the imposition of sham elections.”
But, what is the nature of the crime? It is far more than simply rigging an election. It is a crime against peace, the most serious violation of international law – the crime for which most of the Nazis executed after World War Two were convicted. The criminality of the U.S. in Haiti is ongoing in nature – a crime in progress that began with the armed invasion, and now includes the imposition of sham elections. And yet, who in the United States speaks of Washington's illegal war against Haiti. Certainly not the U.S. anti-war movement, which tends to recognize as wars only those U.S. conflicts in which American troops are endangered by armed resistance. The rape of Haiti's people's right to self-determination, her humiliation under foreign occupation, the terrorizing of her citizens by thugs installed at the point of American bayonets, and the latest elections atrocity – none of this is considered war by much of the American public, including some who call themselves progressives.
That's why the Black Is Back Coalition is compelled to hold a “National Conference on the Other Wars,” this Saturday, March 26, in Washington. U.S. imperialism wages the full spectrum of wars all across the globe. We need to call these wars by their true name and bring the perpetrators to justice. Anything less is to disrespect the humanity of America's victims, including Barack Obama's victims in Haiti.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].
For information on the Black Is Back Coalition “National Conference on the Other Wars,” go to http://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/mobilization3.shtml.