- Except for Aristide's tenure, what passes for Haitian
democracy would make a despot blush, thanks to America's imperial grip
on the hemisphere's poorest, long-suffering people.
- As a result, last November's presidential and legislative
elections might best be called a cruel joke. The entire process was rigged
to exclude 15 parties, including by far the most popular, Aristide's Fanmi
- Moreover, the election was so tainted by brazen disenfranchisement
and fraud, including ballot box stuffing and other irregularities, that
legitimate independent observers would have demanded throwing out the results
and starting over.
- Most Haitians, however, weren't fooled. A scant 22%,
in fact, voted, a hemispheric low since record keeping began over 60 years
- Since no presidential candidate won a majority, a March
20 runoff followed, pitting stealth Duvalierist Michel ("Sweet Micky")
Martelly, an anti-populist former Kompa singer, against Mirlande Manigat,
wife of former right-wing president, Leslie Manigat. Between them, they
got about 11% support in round one, making them both illegitimate presidential
- Even more so for winner Martelly with fewer than 22%
of Haitians voting, a new record low so embarrassing it was almost like
holding a national election and no one showed up. Why bother with only
US approved candidates participating, making both rounds fraudulent, illegitimate,
and predictable, assuring sham democracy, continued repression, deep poverty,
and exploitation for another five years.
- Nonetheless, on May 14, Martelly will be inaugurated
as president, by imperial selection, not popular mandate. In a nation
of about 9.7 million people, he got about 700,000 votes, about 16.7% of
registered voters (about 7% of all Haitians), making him perhaps Haiti's
least popular president ever. The people's choice, he's not, with good
- Martelly, a President with Notorious Extremist Connections
- He's long had ties to Haitian elites, militarists, reactionary
Duvalierists, and his thuggish Tonton Macoute assassins, backing coups,
death squads, deep repression, and denial of basic freedoms. Moreover,
Damian Merlo managed his campaign, a man connected to former Reagan and
Bush II official Otto Reich, notorious for some of the worst right-wing
policies of both administrations, including attempting to destabilize and
overthrow democratic governments.
- As a result, Martelly will quash efforts for progressive
change, in lockstep with Washington, Western corporations, and Haitian
oligarchs, wanting no interference with their plans for even greater exploitation.
Moreover, he's expected to do it by reinstating Haiti's notoriously repressive
army, established to serve elitist interests by murdering regime opponents
and crushing popular resistance, what UN Blue Helmet occupiers and Haitian
police have done since spring 2004.
- On April 23, Washington Post writer Lee Hockstader shamelessly
called Martelly "a new kind of political figure (promising) rule of
law (governance), free public education, jobs, new homes (for Haiti's homeless),
and help for poor farmers." In 2002, however, a WP profile said he
was a popular "favorite of the thugs who worked on behalf of the hated
Duvalier family dictatorship before its 1986 collapse," a history
now airbrushed from his resume.
- During the Duvalier years, he ran the Garage, a Port-au-Prince
nightclub, popular among the worst of Haitian extremists. At the time,
he openly befriended Lt. Col. Michel Francois, dictator Raoul Cedras' ((1991
- 1994) secret police chief, and was associated with his death squad repression
of Lavalas party members, even participating with them on hunt and kill
- In 1994, when Aristide was restored as president, he
moved to Miami to continue singing in America. Once the Bush administration
launched efforts to oust him after his 2000 reelection, he returned to
Haiti as an outspoken critic of his policies. In fact, after his February
2004 ouster, he organized a Port-au-Prince concert under the slogan, "Keep
- According to Haiti Liberte writer Roger Annis, Washington
financed his multi-million dollar campaign, backers Martelly called his
"friends in the US" to assure his cooperation as president.
- City University of New York Professor Francois Pierre-Louis
deplored the prospect of him in charge, saying:
- Haiti's "dream has not come true. Sweet Mickey is
- unprepared and inexperienced. He did not run under an
established party and thus is yet to present a realistic program for dealing
with reconstruction and unemployment, and much of his team represents some
of the most notorious anti-democratic forces in the country."
- Moreover, "Haiti hasn't invested in the agricultural
sector since the 1990s and continuing the old trade policies will likely
create a food crisis very shortly. If promised agricultural reforms are
not met, there'll be demonstrations and protests and Martelly's mandate
will shift from developing the country to keeping people in check."
- In other words, murdering them for his bosses in Washington
and Haiti's oligarchs.
- Of course, he was selected to serve Western, mainly US,
corporate interests at the expense of popular needs. Based on his history,
he won't disappoint.
- On April 20, Miami Herald writers Lesley Clark and Jacqueline
Charles headlined, "Haiti's Martelly meets with Clinton during his
first visit to Washington since election," saying:
- He "won enthusiastic backing Wednesday from Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton." She praised him, saying:
- "We are behind him; we have a great deal of enthusiasm.
The people of Haiti may have a long road ahead of them, but as they walk
it, the United States will be with you all the way."
- In fact, Martelly is Washington's man charged with extracting
every possible pound of flesh from ordinary Haitians, those resisting facing
the most extreme repressive power of the state.
- According to Wesleyan University Professor Alex Dupuy:
- "The dual strategy of urban sweatshops and laissez-faire
agriculture, which subordinated Haiti in the 1980s, is now its reconstruction
- In Washington, Clinton and Martelly discussed it, including
financing by the IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and
other international lending agencies to exploit Haiti more than ever for
profit, its people no better than wage slaves for those lucky enough to
have any work.
- The Miami Herald's Clark and Charles said:
- Martelly "visited with officials at the World Bank,
the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank,
signaling he wants their support for aid to the Haitian government and
investments in the private sector. He also promoted Haiti at a US Chamber
of Commerce cocktail party."
- In other words, Haiti is open for business. Ahead expect
greater neoliberal exploitation, Washington, the IMF and World Bank obligating
Martelly's government to take more loans to service old ones and enforce
structural adjustment harshness, including:
- -- greater privatization of state enterprises;
- -- mass layoffs;
- -- full deregulation;
- -- no social benefits or development;
- -- wage freezes;
- -- unrestricted free market access for Western corporations;
- -- unchecked plundering of state resources;
- -- corporate-friendly tax cuts;
- -- crackdowns on or elimination of trade unionism; and
- -- harsh repression against those opposing a system incompatible
with social democracy.
- In other words, Martelly's mandate is to facilitate profiteering
from misery. As a result, unscrupulous Western interests expect a bonanza
from greater pillaging of the region's most vulnerable state, including
its rich resources and exploitable labor to be sold out for profit.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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