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 Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces?

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Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? Empty
MessageSujet: Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces?   Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? EmptyLun 5 Mar 2012 - 23:04

Saturday, March 3, 2012
A Response to Amy Wilentz, 'Duvalier and Haiti's Triple Threat', The Nation, 29 February 2012

By: Peter Hallward - HaitiAnalysis
http://haitianalysis.blogspot.com/2012/03/response-to-amy-wilentz-duvalier-and.html

Amy Wilentz's book *The Rainy Season* (1989) is widely applauded as the most compelling account of Aristide's political youth, and so her judgement of his political legacy carries exceptional weight. The way history remembers his controversial second presidency (2001-2004) will cast a shadow over Haiti's political future for a long time to come, and the ongoing demonisation of Aristide – in particular by those who like Wilentz once supported him – contributes directly to the ongoing disempowerment of the millions of ordinary people who rallied around the Lavalas mobilisation he led.

In this new article, Wilentz writes: "As everyone in Haiti knows, Aristide’s enemies have, sometimes plausibly, attributed a series of assassinations and human rights violations to Aristide supporters or to his party or to his administration or even to the former president himself. It’s assumed that during the seven years of his South African exile, one thing that kept Aristide from returning to Haiti was fear of prosecution on such charges. He understands that his foes would love to see him arrested, jailed and brought before an unfriendly judiciary."

Aristide's understanding of his many foes, it's now assumed, thus serves to get the most prominent among them off the legal hook. According to prosecutor Wilentz, the return of both Aristide and Duvalier confirms one and the same legal-democratic deficit. Impunity for one implies impunity for all, and in this sense the legacy of Haiti's first democratic leader would amount, perversely, to the exoneration of dictatorship.

It's a neat argument, and a familiar one -- but it's starkly at odds with the facts of the case, and it contributes to a widespread and disastrous misrepresentation of history.


If Aristide himself really understands things this way, it's strange that (as Brian Concannon and many others have pointed out) he seems to have done everything possible, from the day after the February 2004 coup to his eventual release from exile seven years later, to return himself to the mercy of those foes who used every means at their disposal to drive him out of the country. At least some of these foes, by contrast, soon came to understand the issue differently: although in 2004 a degree of shameless legal pretence helped misrepresent the US-backed coup that overthrew him as a restoration of Haitian democracy, a couple of years later the team of Chicago-based lawyers hired to press some of the most 'plausible' charges against Aristide came to the conclusion that they were wasting their time, and quietly dropped the case (Jay Weaver, ‘Haiti Drops Lawsuit Alleging Aristide Theft’, Miami Herald 6 July 2006). Was this another regrettable case of undemocratic impunity? Or could it be that those who pretended to indict Aristide, back in 2004-06, were motivated by something other than a concern for justice?

As Joe Emersberger points out, in a previous response to Wilentz's article, if the persistence of impunity is to serve as a benchmark of democratic legitimacy, what are we to make of the persistence of impunity for those easily-identified foes who actually overthrew Haitian democracy, both in 1991 and again (with arguably yet more calamitous consequences) in 2004? Imagine for a moment what it might take for George W. Bush, Colin Powell and their associates to face justice in Haiti. The US account of what happened to Aristide in 2004 is full of such flagrant falsehoods that refutation is almost a redundant exercise (see for instance http://www.zcommunications.org/did-he-jump-or-was-he-pushed-by-peter-hallward); the issue here, 'it is assumed', doesn't so much concern the facts of the case as the relative power of those who might want to prosecute it.

More to the point, presumably Wilentz includes herself among Aristide's diverse collection of foes, since in the run-up to that 2004 coup she contributed a good deal to the representation of Haiti's most popular political figure as an illegitimate and 'uncompromising' tyrant. (Never mind the rather sobering number of compromises that Aristide actually made, or was forced to make, from the start of his first administration to the end of his second, and that demoralised many of his more committed supporters: references to his supposedly 'uncompromising' and intransigent style have always appeared high on the list of charges against him). In what were to be Aristide's last months in office, Wilentz probably did more than any other American journalist to help make murky attributions of assassination and human rights violations as plausible as possible. In particular, at a pivotal moment in the run-up to the February 2004 coup, she helped spread rumours, carefully cultivated by some of his other foes, that Aristide might have approved the assassination of his veteran supporter Amiot Métayer, in Gonaïves, in September 2003 (see esp. Kevin Pina, 'The Ambulance Chasers', The Black Commentator, 6 November 2003, http://www.blackcommentator.com/63/63_haiti_2.html). Immediate attribution of responsibility for this gruesome killing to Aristide was one of the key moves in the elaborate international campaign to discredit him, the campaign that led directly to the coup and the thousands of further killings it entailed in due course.

On 12 October 2003, for instance, Wilentz published an article in the LA Times entitled ‘Haiti: A Savior Short on Miracles’, http://articles.latimes.com/print/2003/oct/12/opinion/op-wilentz12). Although this article stopped short of an explicit endorsement of the accusation that Aristide was 'responsible for Métayer's death', it did help lend the idea a degree of 'plausibility'. After describing the murder and the reactions it provoked (or was meant to provoke?), Wilentz offered a general characterisation of the Lavalas government, in terms that would soon be taken up in a wide variety a media outlets:

Citation :
"Aristide permitted and then upheld an invalid legislative election that gave his party an overwhelming mandate to run the country, but that also destroyed any hope there was of compromise between his people and the wealthy Haitians who influence American politicians and control a good portion of Haiti's economy. In addition, he foolishly alienated all the intellectuals and artists and do-gooders who had supported him in his time of need.

Far worse things are true: His government has repeatedly failed to apprehend perpetrators of the grossest human rights abuses, including assassinations of his former allies and friends and of journalists of all stripes. More repugnant, a man who embodied the movement against Duvalier and his Tontons Macoute, or secret police, now has numerous secret armed militias working on his behalf and spreading terror among the opposition.
No matter who killed Metayer, Aristide has been a bitter disappointment. He is, however, a master manipulator and a talented political contortionist."

Although this isn't the place to demonstrate the point, it certainly required a good deal of talent and contortion to characterise Aristide's second presidency in this light (the reference to 'intellectuals and do-gooders' is an especially nice touch), or to attribute Métayer's still-unsolved murder to Aristide rather than to those well-connected foes who had every interest and every opportunity to pin it on him. It could be that Wilentz had access to information that remains hidden from other observers, in which case it would be good to know what it is. When I asked Wilentz about this particular attribution a few years ago, however, she was reluctant to provide further details, though she did give permission to quote an admission that when she wrote about "possible Aristide involvement in the killing of Amiot Métayer I wrote from a great distance (geographical as well as time spent out of the country), and I think now that I may have been played by certain anti-Aristide elements" (letter from Wilentz, 25 February 2007, cited in Damming the Flood, chapter 9, note 10).

But rather than correct this possible misrepresentation here, Wilentz's latest article in The Nation returns to another theme long favoured by some of the leading players among Aristide's foes, people like former Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega – the idea that "the Aristide regime bore too much of a resemblance to the Duvalier regime" (Noriega, ‘Haiti at the Crossroads of Democracy’, 14 April 2004, http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rls/rm/31411.htm), and thus no doubt deserved to be overthrown (and then prosecuted) by fair means or foul. More sensitive to 'instinctive' Haitian sensibilities, Wilentz suggests we might think of Aristide, Préval and Duvalier as divine triplets who (to avoid sacrilege?) 'must be treated equally. If one is punished, all three must be punished in the same fashion.'

Equality is a fine principle. Perhaps on that basis we could start by clarifying the prosecution's case. Wilentz notes that "the Duvalier 'governments' were responsible for an estimated 30,000 deaths over almost thirty years." How many deaths does she attribute to Aristide's governments?

Peter Hallward
Kingston University London
http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/faculty/staff/cv.php?staffnum=734





Peter Hallward is the author of Damning the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment (2007, reprinted with a new afterword in 2011) as well as numerous articles and essays on Haiti. He is a professor of modern European philosophy at Kingston University in London, England.


See: ‘Haiti Drops Lawsuit Alleging Aristide Theft’, by Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, July 6, 2006.
http://canadahaitiaction.ca/content/archives-haiti-drops-lawsuit-alleging-aristide-theft
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Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? Empty
MessageSujet: Re: Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces?   Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? EmptyLun 5 Mar 2012 - 23:30

Mne si wilkens te menm li sit ayisyen yo li ta li jou yo finn touye Amiot metayer moun ki te patisipe ou byen ki te ordonne asasina te ekri:Nou pat ko menm finn tounen Amiot yo te deja metel sou do Aristide."si li ale nan achiv moun.com la wè sa.
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Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? Empty
MessageSujet: Re: Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces?   Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? EmptyLun 5 Mar 2012 - 23:34

Se lagè sikolojik yo t ap fè an 2003. Se lagè sikolojik y ap fè an 2012. Zafè verite, jistis, bagay konsa se detay pou moun sa yo. Sa ki enterese yo se defann enterè ekonomik ak politik yo. Voye je ou nan peyi Libi pou ou wè kisa yo fenk fè...lavi nèg pa vo anyen nan lespri salopri sa yo. Y ap fè ti dife vole jouk lobèy pete epi nèg masakre nèg pou bon plezi yo. Pou di sa ka mache chak fwa konsa?
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Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? Empty
MessageSujet: Re: Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces?   Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? EmptyLun 5 Mar 2012 - 23:54

On March 19, 2011, we were already anticipating these developments. We wrote:

WHY ARE HAITIANS SO OVERJOYED TO SEE ARISTIDE?

There is something that seems to really bother some folks about the DIGNITY
reflected by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, his professional - yet always modestly
attired spouse and two daughters. I guess they are more comfortable with the
"last king of scottland" steoreotype which feeds some deep seated hunger in
their soul. Aristide denies them that pleasure and it hurts. Another thing that
seems to enrage some folks is the RESPECT with which this family of Haitians has
been treated by the revolutionary people of South-Africa.

It is noteworthy that President Aristide's started his speach with: Frè m, sè
m, onè -respè! (my brothers, my sisters, HONOR & RESPECT). The last word of his
speech: Amour (love).

Some are questionning how the Aristide family managed to fly back in a private
jet, seated in the company of TransAfrica Forum founder and director Danny
Glover.

Former U.S. Special Forces soldier Stan Goff, may help them find the answer to
their question which is more psychological than practical, as he wrote:
Citation :
"I feel it is important to take away one of the key weapons of the beast, the
exoticization of Haiti that lends credence to the notion that Haitian society
and politics are perverse and unknowable and essentially cultural. By
extension, this means that Haitians are perverse, unknowable, and trapped in
culture. I found nothing in my experience during the invasion of 1994, or on
subsequent visits to Haiti, that was either exotic or incomprehensible. The U.
S. was behaving in a manner consistent with an imperialist power, and Haitians
were behaving in a manner consistent with subjugated, exploited, and colonized
peoples. This implicitly racist exoticizing serves capital by encouraging
potential anti-imperialist allies in the U.S.-especially African-Americans-to
turn their backs on what appears to be an intractably exasperating and
impenetrable situation. Pan-African solidarity has always alarmed capital.
Capital spares no effort in subverting it".

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43a/399.html

Indeed, not enough has been said to praise the courage displayed by
South-Africa during those past 7 years of bullying by the international bandits
and their accomplices. Today, this set of self-styled legal bandits who
consider bloody coup d'etat to be a normal form of doing "diplomacy" are all
red-faced, blushing in shame but it would be foolish to expect them to stop
doing what they do.


Thank God for Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! Blessed indeed be the soul of Jown
Maxwell! Again, we say with sincerity NGIYABONGA SOUTH-AFRICA !
https://www.forumhaiti.com/t10868-haitians-say-ngiyabonga-thank-you-south-africa

The STATE of FRANCE: you still owe $40 Billion to the African People of Haiti -
the world has not forgotten! These survivors of the MAAFA need their money to
build their infrastructure - they donot need another Institut francais and
literary prizes to prop up "la franco-phoney". They need real hospitals,
highways, real universities, irrigation systems, airports....Haitian companies
to exploit the iridium, the oil, the gold of their hard earned 27,750 square
kilometers. Pay up and stop the croccodile tears and fake lamentations. Return
the Charles X Ransom in order to revover your own dignity!

WHY ARE HAITIANS SO OVERJOYED TO SEE ARISTIDE?
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/World/20110318/aristide-flies-from-south-africa-to-haiti-110318/

Peace! (with justice!)

Jafrikayiti
"Depi nan Ginen bon N?g ap ede N?g!"
(Brotherhood is as Ancient as Motherland Africa)
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Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? Empty
MessageSujet: Re: Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces?   Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? EmptyMar 6 Mar 2012 - 0:13

I like that term "Franco phoney"(lol)
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Why is Aristide still targeted for character assassination by pro-coup forces? Empty
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