The Food Riots in Haiti
By Richard Morse
(Counterpunch) April 16, 2008 – I’m starting to get funny emails. I haven’t felt threatened in Haiti since 2005 when Apaid and the boys had their man Latortue in office.
The police came into the hotel and arrested some of my musicians in the middle of a show. As if that wasn’t enough Leon Charles’ (police chief) men used to come over during RAM shows, heavily armed, dressed in black with black ski masks on their faces. They’d walk through the dance floor bumping into the guests. I complained to the American Embassy (Ambassador Foley) but they ignored me. I tried to talk to Leon Charles but he wouldn’t see me. So, I wrote an email to the political officer at the US Embassy (former student of my Dad’s) in the Dominican Republic.
I then went to Washington with Lionel Delatour and explained to many (State Department, Pentagon, members of the House and Senate), the political situation in Haiti. Fortunately, I also found time to vent a few of my personal issues (which often reflect Haiti’s national issues). Shortly thereafter, Leon Charles and The American Ambassador were shipped out. I think their departure was a coincidence, but perhaps my complaints highlighted their ineptitude. Haiti Democracy Project
The same people that were backing Latortue, including Group 184, Leon Charles, Ambassador Foley, Boulos, Baker, etc. were stunned at President Preval’s victory in 2006. They tried, through various means to manipulate the election and the Electoral Council so as to put one of their own in power but the Haitian people took to the streets and put an end to the charade. This same group of folks (The Commercial Class) has been galvanized by the pressure being put on Mr Boulos for his dual nationality. Boulos went to the DR and threatened to bring down the Haitian government.
There are two newspapers in Haiti, one owned by the Chauvettes and the other owned by Boulos. Thats not where the Haitian people go for their news although it might be where the Embassy goes for its news. The Haitian people go for the news where ever the truth might be available: word of mouth, meetings, the marche, on camoinettes, at work, in taxis, the radio, the tv, rumors.
It was wrong to try and bring down Preval’s government. The US, along with their calls for Democracy and Justice, should have been there, instead of, by their silence, saying that they support the commercial class and there desire to continuously overthrow governments.
Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors of Partisan Politics
Though Haiti’s most celebrated journalist, Jean Dominique, a close friend of Preval, was killed during Preval’s first term, Aristide’s government did little to pursue justice in the case.
Randall Robinson is an interesting source and though he may have the best of intentions, he can’t possibly write a balanced, acurate book on the politics of Haiti while living in St Kitts.
Aristide, in all fairness, did have his bright moments. He helped to show Haiti’s disenfranchised that by voting, they could exercise their political rights, and, he did abolish the Haitian Army, which was a murdering machine often aimed against Haiti’s poor.
The Transitional Government, 2004-2006, headed by Gerard Latortue was dictatorial and repressive at best but it was never sold to the public as a “Democracy”. The Transitional government was one sided, and it tried to bring Haiti’s elite into elective government. They failed.