(FinalCall.com) – Mainstream media can be a powerful tool in shaping the thoughts of the public. A consistent theme running in most recent articles about Haiti is that it is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
While a list of statistics can easily be produced to prove that statement, the constant uttering of the condition of this island nation helps to burn the image of desperate Haitian victims in the minds of readers. It has also laid the proper propaganda foundation for U.S., French and Canadian troops to be heralded as saviors by observers.
However, the reality is an entirely different story. If the Haitian people are looking for a savior, it certainly wouldn’t be the likes of the U.S., Canadian or French administrations–for these are governments that stood by when the Haitian people were terrorized by the Duvalier dictators–father Francois “Papa Doc” and son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc”–who collectively reigned for 29 years. When Baby Doc fled into exile, he found asylum in France, where he remains today, with aspirations to return to his homeland now that Pres. Aristide is gone.
In a Mar. 7 interview, he said that he was “ready to put myself at the disposal of the Haitian people.” Although he maintains that he was not involved in the rebel movement against Mr. Aristide, the subtext to this Haitian drama is that most of the armed rebels that pushed for Mr. Aristide to resign are reportedly ex-soldiers from the Haitian Army that sadistically executed the iron-fist policies of the corrupt Duvalier despots.
And it was to these cold-blooded murderers that the U.S. gave money and weaponry behind-the-scenes to sustain their push against Mr. Aristide, while professing democratic ideals. The hypocrisy is evident, although carefully cloaked by a curtain of deceit.
“For despite the fig leaf of constitutionality with which these western powers, and supposed bastions of democracy, have sought to shroud the act, what happened in Haiti (on Feb. 29) was nothing short of a coup d’etat,” an editorial in the Jamaican Observer read, adding, “Haiti has been raped.”
“The changed international environment” writes Selwyn Ryan in the Trinidad and Tobago Express, has “forced governments seeking to take out those whom they do not like or those whom they wish to use as a ‘demonstration model’ to use innovative and stealthy strategies that do not leave fingerprints. Coups now have to be more invisible. Critical weapons in the armory include economic strangulation and manipulative use of media power to project the prospective victim in a negative light to incite the ‘street’ against him.”
So, is that what Aristide and Haiti were–a demonstration model? Make no mistake about it, however corrupt Mr. Aristide’s government may be determined, he refused to succumb neither to international pressure to privatize Haiti’s services nor to demands from his country’s business elite to maintain a low minimum wage.
President Bush has a vision for the Americas–and it’s all about free trade–which translates as exploitation of the poor. Is Venezuela and Cuba next? Perhaps. The Venezuelan administration is in staunch opposition to the trade policies peddled by Pres. Bush to the struggling Caribbean, Central and South American countries.
And if Bush Jr. reportedly entered office with intentions to depose Saddam Hussein in Iraq who remained in power after Bush Sr. waged war in the Persian Gulf, then is it too far a stretch to imagine that Cuban President Fidel Castro sticks out as a thorn in this government’s side simply for surviving and marking 45 years of the Cuban Revolution this year, as well as supporting liberation struggles all over the world?
Sadly, in the midst of this bloody drama is CARICOM, struggling for regional unity, standing on the stage unsure of the next line in a script that has been changed, since their Plan of Action was left on the table. But if the Bush administration ignored a resolution from the United Nations, why was it such a surprise that the regional body of Caribbean leaders was dismissed? When the group urged the UN Security Council to send a peacekeeping force into Haiti days before Aristide fled, it was the United States and France that led the naysayers and insisted on a “political solution” to the crisis. In fact, what they meant to say, and it was reported that Aristide was told by the forces that swooped him away from his presidential palace, that the White House has a “high tolerance” for bloodshed in Haiti. So, as the blood continued to flow in the streets of Haiti, this becomes obvious.
But it should not be acceptable to decent human beings to say, as some cynics have written, that because the history of Haiti is mired in revolution, coups and bloodbaths, and what one writer termed “machete resistance,” that the people can only receive change if it comes at the end of violence–especially when there are hidden hands of former colonial powers pulling the strings in this tragic puppet show.