Canada Ltd. Murdering Haiti. Murdering Canadian Democracy
Date: Tuesday, October 18 2005
Canada Ltd. Murdering Haiti. Murdering Canadian Democracy.
Canada in Haiti, by Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton, Vancouver, Red Publishing and Fernwood Publishing, 2005, 120 pages.
This small book explodes in your hands. It does so, partly, because its authors are so Canadian, so decent, so reasonable, so determined to be fair. It does so, too, because it’s about brutalizing the Canadian police and military. It’s about a covert betrayal of everything Canada stands for in the world. It’s about a secret policy of the Canadian federal cabinet to engage in “regime change” in Haiti (from democratic government to imposed despotism) on behalf of U.S. imperialism.
It’s about “deep integration” – Canada being an unquestioning instrument of U.S. policy in repression, murder, and racist genocide in Haiti.
It’s about Canadian government hiding hundreds and hundreds of pages of information from the meeting in Ottawa - “the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” – Jan-Feb, 2003, precursor to illegal seizure of power there and a criminal bloodbath that continues as you read this review.
The recent appointment of a Haitian immigrant journalist in Canada, Michaelle Jean, as Governor General, takes on a dark and ambiguous character. Has she been appointed to provide a blind behind which the Paul Martin government can take cover, to divert attention from its murderous complicity in Haiti? Canadians are going to have to ply Madame Jean with that question whenever she appears in public.
In very simplest terms, Canada actively helped create social chaos in Haiti so that it could be branded “unstable”. Canada helped overthrow the elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide, and presently assists the murderous brutality in Haiti. Canadian government cannot be called ignorant of conditions there. Paul Martin, Pierre Pettigrew, and even former political toy-boy of Brian Mulroney, present premier of Quebec, Jean Charest, have visited the tiny, poverty stricken country since “the Ottawa initiative on Haiti.”
The fundamental story is that Haiti – after years of U.S.-backed Duvalier family despotism – moved towards justice in 1990 when Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former priest, won the government against the U.S. backed candidate. Seven months later a CIA-backed coup overthrew Aristide and chaos entered, such terrible chaos that U.S. president Clinton had to restore Aristide in 1994.
The die, however, was cast. The U.S. was determined to destroy Aristide and his party Fanmi Lavalas when it won overwhelmingly throughout Haiti led by Rene Preval in 2000, prefiguring a presidential win for Aristide a few months later in November. The U.S. determination to destroy Aristide and Lavalas was motivated by the Lavalas education program, its slow movement to bring some equality to a population treated like animals by Haitian people in power, its willingness to support co-operatives and state run enterprises, and its desire for a truly informed and participating democratic population.
The U.S. went into full Cold War mode, suspending aid, infiltrating fake aid groups, and forcing other governments (Canada included) to do likewise.
Incredibly, on January 31 and February 1, 2003, Canada hosted “the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti.” It was the first of meetings to decide Haiti’s future, to which no Haitians were invited. At those meetings the first steps toward the coup d’etat to take over Haiti were worked out with full Canadian (French and U.S.) participation, the evidence of which is now kept in secret in Ottawa.
Most of the people placed in power after the overthrow were working with U.S./Canadian/French overthrow forces.
In the process of destabilization leading up to the coup Canada was front and centre. Engler and Fenton tell us many things. “Without exception, documents obtained from CIDA (the Canadian International Development Agency) reveal that organizations ideologically opposed to Lavalas were sole recipients of Canadian government funding.” (p.50)
“NCHR (National Coalition for Haitian Rights) received [from Canada] $100,000.00 in 2004 for the specific purpose of juridical, medical, psychological, and logistical assistance for victims of an alleged massacre at a town … called Scierie.” The massacre, it seems, never took place. (p. 54)
After the coup, Philippe Vixamar became deputy minister of justice. Vixamar “stated that he is a political appointee of the Latortue administration, but the Canadian International Development Agency assigned him the position and is his direct employer.” (p.57) He shared responsibility “for police operations and for all political prisoners in the country”. (pp.57-58) Police operation supports – however tacitly – continuing brutality, and political prisoners are violated daily. (Under the supervision of a Canadian employee.)
Latortue, placed in power by the U.S., had, like the president of Afghanistan, spent many years in the U.S. and was brought back to serve the U.S. in Haiti.
The so-called interim government he leads “did not win an ‘unfair’ election, because it was not elected at all. It completely failed any test of democratic legitimacy, having been installed by foreign powers.” (p. 65)
“During a pro-Lavalas demonstration on September 30, 2004, the HNP [Haitian National Police, trained by Canadians] fired into a crowd of some 10,000 protestors. Several unarmed demonstrators were killed or wounded under the watchful eye of UN peacekeepers.” (p. 79)
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Roger Noriega, “explicitly called for the privatization of Haiti’s ports. The World bank also indicated that Haiti’s state run telecommunications company TELECO, should be privatized. A May 2005 World Bank report showed that Canada was overseeing the ‘decentralization’ and management of Haiti’s electrical system.” (p. 96)
What is not revealed in those quotations is the almost total devotion of the Canadian press and media to “disinformation” about Canada’s role in Haiti. For instance, almost no Canadians reading this know that Caricom, the organization of the Caribbean group of governments: the Caribbean Community, has refused under severe pressure to recognize the post-coup government imposed by the U.S., Canada, and France.
Canadians may forget, too, that when U.S. forces were kidnapping Jean- Bertrand Aristide in order to fly him into (darkest) Africa – not to the U.S . or Canada – Canadian troops “secured” the Haitian airport so that Aristide could be whisked out of the country without incident. Aristide has repeatedly insisted he did not go willingly and did not go to prevent instability.
How did that happen?
So-called insurgents began a war to take over Haiti. They were almost without exception created or fully backed by foreign governments. Paul Martin’s government refused peace-keepers to assist the legitimate government quell insurgency. Caricom called upon the UN Security Council – which refused to help.
The legitimate government of Haiti was beginning to turn the tide on the so-called insurgents, at Port-au-Prince, hoping for Venezuelan support.
Then everything changed.
On February 29, 2004, U.S. forces kidnapped Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his security staff and flew them to the Central African Republic. As I have said, Canadian forces seized the airport so that the U.S. kidnapping could proceed unchallenged.
When the decisions to remove Aristide, to install a puppet regime, and to dismantle Lavalas organizations and murder their members were taken – then, and only then, did some Canadian military arrive in Haiti. Then, and only then, were all the embargoes lifted and forms of financial support restored.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan refused to investigate Aristide’s kidnapping and removal. Haiti is too small to risk angering the big powers who are looting it.
Haiti has suffered every violation by what are, in fact, invaders who have created fake social reconstruction, fake paramilitaries brutalizing the population, economic embargo, coup d’etat, and an almost unbelievable campaign of lies – that last totally embraced by the federal government of Canada and the larger portion of Canada’s press and media.
The case Engler and Fenton make is chilling. Canada is in Haiti as a barbaric invader, complicit with murder, torture, and repressive destruction of Haitian society and economic structure. Canadians should get the book, Canada in Haiti – and then begin, by every means possible, confronting Canadian government in order to force it out of its murderous policy and to force it out of Haiti.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on October 19, 2005]