Books on the Caribbean
Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New
York: The Viking Press, 1967.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Caribbean Doscourse (2004)
/ Barbara Harlow.
Resistance Literature (1987)
Josaphat B. Kubayanda.
The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime
Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.
Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry
David P. Geggus, ed.
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.
University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a
Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization
* * *
Maintains the Administration
Is Partly to Blame for the Unrest in Haiti
By David M. Halbfinger
HIGHLAND HILLS, Ohio, Feb. 24 — Senator
John Kerry accused the Bush administration on Tuesday of
helping foster the political instability in Haiti that has given
rise to the armed rebellion threatening to overthrow the
government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
"I think the administration has missed a
lot of opportunities, in fact has exacerbated the situation over
the last few years with its cutoff of humanitarian assistance
and its attitude towards the Aristide administration," Mr.
Kerry said. "So they sort of created the environment within
which the insurgency could grow, take root. And now they're
trying to manage it, I think."
He also questioned whether the administration
had been playing "a duplicitous game": publicly
encouraging Mr. Aristide but declining to assert itself in his
behalf with the insurgents.
"They hate Aristide," Mr. Kerry
said of administration officials at a morning meeting with
editors and reporters of The New York Times, as he sought
endorsements in New York's Democratic presidential primary next
week. He then flew to Ohio, another Super Tuesday state, to
campaign near Youngstown and in this Cleveland suburb. . . .
He repeatedly attacked the administration's
competence, calling its foreign policy "almost stupid"
and, in a reference to its domestic policies, declaring,
"It's staggering to me how completely inept these people
are in almost every choice that we face before the
country." . . .
On Haiti, Mr. Kerry said that if he were
president, he would consider threatening to deploy an
international peacekeeping force to persuade the insurgents to
back away from their goal of toppling Mr. Aristide.
His message to the rebels, Mr. Kerry said,
would be: "You're not going to take over. You're not
kicking him out. This democracy is going to be sustained. We're
willing to put in a new government, new prime minister, we're
willing to work with you, but you're not going to succeed in
your goal of exile" for Mr. Aristide.
"And unless that's clear," he
added, "you can't necessarily stop it in its tracks."
. . .
Sharpton Says He'll Go to Haiti
Another Democratic presidential candidate,
the Rev. Al
Sharpton, said Tuesday that he planned to go to Haiti this
week to try to help Mr. Aristide and rebel leaders negotiate a
Mr. Sharpton said that in telephone
conversations, the rebel leaders, who on Tuesday turned down an
American-backed plan, and Mr. Aristide "said they wanted to
talk to me, and both said they'd welcome my coming." He
said that he would leave on Thursday or Friday but that he had
not yet determined how he would travel to the country, where
spreading violence has caused chaos and already closed at least
one airport, at Cap Haitien.
* * *
Why Aristide Should Stay
By Tracy Kidder
26 February 2004
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. In Haiti, a paramilitary group has been making
coordinated attacks on towns and cities, overwhelming
understaffed, underequipped and ill-trained members of the
national police force. The group has been burning police stations
and setting free prisoners, both ordinary criminals and people
convicted of involvement in massacres. It has been looting and
rounding up supporters of the elected government and, apparently,
killing anyone who tries to oppose it.
This group seems to be operating with the tacit
approval of some of the politicians who oppose Haiti's government.
But many of these rebels, as news reports call them, have unsavory
records. Some are former soldiers from the disbanded Haitian Army,
which in 1991 deposed Haiti's first democratically elected
president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and ruled the country with
cruelty and corruption for three years. Another was a ranking
member of an organization that aided the army in terrorizing the
country during that period. This rebel group seems to enjoy
sanctuary within the Dominican Republic and free passage across
the border between that country and Haiti.
For several years, the rebels have been making
raids into Haiti, including a commando-style assault on the
presidential palace in 2001 and, in 2003, an attack on a
hydroelectric dam, during which they burned the control station,
murdered two security guards and stole an ambulance. Clearly, they
were just getting warmed up. Their leaders now boast that they
will soon be in control of the entire country.
I first went to Haiti in 1994, for research on
an article about some of the American soldiers sent to restore the
country's elected government. I have spent parts of the past
several years there, working on a book about an American doctor
and a public health system that he helped to create in an
impoverished rural region. The Haiti that I experienced was very
different from the Haiti that I had read about back in the United
States, and this disconnection is even stronger for me today.
Recent news reports, for example, perhaps in
laudable pursuit of evenhandedness, have taken pains to assert
that President Aristide and his Lavalas Party have been using
armed thugs of their own to enforce their will on the country. The
articles imply that the current crisis in Haiti is an incipient
war between two factions roughly equal in illegitimacy. But I have
interviewed leaders of the opposition, and can say with certainty
that theirs is an extremely disparate group, which includes
members of the disbanded army and former officials of the
repressive regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier — and also people who
were persecuted by both these groups.
This is an opposition that has so far shown
itself unable to agree on much of anything except its
determination to get rid of Mr. Aristide. Most important, the
various leaders of this opposition have enjoyed little in the way
of electoral success, the true measure of legitimacy in any
country that calls itself a democracy. Mr. Aristide, by contrast,
has been elected president twice, by overwhelming margins, and his
party won the vast majority of seats in Parliament in the last
legislative elections, held in May 2000.
Press reports generally date the current crisis
to those elections, which they describe as flawed. In fact, they
were flawed, but less flawed than we have been led to believe.
Eight candidates, seven of them from Lavalas, were awarded seats
in the Senate, even though they had won only pluralities.
Consequently, many foreign diplomats expressed concern, and some
went so far as to call the election "fraudulent."
But to a great extent, the proceedings were
financed, managed and overseen by foreigners, and in the immediate
aftermath many monitors declared a victory for Haiti's nascent
democracy. Sixty percent of the country's eligible voters went to
polling stations, many trudging for miles along mountain paths,
then waiting for hours in the hot sun to vote. Moreover, those
eight contested Senate seats didn't affect the balance of power in
Parliament. Even if it had lost them all, Mr. Aristide's party
would still have had a clear majority.
Citing the flaws in those elections, the United
States and other foreign governments refused to monitor the
presidential election that followed, later in 2000, which Mr.
Aristide won handily. The opposition boycotted the affair and
still claims that the election was illegitimate, but it does so
against the weight of the evidence. This includes a Gallup poll
commissioned by the United States government but never made
public. (I obtained a copy last year.) It shows that as of 2002
Mr. Aristide remained far and away the most popular political
figure in Haiti.
Again citing the flawed elections as its
reason, the Bush administration also led a near total embargo on
foreign aid to the Haitian government — even blocking loans from
the Inter-American Development Bank for improvements in education,
roads, health care and water supplies. Meanwhile, the
administration has supported the political opposition. This is
hardly a destructive act, unless, as Mr. Aristide's supporters
believe, the aim has been to make room for an opposition by
weakening the elected government.
They have a point. Over the past several years,
the United States and the Organization of American States have
placed increasingly onerous demands on Mr. Aristide. Foreign
diplomats insisted that the senators in the contested seats
resign; all did so several months after Mr. Aristide's
re-election. Though Mr. Aristide called for new elections, the
opposition demanded that he himself step down before it would
cooperate. Last year, a State Department official in Haiti,
speaking on condition of anonymity, told me that the United States
wouldn't tolerate that kind of intransigence but also said that no
support for new elections would be forthcoming until President
Aristide improved "security." And yet by the time the
diplomat said this, the administration had long since withdrawn
support from Haiti's fledgling police force, with predictable and
now obvious results.
Mr. Aristide has been accused of many things. A
few days ago, a news report described him as
"uncompromising." For more than a week now, American and
other diplomats have been trying to broker a deal whereby the
president would appoint a new prime minister acceptable to the
opposition. Mr. Aristide has agreed. So far the opposition has
refused, insisting again that the president resign.
It was the United States that restored
Mr. Aristide to power in 1994, but since his re-election our
government has made rather brazen attempts to undermine his
presidency. One could speculate endlessly on American motives, but
the plain fact is that American policy in Haiti has not served
American interests, not if those include the establishment of
democracy in Haiti, or the prevention of the kind of chaos and
bloodletting that has led in the past to boatloads of refugees
heading for Florida.
One could also argue about the failings and
sins of all the quarreling factions inside Haiti. But there are
more important considerations. Haitians have endured centuries of
horror: first slavery under the French, and then, since their
revolution, nearly two centuries of corrupt, repressive misrule,
aided and abetted by foreign powers, including the United States.
All this has helped to make Haiti one of the world's poorest
countries, and its people, according to the World Bank, among the
most malnourished on earth.
The majority of Haitians have been struggling
for nearly two decades to establish a democratic political system.
It is important to this effort that Haiti's current elected
president leave office constitutionally, not through what would be
the country's 33rd coup d'état. Progress toward this difficult
goal may still be possible, if the warring politicians within the
country and the various foreign nations that have involved
themselves in Haiti's affairs pull together now and put a stop to
the growing incursions of terrorists. If this does not happen,
there is little hope for Haiti. The result, I fear, will be a new
civil war, one that will likely lead back to dictatorship and
spill enough blood to cover all hands.
Tracy Kidder is the author, most recently,
of "Mountains Beyond Mountains."
* * *
Aristide's Foes: On the Same Side, but Denying
26 February 2004
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 25 — When opposition leaders
formally announced Wednesday that they had rejected a peace plan
the United States had hoped would end the uprising roiling the
country, they took pains to emphasize that they have no links
whatsoever to the armed groups sweeping through Haiti.
But it was clear that the success of the
insurgents, who on Sunday took Cap Haitien with little resistance
from supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has buoyed
"This is all the more reason for Mr.
Aristide to go," said André Apaid, a leader of the Group of
184, a civil society organization, in an interview on Wednesday.
"This is all the more reason to press harder for what we see
is the only way out, and it is only more clear that we need to do
this very, very quickly."
As Haiti's crisis lurches toward civil war, a
tangled web of alliances, some of them accidental, has emerged. It
has linked the interests of a political opposition movement that
has embraced nonviolence to a group of insurgents that includes a
former leader of death squads accused of killing thousands, a
former police chief accused of plotting a coup and a ruthless gang
once aligned with Mr. Aristide that has now turned against him.
Given their varied origins, those arrayed against Mr. Aristide are
hardly unified, though they all share an ardent wish to see him
removed from power.
In Port-au-Prince, meanwhile, pro-Aristide
forces were trying on Wednesday to shore up control, erecting
burning barricades and blocking main traffic routes with concrete
tank traps and shipping containers.
Tensions were running high, with armed police
officers, some wearing ski masks, roaring through town in pickup
trucks, while sinister bands of teenagers wielding rifles guarded
makeshift roadblocks, searching cars and stealing whatever they
wanted from passengers.
In Belle, an earthy, staunchly pro-Aristide
neighborhood about five minutes walk from the Presidential Palace
downtown, a group of youths sat and played cards, waving
occasionally as groups of chimères, the president's fearsome
militiamen, sped by in trucks.
Groups of people chanted, "Five years,
five years!" as the militiamen passed, a rallying call
referring to the president's insistence he serve out his five-year
term of office, ending in February 2006.
"Let the rebels come, we are not
afraid," said Jean Toussaint, one of the youths. "They
have guns, yes, but we do, too."
"We'll attack them with knives and
machetes," he said."We'll slit their throats — they'll
never make it to the palace."
On one side of those lined up against Mr.
Aristide and his supporters are political and civic opposition
groups, which have led huge protests in the capital and elsewhere,
and have been subjected to violence by the police and
progovernment gangs. Born out of the disputed parliamentary
elections in 2000 and galvanized by political violence aimed at
protesters, the groups came together as the Democratic Platform.
On the other side are the armed insurgents,
many with sinister pasts. The uprising began in Gonaïves with a
revolt by former Aristide loyalists, known as the Cannibal Army,
who turned against the president after their leader, Amiot Métayer,
was killed in September. The group, which is now led by Mr. Métayer's
brother Butteur, believes Mr. Aristide ordered the killing.
They have been joined by members of the former
Haitian Army, which was dissolved after the United States returned
Mr. Aristide to power in 1994. The ranks of the insurgents include
men like Louis-Jodel Chamblain, who is accused of killing
thousands of people in the aftermath of the 1991 military coup
that removed Mr. Aristide, and Remissainthe Ravix, a former army
corporal notorious for his brutal methods.
The opposition groups with which the United
States hoped to broker a peace deal, the Democratic Platform and
several political parties, say they have no connection to the
armed groups that have taken control of much of the country. In a
statement released on Wednesday in response to the latest peace
proposal, the Democratic Platform wrote that it "reaffirms
that it has no ties whatsoever to armed groups and that its quest
for a democratic solution is based on a strategy of
Those leading the armed uprising in turn affirm
that they have no formal links with the political opposition, but
Guy Philippe, who is leading the rebel army, hinted that the
groups do have an open line of communication.
"Officially, there is no contact,"
Mr. Philippe said Tuesday in Cap Haitien, Haiti's second-largest
city. Asked if there were unofficial links, Mr. Philippe smiled
but would not answer.
Mr. Aristide has repeatedly said that the two
groups are working in concert, though he has provided no concrete
evidence to back the allegation. The leaders of the armed group
said they had not been involved in negotiations for a political
settlement of the country's crisis.
But whether or not there are links between the
groups, the common goal of removing Mr. Aristide from power has
led each to speak carefully about the plans and goals of the
other. Asked about the armed insurgents, Mr. Apaid said he
deplored the violence but did not expect the men to put down their
weapons until Mr. Aristide left office.
"Otherwise they would be
slaughtered," Mr. Apaid said. Asked about the role they would
seek in a future government if Mr. Aristide was ousted, Mr.
Philippe and other rebel leaders have said they have no interest
in imposing military rule and that they support a plan put forward
by the Democratic Platform. That proposal calls on political
parties, businesspeople, intellectuals and civil society groups to
form a transition government of national unity. His men, Mr.
Philippe said, would become the nucleus of a reconstituted Haitian
Such odd bedfellows are not uncommon in Haiti's
troubled history said Henry Carey, a professor at Georgia State
University who is an expert on Haitian politics. But they seldom
bring good fortune to the Haitian people.
"Haitians learned through history that the way to
change their government is intimidation and protest, not through
elections and democratic procedure," Professor Carey said.
Even if there are no formal links with militants, he said,
"the opposition groups have been too eager to make alliances
with anyone who wants to get rid of Aristide without carefully
examining their democratic credentials. That means inevitably the
most lethal elements are the ones who will grab power when the
Why Aristide Should Stay http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/26/opinion/26KIDD.html
Kerry maintains administration partly to blame http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/25/politics/campaign/25KERR.html
Aristides foes: on same side but denying ties http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/26/international/americas/26PORT.html
* * * *
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World
Reviewed by Mimi Sheller
Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804
A Brief History with Documents
Dubois and John D. Garrigus
Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered
the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It
By H. W. Brands
In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign. The Economy
* * *
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
* * * * *
The White Masters
of the World
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * *
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Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
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Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /
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Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding
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