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 Discourse (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
* * *
Washington and Paris Overthrow
d'Etat in Haïti
Washington and Paris reconciled their
colonial interests in the Carribean by going on the attack with
a cunning, well organized coup d'Etat in Haïti to overthrow
elected president Aristide. After building an opposition that
suited US interests, in the shape of former Duvalier regime
financial handyman Andre Apaid, Washington then created armed
opposition headed by former putschist officer Guy Philippe.
Meanwhile, French powerbrokers Regis Debray and Veronique de
Villepin-Albanel tried to force Jean-Bertrand Aristide to
resign. Eventually, as the street remained loyal to Aristide,
the "rebels" did not sweep into Port-au-Prince. It was
left to US special forces to kidnap the president, in a dawn
raid on the presidential palace. . . .
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected by a 67.5% landslide vote in
At the time, he was the first democratically elected president
in Haiti's history. He chose René Préval as Prime Minister.
But the arrival of a liberation theology activist in the next
door island to Cuba hinted at failure for the United States'
Caribbean communism containment strategy.
was therefore overthrown eight months later, by general Raoul
Cedras and the FRAPH death squads led by Louis-Jodel Chamblain
, with the support of the first Bush administration. To
justify this operation, the putschists declared they were
liberating Haiti from a dictatorship that seriously infringed
human rights - claims that were not supported by facts, and
which were denied later on.
to the United States, Aristide gathered support from the black
bourgeoisie to bring help to the "negro republic". The
CIA then attempted to discredit him by leaking well-crafted,
fake medical files presenting him as mentally incapable.
Nevertheless, the growing support for Aristide within the black
American community, even more than the impopularity of Haïti's
military regime, made Bill Clinton back off from his
predecessor's brutal policy and negotiate a compromise:
offered a resignation of the junta and Aristide's return in
exchange for his promise he would back off from class struggle,
but work to 'reconcile rich and poor'. No longer would Aristide
blame capitalism as a "deadly sin", but comply with
IMF austerity adjustment, in the western hemisphere's poorest
Aristide returned in 1994, along with 20 000 GIs in the baggage of the "Restore
Democracy" operation. As Haiti watchers note, Aristide was
in a position of respecting his commitments towards Washington,
or betraying the hopes of his voters. Heading his party, as
provided by a constitution that bars two successive mandates as
party head, it was his Prime Minister, Rene Preval, who ran for
party chief, and was elected with 88% of the votes. Since
Preval was not tied to Aristide's engagements he dissociates
himself from New Economics orthodoxy.
thirteen officers trained in Ecuador seized the opportunity of
Preval's trip to Asia, and made a coup attempt, but failed.
Their leader, the spirited Guy Philippe, then fled to the US
embassy in Port-au-Prince. When Preval's mandate ended, Aristide
ran for president again, and again received a 91% landslide,
in a troubled context and with massive abstention. Aristide then
sealed his fate by turning back to anti-imperialist policy, among
other things demanding that France refund the 90 million gold
Francs extorted from Haïti between 1825 and 1885 .
Bush-2 administration made its decision to overthrow him at the
end of 2002,
and found a good community of views with France on this subject,
since both nations have traditionally seen Haiti as needing
common control. Paris, conversely, did not set its stance until
summer 2003. By then, a common plan was laid down for the coup
that was coming.
1: "democratic" destabilization
the American side, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
built a "democratic opposition" through financing
"civilian" action groups. Under-Secretary Roger
Noriega  implemented a work group "for the restoration
of democracy" at the Brookings Institution (see our
investigation "The CIA destabilizes Haïti").
2: Diplomatic coercion
the French side, the operation was supervised by Régis
Debray and Véronique Albanel. The latter is listed
as president of the "Universal Brotherhood" which
carries out charitable action in Haïti, linked with the
Catholic Church. Albanel is also the sister of Dominique
Galouzeau de Villepin, wife of France's foreign secretary de
Villepin, and the wife of French airforce general Baudoin
July 15, 2003, Andre Apaid , a former financial handyman of the
Duvalier regime  and the leader of Group 184 , started
raising the pressure, with a meeting organized in a slum devoted
to Aristide, the Cite Soleil. Apaid asked for aid and protection
from France, who provided him with armed escorts, and the
presence of French embassy first secretary Stephane Grumberg. As
hoped and planned, the meeting soon turned into riot, leaving 6
dead and 40 wounded by gunfire. Witnesses blamed French guards
as solely responsible for the slaughter, which of course was
denied by the embassy .
On December 17, 2003,
at 3 pm, Regis Debray showed up at the presidential palace to
demand that elected president Jean-Bernard Aristide resign. This
was refused, and was followed a few days later by the public
release by Debray and Villepin-Albanel of their report to
Foreign secretary Dominique de Villepin. The report noted:
"Let us not fool ourselves. The resignation of President
Aristide will not make the country more prosperous overnight,
nor will it make it more productive." (p. 35). "Many
persons imagine rivalry exists where there is in fact
complementarity [i.e. between the USA. and France], and though
our means of influence are not the same, they can and must add
up, for the good of Haiti. It may be the [French] President's
task, or at least the Foreign Affairs Minister's, to define from
the beginning, at the best level, the methods and spirit of this
combination. A stronger implication [by France] in Haïti could
indeed not run against the interests of the United States, but
should operate in a well-balanced and cautious spirit." (p.
sum up, the goal was to overthrow Aristide to defend the common
interests of a large American empire and a small French empire.
However, following the Iraq crisis and in a context of growing
German-French alliance in Europe, Berlin must also had to be
brought onside in this joint effort, and also find its interest
within France's tiny empire. The report continued: "One
cannot help thinking of the advantages, not only symbolic, that
would be brought by opening a common French and German
diplomatic mission in Port-au-Prince, which would naturally
echo, on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, by [later]
opening of French-German missions, for example in Windhoek,
Namibia, or elsewhere" (p. 57).
United States and France put pressure on various Caribbean and
Latin American states to not take part in the the 200th
anniversary ceremonies of the "first Negro republic of
America" , held on 1 January, 2004, in
Port-au-Prince. Only South African president Thabo Mbeki defied
the great powers by attending it.
2 January, the Group 184 proposed an 'alternate' transition,
of course including the ouster of Aristide. On 7 January,
a street demonstration turned ugly, and immediately Washington
accused the Aristide government of undemocratic ways. On 13
January, the mandate of the National Assembly deputies, and
two-thirds of Haiti's senators came to its term, but as the
opposition refused to provide any delegates to the electoral
commission, Aristide was unable to organize elections. He was
then accused by the media of being unwilling to hold them, and
imposing a dictatorship.
Act 3: Military destabilization
rapidly cobbled "democratic" opposition, plus
diplomatic coercion in the background proved ineffective,
leading Washington to set armed activity out of the Dominican
Republic, led by Guy Philippe. The "rebels" quickly
took control of several cities and threatened to march on
Port-au-Prince. They also refused various peace plans, whether
of the episcopate or that of the Organization of American
"democratic" opposition headed by Group 184 at all
times kept close contact with US Secretary of State Colin L.
Powell. On his instructions, it then dissociated itself from the
rebels, so as to remain clean handed for holding power, and not
be tainted by any atrocities that might have been committed in
the international community's crisis plan was accepted by
Aristide, but rejected by the opposition, which persisted with
its demand that he resign.
fresh troops crossed the Dominican border with Louis-Jodel
Chamblain at their head. AFP commented: "In Port-au-Prince
many think the Dominican army allowed these former Haitian army
soldiers to cross the border with the approval of the United
States, which provided most of its equipment, trained its
leadership and has very close links to Dominica's political
establishment. The Dominican Republic is the only country in the
Carribean that has sent (some 300) soldiers to Iraq when asked
by Washington to do so." 
4: The removal
Baudoin Jacques Ketant, a cocaine smuggler handed over by
Aristide on the request of the DEA was tried is Miami, Florida
. In a plea bargain giving him a 27-year reduced prison
sentence, Ketant admitted smuggling more than 30 tons of cocaine
to the United States. He then claimed: "Aristide is a drug
baron who controls Haiti's trafficking (...) He turned his
country into a crossroads for drug dealers".
29 February, between 2 am and 3 am, US special forces
invaded the presidential palace. They told Aristide he was to be
taken to Miami and tried for drug trafficking, unless he
accepted to resign. Otherwise, he could wait for Guy Philippe to
arrive, who had been instructed to shoot him. Aristide managed
to reach California representant Maxine Waters by phone, to
enable her to testify the real events, and prevent him from
ending in an Allende-type "suicide". Under the threat
of M16s and in the presence of James B. Foley, ambassador of the
United States, and Thierry Burkard, ambassador of France,
Aristide signed a previously-drafted resignatin statement
"to head off a bloodbath". He was then taken by the
special forces to an unmarked, white-colored jetliner, and took
off for Bangui (Central African Republic), where French agents
awaited his arrival.
the UN Security Council was called into emergency session to
make a decision on the dispatch of peackekeeper troops, the
United States and France, without waiting for the meeting, had
already dispatched their forces.
Washington, Otto Reich and Under-Secretary Noriega supervised
the ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. From now on, the
Commission for the Assistance to a Free Cuba, which they also
lead, will work to make use of Haïti as a strategic base to get
over the 'unfinished business' of Fidel Castro, perhaps this
The FRAPH is for example responsible for the
assassination of Antoine Izmery (Sept 11, 1993), of Minister of
Justice Guy Malary's execution (Oct 14th, 1993) and of the
Raboteau massacre (April 23rd, 1994).
Updated and including interest sums due, this would amount to
about 21 billion US dollars at 2004 parities.
Former parliamentary assistant to far-rightwing senator Jesse
Helmes, Roger Noriega has devoted his life to the
destruction of Liberation theology activitis.
With the aim of being set as Washington's puppet in Haiti, Mr
Apaid was given double Haitian and American nationality.
François and Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as "Papa
doc" and "Baby doc", established an
anti-communist dictatorship from 1957 through 1986.
Group 184 brings together union, press officials and
employers, under supervision of the National Endowment for
Democracy, "overtly" controlled by the CIA.
A lawsuit against French state employees should be filed shortly
by Gilbert Collard in the name of the victims' families.
On January 4th, 1794, the Convention abolishes slavery. The
decree applies to then-French colonial interests in Haiti. First
Consul Napoléon Bonaparte, was however then rushed by his
wife's family (which owned large plantations in the Carribean)
to re-establishes slavery. Toussaint Louverture, in the name of
the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens, then
proclaims the autonomist constitution. Bonaparte sends
his brother-in-law, General Leclerc, to crush the rebels.
The latter was defeated by Louverture, Dessalines and Christophe.
On the 1st of January 1804, the first Negro republic of the
Americas was proclaimed.
Interviews in Port-au-Prince on the easy border crossing by
former soldiers into Haiti by Dominique Levanti, AFP
International, February 23, 2004.
Baudoin Jacques Kétant is likely to be tried with Colonel
Michel François. The latter was no.2 in Raoul Cedras'
military regime that overthrew Aristide. Liege man of the
United States, he was trained at the School of the Americas, and
is now hiding in Honduras.
is a Journalist and writer, president of Réseau Voltaire. Its views are
not necessarily those of PETROLEUM WORLD.
* * *
* * *
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus
By Charles C. Mann
a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous
New Revelations of the Americas Before
Columbus, in which he
provides a sweeping and provocative
examination of North and South America
prior to the arrival of Christopher
Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched
but so wonderfully written that it’s
anything but exhausting to read. With
1493, Mann has taken it to a
new, truly global level. Building on the
groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby
The Columbian Exchange and, I’m
proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer),
Mann has written nothing less than the
story of our world: how a planet of what
were once several autonomous continents
is quickly becoming a single,
Mann not only talked to countless
scientists and researchers; he visited
the places he writes about, and as a
consequence, the book has a marvelously
wide-ranging yet personal feel as we
follow Mann from one far-flung corner of
the world to the next. And always, the
prose is masterful. In telling the
improbable story of how Spanish and
Chinese cultures collided in the
Philippines in the sixteenth century, he
takes us to the island of Mindoro whose
“southern coast consists of a number of
small bays, one next to another like
tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how
the spread of malaria, the potato,
tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar
cane have disrupted and convulsed the
planet and will continue to do so until
we are finally living on one integrated
or at least close-to-integrated Earth.
Whether or not the human instigators of
all this remarkable change will survive
the process they helped to initiate more
than five hundred years ago remains,
Mann suggests in this monumental and
revelatory book, an open question.
* * * * *
Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
By 1991, following the disintegration first of the Soviet bloc and then of the Soviet Union itself, the United States was left standing tall as the only global super-power. Not only the 20th but even the 21st century seemed destined to be the American centuries. But that super-optimism did not last long. During the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, the stock market bubble and the costly foreign unilateralism of the younger Bush presidency, as well as the financial catastrophe of 2008 jolted America—and much of the West—into a sudden recognition of its systemic vulnerability to unregulated greed. Moreover, the East was demonstrating a surprising capacity for economic growth and technological innovation. That prompted new anxiety about the future, including even about America’s status as the leading world power. This book is a response to a challenge. It argues that without an America that is economically vital, socially appealing, responsibly powerful, and capable of sustaining an intelligent foreign engagement, the geopolitical prospects for the West could become increasingly grave. The ongoing changes in the distribution of global power and mounting global strife make it all the more essential that America does not retreat into an ignorant garrison-state mentality or wallow in cultural hedonism but rather becomes more strategically deliberate and historically enlightened in its global engagement with the new East.
* * * * *
* * * *
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