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  The 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



Books on the Caribbean

Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.

C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938)

Edourad Gissant. Caribbean Discourse (2004)  /  Barbara Harlow. Resistance Literature (1987)

Josaphat B. Kubayanda. The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire (1990)


Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.  Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001)

David P. Geggus, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.  University of South Carolina Press, 2001.

Jean-Bertand Aristide. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization

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Washington and Paris Overthrow Aristide

By Thierry Meyssan


Coup 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. . . .

Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected by a 67.5% landslide vote in 1990. 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. 

Aristide was therefore overthrown eight months later, by general Raoul Cedras and the FRAPH death squads led by Louis-Jodel Chamblain [1], 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.

Exiled 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: 

Washington 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 nation.

So 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.

In November 2000, 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 [2].

The 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.

Act 1: "democratic" destabilization

On the American side, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) built a "democratic opposition" through financing "civilian" action groups. Under-Secretary Roger Noriega [3] implemented a work group "for the restoration of democracy" at the Brookings Institution (see our investigation "The CIA destabilizes Haïti").

Act 2: Diplomatic coercion

On 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 Albanel.

On July 15, 2003, Andre Apaid [3], a former financial handyman of the Duvalier regime [5] and the leader of Group 184 [6], 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 [7].

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. 52).

To 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).

The 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" [8], held on 1 January, 2004, in Port-au-Prince. Only South African president Thabo Mbeki defied the great powers by attending it.

On 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

This 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 States.

The "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 its name.

On 21 February, the international community's crisis plan was accepted by Aristide, but rejected by the opposition, which persisted with its demand that he resign.

On 23 February, 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." [9]

Act 4: The removal

On 26 February, Baudoin Jacques Ketant, a cocaine smuggler handed over by Aristide on the request of the DEA was tried is Miami, Florida [10]. 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".

On 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.

While 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.

In 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 summer.


[1] 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).

[2] Updated and including interest sums due, this would amount to about 21 billion US dollars at 2004 parities.

[3] Former parliamentary assistant to far-rightwing senator Jesse Helmes, Roger Noriega has devoted his life to the destruction of Liberation theology activitis.

[4] With the aim of being set as Washington's puppet in Haiti, Mr Apaid was given double Haitian and American nationality.

[5] François and Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as "Papa doc" and "Baby doc", established an anti-communist dictatorship from 1957 through 1986.

[6] Group 184 brings together union, press officials and employers, under supervision of the National Endowment for Democracy, "overtly" controlled by the CIA.

[7] A lawsuit against French state employees should be filed shortly by Gilbert Collard in the name of the victims' families.

[8] 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.

[9] Interviews in Port-au-Prince on the easy border crossing by former soldiers into Haiti by Dominique Levanti, AFP International, February 23, 2004.

[10] 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.

Source: /Thierry Meyssan is a Journalist and writer, president of Réseau Voltaire. Its views are not necessarily those of PETROLEUM WORLD.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: 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 his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of 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, “globalized” entity.

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.

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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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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Related files: Amnesty International on Haiti  Why They Had to Crush Aristide  Washington and Paris overthrow Aristide  Haiti's Murderous Army Reborn   

Dialogue between Two   Haitians  In Defense of Aristide  Aristide Under Lock and Key   Freed rights abusers back in the streets  Dreams Buried in Freedom’s Coffin  Maxine Waters to Colin Powell