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#5205: U.S. shelters Haitian death squads (fwd)

From: radman <resist@best.com>

More attacks on vote count


By G. Dunkel

Over 100 supporters of the Tonton Macoute death squads held
a public meeting in Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 10 to promote
former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier as a
candidate in Haiti's November presidential election.

Toto Constant, wanted in Haiti for complicity in the murders
of 3,000 people, lives the peaceful life of a real-estate
broker in Queens.

Still the United States complains that Haiti's May 21
parliamentary elections were "flawed" even as it shelters
some of the most vicious fascists Haiti has ever known.

The Macoutes are a fascist organization that engaged in
torture and murder to repress Haiti's people during the
decades long Duvalier family dictatorship.

Both the New York Daily News and Newsday gave prominent
coverage to the Macoute meeting. The gathering was widely
seen as a maneuver by Duvalier supporters to influence the
elections, rather than a serious bid for Duvalier's return,
which would almost surely ignite a civil war.

During Duvalier's rule and that of his father, over 40,000
Haitians were killed by the Macoutes and billions were
stolen from the national treasury, without the U.S.
government saying more than "tsk-tsk."

Constant was the head of FRAPH, an organization set up by
the Haitian Army to do the work of the Macoutes during the
1991-1994 coup against Aristide. Constant has admitted that
while heading FRAPH he was also on the CIA payroll.


Last spring's elections saw 18 of 19 contested seats go to
Ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party.
Since Aristide's political strength is based on his support
among the impoverished workers and peasants, Washington
would prefer to see his opponents win.

All summer the United States conducted a political pressure
campaign to force the Haitian election board to count the
May 21 vote the way it feels it should be counted, not as
Haitian authorities consider proper. The U.S. State
Department says it does not consider this to be interference
in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, but rather
"promoting democracy."

The rule in Haiti is that a candidate needs 50 percent plus
one vote to be declared the winner without a runoff
election. The way this is calculated by the Haitian board of
elections is to take the votes of the top four candidates,
add them up and see if one of the top four has 50 percent
plus one. The U.S. position is that they have to count the
votes of all the candidates.

There were between 15 and 25 candidates for each seat.
Washington's position would have meant 10 runoffs out of 19

Generally, the people knocked out of the runoffs by this
rule would have been U.S. backed candidates. The opposition
wouldn't have won many, if any, more seats. It would have
cost more, let the U.S. meddle more and frustrated the
people with having to go to the polls again and again.

Both the United States and Canada, Haiti's two largest
foreign aid donors, threatened to cut off assistance if the
vote was not recounted. The Organization of American States
sent a mission to Haiti in early September to add further
pressure for a recount.

The OAS failed to change the tally. So U.S. Ambassador to
the OAS Luis Lauredo announced Sept. 5 that Washington will
send all development aid to private organizations, not to
Haiti's government.

The United States also threatened to withhold hundreds of
millions of dollars in pending loans from international
financial institutions.

Forwarding the aid to private groups allows Washington to
claim that it has not cut off aid to the Western
Hemisphere's poorest country. At the same time it puts
tremendous financial pressure on Haiti.

New York's Haitian community responded strongly Sept. 7.
Hundreds turned out for a street protest to support Haitian
sovereignty from foreign interference while President René
Préval gave his address to the United Nations Millennium

The increase in world oil costs has hit Haiti hard, abruptly
raising prices for many goods. The sudden spike of
inflation, together with U.S. financial and political
pressure, will make the situation in Haiti even more

- END -

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