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#5228: A reply to Ives and Haiti Progres

From: Acasanty@aol.com

How does one deal with the Ben Dupuy/Kim Ives duo, or with the ups and downs 
of Haiti-Progrès' opportunism, without ever losing the readership?  That 
question has been on my mind ever since reading Kim Ives' tirade on this list 
in response to Daniel Simidor.

"Fè wont sèvi kòlè."  But this is nothing new.  One only has to ask Ben 
Dupuy's various former partners to easily arrive at the obvious answer.  Ben 
Dupuy is hardheaded and an honest debate with him or his cronies is almost 
impossible.  Some people have simply given up on the idea of reasoning with 
him.  But for the sake of clarity I shall try to enter the dialogue.  

Some people still believe in transparency, militancy and competence, which 
the Lavalas movement pretended were their raison d'être.  But listening to 
Kim, it would seem that Haiti-Progrès' publisher can do no wrong, nor can 
Aristide and his Lavalas party.  Actually, the opposite is true.

It is well known within the Haitian left that Ben Dupuy has flip-flopped many 
times on various issues, without ever engaging in any self-criticism.  Let me 
point out a few instances.

-   On Aristide and his Lavalas movement.  
    Ben Dupuy is the one who popularized the term "populist" in referring to 
Aristide's appeal to the masses while doing the bidding of the IMF and the 
World Bank.  And yet Ben has blindly supported Aristide come elections time, 
or every time he would suspect the formation of a new ministerial cabinet 
during the Preval/Aristide period.  Why?  Because he's always on the lookout 
for a cabinet position.

-   On the former Soviet Union.  
    Ben Dupuy used to denounce Soviet revisionism in his pro-Albanian days.  
Later he recanted that position when the old Haitian communist party (PUCH) 
guaranteed him a trip to the Soviet Union, while Brejnev was still alive.  
Talk about ultra-leftism and opportunism!

-   On the fight for Democracy under the Duvaliers.
    Who can forget Ben Dupuy's vitriolic attacks against the pro-democracy 
movement in Haiti and against Jean Dominique in particular, one of that 
movement's most visible spokespersons?  Ben Dupuy was so self-righteous that 
he delivered his most bitter attack against Dominique on the well-known 
Duvalierist radio program Eddy Publicité in November 1980. Shortly afterward, 
Jean-Claude Duvalier actually exiled the most outspoken representatives of 
the movement, including Jean Dominique.  Ironically, Ben Dupuy speaks on 
WBAI-FM today as if he were the ultimate spokesperson of the Dominique 
family.  What irony!  What opportunism!  Talk about the ultra-left meeting 
the right!  Are we all supposed to fall into collective amnesia?  Never!

Ben Dupuy goes where the winds of self-aggrandizement take him.  No more, no 

When all is said and done, I have two pertinent questions to ask:

    -  Can one aim and a target and at the same time be part of its 
recruitment drive? Can one criticize Haiti-Progrès' practice?  While our 
common effort inside the Coalition has been to relentlessly expose the ever 
contagious cases of police brutality, by openly advertising for them 
Haiti-Progrès has actually become a partner in their cosmetic effort.  It is 
as simple as that. And yet, Ben and Kim see nothing wrong with that.  Worse, 
anybody who would dare ask questions about that aspect of glamorizing the 
Police becomes an automatic target of Ben's venom in the pages of his 
so-called alternative newspaper.

    - Inside a coalition united around a particular and common goal, does not 
a component of that collective have the right to raise questions when one 
party has crossed the line in the name of economic expediency?  We certainly 
are for unity, but we also are for political coherence.  The police does not 
just mistreat minorities becauwe of a "lack of understanding," it is a 
systematic political and racist design!

Instead of openly facing these issues, Kim Ives would like to take us on a 
merry-go-round, from South Africa and the ANC, to Palestine and the PLO, or 
to Nicaragua and the Sandinista.  But how does anyone in his right mind 
support the people of Angola, and at the same time promote CORE, the main 
supporter of UNITA in the U.S. (see Haiti-Progrès, vol. 18, #24, p. 19).  
Survival skills!  Or does Haiti-Progrès go everywhere without ever knowing 
Giuliani's and the U.S. ultra-reactionaries' main lackeys in the 
African-American community?  Is the paper going to apologize for that, or are 
we going to be treated in Ben's usual derogatory fashion?

Last but not least, elevating Haiti-Progrès, a newspaper, to the status of 
Cuba, a country, is simply ludicrous.  Or is the intention here to make Ben 
Dupuy, Haiti-Progrès' CEO, the equivalent of President Fidel Castro?

Going back to the attempt to close the radio program L'Heure Haitienne, it 
happened this way.  L'Heure Haitienne had dared criticize a movie featuring 
Ben Dupuy as the main protagonist.  Ben Dupuy issued a challenge for equal 
time, but we rejected his request on grounds that a negative review does not 
entitle every producer or playwright to equal time.  Ben then sought though 
his lawyer Ramsey Clark, to take the station to court, thus jeopardizing the 
existence of the show.  

On the subject of apology and self-criticism or lack thereof from Kim Ives.  
At last July 29's demonstration against the non-indictment of the policemen 
who killed Patrick Dorismond, I was the "master of ceremony" and Kim Ives was 
pushing for Pat Chin as the next speaker.  At one point, I informed Kim Ives 
that I knew Pat Chin quite well and that as a matter of fact I had exposed to 
her Haiti-Progrès' role in the police recruitment drive of summer 1999.  Kim 
Ives' response was that it had been a mistake.  I asked him then when he was 
going to explain this so-called mistake to his readers.  Kim again replied 
that "if we were to explain any mistake, we would never finish."  This 
conversation took place in front of the Holy Cross Church.

Contrary to Kim Ives, we deeply believe that one should explain and later 
correct one's mistakes.

Lionel Legros