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7698: Book review: Hideous Dream (fwd)
From: radman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
April 26, 2001
Workers World newspaper
BOOK REVIEW: HIDEOUS DREAM
By Pat Chin
The Clinton administration claimed that it invaded Haiti in
September 1994 to restore democracy and President Jean-
Bertrand Aristide. It had been three years since the
popularly elected Haitian leader had been deposed and forced
into exile by a bloody military coup instigated by the U.S.
Central Intelligence Agency.
"Hideous Dream, Racism and the U.S. Army Invasion of Haiti"
by retired Army Sgt. Stan Goff, is a vivid and compelling
expose of the racism and hypocrisy that lurked behind the
imperialist invasion and occupation of Haiti.
A Vietnam War veteran, the author reveals that he had been
moving leftward for some time before his assignment to Haiti
as the operations chief for a Special Forces team. He also
describes himself as "a Red."
"Hideous Dreams" was penned in narrative style from Goff's
daily experiences in occupied Haiti.
Writing with humor but with keen anti-racist insight, the
author describes how he first thought the invasion was for a
just cause on behalf of an oppressed people. But he soon
realized that "racism is the dirty little secret of Special
The Pentagon's "Operation Uphold Democracy" was really about
colonization rather than democracy and human rights,
executed to protect the coup-makers from Aristide's angry
supporters. The putschists included members of the business
sector, the army and the CIA-backed FRAPH paramilitary death
Goff was forced to grapple with the dilemma of being a
"good" soldier, carrying out orders while knowing the
"mission in Haiti was to stop a revolution, not a coup
d'Etat." He was arrested and expelled from the country for
openly sympathizing with Aristide's Lavalas movement and
resisting orders to treat the murderous FRAPH gang like a
"legitimate political opposition."
"Our minds are that colonized," writes the author, "but the
real role of the military as an institution is to enforce
the will of the dominant class in the U.S. and to continue
bankrolling the bloated trade in military hardware."
Haiti was invaded to restore stability for capitalist super-
exploitation and imperialist plunder. "The mission was never
to restore popular power," Goff rightly concludes. "It was
to put Aristide's face on a neo-liberal fraud."
The White House had pressured Aristide tremendously when he
was exiled in the United States, cut off as he was from his
base of popular support. He was returned to Haiti on the
heels of the invasion only after wrenching numerous
concessions from him. Among them was a pledge not to run for
office once his term--which had been severely shortened by
Controlling the deadly rampages of the army and FRAPH was
important to the imperialists. But the huge flood of Black
refugees trying to reach Miami also alarmed Washington.
Thousands were stopped on the high seas by the U.S. Coast
Guard and returned to the terror of the coup regime. Others
were sent to U.S.-occupied Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where
they were imprisoned under brutal conditions.
The liberated territory of socialist Cuba, however, helped
Goff acknowledges the help of many people in the book's
introduction. Among them, he says, are millions of Haitians:
"They toil and wait and resist. They are the granddaughters
and grandsons of rebel slaves. I thank the heroic Haitian
The author makes important connections by saying that "the
essence of the system is profit," racism is tied to profit,
and "there is no choice but to replace the system."
Goff should be commended for making links that are crucial
to a unified struggle for social and economic justice.
Although somewhat lengthy, "Hideous Dream" is a valuable
contribution to Haiti's historical record. It belongs in the
libraries of all anti-racist fighters and progressives.