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9699: Insurgency vs. coup rumors (fwd)
A S.O.S. HAITI EDITORIAL
The events of recent weeks in Haiti would tend to indicate that the pendulum is beginning to swing against the Lavalas regime. A successful two-day strike in Cap Haitien, popular mobilizations in Gonaives and now in Petit-Goave, send a clear message that more and more people are getting fed up with Lavalas' corruption and betrayals. Ni youn, ni lot, neither Lavalas nor Convergence is the call from the Citizen Initiative in Cap Haitien.
Meanwhile, Lavalas is pitted against Lavalas in the greater Port-au-Prince area and in the Grand-Anse region for the spoils of power. Fearing that it is losing ground, Lavalas has once again raised the specter of a "plot against the security of the state" to justify a crack down against the leadership of the new movement. It is perhaps ironic that while Lavalas is so busy manufacturing plots to incriminate its critics, the likelihood of a coup from more traditional sources is becoming quite real. Dany Toussaint, whom I denounced early on as a thug and who is now posing as a peacemaker and protector of Lavalas, also warns against a coup, but he talks about a "third camp" as its source.
Aristide might very well be digging his own grave with all the current talk about US "economic terrorism." It is no secret that the US government and the Haitian oligarchy have, since 1986, unleashed a number of coups in Haiti, to thwart popular uprisings and preempt any real victory from the people. It cannot be emphasized enough that the people have nothing to gain nor to expect from a coup, that they are the traditional victims of all such adventures, and that the real point of a coup at this point in time would be to thwart a new wave of popular mobilization.
If telling the truth was not so alien to the Lavalas bosses, perhaps they would admit that this is the real reason behind the current uneasiness vis-a-vis their Dominican counterparts. (Unless Lavalas is just playing hard to get in order to extract a few dollars under the table, in exchange for their vote in the upcoming UN Security Council elections.) The point is that a successful coup is not really conceivable in Haiti today without Dominican involvement or complicity. What more do the Dominicans want when the Lavalas regime is so eager to enter into a free-trade zone arrangement with them on such disadvantageous terms for Haiti? Lacking any effective means of pressure against the Dominican government, Lavalas may be venting its frustration by beating on the opposition. Futile rage? Miyan, miyan?
It bears saying that the problem in Haiti is not just Lavalas. Smarck Michel is right to remind us that people generally get the government they deserve. In Haiti, we look at politics as a gateway to the state, and at the state as a golden goose to personal and family wealth. Even if Aristide had idealistically reentered politics in terms of empowerment for the oppressed majority, the Lavalas inner circle had their sight unerringly on the golden goose. It's our turn (se tou pa nou), is the way they put it, we've got to protect what's ours. The Lavalas shock troops and inner circle dream of absolute power, of power forever (apre nou se nou). Thus their "us against them" bottom line. Lavalas may no longer have the comfort of a Fort Dimanche concentration camp to "disappear" their enemies, but they still have the Penitencier National to show their mettle, and political assassinations can be quite expedient when time is of the essence.
A Lavalas crackdown against the rising insurgency, especially in Cap Haitien, appears imminent. Micha Gaillard names five hit men hired to kill the leaders of the new movement. The shrinking Lavalas base is buzzing with talk of a plot against the government and of "zero tolerance" against the opposition. But the people seem quite intent on making it clear that they do not deserve a government of thieves and morons. What's more, they have a sovereign right to throw out any government that cannot or will not fulfill its mandate. The new insurgency must be allowed to run its full course. Neither Lavalas repression, nor a coup from whatever source, is the sensible position for Haitians and non-Haitians concerned with Haiti's progress.