Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Destabilishing Haiti

The stability of the very fragile peace in Haiti is being threatened by many who are calling for the withdrawal of the United Nations Forces.

Among the loudest voices are the women of WILPF, heretofore a respected peace organization which is now endangering its credibility over this issue. They appear to be only informed by many paid professionals, of the former, and disgraced President Aristide.

As Michael Deibert, who was on the ground in Haiti at the time, reports in his excellent book, Notes from the Last Testament:
According to U.S. Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings, between the beginning 2001 and the end of 2003, the Miami law firm of attorney Ira Kurzban — responsible for funding the U.S attorney Brian Concannon and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Haiti as well as the Haitian government's domestic representation in the United States — received $3,569,026 from the Aristide government of behalf of its efforts ( www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fara/), The same filings, between the beginning of 2000 and the end of 2002, show the public relations firm of former Black Congressional Caucus member California Representative Ron Dellums was paid almost $600,000 by the Aristide government for its lobbying efforts, and that the firm of Hazel Ross-Robinson, wife of TransAfrica founder and vehement Aristide defender Randall Robinson, who had served as Dellums's senior foreign policy adviser before going into the private sector, was paid $367,966 by the Haitian government starting in 1997. Robinson, Dellums and U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters were all official advisors to the tax-exempt Aristide Foundation for Democracy, the body that Aristide had set up to raise and administer funds for projects in Haiti.

None of the scandals of Aristide's corrupt government pass through the guardians of the gate of the American left. Neither the fall of his government's promoted co-operative bank scandal, nor the rice that his cronies stole, nor his taking of kick-backs from the telecom company, nor the fraudulent elections, nor the drug ring that surrounded him,nor deep and firmly rooted opposition to his rule have appeared in the progressive press.

The voices touring the circuit of the American "progressives" appear to have no respect for Haitian democracy, or for the voice of their current democratically elected president, who stated at the UN Security council that the UN peacekeeping forces are "only formula that is realistic and available at this time that enables Haitians to restore freedom and live in peace."

The "progressives" appear to answer only to the call of Aristide.

As Aristide's recently returned-from-being kidnapped spokeswoman said:

"He is in good spirits because he knows he will come back and that we are fighting for that," said Maryse Narcisse, one of five directors of the Aristide Foundation, which bankrolls student stipends, aid for activists with his Lavalas Movement and political agitation for his repatriation.

When pressed by Aristide supporters to invite him back, Preval has pointed out that there are no impediments to his predecessor and onetime mentor's return -- except the former president's own concern about pending charges of criminal drug trafficking and misuse of government funds while in office.

One can only surmise that the goal of the public outcry for the removal of the MINUSTAH troops is so that once again, the drug dealers can control the country.

While Haiti now is enjoying a fragile peace and is in desperate need of all possible public support, the American progressives prefer to spend their time looking backwards and to the left.

I apologize to the people of Haiti for our benighted ignorance of the facts.

You deserve better.

We are, theoretically, a literate nation and have extensive access to the internet.

Perhaps, once the UN troops are removed, and the poor of the slums are once again armed with automatic weapons, Aristide,is counting on the support of yet another Clinton to support his return.

J'en ai mes doutes.

Fortunately, there are quieter, saner, calmer voices who wish for a stable Haiti.


Michael Deibert said...

Actually, Elizabeth, when more United States Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings were released after my book came out, it turned out I was low-balling how much money was being gobbled up by the lobbyists.

Ira Kurzban's law firm received $4,648,964 from the Aristide government of behalf of its lobbying efforts alone between 2001 and 2004 (not taking into account its other services). By way of putting things in perspective, Kurzban was earning from the Haitian state more than 2,000 times the average yearly income of any one of the more than 7 million people in Haiti who survive on less that $2 per day.

For his part in Mr. Aristide's propaganda machine, the public relations firms of former U.S. congressmen and head of the Congressional Black Caucus Ron Dellums received the relatively modest sum of $989,323 over the same period.

Babette said...

Thanks for the update. I wonder how much of that amount - including the additional 1,099,468 - went to support Brian Concannon who is now posting directly to WILPF?

Babette said...

There have been two comments left here by someone named "anonymous". I do not publish anonymous comments. Leave your real name and we can discuss this issue like adults.