“If the Center for International Policy (CIP), a Democratic Party think-tank organization fired James Morrell of the Haiti Democracy Project for publicly criticizing Ronald Dellums (Aristide?s lobbyist to the black caucus), it is because the Democrats have no esteem for our community, let alone some compassion for the Haitian people. I am excepting only one prominent Democrat: Jimmy Carter. He has voiced his disappointment about Mr. Aristide.
“If the Democrats still stand for some values, they must prove it to us in Haiti. They must allow free speech within their ranks. After all, James Morrell is a fervent Democrat who spoke his heart against Dellums and the Black caucus. In a manner reminiscent of the practices of the Bolsheviks, the Democrats seem to be cracking down mercilessly on free expression.”
–excepted from the article below
Beyond the Revolution of Ideas
By Ray Killick
APOLOGY: I am sorry to offend some folks by making use of the word revolution once again. Not merely content to destroy the country and its image, some ?lavalassiens? disguised as agents of change go above and beyond the already dirty call of duty to argue that I should not be using the word revolution because it has been distorted by Lavalas. At this rate, those archangels of the most horrifying regime in the world will shortly take over our use of language altogether. I don?t know that we can go from a state of total chaos and anarchy to a state of law and order without a peaceful revolution. Reforming anarchy is Mr. Aristide?s area of expertise, not mine. Reforms apply where you already have structure, mind you! That?s leadership 101. After all, we?re promoting a capitalist revolution that we can accomplish together without unnecessary bloodshed. Ah, you thought that revolution was a monopoly of the extreme left! Remember the Republican revolution of 1994 with Newt Gingrich? It was a peaceful one that yielded control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans and a virtual lock on fresh ideas.
After I read Dr. Rosalvo Bobo?s ?A Propos de la fête du Centenaire? describing the Haitian mentality, the socio-political environment of a century ago, and in which he encapsulated a message of hope for 2004, I asked myself whether it was necessary to add more. He said concisely everything I have said. He was too optimistic though, and maybe we all are. Indeed, Bobo miscalculated by a whopping 100 years at the very least. I am going to up the ante by rescheduling delivery of his hope for change for 2104. We could get there before then, but?
If I were writing to please everybody?s fancies, emotional convolutions, and fertile imagination, I would obviously not be myself and you would never know what I believe in. Instead, I choose to tell the painful truth with mathematical rigor which in no way means that I am always right. The purpose of my analyses is to compel my audience to think independently by taking you into your discomfort zone of disbeliefs. If I upset you from time to time, then blame me; or thank me, for our beliefs have collided to spark new thinking. The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett ? the world?s greatest investor ? says: ?And the truth is, you?re neither right nor wrong because people agree with you. You?re right because your facts and your reasoning are right.? Wouldn?t you agree?
If so, please fasten your seatbelts, for I am going to unleash some very disturbing truths. And where I feel I am entering the realm of speculation, I will stop to ask questions. Let?s go together for a journey into the uncharted territories of possible future actions by the United States of America, the OAS, and the Union Patriotique (UP) in Haiti. We will look at policy options on the part of those stakeholders to show how a possible conjugation of actions can culminate finally luckily into glasnost in Haiti. First, let?s try to determine the position of American policy makers.
A UNIPOLAR WORLD
The post Cold War era was supposed to have been a time of liberation, a journey toward prosperity in security, law, and order, a triumph of private entrepreneurship over the bureaucratic inertia of the state, and a show for capitalism at its best. The United States confronted communism overtly in Latin America and defeated it coldly worldwide by 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet empire; China is experimenting increasingly addictively with private enterprise; and Cuba?s Fidel Castro has been desperately courting Washington for the long awaited rescue of his floundering economy. Now that communism is morally bankrupt, where is the alternative, Washington?
Our unipolar world needs a leader whether we like it or not. And the United States of America, the most diverse country in the world, has this leadership role today. But is it filling it intelligently?
REVIEW OF WASHINGTON?S POSITION
In spite of the ascendance of the neoconservatives on America?s foreign policy, the Administration remains aloof and often times incoherent in dealing with volatile situations in the global arena. Neoconservatism is the antithesis of isolationism in foreign policy; it aims at promoting American values, democracy, institutions, and capitalism abroad. The neoconservatives are the architects of a new world order that is taking shape laboriously given the hawkish and tactless hand of administration officials such as vice-president Dick Cheney and Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld. It is our belief that secretary Powell has a better and more global vision than the hawks of the administration to bring about somewhat less painfully this new world order. (I am discarding Harry Belafonte?s unfortunate remarks on Powell as a slave to the white establishment.)
Gunboat diplomacy is passé. Or is it? The U.S. always needs a coalition for action. Or does it — in Haiti?
In time past, the American ambassador in Haiti would simply go to the ?Palais National? and tell the president that ?we can no longer ensure your security, you must leave; we will have a plane waiting for you in the wee hours of December 16, 2002.?
It is not that the Administration is not concocting ways to topple Mr. Aristide. I am sure the Bush administration to its credit is growing tired of this little wizard who?s giving them a run for the $3 billion America spent on Haiti since 1994. Washington has a major dilemma at hand. Indeed, as I wrote back in September in Political Science 822, the absence of the Haitian army and of an organized police force constitutes a monumental roadblock for Washington.
(Bill Clinton was too busy literally dropping his pants and underwear in the Oval Office to be concerned with the ramifications of Aristide disbanding the army and the police — instead of reforming them. Where is he by the way, these days? He hasn?t opined, at least publicly, on the Haitian chaos that he helped support jointly with the sacrosanct Black Caucus.)
Presently, the Administration cannot launch another $2 billion operation to rescue a democracy in jeopardy. Justifications abound. First, the U.S. economy has been flirting with recession. And president Bush who has cleverly temporarily moved the focus of the American people away from the economy to the war on terror and a possible one against Iraq, cannot politically afford a blunder in Haiti ? at least not before November 5, Election Day and a firm United Nations resolution on Iraq. Second, Bush must avoid being perceived as a warmonger. Third, the cost of an invasion of Haiti may not fare well with the American people at a time that commands fiscal restraint. Lastly, the Republicans are not particularly inclined to do nation building especially in a place where they have no economic interests.
If an invasion is out of the question, what are the options in the resource repertoire of the protagonists of change: The opposition and the international stakeholders? Before we explore the options at hand, let?s investigate Mr. Aristide?s arsenal and the opposition he faces at home for a better grip on the constraints of the Haitian puzzle.
MYSTIFICATION OF THE OAS
It was a known fact that il supremo was not going to meet the expectations of resolution 822. Incapable to grow into a leader, the most ineffective and irresponsible head of state Haiti has ever known has chosen to play the Democratic Party against the Republican administration, a dangerous and clever gamble that no other Haitian leader ever attempted. He has acquired the support of the Black Caucus through capitalizing over an intricate scheme of relationships among black congressmen ? a vipers? knot. The support of prominent white Democrats comes naturally with the territory. Aristide pays them favors too.
(As you know, nothing in this world comes for free. I remain perplex to this day every time I reenact in my mind last week?s spectacle of the Haitian boat people in Miami. It looked like a well-rehearsed play. Everybody knew how to swim. Everybody jumped the same in an orderly manner. Who?s the movie director? Incidentally, Ray Joseph?s article in the Wall Street Journal this week was right on target. It was speculative, but it kissed the truth.)
In Haiti, Mr. Aristide has the upper hand. He exerts control over the populace through the remuneration of ?chefs de bandes?. That?s his strength locally but also his vulnerability as we will see shortly. And he enjoys a significant advantage by virtue of facing a divided and weak opposition.
COALITION OF HOPE
Talking of the opposition, I am welcoming the creation of the Union Patriotique under the umbrella of the Revolution of Ideas. I truly believe the UP is the only coalition of hope on the ground. Based on what I have read, seen, and known for a while, the UP counts the most promising and well-prepared Haitian leaders of our time within its ranks. The primary task of the union must be to preserve itself as a unified force through and beyond elections, a feat the Convergence Démocratique was unable to sustain due to political greed. Although, the Convergence has capable people as well, it seems to bear a vague resemblance with the ?le Petit Samedi Soir? in the dark shadow of the Duvalier regime; could it be that it has been infiltrated by Mr. Aristide to implode in some sort of constellation of vast irrelevance or to create spatial diversion?
If the Convergence really thinks country, it should humbly acknowledge its mistakes and join and fortify the ranks of the UP. If the world and the Haitian people are seeking partners of choice, their bet must be on the UP. ?Le pouvoir aux plus capables!? Haiti must seek a chance to build ?irreversible? foundation, damn it! It is not the time for some goddamn wannabe-presidents to place themselves in the way of a movement to build the foundations of a new Haiti. Shut down your greater-than-life egos and join forces to become all the founding fathers of a new Haiti and rid the country of the biggest traitor of them all. A divided opposition only works to promote the slogan: ?Apré Aristide, cé Aristide.
The leaders of the UP will need to prove themselves and be open to new ways and thinking as the organization takes shape. Leadership is an evolving concept and requires constant rejuvenation of the mind. There?s a lot of potential, but it needs to be unleashed with mathematical precision.
Now that we know what Mr. Aristide?s strengths are and who the opposition to his regime is, let?s explore the options to foster hopeful change in Haiti, first from the world?s vantage point, and second from the opposition?s perspective.
I am going to discard upfront ?La mise sous tutelle d?Haïti? as a non-option, a relic of the past, a cliché for lack of creativity, and at last, a futile construct of a Dominican newspaper that lost all credibility by relaying the absurd news that Mr. Aristide has $800 million in his coffers.
As the main protagonist sitting at the table across from the regime that liquidated Jean Dominique and many other innocent souls, the Organization of American States (OAS) has a deadline on November 4 that will not be met. As an organization that has been humiliated and about to be relegated irrelevant in the doldrums of history by a prestidigitator, the OAS has but one choice left: Invoke its long heralded ?multilateralism? to punish the violator. Issuing any new resolution is out of the question unless the hemispheric organization is contemplating premature obsolescence and irrelevance in the affairs of the Americas.
Theoretically, when the OAS invokes ?multilateralism? to punish, the organization brings to bear economic, cultural, and political isolation. However, such option must be voted in by the 34 member-nations. Mr. Aristide already has the 14-member Caricom ? thanks to the Black Caucus — and the Dominican Republic on his side, all members of the OAS. Of course, Canada and the United States could weigh in mightily and rally a majority against Port-au-Prince.
Mr. Aristide has cornered the OAS into a position in which the organization must make a decisive move to be taken seriously.
Another possibility arises from the frustration of the Bush administration with Mr. Aristide. Indeed, if Mr. Aristide has crossed the line by attempting to impact the outcome of the elections in Florida by way of an expedition of boat people, he may have forced the Administration to ponder what I will be outlining as Option II.
Recall that we said earlier that Mr. Aristide?s strength constitutes his own weakness. The president currently buys his popularity. He has alienated his base to the point that he makes an inept and corrupt Duvalier regime look awfully enlightened in retrospect. As a dramatization, I am sure that if elections opposing him today to baby Doc Duvalier were held, he would lose. (What a shame!)
So, if Aristide?s popularity has dwindled to the point that he must buy his support, his supporters can get better offers where will and means come together. While the ?chefs de bandes? are bought or neutralized, a hypothetical operation in the wee hours of December 16, 2002, can take place without unnecessary carnage. That?s option II; and that?s how you compensate for lack of an army or a multinational force.
After all, it is cheaper to spend pocket change of the order of a few million dollars rather than incurring the multibillion-dollar cost of an unnecessary invasion. This is called covert CIA operation, an option that the Bush administration may be contemplating right now especially if Bush does not want to see more expeditions of Haitian boat people during election-year.
NATIONAL OPTION: A PROPOSAL
As for the opposition, it needs to develop a global strategy. The Union Patriotique must develop solid ties with the Haitian Diaspora and have an effective presence by way of the Internet and the Haitian mass media dedicated to its cause. It is time for implementation beyond the revolution of ideas.
The Diaspora is key to counter Mr. Aristide?s allies in the Democratic Party. I remember living in New York City when David Dinkins was elected mayor of the Big Apple. I understand there was a significant Haitian presence and engagement in his campaign. However, it is difficult for me to assess the relative power of the Haitian voting block, as we are generally very reluctant to become American citizens; and when we are, we don?t vote. The UP needs to map out the strength of the Haitian vote in major cities over time.
When a congressman or a congresswoman knows that their election depends on Haitians, they will start listening to the mainstream. When we chant ?down with Aristide?, they will begin to listen.
If the Democratic Party continues to support Mr. Aristide, it is because they take our votes in the major cities ? New York, Miami, Atlanta, and Boston etc. — for granted. If they continue to stab the Haitian people in the back, it is because they don?t value human lives; it is because they are power-hungry like their protégé who does them big favors with his boatloads of Haitians. If the Center for International Policy (CIP), a Democratic Party think-tank organization fired James Morrell of the Haiti Democracy Project for publicly criticizing Robert Dellums (Aristide?s lobbyist to the black caucus), it is because the Democrats have no esteem for our community, let alone some compassion for the Haitian people. I am singling out only one prominent Democrat: Jimmy Carter. He has voiced his disappointment about Mr. Aristide.
Those of us in America that believe in the second liberation of Haiti can cast a small token of support for this noble cause by voting en masse against the Democratic Party next Tuesday. Voting blindly for anything Democrat is a vote of support for Lavalas. Superficial minds will continue to argue ? playing right in the hands of Aristide ? that Washington is treating Haitians differently from Cubans. That has always been true unfortunately, even under the Clinton administration. Thus, the preferential treatment for Cubans ought not to be a differentiator between Republicans and Democrats. Let it not blur your judgment next Tuesday. Vote against the Democratic Party so they can begin to take us seriously. This is a strategic move that will in no way impact our status in the United States.
If the Democrats still stand for some values, they must prove it to us in Haiti. They must allow free speech within their ranks. After all, James Morrell is a fervent Democrat that spoke his heart against Dellums and the Black caucus. In a manner reminiscent of the practices of the Bolsheviks, the Democrats seem to be cracking down mercilessly on free expression.
IDEAS DON?T WORK UNLESS YOU DO
Options II and I are not my proposals. They are very likely scenarios that I am thinking of. We, as a people, have no control over them. On the other hand, the national option must become mandatory. The opposition must have an effective presence in Washington. That?s the name of a game we did not invent, but in which we must play if we hope to change Haiti during our lifetime. It is a game we must play if our great grand children are to live a 2104 in pride and dignity. It is a game played cleverly by Mr. Aristide and gang already. If we oppose him in Haiti, we must counter him effectively on the international chessboard.
The OAS owns option I. It remains to be seen how the organization is going to extricate itself out of the imbroglio it has fashioned in Haiti.
Option II resonates well with the ideals of the neoconservatives in Washington. Mr. Aristide better shape up and take a closer look at his balancing act. He is interfering with American elections in a very big way that will not be tolerated.
My friends, we?ve taken you into uncharted territories and compelled you to see things for what they are. We?ve taken the road less traveled braving a shower of ridicule and belittling after every piece we wrote, but we firmly stayed the course because we knew all along whom we were dealing with. Other leaders among the most capable in Haiti cannot put their wherewithal at the service of their country because of an illegitimate and mediocre government. They must however remind themselves of the saying of Albert Einstein: ?Great spirits always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds.? But it is only a matter of time before the world and responsible Haitian leadership come together to turn the tide of a crushingly sad history.
It is time for Haitians to work together at laying the foundations of a new Haiti. It is time to join forces and put aside the insignificant differences, the clash of personalities, the jealousies, and leap beyond the revolution of ideas. If we allow our differences to perturb the fight for a state of law and order, I predict that Mr. Aristide will deliver the speech of our bicentennial, a speech that will be plagued with a bunch of ?Dès lors? defying all logic. Here?s an excerpt:
Nous avons finalement eu raison d?eux. Dès lors, pi piti pi rèd. Ils ne savaient pas ce que j?avais dans mon diakout. Dés lors, ils se sont aventurés trop près. Oh, gad jan li senti bon! Ah, pè lé brin, a la youn bébé banda! Partenaires magouilleurs de Paris, de New York, de Washinton D.C., de Miami, et de notre chère Haiti, pa ménagé yo, bayo sa yo mérité. Ti pè à toujou là, li senti bon, li douce, li suavecito.
Magouilleurs et magouilleuses de tous les pays, unissez-vous. Dès lors, le nouveau centenaire est à nous. La démocratie c?est nous. Apré nou, cé nou …?
And you can imagine the rest, the collective hysteria, and the atmosphere that will prevail on January 1, 2004.