Originally: EMERGING COALITIONS HINT AT NEW WASHINGTON GAME-PLAN
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
Jul 9 – 15, 2003
Vol. 21, No. 17
EMERGING COALITIONS HINT AT NEW WASHINGTON GAME-PLAN
On June 29, the Broad Center-Right Front (GFCD) was launched at the Hotel
Christopher in Port-au-Prince.
The new political coalition includes elements from the Patriotic Movement
for National Salvation (MPSN), a caucus of right-wing groups in the
Washington-backed Democratic Convergence opposition front, most notably
neo-Duvalierists Hubert De Ronceray, leader of the Mobilization for National
Development (MDN), and Osner Févry, head of one of the branches of the
Haitian Christian Democratic Party (PDCH).
The GFCD also comprises Gérard Mecklembourg, leader of political party
MODEJHA, which supported the bloody 1991 coup d’état; Odenis Joseph Pierre,
spokesman for the Union of Engaged Pastors and Laymen; and Jean Fenel Jean
Baptiste, who claims to represent Haiti’s youth.
“We present ourselves as a clear ideological camp,” declared De Ronceray at
the inaugural ceremony. “We are of the right.”
“Far-right” would have been more accurate. For example, as Social Affairs
Minister of dictator Jean Claude Duvalier in 1979, De Ronceray orchestrated
the selling of some 15,000 Haitian laborers to work as virtual slaves in the
cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The Haitian dictatorship was paid
about $88 per head.
De Ronceray also cracked down on the presentation of “subversive” plays,
such as Debafre by Evans Paul alias Konpè Plim, who is now ironically one of
his Convergence political allies.
This sordid past did not deter the U.S. Embassy from sending a
representative, James Loveland, to the GFCD’s coming out party. Also on hand
were other Convergence politicians, representatives from the
Washington-concocted “Group of 184” (a self-described front of civil society
organizations), and a representative from the Haitiano-Dominican Chamber of
Meanwhile, Gérard Pierre-Charles, secretary general of the Struggling People
‘s Organization (OPL), announced on July 3 that his party was in talks with
the PANPRA of Serge Gilles and the CONACOM of Victor Benoît and Micha
Gaillard in view of forming a single Haitian social democratic party.
Presently, all three groups are members of the Socialist International.
Some have speculated that the U.S. State Department is nudging the
discredited hydra-like Democratic Convergence to regroup into distinct
blocks that could vie with each other in U.S.-sponsored elections. The
Washington-based Haitian Democracy Project (HDP), headed by former U.S.
diplomats, spooks, and disaffected Aristide partisans, proposed in a June 9
letter to the Organization of American States (OAS) that a “transitional”
government of a “technocratic, non-partisan” nature take power from the
elected government. It would enjoy “a full measure of material and moral
support from the international community – particularly in matters of public
safety and security” and would “shepherd the country through the next
national elections.” The HDP graciously suggests that President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide could “cohabit” with an OAS-imposed government and,
like an ornament, “preside over the commemoration of Haiti’s bicentennial”
“Should he prove to be incapable or unwilling to do so,” the HDP warns that
Aristide would be risking “rigorous scrutiny of his suitability for office
by both national and international players,” code for U.S. military
Perfectly understanding the HDP’s insinuations, a certain Parnell Gérard
Duverger wrote a letter/article, now posted on the HDP’s website, saying
that it is “time for decisive U.S. leadership.” Duverger seconds the HDP’s
proposal, charging that Haiti is “posing formidable new challenges to
American principles and interests in the Americas.
“Let there be no doubt that we are prepared to commit military force to the
defense of the democratic system of representative government,” Duverger
announces in a presentation that might as well have been written by Bush
administration spokesman Ari Fleischer, “as well as the defense of American
principles and values of decency, fairness, human rights, individual
freedoms, political pluralism, private property, free economic markets, good
governance, justice and equal opportunity, as this new American century
begins to deliver its promises of peace, stability and economic prosperity
to a welcoming world.” A “welcoming world” indeed!
“The United States should take the lead in helping Haitians achieve a regime
change, and facilitate the emergence of a transitional government, secured
by the presence of an international military force,” Duverger says,
concluding that “a serious proposal to that effect has already been
articulated in recent months by the Haiti Democracy Project.”
The HDP welcomed Duverger’s endorsement but was slightly embarrassed by its
directness, coyly stating after posting it that “neither the ouster of
Aristide nor the use of U.S. military force were mentioned in our plan.”
It remains to be seen if Washington will take this path. Clearly, the “zero
option,” as Convergence groups call Aristide’s overthrow, remains an
The “San Manman (Motherless) Army” is a Nicaraguan Contra-like military
force based in the Dominican Republic (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 21, No. 2,
3/26/2003) and has been referred to by Haitian government officials as the
“armed wing” of the opposition. Possibly in coordination with other groups,
it has recently stepped up attacks around the country. On June 21, the San
Manmans killed four people affiliated to Aristide’s Lavalas Family party
(FL) during one of their regular attacks on the Lascahobas police station on
Haiti’s Central Plateau. The next day, a powerful explosion ripped through
the central government’s offices in the northern city of Cap Haïtien,
causing great damage. On the day after that, the central government’s
representative to the Northwest narrowly escaped being killed in an ambush
near the northwestern town of Jean Rabel.
In a possibly related incident on June 26, individuals driving a stolen
government vehicle shot a policeman dead in Thomassin, near the capital.
CARICOM nations at last week’s summit in Montego Bay, Jamaica expressed
sympathy for the Haitian government and plan to send their own
intermediaries to try negotiating a settlement between the Haitian
government and the opposition. But the initiative is not likely to go far,
given the slavish obedience of both the “center right” and “social
democratic” Convergence politicians to Washington’s marching orders.