Aug 11, 2011
A new exposé on Haiti reveals how the United States led a vast international campaign to prevent former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from returning to his country while he was exiled in South Africa. It's part of a series of reports that draw from almost 2,000 US diplomatic cables on Haiti released by WikiLeaks. The series is a partnership between The Nation magazine and the Haitian weekly newspaper, Haïti Liberté. Democracy Now! interviews one of the authors of these reports, Haiti Liberté editor Kim Ives. His latest article for the Nation.com is called, "WikiLeaks Haiti: The Aristide Files."
The cables cover an almost seven-year period, from April 2003 to February 2010, just after the earthquake that devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding cities. The cables show that high-level U.S. and U.N. officials coordinated a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from "gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti." They reveal how U.S. officials and their diplomatic counterparts from France, Canada, the United Nations and the Vatican tried to vilify and ostracize the popular Haitian political leader. These officials allegedly poured tens of millions of dollars into unsuccessful efforts to paint Aristide as a drug trafficker, human rights violator, and heretical practitioner of Voodoo. Another recent exposé based on the cables details how Haiti's unelected de facto authorities worked alongside foreign officials to integrate at least 400 ex-army paramilitaries into the country's police force throughout 2004 and 2005. According to the report, hundreds of police considered loyal to Aristide's deposed government were purged. Some were jailed and a few were killed. The Wikileak cables reveal just how closely Washington and the United Nations oversaw the formation of Haiti's new police force and signed off on the integration of paramilitaries who had previously targeted Haiti's working classes and democratically elected governments.
For the complete transcript, to download the podcast, or for Democracy Now!'s special report on the return of Aristide to Haiti, visit DemocracyNow.org
"For a year and a half following the ouster of Haiti’s elected government on Feb. 29, 2004, UN, OAS, and U.S. officials, in conjunction with post-coup Haitian authorities, vetted the country’s police force – officer by officer – integrating paramilitaries with the goal of both strengthening the force and providing an alternative “career path” for paramilitaries.
Hundreds of police considered loyal to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's deposed government were purged. Some were jailed and a few killed, according to numerous sources interviewed."notes and analyses: "WikiLeaks Reveal: U.S. and UN Officials Oversaw Integration of Ex-Army Paramilitary" | by Jeb Sprague
"The cables show that high-level US and UN officials even discussed a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from “gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti.”
The secret cables, made available to the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté by WikiLeaks, show how the political defeat of Aristide and his Lavalas movement has been the central pillar of US policy toward the Caribbean nation over the last two US administrations, even though—or perhaps because—US officials understood that he was the most popular political figure in Haiti."The Nation - "WikiLeaks Haiti: The Aristide Files" | by Kim Ives and Ansel Herz