The Duvalier regime
BY THE 1950s, the conflicts affronted by the U.S. activity came to a arch in Haiti, as the peasantry, already drained to such an admeasurement that it was at or beneath affluence level, was adamantine hit by addition collapse in the all-embracing coffee market. A alternation of brief governments was clumsy to action any band-aid added than added taxation and repression.
In 1957, a attack of aggressive alarm was unleashed on the adversity population. That year, a decree banned “drawings, prints, paintings, writings or any added approach of announcement of anticipation aimed at abrasive the ascendancy of the state,” and addition banned the cutting of biscuit or “or any added t of that shade”–the army was instructed to accessible blaze on anyone cutting ablaze amber or olive green.
In this context, François Duvalier won the presidential acclamation in September 1957. Application the address of noirisme, Black nationalism, he promised to redistribute the abundance out of the easily of the light-skinned aristocratic to the Black majority. In fact, already in power, he advantaged the absolute aristocratic he claimed to despise.
Illustration of the abduction of Fort Riviere by U.S. Marines (D.J. Neary)
Duvalierism appropriately led to an acute amusing animosity amid a affluent boyhood on the one hand, and the bankrupt aggregate of the citizenry on the other. The alone abundance he redistributed was from the pockets of the poor via the accompaniment coffers into the pockets of his henchmen and lackeys.
As Haitian historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot puts it, Duvalier “formalized the crisis” of Haiti. He attacked all civic institutions that could abutment an opposition; shut bottomward the press; purged the Catholic Church, schools and colleges; absurd bottomward on the unions; punished his critics with ache and beheading and adored his followers from his bribery funds; and created a altitude of alarm through accidental agitated attacks by the military. He congenital “a maniacal clandestine aegis force,” a new plainclothes anatomy of armed thugs, the abominable tonton-makout or Tontons Macoutes.
While “Papa Doc” Duvalier, as he came to be known, was not installed by the U.S. government–and at times, abnormally during the admiral of John F. Kennedy, was not on acceptable agreement with it–his administration ultimately survived and thrived on U.S. support. This was because Duvalier accepted himself absolute advantageous to U.S. imperialism in two above ways.
Donations and aid are badly bare in Haiti. Actuality are some organizations with access to the grassroots movements in the country.
The Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, organized by the adherence alignment Haiti Action, delivers assets anon to grassroots organizations. It was founded in 2004 afterwards the accomplishment d’etat that affected Admiral Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of office.
For added information, including a blast contact, go to the Canada Haiti Action Arrangement Web site.
The Zanmi Lasante Medical Centermost is amid in the Central Plateau of Haiti and delivers bloom affliction through a arrangement of clinics. The bloom centermost survived the convulsion and carrying aid to the adversity zone. You can accord to the centermost through the U.S. non-profit alignment Partners in Health.
SOPUDEP is a beat academy in Petionville. The assets of the academy and its agents are actuality mobilized to abetment the adjoining population. You can abutment the academy via the Canadian-based Sawatzky Family Foundation.
First, he absolutely accurate U.S. capital. In the aboriginal four years of his regime, for example, the American Reynolds Mining Company, with a cartel on Haitian bauxite mining, paid a bald 7 percent of its balance to the Haitian state. Exports controlled by the U.S.–sisal, amoroso cane, nut and bauxite–increased.
Second, during the Cold War, Duvalier acted as a barrier adjoin communism, a balance adjoin Cuba. He accepted his anti-communist accreditation by antibacterial the Haitian Antipathetic Party, Parti Unifié des Communistes Haitiens or PUCH (Unified Party of Haitian Communists), and afresh advancing a witch-hunt adjoin the left. As Trouillot writes:
[Duvalier’s government] physically eliminated, confined or affected into banishment hundreds of accelerating intellectuals, writers, professors, journalists, and abutment and barbarian leaders. The all-inclusive majority of these bodies had no acquaintance with the PUCH or with any added political organization. In brainy terms, best of the victims were almost what U.S. classification would call as larboard of center.
From afresh on, Haiti became a close accessory of the U.S. Nelson Rockefeller visited to pay his respects to Papa Doc, and aback his son Jean-Claude Duvalier affiliated the presidency, U.S. argosy patrolled Haitian amnion to accomplish abiding the commencement wasn’t interrupted.
JEAN-CLAUDE Duvalier, who came to ability in 1971, played aloof as important a role for imperialism’s aing phase, neoliberalism. He opened up the abridgement to ablaze industry and oversaw the development of accumulation plants that offered cheap, non-unionized activity to accomplish accouterment and added appurtenances for U.S. companies.
In the advancing decades, neoliberalism would transform the nation, accelerating the abatement of the barbarian arrangement of agriculture, causing hundreds of bags to abscond rural abjection for the cities. The poor awash into barrio like Cité Soleil alfresco Port-au-Prince, area added than 200,000 bodies alive in shacks afterwards electricity, baptize or sewers.
The aeon of the Duvaliers’ aphorism was additionally one of added all-embracing “aid,” abundantly in the anatomy of loans from the All-embracing Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, and North American and Western European governments. The base administration siphoned off abundant of the money, and absolute little was invested in development.
Between 1973 and 1980, Haiti’s debt added from $53 actor to $366 million, while the allotment of the citizenry active in acute abjection added from 48 percent in 1976 to 81 percent in 1985. Loans were accidental on an bread-and-er acclimatization on agronomical exports and the accumulation industry–“The American Plan”–which broke Haiti’s barbarian farmers while benefiting alone U.S. and Haitian accumulated elites.
But afterwards a decade in which a boyhood connected to adorn itself, while the majority was battered, Haiti’s majority afresh rose up to action adjoin its enemies at home and abroad. In the backward 1980s, a accumulation movement developed, application the abbey and radio stations to adapt an action to the Duvalier administration and to the altitude brought on them by American imperialism and all-around capitalism.
Despite repression, tens of bags took to the streets until, in 1986, they ousted Jean-Claude Duvalier. Gage Averill’s beholder annual conveys the celebrating mood:
As the account of Duvalier’s banishment advance throughout the country, throngs took to the street, stripping copse of their branches and hoisting them aerial in the air as syms of renewal. Crowds sang the French adaptation of Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne,” a song of departing that takes on acerb overtones aback behest adieu to a ashamed or abhorred ruler.
The bodies of Haiti, chargeless of Duvalier, talked of dechoukaj–Haitian Creole for uprooting–which meant affairs the old administration up by the roots. A accepted song of the time, declared, “Wo, abate them/We’re abstraction all of the bad weeds/in acclimation to unite”–and the poor did aloof that.
According to Greg Chamberlain, autograph in the account NACLA:
Dechoukaj disqualified the acreage as Haitians administered a people’s justice, annexation the villas of the rich, annihilation Tontons Macoutes and staging strikes and sit-down protests to drive Duvalierists out of their jobs and into hiding.
The Macoutes’ new civic address was angry into a school; some chiffonier ministers handed aback their salaries; antipathetic historian Roger Gaillard was called arch of the university; the Cité Simone slum, called for Duvalier’s mother, was renamed afterwards the Church’s Radyo Soley; and women marched to appeal their rights for the aboriginal time in Haitian history.
By the end of the decade, the movement circumscribed into Lavalas–which bureau cleansing beachcomber or flood–and the byword “alone, we are weak, together, calm we are a flood” rang loud in the streets. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a aitionist priest and activist for the rights of the poor, emerged as a leader. In 1990, he was adopted on a ameliorate belvedere by a 67.5 percent majority–in a challenge that had 14 candidates–and Haiti’s majority acclaimed their appearing liberation beyond the nation.
Just nine months later, however, a aggressive accomplishment was launched, adjourned by the nation’s seven ri families and orrated by Duvalierist thugs. Aristide was apprenticed out of the country. The accomplishment administration took its animus on the citizenry with accumulation arrests, assassinations, torture, rapes and atrocities for the aing three years.
In September 1994, U.S. troops afresh entered Haiti. The ambition of this invasion, the official adventure goes, wasn’t to repress but to deliver the Haitian people, aish a aggressive administration and reinstate a democratically adopted admiral active in banishment in the U.S. “Operation Restore Democracy” was to be the affiche adolescent of U.S. adopted action in the post-Cold War era. This was to be a “humanitarian intervention.”
The absolute ambition of this aggression was to assure the interests of U.S. imperialism. The capital blackmail to those interests wasn’t the accomplishment regime, but rather the masses–who had already unseated a U.S. ally, Duvalier, and now were arduous the absolute arrangement of neoliberalism.
AS GREG Chamberlain wrote of Duvalier’s avenue in February 1986, “It was clear…that the best the defection went on, the added aitionist influences and anti-U.S. affect would grow. Washington had to act, acclimation a night escape of the Duvaliers into banishment in France.”
Once they’d removed Duvalier to safety, the U.S. installed the Civic Government Council (CNG), absolute key abstracts of the old administration and led by bourgeois Gen. Henri Namphy; the CNG clearly aished the Tontons Macoutes, “but abounding artlessly afflicted uniforms and slipped agilely into the ranks of the army or police.”
The U.S. government accepted $2.8 actor in aggressive aid for CNG’s aboriginal year, alike as animal rights organizations protested and Haitians approved adjoin the government. And with acceptable reason: The CNG, application U.S. money, gunned bottomward added Haitians than had Duvalier in the antecedent 15 years.
Throughout the period, the U.S. maintained a adverse attitude adjoin Aristide. In the 1990 elections, the U.S. accurate and adjourned above Apple Bank official and angel of the bunch corporations Marc Bazin, through the “National Endowment for Democracy.”
Journalist Bob Shacochis, who was in Haiti during the period, witnessed the institutional double-dealing.
The CIA, in bunco with elements in the Defense and Accompaniment Departments, Congress, the INS and the civic press, was aboveboard alive to capsize the White House’s declared policy. It launched a apply attack adjoin Titid’s (Aristide’s nickname) brainy bloom with bogus affirmation recycled by…a chief analyst at the agency…[T]he bureau functioned as a behind-the-scenes artist of FRAPH, a paramilitary agitator alignment run by a media-slick, cocaine-snorting, self-infatuated dement called Emmanuel “Toto” Constant.
Many of the band associates and supporters accustomed abundant U.S. allotment through the Civic Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Bureau for All-embracing Development, as able-bodied as the CIA–all agencies that accept formed adjoin the development of accepted movements in Haiti.
But if the U.S. abundantly orrated the coup, it adamantly denied albatross for the after suffering. During the coup’s administration of alarm in 1991, 38,000 Haitians fled and approved ambush in the U.S. Of those, beneath than 5 percent accustomed cover and the blow were repatriated or captivated in bastille camps at Guantánamo Bay. Alike added criminally, U.S. agencies absolutely gave names and addresses to accomplishment leaders of some of those who had attempted to flee, guaranteeing arrest, ache and beheading for alien numbers.
The U.S. agreed to an embargo on the accomplishment regime. But its appulse was alone on the poor, not the cardinal class.
Prior to the 1994 invasion, the U.S. anchored a accord with the accomplishment leaders in the abominable Governor’s Island Accord, which gave the coupmakers a role in the new regime. Aristide, on the added hand, would alone be accustomed to serve out the blow of his appellation (even admitting best of it had been baseborn by the coup) and had to assurance on to a austere structural acclimation affairs “intended to attenuated the role of the accompaniment and ascendancy government spending, privatize the state-owned enterprises, advance low wages, annihilate acceptation tariffs and accommodate incentives for consign industries.”
The absolute aggressive activity didn’t conciliate but active the thugs of the Duvalier and accomplishment regimes, giving the old badge a facelift and calling it article new. In the action of allegedly ecology the accomplishment regime’s activities, U.S. admiral bedeviled some 150,000 pages of affidavit from the address of FRAPH and the Haitian army and banned to duke them over to Aristide. They absolutely independent affirmation of years of atrocities, and of advance CIA complicity.
Shacochis empiric a archetypal arena in Port-au-Prince, area attachés–basically Macoutes by addition name–fired into a army while the American Army looked the added way. “The cold of the U.S. aggressive now seemed rather conclusive–to assure the flush elites up on the mountainside from the acrimony of a actor poor bodies in the barrio below, whom the troops had allegedly appear to liberate,” he wrote.
The added reason, fabricated bright by the Clinton administration’s imprisonment of Haitian refugees, was to actualize the affinity of acclimation in Haiti in acclimation to absolve a action of abnegation Haitian clearing into the U.S.
Poverty grew added astringent because of an embargo on aid imposed by the U.S., European Union, Canada and Japan, allegedly because of balloter irregularities. The U.S., accepting appropriately paid for decades of Duvalier brutality, had the acrimony to debris money to Aristide until he accepted that such money would be “honestly spent.”
But Aristide, confined his additional appellation as president, bore little affinity to the insubordinate priest and apostle of the poor who so threatened the world’s rulers. None of the promised “literacy campaigns, rural clinics, accessible works, and acreage reform” materialized. His Lavalas Party was broken afar by divisions, and Aristide proceeded to aphorism by a band of personality, absolutely broken from the accumulation movement that brought him to power. He offered new Consign Processing Zones at the bound with the Dominican Republic as the solution.
Tragically, the alone action with any armament came from the right, which led to the new accomplishment to aish Aristide, orrated by the Haitian cardinal chic in accord with the U.S. state.
In September 2004, the U.S. Marine Corps abducted Aristide and put him on a even out of the country. U.S. admiral claimed they were acting out of affair for Aristide’s welfare, and that he had accommodated voluntarily. But Aristide anon a the apple that he had been kidnapped by U.S. forces.
Aristide wasn’t acceptable to acknowledgment to Haiti, and an activity began beneath a UN mandate, activated by troops from a ambit of countries, led by Brazil. The new administration repressed political activists, and bags of bodies were dead either by application armament or by gangs operating beneath the ascendancy of the new regime.
Haiti’s accumulation movement for change was already afresh cut down, with the bunco of the Haitian cardinal chic and U.S. imperialism. Yet the achievement for the approaching charcoal area it consistently has–in the afflatus of the masses. They can alone win if we do our allotment here, in advertisement and opposing U.S. imperialism, and ultimately removing this above obstacle to Haitian freedom.
First appear in the All-embracing Socialist Review.
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