Progressive Calendar 03.04.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2010 08:43:25 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.04.10

1. Education rights   3.04 12noon
2. Women/water rights 3.04 1pm
3. No new nukes       3.04 2pm
4. Eagan peace vigil  3.04 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil    3.04 5pm
6. Climate/energy     3.04 5pm
7. Zero recruitment   3.04 7pm
8. Cuban film fest    3.04 7:30pm

9. Tom Cleland - Gordon votes against Dolan
10. Arun Gupta - Haiti: a new US occupation disguised as disaster relief?

--------1 of 10--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Education rights 3.04 12noon

Chop From the Top!  National Day of Action for Education Rights
Thursday, March 4th @ noon @ Morrill Hall/Northrop Plaza at the University
of MN, Minneapolis, MN

At the University of Minnesota over 250 administrators earn more than
$200,000 in salaries while the Administration pushes its budget problems
onto the backs of staff and students. Skyrocketing tuition and staff
layoffs abound - and now we hear about possible furloughs.

Join students, staff & faculty around the US to demand that higher
education be funded.  Education is a right and not a privilege!  Now is
the time for those who can afford it to take the cuts!  Organized by U of
M sds and AFSCME 3800.  Endorsed by the AWC.

--------2 of 10------

From: Carol B <carol1145 [at]>
Subject: Women/water rights 3.04 1pm

Water is a universal human right!  Learn about the global water crisis and
the need for gender-sensitive water management. Join us for a two-day
symposium Women & Water Rights: Global Policy - Local Action. Moderator
is DEBORAH SWACKHAMER, Co-director of Water Resource Center and Professor,
School of Public Health, U of MN.

Free and Open to the Public
see for list of speakers and topics

Thurs. March 4 & Fri. March 5, 2010, 1-5:00 pm, In Flux space, Regis
Center for Art
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, 405 21st Avenue South,
Minneapolis, MN

Historically and today, women carry the water. As women play a central
role in water provision and management, women must be central in planning
for the future. The symposium brings together ten leading experts to
discuss and examine the rights to use of water by those who are
accountable guardians of this resource. Some of the questions being asked:

 *  Locally and globally, who are those responsible for the decisions
    regarding water as a resource for survival and as an amenity that
    adds quality to life?
 *  How might viable change to present practice be initiated?
 *  Is water a "property"? Who has the "right" to "own" it? Who can
    grant permission to "use" it?
    Who holds the rights to the Mississippi River?
 *  What are the issues involved in making water available to all?
 *  In the US, water rights are not a particularly gendered issue.
    Internationally, because women are not involved in the administrative
    or management decisions regarding water, it is.
 *  Do women bring a different perspective to the use of water?
 *  Do the current laws and rights affect women and girls differently
    than men and boys?
 *  Do women and girls receive environmental education mostly from male
    teachers? Does it matter?
 *  Why has gender equality become such a mainstream issue in water
    management around the world and what does that mean for Minnesota?

This symposium, co-sponsored by the Women's International League for
Peace and Freedom ( &, the Women's Caucus for Art
(, and the U of MN Department of Art (,
is being held in conjunction with the Women & Water Rights: Rivers of
Regeneration art exhibition at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Regis
Center for Art.

--------3 of 10--------

From: Elizabeth Dickinson <eadickinson [at]>
Subject: No new nukes 3.04 2pm

Agenda: S.F. 355-Koch: Nuclear power plant certificate of need issuance
prohibition elimination.
Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 3:00 PM
Committee on Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications
Chair: Sen. Yvonne  Prettner Solon
3 p.m.
Room 123 Capitol

Due to limited seating in room 123, this hearing will be a ticketed event.
Tickets may be procured from a Sergeant outside of room 123 between
**2:00 and 3:00pm.**
Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

--------4 of 10--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 3.04 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.

--------5 of 10--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.04 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------6 of 10--------

From: Lynne mayo <llen [at]>
From: IATP Events <listmaster [at]>
Subject: Climate/energy 3.04 5pm

A Minnesota Vision for Climate and Energy Policy State and Local Solutions

A surprisingly large number of Minnesotans took part in the recent global
climate talks. IATP joined climate activists, state and federal
legislators, local officials, academics, students, businesses,
researchers, NGOs and others from across the state in travelling to
Copenhagen to address the challenge of global climate change.

Please join IATP President Jim Harkness and Minnesota State Rep. Jeremy
Kalin, who was in Copenhagen as chairperson of the Coalition of
Legislators for Energy Action Now (CLEAN), to talk about opportunities for
Minnesota to provide a new vision for America's climate and energy needs.
CLEAN is a bipartisan group of state legislators from more than 40 states
working for strong national action on climate.

We are also inviting all Minnesotans who were in Copenhagen to join us and
Rep. Kalin for a short reunion/reception and a chance to meet one another.

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 5:30-7 p.m.
IATP, 2104 Stevens Avenue South, Minneapolis
Who: Jim Harkness, President of IATP
     Jeremy Kalin, Minnesota House of Representatives (17-B)

Please RSVP to Emily Barker
events [at] or (612) 870-3454

IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice
to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. IATP has
offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., and Geneva,

--------7 of 10--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Zero recruitment 3.04 7pm

Planning meeting for the second annual Zero Recruitment Day
Thursday, March 4th @ 7pm @  University Technology Center, Room 112c, 1313,
5th St SE, Minneapolis (Dinkytown)

If you really want to take action and step up the level of protest, than
may I strongly suggest you come to our ZRD planning meeting to help put
together a day of coordinated actions around stopping military
recruitment.  Most of us will be coming from the demo that day, so we hope
to scoop up some new folks. Meet up with us there, or just come to the
planning meeting at 7pm. Creative input is needed to make this year's ZRD
even better than last year! Be there from the beginning!  Last year, the
Anti-War Committee initiated *Zero Recruitment Day* a day of coordinated
actions at military recruiting centers around the state.  At least 5
different groups participated and utilized a diversity of tactics under
one message: U.S. troops out now! Zero recruitment today!  We'd like to
have a similar day of action this coming spring.  We envision multiple
actions at various recruiting centers, and we'd also like to consider
expanding this idea to include other targets around town.

--------8 of 10--------

From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at]>
Subject: Cuban film fest 3.04 7:30pm

Cuban Movie Festival 2010
7:30 p.m. Thursdays, March 4-April 8
St. Anthony Main Theatre
115 Main Street, SE, Minneapolis
Free parking in ramp at 2nd Street SE and 2nd Avenue SE
Admission: $6; 4 for $20

March 4 "Clandestinos" (Living Dangerously) by Fernando Perez

Satisfying as both a political thriller and a love story, this feature
film by Fernando Pérez is so naturally realized that it avoids being
didactic even as it commemorates events of the Cuban Revolution.
Anti-Batista activists move from one safe house to another, trying to
elude a relentless police commissioner. Their leader (Luis Alberto
García), hardened by prison and torture, is suspicious of nearly everyone
but gradually falls for his newest recruit, a headstrong idealist (Isabel
Santos of El Benny). The climactic rooftop chase is well choreographed and
edited, and Edesio Alejandro's surging score recalls early Isaac Hayes.
103 minutes.

General audience discussion of film after screening with U of M Political
Science Professor August Nimtz, who is currently researching material for a
documentary film on the subject of the urban front of the Cuban Revolution.
Pracna on Main, next to the theater.

More information:
MnCuba [at] 763-228-2899

--------9 of 10--------

[My appreciation to CM Cam Gordon for this vote. -ed]

Gordon votes against Dolan
Tom Cleland
Thursday, March 04, 2010

I must say I was pleased that Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon
voted against Police Chief Tim Dolan at the public hearing meeting today.
While some may regard it as a "safe" vote, and we are not out of the woods
yet, as it still needs to go before the full City Council, at least we
have our Green Party CM on record leading the way toward Nonviolence and
Diversity, two of the ten Key Values. While I am not currently an active
member, I know this has been a source of tension in the Green Party.
Today's vote is a positive development. Gordon had a list of ten criteria,
based on the last time Dolan was approved, of which I counted only five
which had satisfactory progress. I was also impressed by CM Hodges.
thorough questioning of Dolan, and I was encouraged that CM's Hodges and
Tuthill abstained. CM's Samuels, Johnson, and Hofstede voted in favor, so
half the CM's present did not vote in favor of Dolan.

The other major development of the day was that Civilian Review Authority
(CRA) Chair Don Bellfield cancelled tonight's meeting of the CRA, in
violation of city law. (He should also be held in contempt of court for
failing to appear at his Writ of Mandamus hearing last month.) So we held
the meeting anyway, with a lot more citizen input. There were about 30
people there. The only CRA members who attended were Dave Bicking and Pam
Franklin. CRA members can be kicked off the board for missing three
meetings in a year. Four members for quorum, and open meeting requirements
would have been necessary to hold an official meeting without Bellfield,
so the city may also be complicit. If the meeting had taken place, Bicking
would have introduced the same resolutions he did last month. One
resolution would affirm that Bellfield is to notify the City Council
Executive Committee that Dolan is subject to discipline. The other two
resolutions would affirm that CRA member Bicking has the right to free
speech as an individual not speaking on behalf of the CRA. Franklin would
have voted in favor of those resolutions. It appears that Bellfield is
running the clock out on Bicking, who is up for reappointment this month.
Bellfield probably did not want to face a group of angry citizens. He was
at the Dolan hearing in the afternoon, to share the CRA performance review
of Dolan as agreed by the CRA, but his comments on "neutrality" sounded
like a dig at Bicking.

In another bizarre development today, two sherriff's deputies (or "process
servers") were waiting outside council chambers to serve Johnny Northside
(Hoff), a vocal Dolan supporter, with legal papers, I assume having to do
with his run-ins with ex-con sex offenders. Amazingly, he was able to
elude the servers by exiting through the city council offices instead of
the main chamber doors like the rest of us. Did he receive special
treatment from the city? The city council sits on a raised bench or dais,
with their own door that leads to their offices. If Northside walked
around behind the seats of the CM's, I would think that highly improper.
As Guy Gambill pointed out on the Minneapolis Issues listserv, media
interviews have always taken place in the hallway outside the chambers.

During the hearing, Northside held pro-Dolan signs behind the speakers so
they would be seen on cable television, a tactic that has been used by our
side in the past. He also had an obnoxious camera that sounded like a cell
phone. The pro-Dolan people must have gotten there very early to sign up
to speak, because I got there a half-hour early and was on the second
page, and was only the second anti-Dolan speaker. I'd say nearly half the
speakers were ours. To be fair, both sides pushed the envelope today. Our
side kept defying Samuels' order against applause. Most people kept their
statements under two minutes, and if they didn't the other side would call
"time". There was plenty said on both sides.

--------10 of 10--------

Haiti: A New U.S. Occupation Disguised as Disaster Relief?
By Arun Gupta from the forthcoming March issue of Z Magazine

Official denials aside, the United States has embarked on a new military
occupation of Haiti thinly cloaked as disaster relief. But what is the
purpose of an occupation, the fourth in the past 100 years? The official
response, from the Pentagon to the United Nations, was that more U.S. and
UN troops were needed to provide "security and stability" to bring in aid.
Leaving aside what is really meant by security and stability, the rapid
military response was actually a major reason why aid was delayed. One
week after the January 12 earthquake, Doctors Without Borders said 5 of
its cargo flights carrying 85 tons of medical and relief supplies had been
turned away from the Port-au-Prince airport, which was under U.S. military

Jarry Emmanuel, the air logistics officer for the World Food Program (WFP)
Haiti said there were 200 flights going in and out of Haiti every day,
"But most of those flights are for the United States military." The aid
organization said its own flights carrying food, medicine, and water were
delayed for up to two days "so that the United States could land troops
and equipment and lift Americans and other foreigners to safety."

While flights carrying food and water supplies were being prioritized by
January 19, the order to do so was "issued by the U.S. embassy on behalf
of the Haitian government," according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite
that order, aid deliveries were still chaotic weeks later. By January 31,
only 639,200 out of an estimated 2 million Haitians in need had received
"a meal" from the WFP. Additionally, Haitian authorities said they had
received only 4,000 of the 200,000 tents requested, only 500,000 people
were receiving potable water, and a scant 20,000 latrines had been
provided. Incredibly, around the same time, "Basic medical supplies such
as antibiotics and painkillers [were] running dangerously low at some
hospitals and clinics in Port-au-Prince, the capital, and in the
countryside," according to the Associated Press. According to Free Speech
Radio News Reporter Dolores Bernal, U.S. and UN forces had set up just
four sites for distributing food and water in the capital and 16 others
around the country.

                     Not About Aid or Oil

Traveling with an armored UN convoy on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Al
Jazeera's Sebastian Walker reported on January 17 that, "Most Haitians
here have seen little humanitarian aid so far. What they have seen is
guns, and lots of them. Armored personnel carriers cruise the streets. UN
soldiers aren't here to help pull people out of the rubble. They're here,
they say, to enforce the law. At the entrance to the city's airport where
most of the aid is coming in, there is anger and frustration. Much-needed
supplies of water and food are inside and Haitians are locked out." One
Haitian told Walker, "These weapons they bring, they are instruments of
death. We don't want them. We don't need them. We are a traumatized
people. What we want from the international community is technical help.
Action, not words."

It's not that U.S. forces were totally lead-footed. Within 48 hours, the
U.S. Air Force was able to redeploy to Haiti one of its "high-end RQ-4
Global Hawk" spy drones that had been tasked for Afghanistan. The Air
Force was also quick to send skyward its EC-130J Commando Solo aircraft,
dubbed "a radio station in the sky," which broadcast daily a recording
from the Haitian ambassador to the United States warning people not to try
to flee by boat because, "If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the
doors will be wide open to you, that's not at all the case. And they will
intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came
from." Within 24 hours, the U.S. Navy dispatched multiple warships,
including an aircraft carrier, while 5,700 U.S. soldiers and Marines were
ordered deployed. By the end of January, 6,500 U.S. soldiers were in Haiti
and the Coast Guard committed nine separate cutters to the campaign (as
compared to the 2004 coup, when the Coast Guard mustered three cutters).

Clearly, the military response was not about providing aid. But neither
was it about oil, the idea of the moment. Based on a Bloomberg News
report, conspiracy theorists speculated feverishly that the U.S. was
occupying Haiti for its hydrocarbon wealth. It sounds vaguely plausible
because wars, coups, and destabilization campaigns often target
energy-rich countries such as Iraq, Venezuela, and Iran. However, these
operations are hardly secret. They may be masked in rhetoric about weapons
of mass destruction and terrorism, but the maneuvering is done openly.
Second, concluding the U.S. invasion was about oil assumes Haiti has no
interest in developing oil reserves or, if it did, concessions would not
go to Western oil companies, and there is no evidence for either position.
Third, and most important, Haiti's energy reserves are meager at best. The
Bloomberg article, based on a U.S. Geological Survey report from 2000,
estimated that, "The Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Haiti, the
Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and their offshore waters, probably hold
at least 142 million barrels of oil and 159 billion cubic feet of
gas&hellip;. Undiscovered amounts may be as high as 941 million barrels of
oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas." In comparison, Iraq's reserves
are more than 100 times greater.

             Keeping Haiti in the West Atlantic System

If occupying Haiti is not about oil or aid, what is the motivation? The
overarching goal is to keep Haiti within the "West Atlantic system," that
is, part of the American empire. With "rollback" guiding U.S. foreign
policy in the region-support for the coup in Honduras, seven new military
bases in Colombia, stepped-up hostility toward Bolivia and Venezuela - an
occupation of Haiti fits into the overall scheme. Related to that, the
United States aims to ensure that Haiti does not pose the "threat of a
good example" by pursuing an independent path, as it tried to under
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide-which is why he was toppled twice, in
1991 and 2004, in U.S.-backed coups. Instead, Haiti must adhere to extreme
neoliberalism and serve as an ultra-low-wage processing zone close to the
United States.

Take a 2001 report from Oxfam, which noted: "Haiti now has one of the most
liberal trade regimes in the world." Add to that the sweatshop model of
development being promoted by UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton.
Speaking at an October 2009 investors' conference in Port-au-Prince that
attracted do-gooders like Gap, Levi Strauss, and Citibank, Clinton claimed
a revitalized garment industry could create 100,000 jobs. The reason some
200 companies, half of them garment manufacturers, attended the conference
was because, "Haiti's extremely low labor costs, comparable to those in
Bangladesh, make it so appealing," the New York Times reported. Those
costs are often less than the official daily minimum wage of $1.75. The
Haitian Parliament approved an increase last May 4 to about $5 an hour,
but President Rene Preval refused to authorize the bill, effectively
killing it. The refusal to increase the minimum wage sparked numerous
student protests starting last June, which were reportedly repressed by
Haitian police and the Brazilian-led UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti

In this light, the impetus of a new occupation may be to reconstitute the
Haitian Army (or similar entity) as a force "to fight the people." Despite
all the terror inflicted on Haiti by the United States, particularly in
the last 20 years - two coups followed each time by the slaughter of
thousands of activists and innocents by U.S.-armed death squads - the
strongest social and political force in Haiti today is probably the
organisations populaires (OPs) that are the backbone of the Fanmi Lavalas
party of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Twice last year, after
legislative elections were scheduled that banned Fanmi Lavalas, boycotts
were organized by the party. In both instances the abstention rate was
said to be about 90 percent.

One casualty of the earthquake and the response has been the Haitian
civilian government. As the official organ of the elite mindset, the New
York Times stated: "Haiti Faces Leadership Void" and it described a scene
in which U.S. ambassador Louis Lucke and Lt. Gen. Keen were "seated at
center stage" addressing the media in Port-au-Prince about recovery
efforts, while Haitian President Preval stood in the back and eventually
"wandered away without a word." While Preval was elected president in
2006, after being backed by Fanmi Lavalas, he has buckled under to
neoliberal policies of low wages and export-processing zones. The
Washington Post describes Preval as "a technocrat largely free of the
sharp political ideologies that have divided Haiti for decades.") The
Times article talked about "familiar rumblings of chaos and coups," an
indication that Washington is pondering a regime change. The real powers
in Haiti right now are Keen, Lucke, Bill Clinton (who has been tapped by
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to lead recovery efforts), and Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton. When asked at the press conference how long U.S.
forces were planning to stay, Keen said, "I'm not going to put a time
frame on it" while Lucke added, "We're not really planning in terms of
weeks or months or years. We're planning basically to see this job through
to the end."

It is the OPs, while devastated and destitute, who are filling the void
and remain the strongest voice against economic colonization. Even after
the earthquake, the OPs took the lead. Veteran Haiti reporter Kim Ives
explained to "Democracy Now!": "Security is not the issue. We see
throughout Haiti the population organizing themselves into popular
committees to clean up, to pull out the bodies from the rubble, to build
refugee camps, to set up their security for the refugee camps. This is a
population which is self-sufficient and it has been self-sufficient for
all these years." In one instance, Ives continued, a truckload of food
showed up in a neighborhood in the middle of the night unannounced. "It
could have been a melee. The local popular organization was contacted.
They immediately mobilized their members. They came out. They set up a
perimeter. They set up a cordon. They lined up about 600 people who were
staying on the soccer field behind the house, which is also a hospital,
and they distributed the food in an orderly, equitable fashion. They
didn't need Marines. They didn't need the UN."

Thus, while much of the corporate media fixated on "looters," virtually
every independent observer in Haiti after the earthquake - David Wilson,
Bill Quigley, Amy Goodman, Kim Ives, Dolores Bernal - noted the lack of
violence. Even the commander of U.S. forces in Haiti, Lt. Gen. Keen,
described the security situation as "relatively calm." With no functioning
government, calm prevailing, and people self-organizing, "security" (to
the U.S.) does not mean safeguarding the population; it means securing the
country against the population. "Stability" is for capital, of course. It
means low wages, no unions, no environmental laws, and the ability to
repatriate profits easily.


Some historical perspective is in order. In his work Haiti: State Against
Nation, The Origins & Legacy of Duvalierism, Michel-Rolph Trouillot
writes, "Haiti's first army saw itself as the offspring of the struggle
against slavery and colonialism." That changed during the U.S. occupation
of Haiti from 1915 to 1934. Under the tutelage of the U.S. Marines, "The
Haitian Garde was specifically created to fight against other Haitians. It
received its baptism of fire in combat against its countrymen. And the
Garde, like the army it was to sire, has indeed never fought anyone but
Haitians". It's this brutal legacy, along with the slaughter of thousands
of activists affiliated with Fanmi Lavalas after the 1991 coup, that led
Aristide to disband the army in 1995.

According to Peter Hallward, author of Damning the Flood: Haiti, Aristide
and the Politics of Containment, even prior to that decision, in the wake
of a U.S. invasion that returned a politically handcuffed Aristide to the
presidency in 1994, "CIA agents accompanying U.S. troops began a new
recruitment drive for the agency" that included leaders of the death squad
known as FRAPH.

It's worth recalling how the Clinton administration played a double game
under the cover of humanitarian intervention. Investigative reporter Allan
Nairn revealed that in 1993 "five to ten thousand" small arms were shipped
from Florida, past the U.S. naval blockade, to the coup leaders. These
weapons enabled FRAPH to multiply and terrorize the popular movements.
FRAPH leader Emmanual Constant told Nairn that the U.S. Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) wanted to use his outfit to "balance the
Aristide movement" and conduct "intelligence" against it. Meanwhile, with
FRAPH violence intensifying in 1994, Clinton administration officials
pressured Aristide into acquiescing to a U.S. invasion because FRAPH was
becoming "the only game in town." After 20,000 U.S. troops landed in
Haiti, they set about protecting FRAPH members, freeing them from jail,
and refusing to disarm them or seize their weapons caches. Constant
claimed that after the invasion, the DIA was using FRAPH to counter
"subversive activities." The United States also ensured that coup leaders
were pardoned and blocked efforts to prosecute their crimes. Meanwhile,
the State Department and the CIA stacked the Haitian National Police with
former army soldiers, many of whom were on the U.S. payroll. By 1996,
according to one report, Haitian Army and "FRAPH forces remain armed and
present in virtually every community across the country," and
paramilitaries were "inciting street violence in an effort to undermine
social order." In 1996, a Haitian official told Nairn, "The CIA is present
within the police. It is present in all parts. But what their plan is - I
don't have it."

During the early 1990s, a separate group of Haitian soldiers, including
Guy Philippe who led the 2004 coup against Aristide, were spirited away to
an Ecuadoran military academy where they "reportedly trained with U.S.
Special Forces," according to Hallward. The second coup began in 2001 as a
"contra war" based in the Dominican Republic with Philippe and former
FRAPH commander Jodel Chamblain as leaders. Hallward argues that the
Dominican Republic, being a "very policed society," was certainly aware of
Philippe and his band, which numbered 50 to 100 by 2003. A "Democracy
Now!" report from April 7, 2004 claimed that the U.S.-funded International
Republican Institute provided arms and technical training to the
anti-Aristide force in the Dominican Republic, while "200 members of the
special forces of the United States were there in the area training these
so-called rebels"

A key component of the campaign was economic de-stabilization. Once
Aristide returned to power in 2001, the U.S. cut off all the aid it
controlled - from the World Bank, IMF, and Inter-American Development Bank
- slashing the government's budget in half. Despite this, Aristide's two
administrations were able to make advances in lowering infant mortality,
illiteracy, and HIV infection rates, while increasing school enrollment
and access to medical care, especially with the help of Cuba (whose
medical brigade in Haiti reports having treated more than 50,000 victims
of the earthquake in barely three weeks). It certainly didn't help
Aristide's position that he was demanding France repay $21 billion it had
taken out of Haiti in 1825 for the former slave colony to buy its freedom
or that he was working with Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba to create
alternatives to U.S. economic control of the region.

When Aristide was finally ousted in February 2004, another round of
slaughter began. A 2006 study by the British medical journal Lancet found
that 8,000 people were murdered in the capital region during the first 22
months of the U.S.-backed coup government and 35,000 women and girls were
raped or sexually assaulted. The OPs and Lavalas militants were decimated,
in part, by a UN war against the main Lavalas strongholds in
Port-au-Prince's neighborhoods of Bel Air and Cite Soleil, the latter a
densely packed slum of some 300,000. (Hallward claims U.S. Marines were
involved in a number of massacres in areas such as Bel Air in 2004.)
[Ruling class members have the right to do anything they want to
anyone. -ed]

              The Interim Cooperation Framework

Less than four months after the 2004 coup, reporter Jane Regan revealed
that a draft economic plan, the Interim Cooperation Framework, "calls for
more free trade zones (FTZs), stresses tourism and export agriculture, and
hints at the eventual privatization of the country's state enterprises."
Regan wrote that the plan was "drawn up by people nobody elected," mainly
"foreign technicians" and "institutions like the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) and the World Bank." She added, "Almost
no one from the country's large and experienced national non-governmental
organization community, the local and national peasant associations,
unions, women's groups or the hundreds of producers' cooperatives or
numerous other associations was invited to participate."

By 2009 this plan was being implemented under Preval and promoted by Bill
Clinton and Ban Ki-moon as Haiti's path out of poverty. The Wall Street
Journal touted such achievements as "10,000 new garment industry jobs," a
"luxury hotel complex" in the upper-crust neighborhood of Petionville, and
a $55 million investment by Royal Caribbean International in its private
beach, surrounded by an iron fence and armed guards, just north of the
capital. (That "investment," according to the cruise line operator,
included "a new 800-foot pier, a Barefoot Beach Club with private cabanas,
an alpine roller coaster with individual controls for each car, new dining
facilities, and a new, larger Artisan's Market.") In March 2009, Ban
Ki-Moon outlined his development plan for Haiti in the New York Times,
pushing for lowering port fees, "dramatically expanding the country's
export zones," and emphasizing "the garment industry and agriculture." At
least Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff admits, in promoting the same
exact neoliberal plan drafted by economist Paul Collier, that those
garment factories are "sweatshops."

Haiti, of course, has been here before when it was dubbed the "Taiwan of
the Caribbean." In the 1980s, under Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, it
shifted one-third of cultivated land to export crops while "there were
some 240 multinational corporations, employing between 40,000 and 60,000
predominantly female workers," sewing garments, baseballs for Major League
Baseball, and Disney merchandise, according to scholar Yasmine Shamsie.
Those jobs, paying as little as 11 cents an hour, coincided with a decline
in per capita income and living standards. The self-contained
export-processing zones, often funded by USAID and the World Bank, also
added little to the national economy, importing tax free virtually all the
materials used. The agricultural practices, including the U.S.-promoted
decimation of the widespread and valuable Creole pig (because of fears of
an outbreak of African swine fever), led to displacement of the peasantry
into urban areas, such as Port-au-Prince. Because of the tax-free import
scheme, and large-scale tax evasions of luxury goods that accompanied it,
the government responded by taxing consumption-based items more heavily,
while the promise of urban jobs led to even more rural migration. It's
hard not to conclude that these development schemes played a major role in
the horrendous death toll in Port-au-Prince.

The latest scheme, on hold for now because of the earthquake, is a $50
million "industrial park that would house roughly 40 manufacturing
facilities and warehouses," bankrolled by the Soros Economic Development
Fund (yes, that Soros). The planned location is Cite Soleil. Other
measures were outlined by James Dobbins, former special envoy to Haiti
under President Bill Clinton. He wrote in a New York Times op-ed: "This
disaster is an opportunity to accelerate oft-delayed reforms" including
"breaking up or at least reorganizing the government-controlled telephone
monopoly. The same goes with the Education Ministry, the electric company,
the Health Ministry and the courts."

The need for a new U.S. invasion of Haiti starts to become clear. The OPs
and Fanmi Lavalas had been able to show their strength of late through two
election boycotts last year. Even with the government and its repressive
security forces now in shambles, neoliberal reconstruction will still
happen at the barrel of the gun. And at the same time, reconstruction
means rebuilding Haiti's repressive apparatus.

For those who wonder why the United States is so obsessed with controlling
a country so impoverished, devastated, and seemingly inconsequential as
Haiti, Noam Chomsky summed it up best in a 2006 interview, "Why was the
U.S. so intent on destroying northern Laos, so poor that peasants hardly
even knew they were in Laos? Or Indochina? Or Guatemala? Or Maurice Bishop
in Grenada, the nutmeg capital of the world? The reasons are about the
same, and are explained in the internal record. These are 'viruses' that
might 'infect others' with the dangerous idea of pursuing similar paths to
independent development. The smaller and weaker they are, the more
dangerous they tend to be. If they can do it, why can't we? Does the
Godfather allow a small storekeeper to get away with not paying protection


Arun Gupta is a founding editor of the Indypendent newspaper. He is
writing a book on the decline of American empire for Haymarket Books.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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