In 1962, in the thick of the Cold War, the late Haitian dictator Francois Duvalier effectively blackmailed the United States into supporting his government in a speech in which he said this: “Today there are two poles of attraction in the world; if we are not drawn to one, we will gravitate to the other.”
History has a funny way of repeating itself.
If the United States is unwilling to help Aristide achieve his goal of total control in Haiti, he will go elsewhere. In fact, he already has done so. A 60-member delegation headed by his presidential puppet, Rene Preval, was dispatched to visit Cuba the week of November 9-14. The Haiti Observateur reports that President Preval signed “10 agreements” with his communist neighbor pledging cooperation in the fields of health, agriculture, tourism and education.
Two weeks later on November 30, a team of 40 Cuban “advisors” arrived in Haiti. The group is supposed to be composed of medical and educational specialists and all indications are that the kind of education they will provide will be “physical” education.
A week before this contingent arrived, President Preval made a speech to pave the way for what is to come in which he blamed the country’s worsening economic problems on the bourgeoisie, the term used for the business class. Preval warned, “If you don’t share what you have with the poor, the government will do it for you.”
The ideology of Preval and his puppeteer is communism. Preval was educated in Moscow in the glory days of the red army and Aristide was forced to resign from the priesthood by Rome in 1994 for preaching the righteousness of class violence. In fact, Aristide put his thoughts on the free enterprise system on a recording called “Capitalism Is A Mortal Sin.” One of his first acts as president was to fire the commander of the army, General Herard Abraham, who had become a symbol of pro-democracy sentiment within the armed forces.
The Preval speech set up a direct confrontation between the government and Haiti’s businessmen and produced a most unusual alliance. Haiti’s nine professional institutions joined six labor unions to deliver an ultimatum to Preval demanding that he “approve a provisional government or else.”
If Aristide cannot use Haiti’s labor class to propel another round of violence, whom will he use? Haiti’s minister of justice, Max Antoine, another Marxist-Leninist, has announced plans to recognize and train civilian groups known as vigilante brigades to help in maintaining order, apparently with technical assistance from his new found Cuban friends. These are the same groups that have been terrorizing those suspected of disloyalty to Aristide. In the past two weeks they have been responsible for three lynchings.
Cuba and U.S.? We shouldn’t be surprised if the Preval/Aristide government’s choice is Cuba. Prior to becoming Haiti’s president, Aristide never made a major speech in which he did not denounce the United States.