“The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a crushing defeat to the forces of tyranny and terror, and a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.”
-- George W. Bush, April 12, 2005.
The American civil war has been well chronicled for its blood and gore, for the honor and dignity of opposing Generals, for heroic deeds and heroic characters in the face of unimaginable hardship, and for christening the end of state sanctioned slavery on the North American continent.
A direct and inevitable consequence of our founders’ failings, half a million Americans perished in that fabled conflict, yet the darkest chapters of history often have a silver lining. Aside from the end of slavery (and therefore, the beginning of a civilized nation), for five years there was a moratorium on the campaign to kill Indians in the west. The tribes of many nations (Apache, Comanche, Cheyenne, Lakota, Navaho, Paiute, Shoshone, Crow) gave thanks to the Great Spirit for the War of the Great White Fathers.
As I contemplate the horrors of our current wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere (London, Madrid, the Philippines, Egypt, Casa Blanca, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia), a direct if not inevitable result of our failures in foreign policy (arming Al Qaeda, financing Islamic fundamentalist militants, supporting Middle East dictators such as the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein, and supporting Israel’s oppression of Palestine), it occurs to me that there has been a relative moratorium on America’s nefarious activities elsewhere in world -- specifically in Latin America.
The analogy is not pure for, just as Native Americans would pay dearly for the militarization of the American nation, events in Haiti, Venezuela and throughout Latin America remind us that neglect is a two-edged sword. While America’s efforts are necessarily focused on Iraq, covert operations remain in place in Latin America and the operatives are acutely aware that their activities are unlikely to draw the attention of mass media.
To a large extent, America’s interventions in Latin America may be perceived as an extension of the Indian wars for they invariably target indigenous peoples and their allies.
* * * *
In a city of desperate poverty -- without jobs, without electricity, without security, without drinkable water, without medical facilities, with little food and less hope -- several hundred well-armed soldiers in armored vehicles laid siege, blocking escape routes, and opened fire. Indiscriminate bullets found the bodies of men, women, children, infants and the elderly.
This was not Fallujah. It was not Ramadi, Baghdad or some obscure community in the Anbar province of Iraq. It was Cite Soleil in Haiti where families frequently adorn the bodies of the dead with photographs of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
In diplomatic and intellectual circles, there is a heated debate over whether Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. In Cite Soleil, that designation belongs to the United Nations for it was their soldiers, the Peace Keepers that carried out this horrendous deed.
In the effort to stop the war in Iraq before it began, many of us applauded the efforts of France and the United Nations for speaking truth to power. In Haiti, in Cite Soleil and countless other communities, that former light is shrouded in darkness.
Why is it so easy for the world to turn its back on Haiti, a slave nation that rose up against its masters, a shining example of the triumph of liberty and democracy?
It was the United States of America that deposed the lawfully elected president of Haiti. It was former president Bill Clinton who blackmailed him, promising American support if only President Aristide would betray his own people. It was America that sealed his fate, punishing the Haitian people by withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of desperately needed aid when Aristide refused to cooperate. It was America that contracted thugs, mercenaries and assassins to overthrow his government.
It is Haiti that cries out above all others that America’s praise for a “global democratic revolution” is a lie. The opposition of France (a conspirator in this endeavor) to global imperialism is a lie. The United Nations as a voice for the oppressed and powerless is a lie.
Haiti is not alone. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has withstood two American-sponsored coups. He has rightfully claimed leadership in the Bolivarian liberation movement. We remember Simon Bolivar for even in our own horribly biased history books, where genocide is masked as Manifest Destiny, Simon Bolivar is the father of Latin American democracy and Chavez is his devoted son.
Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba (whom we pray will soon embrace democratic ideals) have embraced the cause of Hugo Chavez. Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Chile are leaning in his direction. All have recognized that America’s New World Order is a prescription for the enslavement of their people and the usurpation of their resources. They are struggling to find the courage to resist.
Let them find their courage for there may never be a more opportune time. Let them find it in their hearts and minds. Slavery is not an option. Subjugation is not the natural order of the world. America is powerful by she is not preeminent. She does not possess the power to bend an unwilling world to its knees.
America’s power is waning because she has lost hold of her moral grounding. The greatest power on earth is, always has been, and always will be the universal values of humankind: Justice, equality, freedom and harmony.
Hugo Chavez has shown the way. He has challenged the beast and survived. He has demonstrated that the power of the people united in a just cause cannot be denied. Join him and you will find the courage of conviction. Join him and you will unleash the undeniable force of history. Join him and you will prevail.
Let it begin in Haiti.
Let it begin with the restoration of the presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the Albion Monitor, Buzzle, Dissident Voice and others. Visit his website: www.jackrandom.com.
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