*edit, January 8, 2020 – Reviewing this post today, I have come to the conclusion that my comments below, in regard to Jeb’s use of the phrase ‘popular rising’ weren’t terribly helpful. They might, in fact, be confusing to those reading this post. I’ll leave them in for they do no great damage to the main task that this post seeks to accomplish, but in regard to my opinion about the appropriateness of the phrase, listen to Jeb, not me. I do think I’m right on the use of the term ‘rebellion’ however.
Let me remind you how those with power in this Godless world get that power. They ‘strategically’ break laws, rules and agreements, written and unwritten. It’s simple. First you, the player that is, self-modify. In the course of doing that, you jettison your God-given conscience, replacing the golden rule of ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ with ‘riches for the strongest’. You make the choice to not worry about ‘how’ you survive. Whatever rules, or principles, you now choose to follow, it can be said that, as you don’t care about how you survive, but only that you do, then you are unprincipled. As a self-modified believer in inequality, deceit and violence, all things which can help you to survive ‘and’ acquire glory in the process, Taking the means of survival from others (who will notice, hence glory) now becomes your special duty, which in turn means that you can only help to make the Godless world we were all born into more Godless, which means more violent, more unequal and darker.
Those who embrace – as we are all free to do but not without consequences – this dark world’s paradigm of ‘riches for the strongest’ seek power, riches and glory, in whatever proportion each glory-seeker prefers. As a glory-seeker, the ruined person wants others to see that it was he, or she, who robbed (or raped or terrorized) them. But as an evildoer, the ruined person doesn’t want to answer for his crimes, for which reason the Christian Bible states that:
Now this is the basis for judgment: that the light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. For whoever practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his works may not be reproved. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that his works may be made manifest as having been done in harmony with God.” – Jesus’s words as recorded at John 3:19-21
Jeb Sprague wrote “Paramilitarism And The Assault On Democracy In Haiti.” Mildred Trouillot-Aristide said that “it was absolutely imperative that such a detailed account… be recorded.” Peter Hallward, who wrote the powerful “Damming The Flood – Haiti, Aristide, And The Politics Of Containment,” said about Sprague’s book that it was the “most substantial and detailed account yet written of the paramilitary insurgency that contributed to the internationally-sanctioned overthrow of Haiti’s constitutional government in 2004.”
I think that it would be worthwhile, since the same kind of ruling classes (behind the 2004 coup in Haiti) rule today, to highlight, with excerpts from Sprague’s book, those parts of his report that show the true colors of the monsters – chimères – who helped ruin Haiti. It’s easy enough to call monsters monsters. But let’s take a good look at them. It may be instructive. After getting some quibbles that I have with Sprague’s book out of the way, we will take a look at the mentally and spiritually ruined crowd who attacked, and are still attacking, Haiti.
Haiti’s internal and external enemies portrayed their assault against Haiti’s democratically elected government as a popular uprising. Sprague and others say that it was anything but. But this isn’t, in my view, exactly the case. Just because it wasn’t what the majority of Haitians wanted, and just because it was awful, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t popular. It was popular enough. And Haitians are Haitians whether they are good or evil. So, Is Haiti ruined or not?
“Positioned in the Central Plateau, the FLRN, whose leaders had been trained by the U.S. military, engaged in psychological operations such as using local radio stations to spread fear and terror among the police, FL supporters, and the population as a whole. Often they carried out quick strikes on rural police stations, and then fled before reinforcements from the capital could arrive.
“A number of commentators labeled these events an uprising or “rebellion,” but such assertions are clearly nonsense. Years of a destabilization campaign had taken their toll on the popular movement, with segments of society disheartened; some, especially onetime allies in Haiti’s small middle class, had gone over to the opposition. Butteur’s gang in Gonaïves was backed by a small but very powerful cabal of elites who wanted to further ensnare the government in a security situation it could not control. Astonishingly, few international journalists either knew or bothered to consider that the leaders of the “popular uprising” were not remotely popular, a fact dramatically confirmed two years later when elections were finally held, but hardly a secret in 2004.” – page 222 of “Paramilitarism And The Assault On Democracy In Haiti” by Jeb Sprague
in Kreòl: Front pour la Libération et la Reconstruction Nationale
in English: Front for the National Liberation and Reconstruction of Haiti
“Butteur” refers to Butteur Métayer, a Haitian terrorist.
Why the undermining of Haitian democracy via violence and terrorism is ‘not’ a rebellion, I’ll never know. It’s not a rebellion by the masses, for sure. But for sure it’s a rebellion – by lawless, clueless Haitians against a democratically elected government and against law & order itself. And boy do I mean clueless! I can’t think of a single example of an intelligent philosophy and/or thoughtful political manifesto, even if evil, that the political opposition and its paramilitary tools put out to justify the coupists’ behavior. The breathless complaints of all of the coupists, from the dumbest grunts who complained about law & order being a problem to the smartest apologists who simply accused Aristide of being what they (the coupists) were, and his government of doing what they were doing, none of it was impressive or had the character of something intellectual and worth pondering. All of it was alarming. Consider the following passage from page 173 of Sprague’s book:
On December 19, 2002, accompanying a team of medics from the NGO Partners in Health, on their way from Belladère to Las Cahobas in the Central Plateau, filmaker David Murdock came across a group of paramilitaries that had set up nighttime checkpoints in the area. “We were terrified when we were stopped by them at a roadblock. It was in the countryside near the border. They were wearing uniforms and carrying weapons.
As we rounded the corner in a remote stretch of road, our headlights suddenly flashed upon a group of at least five armed men standing by their vehicles, dressed from head to toe in army fatigues. They pointed automatic rifles and pistols at our jeep, forcing us to stop. They pulled us out onto the desolate road – lit only by the glare of their headlights – and lined us up at gunpoint. They interrogated the leader of our group, a Haitian doctor, demanding to know who we were and where we were going. As we stood there in the road, they lectured us on the fact that President Aristide has disbanded the Haitian army and they vowed that they would fight to return the military to power.
The bolding in the above quotation is mine.
Did the terrorist’s lecture inspire you as much as it inspired me? From page 185, we get the following:
“On July 26, three more were killed at the hands of the ex-military. In Pernal, Colbert Réné was shot to death; Gesner Séraphin was murdered in Piton; and in the border town of Roy-Sec Wilmer Picot was shot to death. Days later, opposition leaders in Port-au-Prince held loud rallies against Aristide. On July 31, Victor Benoit, Paul Denis, and leaders of the CD [Democratic Convergence], made a declaration that “all Convergence members and supporters must rally to overthrow the constitutional authorities.”
Haitians are to oppose constitutional authorities only if they are democratic and their President is pacifist (to the best of his ability), apparently. But seriously, Doesn’t that inspire you?! Sprague continues:
“When police intervened or FL [Fanmi Lavalas] demonstrators from the slums arrived to conterdemonstrate, the corporate media and foreign-funded human rights groups immediately denounced Aristide’s “brutal repression” of demonstrations, his alleged use of violent “chimères,” or gangs from the slums, to crush opposition protests.”
The bolding in the above quotation is mine.
Let Jeb Sprague introduce (on page 9) one of the Haitian elite’s tools, Louis-Jodel Chamblain:
“His right eye blinked furiously, swollen and red; he continued to rub it. In Kreyòl, he demanded to know how I had found him: “Kote w ou jwenn nimewo telefòn mwen?” (Where did you get my phone number?); “Pou kiyès wap travay?” (Who are you working for?), he said as he stared at me with suspicion. Louis-Jodel Chamblain, the man sitting across from me, had been a commander of the paramilitary force (paramilitaries are irregular armed organizations backed by sectors of the upper class) known as the Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti (also known as the Front for the National Liberation and Reconstruction of Haiti, or FLRN). He explained to me that he had taken up his position during an “uprising” in early 2004 against Haiti’s government. He was also a cofounder in the mid-1990s of the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) death squads. According to Human Rights Watch, the FRAPH took part in the killing of at least 4,000 people as well as in thousands of rapes and other acts of torture. Before cofounding the FRAPH, Chamblain had served with the Tonton Macoutes, the infamous paramilitary arm of the Duvalier dictatorship, which according to human rights organizations was responsible for killing tens of thousands of people and victimizing many more. In early 2011, Chamblian would head up security for Jean-Claude Duvalier when the former dictator made a surprise return to Haiti…
“When the interview was done, I and a Haitian friend who had accompanied me for the interview sought to exit quickly. We picked up our things. But Chamblain, refusing to take no for an answer, drove us down the hill into the city; he wanted to know where we were staying. Soon, making up some excuse to get out of the car, we waved to two moto-taxis. Zooming down a lively boulevard filled with colorfully decorated bus and pickup truck transports known as tap-taps, weaving around jammed traffic, we looked back over our shoulders making sure that Chamblain was not following us in his white jeep. Ironically, I was staying for a few nights at the Izmèry house (better known as the Matthew 25 house) in the neighborhood of Delmas 33. With an adjacent park where the local children play, it was the former home of the progressive Haitian businessman Antoine Ismèry, who had been assassinated by paramilitaries years prior. Chamblain had formerly been convicted of organizing the killing. Adding greatly to our fears, just two days prior, a human rights leader and dear friend, Lovinsky Pierre Antoine, had disappeared. Because Lovinsky was one of the major figures of Haiti’s grassroots human rights movement and one of the longtime opponents of the ex-military and paramilitary criminals such as Chamblain, some believed that a rightist hit squad was responsible.” -pages 9 & 10
Jeb, later (pages 225 & 226) in his account, reports on the deep-thinking Chamblain’s reasons for his acts of terrorism:
“Driving up through the small towns of the northern Central Plateau, Chamblain recounted how at times, locals, FL militants, and popular organizations, whom he referred to as chimères (loosely translated as “monsters”; press outlets and embassy officials also increasingly used this term) ambushed the paramilitaries:
While Saint Raphael and Grande Rivière du Nord fell easy and the population joined us, we were ambushed on the route between the two. Then at Barrière Batant we had our first real fight – we faced many enemies…they were firing…it was a big battle… There were more chimères than us…at this point we had about 150 to 200 men. After Barrière Bathant we went to Milot where the attack was stronger. We were better prepared and hardened now for the fight. We had a former officer that received a bullet in the leg. He also suffered from diabetes. He died right there… This man, my friend, was an executioner that worked for General Cedras. A good man.
The population was trying to protect the place where they lived. Chimères and some local police led by a man named Nahoum Macellus attacked us. They were well armed. Our team was trapped in an ambush at first. We had two former military men that died after one received a bullet though [sic] his cheek. We had no medic but at this moment we could not go to the hospital so we had to go to a special place. For our soldier with a bullet [wound] we hired a doctor to take care of him. The two others died after bullets had pierced their bodies. We buried both in secret in the countryside, and eventually we overcame the people fighting us.
“Driving up through Milot on their way to Cap-Haïtien, the paramilitaries were again ambushed by locals, who killed two of the ex-FAd’H gunmen. Although government supporters in the north were lightly armed, they attempted to slow and resist the paramilitary offensive. A departmental delegate, Jean Mirtho Julien, summed up: “The force of the State is the mobilization of the population due to the weakness of the Police.” Chamblain recalls that the Lavalassians prepared a trap for us again …we spent two hours fighting with them in the hills near Milot…” Guy Philippe has claimed that Moïse Jean-Charles, a Lavalas leader from Milot, was one of those to “humiliate the country and its people, [and do] nothing but kill supporters of liberty.””
The bolding in the above quote is mine. Also, I don’t know whether Barrière Batant should be Barrière Batant or Barrière Bathant or, as it is online (and there’s little info there), Barrière Battant.
The obvious problem for the terrorists is that they can only lie about their support and claim to be defending Haiti. As Jeb Sprague says (pg 224), “The return of the Haitian army, a mechanism of enrichment and power masked in nationalistic rhetoric, continued to be a demand echoed by the ex-military and opposition.” The ‘monsters’ who they are fighting are also the people who they say side with them. Their statements (in bold) are nonsensical. The division that they suggest among the people doesn’t exist, which is why Sprague comes back again and again to the nonsense (but not ‘absolute’ nonsense) about the coupists’ claim of a “popular” uprising. (I quibble about the idea that the terrorist paramilitaries are not themselves a “popular uprising,” but completely take Sprague’s point.) Notice the completely upside down view of Chamblain who refers to one his colleagues, an “executioner,” as a “good man” who worked for General Joseph Raoul Cédras, who led the ’91 coup that overthrew Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s first government. Was Cédras or the guy who worked for him the “good man”? I don’t know. Obviously, in Chamblain’s view, they both were. Peter Hallward (pages 39 & 40 of “Damming The Flood”) gives us an idea what kind of man Raoul Cédras is:
“By the time it turned on Aristide in September 1991, the army had learned the single most valuable tactical lesson in its long campaign against Lavalas. It’s a lesson that continues to guide its paramilitary and international replacements to this day: in order to contain the popular mobilization, you must seal off and then terrorize the slums where its most determined partisans live.
“The importance of this lesson was brought home with dramatic effect when on 7 January 1991, a month before Aristide’s inauguration, some of the more reactionary elements of the army jumped the gun and launched a pre-emptive coup to install the embittered Macoute Roger Lafontant as president in his place. The assault was rushed and poorly planned. Although Lafontant was able to occupy the National Palace for a few hours and proclaim a new government, he failed to anticipate the full strength of the popular reaction. Port-au-Prince erupted in fury, the Palace was surrounded by tens of thousands of people, and his unprepared troops proved reluctant to shoot into the crowds. By the end of the day, Lafontant was forced to back down and give himself up to the police. Popular reprisal attacks left some twenty to thirty Macoutes dead.
“In the last days of September, therefore, just before they abducted Aristide, General Raoul Cédras and police chief Michel François were careful to deploy large numbers of better-prepared troops to strategic positions in the capital. Reliable officers had spent the preceding months persuading their men that “Aristide and the people who supported him were a danger to the army and to their own livelihood, and that he threatened to deliver the country to mob rule.” The millions collected from families like the Bandts and Mevs were doled out as necessary; to steady their nerves, ordinary soldiers received up to $5000 apiece. As crowds tried to gather in defense of the government, the army opened fire, and kept firing. “Having learned their lessons in January,” says a veteran US intelligence monitor, “the soldiers shot everything in sight. They ran out of ammunition so fast it seems the US had to re-supply them with night-time helicopter flights from Guantanamo.” At least 300 people were killed in the first night of the coup, probably many more; the Washington Post reported that 250 people died in Cité Soleil alone. Another US analyst described the coup as an exercise in “pre-emptive butchery,” as a harsh but understandable response to Aristide’s “unambiguous call for mob violence.” It was the beginning of a reign of terror that would kill around four thousand Lavalas supporters over the next three years. As the Heinls [Robert Debs and Nancy Gordon] explain, once Aristide was gone, “The officers handed back the weapons that had been confiscated from the section chiefs and re-established their reporting line to the Army. The chiefs lost little time in re-asserting their authority, taking good care to avenge the slights, perceived or real, that they had suffered during the past eight months.” Churches and community organizations were invaded, peasant and labor activists were murdered. Perhaps 300,000 people went into hiding or internal exile; another 60,000 fled in makeshift boats, only to be intercepted and returned (or interned) by the US Coast Guard. “I was in Haiti at the time,” remembers [Noam] Chomsky, “and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such terror.” Drawing on a logic that would return with a vengeance in 2004, Cédras defended the putsch as a “correction of the democratic process.””
For that matter, I have issues with Aristide the theologian. How does a self-professed Christian, let alone one who presumes to teach Christianity to others, get basics about God so wrong? You can only come to the conclusion that man is God by in fact rejecting his inspired Word. (Of course, I will have a hard time arguing my position here. If I confess that I think that there are problems with the Christian Bible, then How can I expect anyone to follow my argument that Aristide deviates, unforgivably, from that Word? Nevertheless, That is my position.) I haven’t read Aristide’s autobiography and don’t feel particularly inspired to do so, but Hallward’s revelation (on page 21 of “Damming The Flood”) that Aristide wrote “There is no force superior to humankind” and “There is no Messiah other than the people” reveals thinking that is the opposite of Christian. I’m not saying that Aristide was or is a bad man. But it’s relative. What does God say? Here’s what his Son said: “If the light that is in you is really darkness, then how great that darkness is!” (Matthew 6:23) There simply can’t be blessings for a Christian leader who makes statements like those Aristide made, above. (But that’s between Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Jehovah God.) Am I saying that Aristide’s deficient (in some, but not all, ways) Christianity is the cause of Haiti’s inability to break free from powerful evil forces? No, because, at this time, God can’t intervene in human affairs in order to protect, totally, his loyal servants. Whether good or bad, poor and powerless Haitians faced powerful evil enemies who had it in for them. (You can be enslaved by tyrants but still be free if you hold fast to the Truth and if you remain loyal to the Source of life, who, eventually, will reverse your bad physical fortune.) Even without the imperfect Christian, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, leading them, Haiti was going to fall (the way it fell). To Aristide’s credit, it was going to fall because evil forces within Haiti, and without, couldn’t tolerate democracy, equality and prosperity for all, which Aristide, as imperfect as he was, represented. Aristide threw his lot in with the poor and powerless of Haiti, a very Christian thing to do.
We are all imperfect and we will all be corrected therefore, eventually. The question is, Will that correction be something that we, as individuals, can survive? For there is, contrary to what Hollywood/Pentagon/CIA/NSA would have you believe, an unforgivable sin (Matthew 12:31,32). Those who presume to represent God to the people, but in fact misrepresent him to the people, put themselves in a very bad position.
“I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him.
It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his own step.” – Jeremiah 10:23
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12
“Again the Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service’.” – Matthew 4:8-10
The following are some excerpts from Jeb Sprague’s book showing the true nature of the ‘monster’ slayers, native and foreign, who finally undid Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government and the fragile democracy he and Fanmi Lavalas created in Haiti:
Among the donor community, USAID first began to criticize the young president. “Though the new minimum wage under the Aristide government would have still been less than one-eleventh of the average apparel wage (50 cent versus $5.85 an hour), USAID opposed this increase and orchestrated opposition to it,” the U.S. National Labor Committee said in a report. Author Amy Wilentz observed that USAID’s programs were working to fund the government’s political opposition, as part of the United States’ growing strategy of what well-paid policymakers described as “democratization.”
pages 168 & 169:
On June 23, the paramilitaries returned across the border and murdered family members and friends of Cléonor Souverein, another FL coordinator in Belladère. The five young victims were forced to lie face down and were machine-gunned. The victims were Rosita Souverein, twenty-four, Nathalie Souverein, seventeen (killed with two bullets in the vagina), Mimose Brizard, thirty-eight (a friend of the family), and Dubuisson Brizard, the thirty-five-year-old brother of Mimose. Also murdered was Louis Albert Ramil, age fourteen. Cléonor, who was not at home when the paramilitaries carried out the killings, remembers that day vividly:
It was one o’clock in the morning when they came in order to kill me. Guy Philippe led them. The others were Rémissanthe Ravix, Clotaire Jean-Baptiste, Bell Panel, Voltaire Jean-Baptiste, and Èdouard Casimir, all members of the rebels hiding across the border. They did not find me but they killed five people in the house. The killers were outside and yelled at my family to come out of the house.
They heard shots and were scared. They were shooting gunfire into the air, so my family ran outside. They were immediately asked to lie on the floor. All of the rebels participated. Seven people in total were sleeping in the house. Only my mother and nephew survived. Today my mother is mentally disturbed while my nephew, the son of my sister, Bertrand Roussaine, received a bullet in his chest exiting through his back damaging his spine. Today is paralyzed and lives in a wheelchair…
The gunmen crossed with impunity into Belladère, spreading panic among small rural towns in the region. They crossed the Dominican border freely. A group calling themselves the “Motherless Army of Pernal” launched a wave of killings. “They did not spare the civilian population, neither pregnant women, nor children, and violated the principles of the Geneva Convention thoroughly,” observed a member of a local human rights group.
pages 186 & 187:
As protests and counterprotests grew in Port-au-Prince they had become more commonplace in Haiti’s second-largest city, Cap-Haïtien, in the form of street fights between pro- and anti-government rallies. Last-chance attempts by the OAS to negotiate a compromise failed as the opposition continued with its strategy of not giving an inch, refusing to negotiate a deal, which kept the aid embargo on the government in place. It later emerged that Stanley Lucas, a top representative of the U.S. International Republican Institute (IRI), as well as a friend of Guy Philippe, had advised the “civilian” opposition not to reach a negotiated settlement. Dragging their feet in negotiations with the government, the political opposition’s main leadership by mid-2003 had decided to go along with the paramilitary option, using the destabilization it caused to catapult their own groups into power.
As FLRN death squads led assaults into the country, Apaid was vocal in his support for overthrowing Aristide through violent means. “Armed resistance is a legitimate political expression,” so the rebels should remain armed until Aristide resigns, Apaid announced. [Guy] Philippe, himself, later acknowledged the role that Apaid had in backing the insurgency. U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters said, “It is my belief that André Apaid is attempting to instigate a bloodbath in Haiti and then blame the government for the resulting disaster in the belief that the United States will aid the so-called protesters against President Aristide and his government.”
On February 14, 2004, [Guy] Philippe and [Louis-Jodel] Chamblain publicly declared themselves as heads of the ex-military “rebel” movement. Before launching their assault on Hinche, the provincial capital of the Centre Department (in the Central Plateau), Philippe and Chamblain visited Gonaïves and began preparation. Planning a more concerted offensive, they began a new round of attacks on February 19. The New York Times later reported:
On 19 February 2004, the rebels attacked the jail in Fort Liberté, near the border….Jacques Èdouard, the jail supervisor, said he was forced to release 73 prisoners, including convicted murderers. Some prisoners joined the rebels, while others took over the city, robbing residents and burning homes until the United Nations arrived a month later, said Andrea Loi Valenzuela, a United Nations worker there.
pages 235 & 236:
In March 2004, a reinvigorated paramilitary campaign was launched in the face of an anti-coup backlash by Haiti’s poor, who organized huge demonstrations and rallies. “Although an important part of the official logic behind the coup was that Aristide’s government had become too weak and too unpopular to retain any constitutional legitimacy, once again the reality was very different. In spite of all it suffered under the impact of the long destabilization campaign, by every available measure Lavalas continued to enjoy the support of most of the population.” Even in April 2004, according to U.S. embassy official Luis Moreno, Aristide could easily have been reelected.
In the days following the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government, a U.S.- Canadian- and French-backed “Council of Eminent Persons” selected former World Bank official official Gerard Latortue to be the country’s next prime minister (the same man that Avril Prosper and other coup plotters had suggested as a PM in 2003). Latortue was a longtime functionary of the transnational elite, serving as foreign minister of the Manigat military-appointed government following the sham elections of January 1988. In 2004, the seventy-year-old Latortue, a resident of Boca Raton, Florida, had, according to a leaked U.S. embassy cable, a “relative lack of baggage” and was prepared to “horse trade” to secure the position. Even more important was the embassy’s strong support for Latortue, and the fact that his cousin was Youri Latortue, an ex-Fad’H power broker, seen as a central figure for negotiating with the paramilitaries. In time, it would become clear that Youri Latortue had both political and ambitions and was allegedly behind the trafficking of narcotics in his hometown of Gonaïves. Of greater importance, the ouster of the constitutional government left the country’s police force in a state of disarray, and the paramilitaries were now one of the largest and most well-armed groups in Haiti.