Bill and Hillary Clinton: “Friends of Haiti?”
by Marty Goodman
The Clintons’ crimes against Haiti go back two decades, making Bill singularly unsuitable to act as United Nations envoy to Haiti. “Bill’s friendly relations with Haiti’s current President Michael Martelly, who is linked to Duvalier-era thugs and their kin, is well known.”
Bill and Hillary Clinton: “Friends of Haiti?”
by Marty Goodman
This article previously appeared in Socialist Action newspaper.
“When he gave money to the farmer (in the US) to grow rice and to compete with Haitian rice he is not the friend of Haiti.”
Bill Clinton and Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are called “the Friends of Haiti.” Oh, really?
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, President Obama appointed Bill Clinton as US envoy, partnering with the Katrina and Iraq criminal George Bush, Jr., a supporter of the 2004 CIA-backed military coup which overthrew the elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. After the earthquake, Bill headed relief agencies, while excluding Haitians themselves. The stated theme of the Clinton-Bush effort was to “build back better.” Today, Bill is the UN envoy and acknowledged guiding hand behind international relief efforts.
Both Bill and Hillary are promoters of the U.S. dominated World Bank low-wage sweatshop plan for Haiti, angrily dubbed “the American Plan” by Haitians. Last year, Hillary signed an agreement committing $124 million tax dollars to the building of the Caracol sweatshop assembly park in the north of Haiti. The agreement includes massive tax breaks for sweatshop bosses. Workers there are making the starvation wage of about $3.50 a day.
On Oct 22, 2012 Bill and Hillary were on hand for the inaugural ceremony in Caracol. Also there was Haitian President Michael Martelly, a pro-coup right-winger linked to Duvalier era thugs. Hillary praised Martelly as Haiti’s “chief dreamer and believer.” Martelly, once again, declared Haiti “open for business.”
The sweatshop park was launched with $3 million from the “Clinton Bush Haiti Fund,” set up by the two Obama appointees to spearhead so-called earthquake relief fundraising. One park occupant, Sae-A Trading, is a large textile company cited by the AFL-CIO for “acts of violence and intimidation” against workers in Guatemala.
“Last year, Hillary signed an agreement committing $124 million tax dollars to the building of the Caracol sweatshop assembly park in the north of Haiti.”
In 1993, during Bill Clinton’s administration, he appointed his close friend Ron Brown as Secretary of Commerce. In the early 1980s, Brown was a partner in the powerful Washington law firm of Patton, Boggs & Blow. Brown was a paid attorney and a lobbyist for Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier and his family. Brown was also personally linked to wealthy Haitian pro-Duvalier figures.
In 1983, Ron Brown wrote a report addressed to the dictator detailing his successes on Duvalier’s behalf in overcoming Haiti’s “unfair image,” not once mentioning Baby Doc’s appalling human rights record. As Commerce Secretary (1993-1996) Brown was in a position to help steer Haiti’s World Bank economic plan. Brown was named Democratic National Chairman in 1989. President Clinton established the “Ron Brown Award” for corporate leadership and responsibility.
As first-time presidential candidate, Bill correctly called Bush Sr’s Haitian immigration policy “racist.” Bush intercepted refugee boats in international waters as they fled a brutal CIA-backed military coup in 1991. Bush erected a racist U.S. naval blockade around Haiti to intercept refugees, in violation of U.S. and international political asylum law. The desperate refugees, dubbed “the Black Boat People” by refugee advocates, were handed over by the US to the military regime, which viewed refugees as “dissidents.” Once in office, Clinton dramatically intensified Bush’s racist blockade, which former Preside Jean-Bertrand Aristide called a “floating Berlin Wall.”
In 1994, Aristide got Clinton to agree to restore his presidency with a US/UN military occupation that his supporters lobbied for. Included in the occupation agreement was a World Bank economic plan for Haiti based on assembly sweatshops; reconciliation with coup makers; and the slashing of tariffs on U.S. subsidized goods such as rice, which soon destroyed the domestic production of this Haitian staple. The policy drove rural Haitians into overcrowded, poorly constructed housing in Port au Prince, devastated by the deadly 2010 earthquake. Mario Joseph, a prominent Haitian human rights attorney, told Socialist Action, “When he gave money to the farmer (in the US) to grow rice and to compete with Haitian rice he is not the friend of Haiti.”
“Once in office, Clinton dramatically intensified Bush’s racist blockade, which former Preside Jean-Bertrand Aristide called a ‘floating Berlin Wall.’”
The Clinton administration further pressured the Haitian government into accepting the reintegration hundreds of former Haitian army thugs into the “new” Haitian police. The CIA admitted that it openly recruiting police trainees, including members of the paramilitary goons in FRAPH, which was key to the success of the bloody 1991 coup. So blatant was the CIA that Jan Stromsem, head of the US police training program (ICITAP) in Haiti, quit in 1999 due, in part, to the CIA role.
Today, Bill’s friendly relations with Haiti’s current President Michael Martelly, who is linked to Duvalier-era thugs and their kin, is well known. Martelly became president in a sham election in 2011 engineered by the US. Secret U.S. embassy cables, released by Wikileaks, partially revealed extensive U.S. involvement in the Haitian election, which surely included Clinton. According to a Haitian journalist friendly with someone who was in the room with Clinton at a private meeting with candidates, Clinton arrogantly told a leading candidate, Jude Celestin, that he could not run and then offered Celestin a job in return. In sum, Clinton lent credibility to a sham election that excluded the largest party, Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Aristide supporters.
UN envoy Bill Clinton must answer for the UN’s refusal to take responsibility for numerous sexual assaults by MINUSTAH troops, some caught on video. In addition, the UN’s refusal to respond to calls for a moratorium on “forced evictions” of earthquake victims still living in Haiti’s tent cities, which numbers about 400,000. The forced evictions violate laws protecting the rights of “internal refugees.” Lastly, the UN’s refusal to respond to suits by human rights organizations such as the Office of International Lawyers (BAI) concerning the UN role in the Cholera epidemic. Two scientific studies and photographic evidence demonstrated the direct cause of the outbreak is linked to MINUSTAH troops from Nepal.
An easily treated water born disease, cholera killed over 7,000 Haitians and hundreds of thousands were stricken ill starting in 2010. BAI President Mario Joseph told Socialist Action, “If this kind of cholera happened in the U.S., France, in Canada or in London, the UN would act fast. Because we are Haitian, because we are black people, they don’t respect us.” Joseph called the lack of action, “genocide.”
Marty Goodman can be contacted via Socialist Action newspaper.