Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington, D.C. and co-writer with Tariq Ali of the Oliver Stone documentary “South of the Border”, has published an illuminating piece in the Comment is Free section of the Guardian. Variously touching on U.S. foreign policy in general, the WikiLeaks cables on Haiti (apparently it is necessary for the U.S. State Department to know how many drinks the Haitian president can handle), and the ignominious role played by MINUSTAH — the U.N. force in Haiti — Weisbrot writes:
People who do not understand US foreign policy think that control over Haiti does not matter to Washington, because it is so poor and has no strategic minerals or resources. But that is not how Washington operates, as the WikiLeaks cables repeatedly illustrate. For the state department and its allies, it is all a ruthless chess game, and every pawn matters. Left governments will be removed or prevented from taking power where it is possible to do so; and the poorest countries – like Honduras last year – present the most opportune targets. A democratically elected government in Haiti, due to its history and the consciousness of the population, will inevitably be a left government – and one that will not line up with Washington’s foreign policy priorities for the region. Thus, democracy is not allowed.
Thousands of Haitians have been protesting the sham elections, as well as Minustah’s role in causing the cholera epidemic, which has already taken more than 2,300 lives and can be expected to kill thousands more in the coming months and years. Judging from the rapid spread of the disease, there may have been gross criminal negligence on the part of Minustah – that is, large-scale dumping of fecal waste into the Artibonite river. This is another huge reason for the force to leave Haiti.
Weisbrot calls on progressive Latin American governments to cease participation in, and put an end to, the MINUSTAH occupation. Read the full article here.