Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Monday, March 01, 2004

What follows is a post I made on DU today - I usually avoid the message board, but I was looking for info on Haiti and felt the need to contribute. I repeat some things I've said on here, but you can forgive me, I'm sure. My thinking on the current Haiti situation:


As some others have done, I would lustily recommend Stan Goff's Hideous Dream for a really excellent treatment of Clinton's countercoup and its failings, which laid the groundwork for the current crisis. Loonman is a RW shill, but a lot of what he says is true. It's just he's omitting the context that you will have if you read Goff's book, which is a rollicking good read besides being of critical importance in understanding the Haitian coup.

This isn't something that can be explained well in a post or even a long feature-length article. This is "great game" stuff and we all need to spend some time looking into the situation in the Caribbean theatre; it's complex and volatile, and one it's coming to a head right now.

That said, here's my current understanding of the situation (subject to revision, of course, once I have more facts.)

American dominance of the region has been almost complete since World War II, but in the last decade or so a lot of countries have started to slip through our fingers. Most of the countries are small and not that significant, but all together the problem is starting to loom very large.

The big keystone is of course Venezuela, with Cuba acting as a sort of "university nation" turning out skilled people who have experience working within a socialist structure and exporting them to Venezuela to help build the Bolivarian system, which is emerging as a big threat to basically take over South America in the wake of the failure of the industrial export capitalist system that we had been trying to impose via IMF/WB/WTO.

The U.S. planners obviously feel they have to stop this. Unfortunately for them, since Reagan's Iran/Contra adventure it has become much harder for us to exercise control over the region with our old methods - basically, train and arm a mercenary force and send them in to overthrow the government, a la the Nicaraguan contras, who were recruited and trained mostly in Guatemala and El Salvador (which had already gotten this treatment decades before.)

The other choice is to finance opposition groups in country and get them to do it; the problem is that these types of groups don't generally bring the proper brutality to bear on the population. That's why the Venezuelan coup failed - before you attempt something like what the Venezuelan opposition tried, you have to have a sustained terrorist campaign against the local population so that they will be too weak and frightened to resist.

In Haiti, so close to the U.S. mainland, we were able to pull off the old model and thus had a successful coup. Now we'll install a military dictatorship with some sort of pseudodemocratic fig leaf on top of it, and we can then use Haiti as a recruiting ground for whatever the next invasion is going to be, probably Cuba.

So "cheap labor" is kind of correct. But the "labor" is in fact warmaking - we need dark faces to send to war in the region, and Haiti, completely poverty-stricken, is a perfect place to recruit mercenary terrorists.

It's not so much that Haiti itself is important, but think of it like a game of Risk. You can't take on the big battles until you've attended to the small problems in your position. So you take over Kamchatka or whatever which has one enemy army on it that could never be a threat to you - you do it as a strategic preparation for a larger conflict.

We're merely starting in the places where we feel we'll be most likely to succeed. You don't engage your enemy on his turf unless you have to. You engage him where you have the advantage. Thus we're going to lock down all the easy targets in Central America and the Caribbean while doing our best to destabilize the hostile Bolivarian democracies to the south. Then we take out Cuba, cutting Venezuela off from its source of skilled labor and intellectuals, and then go for the big prize - a U.S.-backed puppet government in Venezuela, with the rest of the region falling into line after that.

This may seem too grand and strategic, but this is how these PNAC folks think. Sort of Sun Tsu meets Charles Manson. Scary stuff, but big-time power politics is not nursery school.

This is why you see all the saber-rattling from Chavez right now. He sees the situation for what it is - I think Hugo may be the sharpest political leader on the planet since the retirement of Bill Clinton. He may actually be smarter than Clinton, but it's hard for me to compare because I don't speak Spanish (yet.) Chavez is trying to make Bush angry enough to make some sort of move before the table is really set, because he thinks (correctly) that Venezuela would have a better chance defending itself today than it will in 2 years with bands of Central American and Caribbean terrorists roaming the streets and killing people.

So that's it in a nutshell. Haiti is just a jumping-off point. Cuba is the immediate goal, with Venezuela the ultimate target.


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