To Nation re Amy Wilentz article on Haiti
By Joe Emersberger at Mar 02, 2012
I sent this brief letter in to the Nation but do not know if it will be published.
Judging by this article, Amy Wilentz cannot even consider that a series of US presidents should be in the dock for what they have done in Haiti alone, yet she pontificates to Haitians that "Impunity is no good for democracy." A US led coup in 2004 led to 2 years of dictatorship under Gerard Latortue - whom Wilentz neglected to mention at all - that led to at least 4000 political murders according to a scientific study published in the Lancet Medical Journal. It was also a US backed coup that led to thousands of murders between 1991-1994 - the first time Aristide was overthrown. Both Clinton and Bush Sr. did all they could to ensure that the perpetrators escaped justice and also infiltrated Haiti's security forces after the US finally ordered their allies to step aside in 1994. Thanks to Wikileaks we know the Bush II administration did the same thing after 2004 and ensured that paramilitary thugs were absorbed into the Haitian police.
Martelly owes his presidency to US bullying as Wilentz well knows. The overwhelming majority of Haitian voters shunned the US imposed electoral farce. However, even if Haitians succeed in once again electing a president like Aristide who tries to prioritize their interests, the US has ensured that paramilitary killers are well positioned to strike yet again. None of this raises any concern about US "impunity" for Wilentz.
It is astounding how completely liberals like Wilentz internalize imperial assumptions. No matter how high the corpses pile up around the world as a result of US policy, "impunity" is always someone else's problem.
Brian Concannon comments
The analysis [by Wilentz] of Duvalier's situation is accurate, the analysis of Aristide's is outrageous. The most obvious example: "It’s assumed that during the seven years of his South African exile, one thing that kept Aristide from returning to Haiti was fear of prosecution on such charges". Aristide spent all seven years of exile publicly and privately trying to return. It has been well documented that US government persistently worked to keep Aristide away from Haiti, including two telephone calls from President Obama to South Africa's President Zuma in 2011.
The idea that there is an equivalence between the case against Duvalier- a mountain of well-documented, internationally recognized evidence of centrally-directed state sponsored terror, and the never proven claims by political opponents for Aristide is absurd. The article's equivalence does not reflect the proven facts. It does reflect the talking points of Haiti’s neo-Duvalierist elites and the State Department. The Nation should be able to tell the difference
Brian Concannon Jr., Esq.
Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti