Since June 2004, foreign soldiers from the inappropriately named UN mission to stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) have been roaming the streets of Haitian cities with machine guns, armored personal carriers and tanks, while the country’s political brokers never questioned the inappropriateness of this military occupation/ peacekeeping mission in the war-free country. Equally, legions of foreign Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), many operated by unscrupulous individuals, practically commandeered the constitutional prerogatives of the Haitian state while no politician dared questioning their legitimacy. It is therefore an insult to decency and anyone’s intelligence that René Préval and Jean-Max Bellerive, his prime minister, felt the need to address these issues barely a month into the end of their stewardship of the Haitian state.
At a U.N. Security Council meeting on Haiti held in New York on April 6, the soon-to-be former president was pathetic in his address to the masters of the universe: “Tanks, armed vehicles and soldiers should have given way to bulldozers, engineers, more police instructors and experts on reforming the judicial and prison systems. I emphasized this need, but I was unfortunately not heard.” Préval said. Certainly a chilling admission by the man that he was merely a political figurehead who needed the international community’s approval on matters of crucial importance to his country and his people. Moreover, Préval squarely blamed Haiti’s instability on Haitians, even though he is fully aware of the fact that the 2004 armed insurrection against the country’s elected government, which brought forth the current situation, was instigated by the international community.
Like Gérard Latortue, who handed over jurisdictional control of the Haitian National Police to the MINUSTAH in 2006 and claimed not to have read the contents of the accord he signed because he did not have his spectacles, Préval was probably reading that script under duress. Coincidently, both Latortue and Préval’s appearances before the Security Council, in 2006 and 2011 respectively, happened days after an elected president was chosen. Have this pilgrimage of Haitian leaders about to relinquish power been made mandatory by the Security Council? If that is actually the case, did René Préval, like Gérard Latortue, sign an accord that would come back to haunt the nation he undeservedly represented for the last 5 years? A cunning man, Préval should have been made to appear before the Haitian Parliament upon his return in Haiti and question about his trip, as he is a caretaker president, his constitutional term having ended on February 7th.
One day after his boss’ pitiable performance before the Security Council, Jean-Max Bellerive, the outgoing prime minister, intoned: “Foreign NGOs, which piled into Haiti after the devastating January 2010 quake, are often duplicating services provided by the government or competing with it for international aid money. We have some procedures that we are proposing, that could be put in place to better control them, Bellerive promised. Apparently, the prime minister is waking up from an incompetence-induced trance that kept him from developing the critical thinking needed to govern, because his statement goes beyond the realm of anything anyone expects from these politicians. Another logical explanation may be that Préval and Bellerive were coerced by their handlers into making these statements, which were neither contrite nor explainable, as a way to absolve the UN of any blame for their conduct while in office.
Clearly, these servile Haitian politicians are pawns in a geopolitical game; they are coerced into aiding and abetting the implementation of policies that undermine their people’s right to self-determination and the future of unborn generations of Haitians. Perhaps Préval and Bellerive were afraid of being shipped to The Hague on trumped up charges of consorting with drug barons and crimes against humanity. In light of the United Nations blatant disregard of the sovereignty of its powerless member-states, as the April 11th arrest of Laurent Gbagbo by French special forces illustrates, their fear of being ostracized or worse is well founded. Unlike Haiti’s Jean Bertrand Aristide, who endured the same fate as Gbagbo on February 29th, 2004, the Ivoirian president is likely to be charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC). If these two leaders could be accused of being anti-democratic and removed from power, why was René Préval, who clearly tried to subvert the democratic process, allowed to finish his term?
Having been un enfant docile, Préval, like the illegitimate and imperial former prime minister Gérard Latortue (2004-06), is expected to live out his retirement free of inquisitions by his successor or rewarded with a plum UN assignment. Fortunately for the Haitian people, the Wikileaks releases not only provide an insight into Préval’s dubious character but also the extent of the international community’s domination of Haitian politics, facts that no amount of disinformation could erase.
As the international community’s obsessive quest for domination coalesces with the self-preservation instinct of Haitian leaders, there can only be one loser: the Haitian people. The last time a Haitian president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, tried to hold the line against unwarranted foreign interferences in Haitian affairs, he was unceremoniously sent into exile in Africa and prevented from returning to Haiti for 7 years. The patronizing policy toward Haiti and its leaders clearly represents international diplomacy at its worst. Préval and Bellerive’s perplexing comments, however, typify the self-preservation mind-set of Haitian leaders, considering the Haitian president’s tacit admission of not being in charge during his tenure (2006-11.)
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