Sunday, January 29, 2006

US Government Through the National Endowment for Democracy Funnels Millions of Dollars to Influence Haitian Elections


About two years after the overthrow of Aristide in Haiti, the nation will hold national elections next month. The top candidate is pro Aristide candidate Rene Preval.

The National Endowment for Democracy was set up in the early 1980s under President Reagan, in the wake of all the negative revelations about the CIA in the second half of the 1970s. The latter was a remarkable period. Spurred by Watergate-the Church Committee of the Senate, the Pike Committee of the House and the Rockefeller commission, created by the president, were all busy investigating the CIA. Seemingly every other day there was a headline about the discovery of some awful thing, even criminal conduct, the CIA had been mixed up in for years. The Agency was getting an exceedingly bad name, and it was causing the powers-that-be much
embarrassment.

Something had to be done. What was done was not to stop doing these
awful things. Of course not. What was done was to shift many of these
awful things to a new organization, with a nice sounding name-the
National Endowment for Democracy. The idea was that the NED would do
somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and
thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert
activities. It is a way to launder funds, that would formerly go to the CIA, to a non government agency (ngo).

The Endowment donated a quarter-million dollars of taxpayers' money to the Cuban-American National Fund, the ultra-fanatic anti-Castro Miami group. The CANF, in turn, financed Luis Posada Carriles, one of the most prolific and pitiless terrorists of modern times, who was involved in the blowing up of a Cuban airplane in 1976, which killed 73 people. In 1997, he was involved in a series of
bomb explosions in Havana hotels.

The NED operates with an annual budget of $80 million dollars from U.S. Congress and the State Department. In Venezuela, it's given money to several political opponents of President Hugo Chavez. With elections underway in Haiti, it's reportedly doing the same to groups linked to the country's tiny elite and former military.

It was exposed last month that an Associated Press reporter, funded by NED, was sending reports from Haiti. She has since been terminated.

According to Canadian Journalist Anthony Fenton, who has written a new book Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority, "So you see this family meeting on a weekly basis, coordinating their activities. They’re funneling millions of dollars to the political parties, by way of giving them credits for TV advertising, for pamphlets, for t-shirts and all sorts of other activities. And, of course, this is all geared towards -- they're hoping, I think, right now, that there will be a run-off election, sort of like there was in Liberia, where the International Republican Institute and these other organizations played a central role, as well, because if there’s a run-off election -- and it’s possible that one of their rightwing candidates, perhaps such as Marc Bazin, who's running under the Lavalas name today, but of course was a World Bank candidate that Aristide beat in a landslide in 1990 -- they're hoping that one of these candidates, maybe it'll be Henri Baker, will be able to win in a run-off."

For more info see: Democracy Now, Le Colonal Chabert and No Simple Matter. RENEGADE EYE

25 comments:

Scottage said...

Very interesting post, Renegade. I had always ben aware of the CIA activity, and had assumed that when there was less talk about it they had just gotten more discreet. I never knew they had actually set up a new department. Thanks for the info, Renegade, I'll keep watching for more information on this, and how the department effects the elections in Haiti.

sonia said...

All right, so what's your point ? What do you want for Haiti ? Another Aristide, who will promise poor people peace, justice and prosperity, and deliver criminal gangs, anarchy and hunger ? Haiti's problems go way deeper than CIA or NED. It was a classic case of revolutionary romanticism gone bad, the first true (and enduring) triumph of a leftist revolution that slowly morphed into the greatest nightmare any country has ever known. Haiti is now where Zimbabwe will be in 170 years, and South Africa in 200 years. It's a warning to all those who think you can just chase away "the exploiters" and everything will be hunky dory. Dream on...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Woah there Sonia, there is a history of poorly thought out US involvement, from the first occupation of 1915-34 through to the backing of the Duvaliers for massive fiscal gain and the puppet regime installed by the US after the Duvalier ousting. Nevermind backing and then removing Aristide, all in an effort to stop a socialist/Communist regime taking hold in nation of strategic importance to the US.

Renegade Eye said...

A few weeks ago, there was a demonstration in Haiti, of thousands, protesting no voting booths being in the worse slum areas.

The descendants of those in power, placed by the USA, are the descendants of the Touton Macoutes, the thugs who protected Papa Doc Duvalier. They perpetuated atleast 60,000 political killings. Is the conservative anti-Aristide atitide, nostalgia for Papa Doc?

Haiti's problems go deeper than NED. The ouster of Aristide, has their fingerprints on it.

Why is the Aristide candidate on top?

I don't have the prophetic powers you have, to predict what Africa will become in 200 years.

Pete's Blog said...

The poor old CIA gets a bad rap.

I reckon Haitians come to expect American financial meddling, overt or covert, as part of life. It ain't moral its just reality.

Its far better than the numerous US invasions of Haiti over the years, anyway.

Renegade - Putin may have similar concerns with foreign funding of NGOs in Russia (he suspects its MI6 and naturally the Agency).

Checkout my latest blog article on this on http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com

Pete

Human said...

Spot on Renegade.
The Haitians have never had a chance to develop into a Democracy. And if the Bush Regime(aided by Dems like Rep. Rush Holt) has its way, it never will.
The destabilizations efforts of the American Government brought Astride down.
Peace

roman said...

Does anyone actually believe that if the USA is not somehow "involved" in Haiti, that left on their own, there will be peace and harmony there? Left alone, we would have another Granada on our hands, lickety split.
Mr. Hugo Chavez is probably on the phone right now discussing "strategy" with his pal Fidel on how to get "involved", if they aren't already.
Its a continuous political game that we need to be involved in whether we want to be or not.
That is the reality.
Destabilization? What paranoid nonsense!

Tina said...

This is soooo shocking. You mean that the US meddled into another nation's affairs, actively participated in the overthrowing of an elected official and then gave not a single thought to what would happen in the aftermath? Color me surprised...

Renegade Eye said...

Just a note. I messed up my old template, and didn't know how to fix it. I picked out a new template, I hope you like.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Spooky Pete: the idea thet US meddling is to be expected and tolerated is utterly alien to me, they have no right and to just roll over and say thnak you whilst daddy fucks us is not the best course of action to take.

Roman: Dangerous and verging on the racist concept, that the Haitian people are not capable of governing themselves without US intervention. Trouble is, US interventions and interference goes so far back that it's hard to find a time where there was no interference to make a clean start from and I'm glad you mentioned Greneda where the history is of the UK messing around with their infrastructure before letting the place go to rot. And remember that Grenda is doing ok now and I wouldn't quite put that down to the militart action of Urgent Fury.

What you'll find in a lot of these trouble hot spots, is a history of mis management and conquer and divide by the ruling imperial power who leave a nation to look after itself after sowing the seeds of its destruction.

Fahd Mirza said...

It is said that US also throws in an ugly amount of money during elections (if they happen) in Pakistan.

sonia said...

Daniel,

Have you ever wonder why US is 'meddling' in Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Iraq, Chile, Pakistan (etc), but somehow leaves the people of Switzerland, Iceland, Tonga, Botswana, Costa Rica, Thailand or Lichtenstein alone ? A hint: when you totally mismanage your country and create an utter anarchy there, don't be too surprised when a superpower pokes a nose in your affairs. I think you confuse cause and effect here.

Pete's Blog said...

Daniel

Further to Sonia's post.

If economic cripples like Haiti constantly require and expect economic aid - with the US ultimately being the main donor (directly or through aid organisations and banks) is it no surprise that strings are attached.

Isn't that fair or does your idealism transcend politics?

Pete

Fahd Mirza said...

Thanks for your kind comments on my blog.

I am honoured as you have linked my blog.

Its an equal honour to linkup your blog from mine.

Thanks.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Sonia: you're joking aren't you? If only the US was a genuine world empire that policed the troubled states of the world, there are plenty of places where it could go to try and restore order and peace but it won't because it only goes to places that have oil or are of strategic importance. It doesn't waste time or dead bodies where it can't get gain. Please see Rwanda for reference. And you've missed my point so I'll repeat it: what you see as mis-management by the native people I see as the seeds of destruction sown by the Imperial power that ruled there.

Pete: Economic cripples? Again, imperial powers have a responsibility to make the transition from state to nation as easy as possible.

I can't believe this discussion has got so off base, when the US has a history of human rights infringement going hand in hand with badly thought out imperial policy.

sonia said...

Daniel,

You can repeat your 'Imperial power Imperial power Imperial power Imperial power' like a mantra, but it won't make it true. Haiti won its independence in the early 19th century (200 years ago!). Haitians blew it themselves, destroying their economy, supporting tyrants and turning their own country into a bloody mess. They did it, not the Americans! Just like Mugabe is doing exactly the same thing now in Zimbabwe and Chavez in Venezuela. They are destroying their own countries, their own economies, all by themselves, without any outside 'help'. And once they succeed, others will profit from their misfortune. But that will be an EFFECT, not the CAUSE.

Pete's Blog said...

daniel

The debate hasn't gone off base. Its still retained its basic issues of funding, both overt and covert.

I think our ideological differences are what is keeping the debate going. This is not necessarily a waste of time.

I agree with your point "imperial powers have a responsibility to make the transition from state to nation as easy as possible."

This can be acheived by overt funding (economic aid) as usual. Covert funding (if necessary) is funding to Haitian politicians to get the result the US sincerely believes is best for the country (the US, that is).

If the US is happy with the election result then Haiti may well get more overt aid to develop its country economically and sustainably. Thats the theory anyway - but in Haiti's case I think its an unsustainable "failed state".

All empires have used this dual funding method. This type of realpolitik makes an average county an empire.

Democracy left to itself may throw up Hamas or (candidate for life) Castro as victors - and we don't want that of course :)

roman said...

Daniel,
"Roman: Dangerous and verging on the racist concept".
Whew, thanks for inserting the word "verging" in your reply. If I was more politically correct, I would have never insinuated that Haiti and other developing countries are not capable of forging a true representative form of government by themselves. Since PC is not part of my make-up, I stand by my statement. If we do not offer them help, Chavez and Castro will be more than happy to show them the way.

roman said...

Ren,
The only problem with your new format is the knock-out type from the black background. I can still see the impression of the type on me corneas long after I leave my computer. I know this may be helpful in the memory department but I would like to see "new" things after I leave my computer.
Just a thought.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Sonia: you are ignoring a hundred years more of US selfish interference in Haiti, independence in name only.

Pete: Hamas and Castro is fine by me.

Roman: Chavez and Castro are fine by me.

sonia said...

Daniel,

Do you know the expression "voting with your feet". If Castro is really "fine by you", why don't you move to Cuba ? I lived under Communism myself and any asshole who says that it's "fine by him" better prove it by moving there or shut up!

Pete's Blog said...

Daniel

Even if we disagree on many things I think you write well and your heart is in the right place.

I disagree with what the poster above has said in the last sentence.

Noone deserves such an outburst.

Also no community of bloggers have to put up with a come hither then get lost persona.

I trust that this "Sonia" will not visit my site again until she grows up.

Even then I'll remove "her" comments if they are accompanied by "her" nudey picture.

Sincerely

Pete

Renegade Eye said...

I was disappointed with Sonia's argument. I know she can represent her position better. Her blog is interesting and smart.

I'm living in USA. Americans can't travel legally to Cuba. I'm considering retiring to South America someday.

My blog often has heated debate. Go back and read the Chavez and Anti-Semitism comments. That was really a hot fight. I came out more lefty, than before.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Sonia: I'm ignoring you know.

Pete: peace!

Renegade: I know the feeling, you end up coming out more left (or more right) in these discussions, its as if by the constant nudging from an opponent you shift to more extreme ground to make yourself heard and to bring greater clarity to your points.

*sigh*

Edie said...

Certainly warrants a sigh for more than one reason.