Tag Archives: jean bertrand aristide

Sean Penn: “our new white expert on ‘all things Haitian'”

Medals like this carry hidden weight. Don't wear swimming!!!

When the July issue of Vanity Fair floated across my desk containing a loving portrait of Sean Penn written by his close personal friend and travel companion, Douglas Brinkley, the accompanying pictures (Penn shoulder to shoulder with U.S. Army Lt. General Ken Keen, Assistant Alison Thompson eschewing World War I nurse’s costume for flower child attire adorned with adorable young Haitians, young white NGO’ers earnestly peering at their shiny Mac Powerbooks) made me wonder.  Are they already filming the movie of themselves?  I mean, as Brinkley points out, the set has been dressed, right?

“…a white, 60-by-20-foot wedding tent from the Dominican Republic…a crude roof over a patchwork of wooden floorboards, which he helped cobble together by hand…two rusty blade fans whirring to keep things cool…a single bulb – its lampshade fashioned from Chef Boyardee boxes – illuminating a long wooden table of bird-dropping white.  A forlorn bookshelf held a collection of dog-eared U.N.-regulation guides, accordian files, and browning bananas.  Down the length of one wall ran a corkboard lined with maps from the U.S. geological Survey: an army cartographer had handsomely re-christened one, changing the name from Pétionville to Pennville.  A calico cat named Guadalupe wandered among a collection of stethoscopes, tool kits, syringes, morphine, a photocopy machine – and a stash of Greek wine and Jack Daniel’s – giving the quarters the patina of M*A*S*H, with a touch of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

Ezili Dantò, of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN), has done a masterful job of deconstructing the motivations and the actors behind Penn’s Bosnian/U.S.American NGO, JP/HRO. Dantò is fair, above all, giving Penn credit where credit is due, and calling out the rest of the nonsense by its proper name.  See Sean Penn and Wyclef Jean: Hollywood, Hip Hop and Haiti, excerpt below:

We’ve gone into cartoon land. The sideshow eclipses the living, breathing, suffering Haiti people enduring over 6-nightmarish years of US/US occupation and slaughters and NGO pillage never covered by the mainstream media. The election carnival is just beginning and has reduced, for the moment, the worst disaster in recorded human history to what actor Sean Penn has to say about hip hop rapper Wyclef Jean’s run to sit at the crumbled National Palace in Haiti! Elections under occupation? Neither are saying – krik, not a word, about that!


Nelson Valdés on rescue priorities in Haiti

Soldiers guarding military plane in Port au Prince

The Rescue Operation’s Priorities in Haiti

By Nelson P. Valdés

“The contempt we have been taught to entertain for blacks, make us fear many things that are founded neither in reason nor experience.”  – Alexander Hamilton in letter to John Hay, 1799.

“Only those who hate the black population, see hatred in blacks.” – José Martí, Montecristi Manifesto, 1895

The recent earthquakes that have demolished the city of Port au Prince and its surroundings have left Haiti stateless, ever poorer, desperate and in need of long term global assistance. A world-wide rescue operation has been initiated. But, it is questionable to what extent the best interests of the people of Haiti have been and will be considered, in the long run.

First, the foreign aid teams “rescued” and took out of the country the non-Haitians, particularly the Europeans, Americans and assorted other tourists. The Voice of America on Jan. 16 reported: “In the last day or so the United States and French governments have started running passenger flights out of the country [Haiti] for evacuees from those countries.  People line up and wait for a plane to arrive so they can leave Haiti and leave behind what is a very difficult, traumatic experience for many.”[1]

Second, five days have gone by without any real significant distribution of medical supplies, food or water to the neediest people. Continue reading

Otto Reich and the Honduran Coup D’Etat: The Provocateur, his Protege, and the Toppling of a President – Part One

The story of Otto Reich’s role in fomenting the June coup d’etat in Honduras is not a brief one.  This report will be posted over two days.


The Provocateur, his Protégé, and the Toppling of a President (Part One)

By Machetera*

The very same day that the coup d’etat in Honduras began, in an emergency session of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C., Roy Chaderton, the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, spoke with a simmering fury as he looked directly at Hector Morales, the U.S. Ambassador to the OAS.

“There’s a person who’s been very important within U.S. diplomacy, one who has re-connected with old friends and colleagues and helped encourage the coup perpetrators,” he said.

“The gentleman’s name is Otto Reich, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the government of George [W.] Bush. We in Venezuela have suffered this man, as the U.S. Ambassador in Venezuela, as an interventionist, we suffered him later in his position as Assistant Secretary of State…we had the First Reich, later, the Second Reich, now unfortunately we’re facing the Third Reich, moving within the Latin American ambit through an NGO [non-governmental organization], to fan the flames of the coup.”

Following Chaderton’s furious denunciation, Reich penned a strange non mea-culpa opinion piece which the Miami Herald obligingly printed, complete with Reich’s deliberate misspellings of Chaderton’s name.  He said that he was not the coup’s “architect,” which is quite some distance from a total denial. Continue reading

Where is Luis Moreno when you need a resignation letter?

fakedzelayaletterSee, according to the former Assistant U.S. Ambassador in Haiti, Luis Moreno, it’s not that hard to get a president to sign a resignation letter.  You tell him what to write, and well, aside from threatening to slaughter a few hundred or maybe thousand citizens unless he signs it, you don’t really have to do all that much.  Then you go on to dictate your version to the stenographers at the Washington Post and repeat it to any bothersome U.S. citizens who show up at the embassy later to ask questions, shrugging your shoulders about the surprising nature of it all and pretending to be completely perplexed about it.

You should of course, have all this happen on the way to the airport, preferably in the middle of the night.  Typing a letter and dating it the THURSDAY before the forced rendition is clumsy, and will only add to suspicions that the letter is faked, which of course the kidnapped president is going to claim, when a letter magically turns up three days later with his three letter nickname forged upon it.

There is a much better view of the letter available here.

Aristide’s kidnappers come for Zelaya

ariasIf you’re just learning about the coup d’etat underway in Honduras, where at 6 a.m. this morning President Manuel Zelaya underwent a forced rendition by Honduran soldiers and was flown straight to Costa Rica, Machetera has very little to add.  Except this.  At his press conference today in Costa Rica, Zelaya spoke of entering a plane where all the shades were drawn and he was not permitted to lift any of them, the better to remain in the dark (literally) as to where he was or where he might be going.  Just like the 2004 kidnapping described by Haiti’s president, Jean Bertrand Aristide.  The one thing you have to say for the CIA is that it’s totally consistent – lack of imagination is its hallmark.

An early AP report speculated that Zelaya had been flown to Venezuela.  This of course is total stupidity.  Shame on the AP reporters who thought it up.  Of course he wouldn’t be flown to Venezuela, where the problem would have been immediately recognized and the kidnapping forcefully rejected.  Can you even imagine the phone call to Chávez?  A six year old would know better.  No.  He was flown to a country where they knew they wouldn’t even have to bother asking permission to land.  At the same press conference with Zelaya, when Costa Rican president Oscar Arias was asked if he had personally given landing permission, the look on his face was one of someone who is being forced to eat something particularly unpleasant.  No, he answered.  At no moment was he consulted.

Of course the new decider, Obama, is just a wee bit undecided about the whole thing…waiting to see how the whole thing “plays out” while Honduran military men are beating the hell out of the Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan ambassadors and Obama’s man in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, has his cellphone shut off.

More to come…