by Marshall Valentine
On his recent trip to Haiti, Stan Goff revisited old haunts in the Department du Nord, particularly in Cap Haitien and Fort Liberte. Accompanying him were Katherine Keen of Crowing Rooster Productions, Dan Coughlin of WBAI Pacifica, David Belle of Jacmel, and Executive Secretary of Assemble Popular Nacionale (APN) and journalist for Haiti Progres, Harry Numa. The purpose of the trip was to document some of the activity of the 1994 US military intervention (from the perspective of popular organizations and local populations who were in contact with the US forces). This trip was also the first phase in establishing contacts between the Democracy Foundation of former president Jean Bertrand-Aristide and US allies of certain popular Haitian neoliberalism opposition groups.
The political question of a possible Aristide presidential candidacy in the year 2000 is currently stalemated in the face of a worsening economic crisis, reported Goff. Neither the Haitian economic elite, nor the collaborationist forces in the Preval government, nor the US foreign policy establishment want to see an Aristide candidacy, Goff explained. Still every effort to place legislative obstacles before Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party has failed, and the option of using extralegal violence is not palatable: In the event of an Aristide assassination, the country will almost certainly explode with rage. Even the police forces, the former guarantors of ruling class stability, are now peopled with significant numbers of Aristide allies. Moreover, popular leaders are increasingly positioning themselves in expectancy of an Aristide candidacy (and domination of the parliament by Fanmi Lavalas). This has created a leadership vacuum at a time of crisis: the impending boil-over of spontaneous mass actions against neoliberalism; the continued military occupation of Haiti; and the ruthless, militarized, US-trained CIMO and SWAT detachments of the National Police.
Stan is working on a book about the 1994 intervention (in which he participated), which he hopes to publish simultaneously in English and Creole (instead of the ruling class language of French). He wants to continue to work with the APN and the Democracy Foundation to develop solidarity networks in the United States that can put pressure on US policy makers and provide analysis and information to US citizens to counter the dominant racist, paternalistic, and imperialist media.
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