Who are “they”, Mr. Haitian Prime Minister?

Apparently Latortue, the coup-installed Haitian Prime Minister, has asked US troops to remain behind after the US transfers the burden of the occupation to Brazil and other Latin American countries. I have the article from Knight-Ridder Tribune below.

One of the things that Latortue said sticks out. He said:

“This is the only force in the world they will respect”

Who are they? Well, it’s pretty clear that they are the population of Haiti. You couldn’t ask for a clearer statement of what Latortue thinks his role is: getting the Haitian population to ‘respect’ what is imposed on them.

And Latortue is doing it, by exacerbating starvation (and telling Haitians to eat cheaper), unleashing paramilitary killers, and pleading with the Americans to continue overseeing it all.

June 10, 2004

Haitian leader requests U.S. troops stay after official withdrawal


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

WASHINGTON – (KRT) – Interim Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue and several members of Congress are pressing Bush administration officials to leave at least some American soldiers on the island after their scheduled withdrawal at the end of this month.

“Even if we have 100 it is better than nothing,” Latortue said, after a meeting Thursday with Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla.

The hope is that a small American force could stay in Haiti to protect the U.S. Embassy and American workers in the country. The force would not be under the command of the Brazilian-led United Nations mission that is taking over security on the island. But

Latortue and others believe that the mere presence of American troops serves as a stabilizing influence.

“This is the only force in the world they will respect,” Latortue said.

Foley and several other members have written to the president asking that such a force be left in place, but have not heard a response.

“We’re hopeful,” said Foley, who said he plans to write another letter.

In addition to meeting with Foley, Latortue met with other members of Congress and was scheduled to meet with Roger Noriega, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. He was recently in South Florida raising money for victims of the devastating floods that killed more than 1,700 in Haiti and the Dominican Republic last month.

While in Washington, Latortue represented Haiti during services for former President Reagan. He was scheduled to fly to New York for meetings at the United Nations before returning to Haiti.

Besides trying to get U.S. troops to stay in Haiti, Latortue also is attempting to set the stage for more international aid for the country. He is looking for immediate humanitarian aid as well as long-term solutions to the deforestation in Haiti that contributed to the deadly floods. One of his goals before elections scheduled for 2005, at which time Latortue promises to step aside, is to get help in constructing a power plant to stabilize the island’s electrical system.

“One of the best legacies we can leave to Haiti as an interim government is to leave light in Haiti – electricity,” he said.

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.