Top 10 Ways That Canada Aided the 2004 Coup in Haiti

By Sanders, Richard | CCPA Monitor, April 2010 | Go to article overview

Top 10 Ways That Canada Aided the 2004 Coup in Haiti


Sanders, Richard, CCPA Monitor


A VERY CANADIAN COUP:

Things went from bad to worse after Canada's Liberal government helped plan and carry out the 2004 regime change in Haiti that illegally ousted President Aristide's democratically-elected government. Canada then helped empower and entrench an illegal coup-installed puppet regime that launched a reign of terror in which thousands of pro-democracy supporters were executed, jailed without charge, driven into hiding, or exiled.

This Canadian-financed dictatorship, propped up by UNsanctioned occupation forces, was applauded by corporations greedy to profit from "reconstruction" contracts, the privatization of public services, and the wage-slavery of Haitian sweatshops.

Canada has a lot to answer for. Here are 10 ways in which our government contributed to this major violation of human rights in Haiti:

1. Creating the coup's ideological pretext

The world's most powerful states justify their "right" to invade, overthrow, and occupy weaker nations with euphemistic platitudes. They rationalize their role in various theatres of war, invoking the need for "humanitarian interventions" against "failed states."

The "Responsibility-to-Protect" (R2P) doctrine - an ideological pretext that was created and developed by Canada's federal government - was used to legitimize the illegal coup imposed on Haiti in 2004.

Institutionalized on the world stage by a Canadian front called the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), the R2P doctrine was the brainchild of then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. When announcing its birth in 2000, then-Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy thanked the "Carnegie, MacArthur, and Rockefeller Foundations" for "strong political and financial support."

With Axworthy acting as chair of the board, ICISS offices were ensconced in Ottawa's Foreign Affairs Department. Canada chose both ICISS co-chairs and appointed such "Big L" Liberals as Michael Ignatieff, a long-time U.S. resident and supporter of then-President George W. Bush, "missile defense," the Iraq war, and torture.

The R2P script spells out acceptable excuses for violating the UN's two primary principles: state sovereignty and military non-intervention.

In May 2004, after ousting Haiti's democratically-elected government, then-Prime Minister Paul Martin summarized a fundamental R2P principle: "Failed states, more often than not, require military intervention in order to ensure stability." Asking himself, "Why is it up to Canada to be the catalyst?" he answered, "We inspire confidence... because we are neither a former colonial power nor a superpower."

Canada's political/economic/military allies in Washington and London needed a champion for the starring role in R2P. Already typecast as honest broker and heroic peacekeeper, Canada was perfect for the part.

2. Initiating the planning process

Canada's Liberal government was instrumental in gathering together an exclusive coterie of international players to lay the foundation for Haiti's coup.

Their first meeting, the so-called Ottawa Initiative on Haiti" (January 31 - February 1, 2003), was held at the federal government's conference centre on Meech Lake near Canada's capital.

We now know, thanks to Access to Information, that this confab on "the current political situation in Haiti" was "envisaged to be of a restricted and intimate nature.'., in order to facilitate a free exchange of views and brainstorming among the invited participants."

Those invited to this "free exchange" did not include a single Haitian, not even from the wealthy corporate élite that was so instrumental in facilitating the coup. Besides El Salvador's Foreign Minister, participants were exclusively from North America and Europe. They were also homogenous in their opposition to Haiti's President Aristide and in support of replacing him with an imposed occupation government. …

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