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28052: Simidor (rebuttal) re: 28027: Tom Reevess not so puzzling article (fwd)
From: Daniel Simidor <email@example.com>
Tom Reeves?s article, ?The Puzzling Alliance of
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste and Charles Henri Baker,?
<http://www.counterpunch.org/reeves03012006.html> is a
minefield of omissions, innuendos and lies designed to
ingratiate himself with the new Preval administration
? after the scandal of his NAMBLA advocacy had made
him persona non grata in progressive and polite
discussions around Haiti. NAMBLA is the acronym for
the North American Man/Boy Love Association
I want to say upfront that I?m a staunch MPP
supporter, although I don?t support Chavannes?s
alliance with Baker. But unlike Reeves, I understand
the root causes of that alliance, which has everything
to do with Haiti?s polarizing politics. Let me also
state that I support both gay AND children rights, but
that as a parent I?m categorically opposed to
pedophilia. Now to some of Reeves?s omissions and
It was clear to us then that Chavannes, was mentored
by Aristide since his youth.
The idea that Chavannes ?was mentored by Aristide? is
a joke! For one thing Chavannes is about 10 years
older than Aristide and was already a leading peasant
organizer while Aristide was still being fondled as a
novice by his Vatican mentors.
In many ways, Chavannes imitated "Titid,"
both in his speaking style and his somewhat
The claim that Chavannes?s frank and distinctive
?speaking style? is an imitation of Aristide?s
slippery, Tartuffe-like oratory, is not worth
commenting further. It?s like saying that Bouki
?imitated? Ti Malice (Titid) just because they both
speak Creole -- a language Reeves is not sufficiently
familiar with to make such sweeping judgments!
Chavannes clearly expected to become Aristide's
successor. When that did not happen - and René
Préval was nominated by Lavalas instead -
Chavanne became bitter.
Chavannes and OPL leader Gerard Pierre-Charles? bitter
opposition to Lavalas had much more to do with the
fascist tendencies embodied by Aristide?s populist
rhetoric and the repressive actions of his militias.
Even though it was not clear whether Aristide
himself had named Préval, or the OPL faction
within Lavalas had pushed him forward...
Chavannes and the OPL leadership handpicked Preval to
succeed Aristide ? which landed all of them on
Aristide?s shit list! (Behind the scene, Aristide was
maneuvering to stay three more years in power, but his
US handlers wouldn?t allow it.) Subsequently Preval,
his government eroded by Aristide?s ?anarcho-populist?
influence, made his peace with Lavalas, signaling his
break with Chavannes and the OPL leadership.
(Préval later clearly did not support the
OPL's switch to neoliberalsim)... When an
OPL dominated Government endorsed a
neoliberal program, Aristide denounced it
and formed a new party, Family Lavalas, but
Chavannes aligned with OPL.
Ha, ha! Neoliberalism had nothing to do with any of
it! Aristide, Preval and the future OPL leadership
were all clearly on the side of neoliberalism as early
as 1991. Likewise, Aristide?s launching of his
Lavalas Family party had nothing to do with opposing
neoliberalism. In the context of Haitian power
politics, neoliberalism is just a pretty word, a catch
phrase Tom Reeves opportunistically uses to appeal to
his Counterpunch readers.
Chavannes joined 184 and eventually became one
of its spokesmen, along with Charles Henri
Baker and Andy Arpad - both notorious sweat-shop
owners and union-breakers.
Reeves?s rambling denunciation of Chavannes?s
connection with Convergence Democratique, the Group
of 184, and the ?Sweatshop? candidate Charles Baker,
would be more honest with an acknowledgement of
Aristide?s and Preval?s own political and/or business
connections with some of the biggest and ?most
repugnant? members of the Haitian oligarchy -- the
Brown, Mevs, Baussan, Bigio, Brandt, Madsen and Vorbe
families being among the worst. But Reeves cannot say
that while trying to ingratiate himself with the new
According to former MPP members from Mirebalais
and Thomond in the Plateau, whom I interviewed in
March 2004, Chavannes welcomed Chamblain and
even held a dinner for his band at Papaye.
Chavannes publicly denied those allegations. But an
English translation was apparently not made available
to the NAMBLA office, since Reeves is insisting
otherwise. MPP vigorously opposed attempts by the
so-called rebels and their backers to re-impose the
hated rural police abolished by the 1987 Constitution.
The ex-MPP members commented, "The "rebels"
simply could not have passed through the Plateau and
received local support without MPP permission."
That?s hogwash. MPP wields no such power outside of
Papaye. Certainly not in the lower Plateau
(Mirebalais), not even in Hinche. If they did, they
would have dealt differently with the Lavalas thugs
whose attacks against MPP are partly documented in
Amnesty International?s 2001 report on Haiti.
Chavannes' former colleagues, with whom he'd long
worked, like Father Gerard Jean Juste and Prime
Minister Yvon Neptune were held without charges
under dreadful conditions - some, like Neptune,
remain in prison. Yet Chavannes made no protest.
Bla, bla. Gerard Jean-Juste was a prisoner of
conscience and a victim of the powers that be behind
the interim government. There is one good reason,
however, why Neptune is in prison; it?s called the La
During the election itself, Baker (who came
in third to Préval, with about 7% of the vote)
gained his largest pluralities (about 30%) in
the Plateau, where polling stations were often
controlled by MPP personnel. The largest
number of blank ballots was also cast in these
polling stations - ballots used temporarily to
deprive Préval of the 50% plus one majority
needed to avoid a runoff.
The article is full of innuendos, like this suggestion
that MPP somehow tempered with the elections in the
His personal feeling of betrayal at not being
nominated for President in 1995 explains his bitter
anti-Aristide actions. But that scarcely explains
his endorsement of the worst elements of the
Haitian elite. Perhaps it is as simple as a feeling
of losing his family's rightful political and social
inheritance of power, their place in a new elite.
More hogwash! Chavannes is a peasant leader! He
comes from a peasant family! And unlike Aristide,
he?s not delusional.
Equally difficult to explain and sad to report
is the long silence of Grassroots International,
a genuinely progressive and staunchly
independent force for sustainable development
and economic justice.
The overt reason for this article is an attempt to
isolate MPP from its funding sources, Grassroots
International in particular. But does opposition to
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste warrant this kind of rabid
hostility against MPP?s peasant members who benefit
from these grants, even by Reeves? own admission?
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