According to the chief of the Southern Command, Adm. James Stavridis, the 4th Fleet will accomplish specific peaceful missions, among others humanitarian operations and medical aid and continues to say that the largest vessel to operate in the region is a hospital ship (U.S.N.S. Comfort).
In September Military Sealift Command hospital ship U.S.N.S. Comfort (see photo: Thony Belizaire/AFP-Getty Images) could been seen at anchorage off the coast of Haiti near Port-au-Prince, while (officially) on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment in a dozen countries.
So the argument of Busch/Cheney, voiced by Adm. James Stavridis, is true? Well, doubtful. The problem with the hospital vessel is that it is not unloading humanitarian or medical aid, it is unloading (building) material for something else ………
The 4th Fleet is not on a humanitarian mission and the Latin America countries have a good reason to mistrust the reactivation of the 4th Fleet, as the US government is expropriating and demolishing the homes of thousands of Haiti’s most impoverished by expanding the U.N. military occupation force’s outpost in the giant Port-au-Prince shantytown of Cité Soleil.
The infamous US government contractor DynCorp, a quasi-official arm of the Pentagon and the CIA, is responsible for expanding the base named “Konbit pou lape” (Get Together for Peace), which houses the American soldiers of the U.N. Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) that began with US Special Forces kidnapping President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his wife from their home and flying them into exile on Feb. 29, 2004.
According to Cité Soleil mayor Charles Joseph and a DynCorp foreman at the site, funding for the base expansion is provided by the State Department’s US Agency for International Development (USAID). A very unorthodox use of development aid.
Lawyer Evel Fanfan, the president of the Association of University Graduates Motivated for a Haiti With Rights (AUMOHD), says that about 155 buildings would be razed if the base expansion goes forward.
“They started working without saying a word to the people living there,” Evel Fanfan said. “The authorities have not told them what is being done, if they will be relocated, how much they will be compensated or even if they will be compensated.”
Most of the buildings targeted are homes, but one is a church.
“They have begun to build a wall around the area to be razed,” explained Eddy Michel, 37, an assistant to Pastor Isaac Lebon who heads the Christian Church of the Apostle’s Foundation, which serves some 300 parishioners. “They have already built a 10-foot-high L-shaped wall, which cuts us off from the road. Once they complete the rest of the wall, the remaining ‘L’, we will be completely enclosed and we fear the destruction will begin.”
Alarmed residents of the area formed the Committee for Houses Being Demolished (KODEL), which contacted AUMOHD. Evel Fanfan put out a press release and KODEL held a press conference. MINUSTAH soldiers came (stealthily) to the press conference and told the residents to get a lawyer to talk to the American Embassy as the American Embassy is responsible for the work.
“Legally, the Haitian government has not authorized anybody to do anything,” said Evel Fanfan. “The Cité Soleil mayor [Charles Joseph] supposedly, between quotation marks, authorized the construction, but there is no paper, no decree, no order which authorizes it.”
The involvement of DynCorp is particularly telling. DynCorp International (offering, as its Web site states, “Global Integrated Solutions”) belongs to a select group of behemoth corporations like Blackwater, Brown & Root, and Halliburton that exist mainly to carry out US government strategic projects and programs.
Founded in 1946 and based in Reston, Va., near CIA headquarters in Langley, DynCorp was the principal contractor deployed in Colombia to carry out Washington’s supposed war on drugs called “Plan Colombia” in 2000. It conducted aerial dusting of supposed coca fields, a practice that resulted in 10,000 Ecuadorian farmers lodging a class-action lawsuit against then DynCorp CEO Paul V. Lombardi in 2001. Lombardi tried to intimidate the plaintiffs, warning them that the “politically charged litigation” was inappropriate after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
DynCorp has been an important “private” player in other US wars around the globe, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia.
In 2002 Uri Dowbenko wrote in his book “Dirty Tricks, Inc.: The DynCorp-Government Connection”: “DynCorp (…) has garnered a reputation as a shadowy company with a spooky pedigree, rumored to be a CIA ‘cut-out,’ or front company, for the Agency’s dirty tricks.” … “Using high-level government insider connections, DynCorp provides a range of ‘services’ one would expect to facilitate fraud and money laundry activities, acting like a virtual conduit between the corporate (private) and government (public) worlds. According to DynCorp, the US Government is its biggest client, accounting for more than 95% of its revenues.”
But why the interest of the US government and DynCorp in Cité Soleil?
Of course you guess right!
First, as Port-au-Prince’s largest, poorest, and most pro-Aristide slum, it has been a hotbed of anti-occupation resistance for the past four years. Although most of the popular organizations carrying out armed struggle were dismantled in early 2007, unrest continues there, particularly with Haiti’s and the world’s worsening economic crisis. Hence, military domination of this important northern flank of Haiti’s capital is supposed to be critical.
Furthermore, Haiti’s bourgeoisie and Washington’s strategists have for some years coveted the prime real estate on which Cité Soleil sits. The quadrant has a port, is close to the airport, sits on the main road to the north, and is ringed by factories and the old Haitian American Sugar Company complex (HASCO). Rumours are continually afoot that Haitian and American economic and political powers want to level this shantytown of 300,000 to replace it with more factories, office buildings, and other business development.
As Haiti reels under the devastation brought by Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna as well as ever-deepening hunger, it is ironic that Washington is spending money to expand a foreign military base and uproot Haiti’s poorest of the poor, using the MINUSTAH peace mission as cover for their insatiable hunger for more profit.
The US government’s expansion of MINUSTAH’s base, outsourced to DynCorp, seems more likely to rile Cité Soleil’s citizenry than pacify it. Ergo, it is expanding Latin America’s mistrust to the USA.
Once again, as in its other misadventures around the globe, Washington seems to have, as the Kreyol (Creole) proverb says, “byen konte, mal kalkile”: Well counted, but badly calculated.
This is an edited story based upon a September 9, 2008 article by Kim Ives of Haiti Liberté