New WikiLeaked Cables Reveal: How Washington and Big Oil Fought PetroCaribe in Haiti

Posted: June 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

All,

This article is a good description of how Washington’s pro-business bias is so strong that even when the hemisphere’s poorest country cuts an advantageous deal for its people, Washington will unhesitatingly torpedo it if it doesn’t benefit the mega-oil companies – and the U.S. will go so far as to ensure that the president responsible is not allowed to be re-elected.

Beacon of freedom, liberty and justice-for-all, my butt. This is Sarah Palin’s “exceptional” country?

Scott

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New WikiLeaked Cables Reveal: How Washington and Big Oil Fought PetroCaribe in Haiti

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/06/03-2

René Préval, who passed Haiti’s presidential sash to Joseph Michel Martelly on May 14, was described by U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson as “Haiti’s indispensable man” in a Jun. 1, 2009 Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks last December.

Former Haitian President René Préval and Venezuela President Hugo Chavez in this file photo. Leaked cables reveal that the U.S. was primarily irked by Préval’s dealings with Cuba and Venezuela, where the former Haitian president was unable “to resist displaying some show of independence or contrariness in dealing with [Venezuelan president Hugo] Chavez,” as US Ambassador Sanderson griped in a 2007 cable. Sanderson judged him “still moderately popular, and likely the only politician capable of imposing his will on Haiti – if so inclined.” At the same time, “dealing with Préval is a challenge, occasionally frustrating and sometimes rewarding,” she continued. “He is wary of change and suspicious of outsiders, even those who seek his success.”

Préval’s suspicions about “outsiders” seeking his “success” turned out to be justified. In two rounds of presidential and legislative elections held in November and March, Washington aggressively intervened, pushing out of the presidential run-off Jude Célestin, the candidate of Préval’s party Inite (Unity), to replace him with Martelly, a neo-Duvalierist konpa singer who vocally supported the 1991 and 2004 coups d’état against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Now the U.S. has even challenged the legislative races which would have given Inite virtual control of the Parliament, and hence approval of the President-designated Prime Minister, Haiti’s most powerful executive post. With U.S. support, challenges were brought against Inite victories in 17 Deputy and two Senate races. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) ruled in favor of only 15 challenges, leaving four seats with the original Inite winners. The U.S. is not even letting this mild, partial impertinence go, yanking the U.S. travel visas of six of the CEP’s eight members.

How did Haiti’s “indispensable man” become so dispensable? Why has Washington so brazenly intervened in Haiti’s elections to limit the power of Préval’s party and oust Inite’s presidential candidate from the run-off?

Clues to the answer lie in secret U.S. Embassy cables which the transparency- advocacy group WikiLeaks has provided to Haïti Liberté. The cables reveal that the U.S. was primarily irked by Préval’s dealings with Cuba and Venezuela, where the former Haitian president was unable “to resist displaying some show of independence or contrariness in dealing with [Venezuelan president Hugo] Chavez,” as Sanderson griped in a 2007 cable.

U.S. dismay began when Préval signed – the very day of his inauguration – a deal to join Venezuela’s PetroCaribe alliance, under which Haiti would buy oil paying only 60% to Venezuela up front with the remainder payable over 25 years at 1% interest. The leaked U.S. Embassy cables provide a fascinating look at how Washington sought to discourage, scuttle and sabotage the PetroCaribe deal despite its unquestionable benefits, under which the Haitian government “ would save USD 100 million per year from the delayed payments,” as the Embassy itself recognized in a 2006 cable.

A review of PetroCaribe’s genesis and the Embassy’s response to it provides a window into understanding why the U.S. has been so forceful in backing the U.S.-centric Martelly team over Préval’s two-timing sector….

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