Monday, July 18, 2005

Jean Bertrand Aristide, Naomi Klein, and the Slavery that is Free Trade

President-in-Exile Jean-Bertrand Aristide
This image was originally posted at

Well, at least someone is talking about Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first and only democratically elected president, who is now living in forced exile in South Africa, after being kidnapped by the US Forces back in March, 2004; a move that was wholly supported by the UN, the French, and those bloodthirsty, t-shirt hungry Canadians.

Naomi Klein interviewed Aristide in Pretoria a couple weeks ago and asked him why he was ousted. His answer was, "Privatization, privatization, privatization." The US wanted him to sell off Haiti's state-owned utilities.
Aristide argued that unregulated privatization would transform state monopolies into private oligarchies, increasing the riches of Haiti's elite and stripping the poor of their national wealth.

This is the problem with "Free Trade." Ultimately it is the freedom for the rich to get richer and the poor to starve. It is just another racket with another sweet sounding name.

Big Ell told me in a telephone interview this morning that he wants, "Fair Trade, not Free Trade." I believe he's right and that the terms 'free' and 'freedom' have been so badly bastardized in the last few years that they will soon be completely useless and only found in jingoistic, western propaganda.

The 'freedom' that the West desires in Haiti is remarkably similar to the 'freedom' it is providing in Afghanistan and Iraq, the freedom for the poor and the brown to be killed.

Aristide even invoked Orwell's words when speaking about the proposed privatization,
He says the proposal simply didn't add up: "Being honest means saying two plus two equals four. They wanted us to sing two plus two equals five."

Here is a pretty good brief history of Haiti, and here is Steve Bell's cartoon from just after the coup.

This cartoon was originally posted at

TGR sends out it's respect for Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the man who tried to feed the poor and protect them from the 'freedoms' of the rich.

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