Saturday, July 30, 2005

Guyler C. Delva Unmasked

I received the following from a friend of mine. It is a precise and devastating rebuttal of Guyler C. Delva's misleading article in today's NY Times. Remember that Reuters has managed to hire Delva as its correspondent in Haiti: shameful!

The rebuttal was written by Daniel Simidor. Enjoy!

Joseph Guyler Delva’s latest Reuters report on Haiti,
published in Friday’s NYTimes, is one hell of a promo
piece for Lavalas Family - "the largest political
party...of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and
the poor masses."

Next Delva, whose allegiance to Aristide is pretty up
front, boldly refers to Lavalas as "the party that has
dominated politics for 20 years" - when that party did
not even exist 20 year ago! Indeed the Lavalas
concept only emerged in 1987, in a defiant song of the
Tèt Ansanm (Heads Together) peasant choir, "Nou se
Lavalas / N ap pote y’ale" (We are the flood / we’ll
drag them out), following a massacre of peasant
activists in July that year. Aristide, who took part
in a fiery memorial for the victims of the massacre
later that year, would drop the first two lines of the
chorus, "Yo pare pou nou / Ann pare pou yo" (They
[i.e. the class enemy] are prepared against us / Let’s
prepare ourselves against them), only to borrow the
Lavalas mantra as his campaign slogan three years
later. His run for the presidency in the 1990
elections had been under the auspices of the
center-left coalition FNCD. Lavalas Family as a
political party only goes back a decade ago.

Half way down in his article, Delva again tried to
bamboozle his readers. "Aristide, whose movement
forced Jean Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier from power in
1986...," he wrote. Neither Aristide nor "his
movement" played any such role. The epicenter of the
upheaval that led to the demise of the Duvalier
dynasty was in Gonaives, not in Port-au-Prince where
the regime was at its strongest. Aristide played a
minimal role, if any, in Baby Doc’s downfall. Delva
knows this too well. But that knowledge doesn’t stop
him and his fellow Lavalas propagandists, intent on
rewriting Haiti’s recent history to satisfy their
leader’s hegemonic and megalomaniac ambitions.

Delva quite cleverly manages to write about the
hardline "Aristide or Death" wing of Lavalas, without
any mention of that faction’s year-long campaign of
bloodletting violence and lawlessness. He
successfully manipulates Amnesty International’s
latest report on Haiti to make it seem as if Amnesty’s
condemnation of "deliberate and arbitrary killings of
civilians, rape, death threats and intimidation" were
only directed at the interim government. In the
process, Delva managed to publish a priceless
pro-Aristide piece without any negative subtext, the
same week that two devastating administrative reports
issued in Haiti and on the internet were laying bare
the shocking details of rampant and systematic
corruption involving both Aristide’s Foundation for
Democracy and the highest levels of his
administration, throughout the duration of his second
term in office. "Nice work if you can get it." But
that will not stop the Aristide propagandists from
whining that their boss is getting a bad rap in the
mainstream media!

The reports in question are available in plain text at
www.haitipolicy.org. And now I’m waiting for the
Lavalas fellow travelers who tried to discredit
earlier reports of the regime’s corruption with their
bad faith cries for "proofs," when such reports
mattered most, to publicly make their "mea culpa" - if
they are not utterly shameless hypocrites. But I will
not be holding my breath...