By Joël Léon, published in French in Haiti Liberté, August 10, 2011, Vol. 5 No. 4, www.haitiliberte.com
(The following commentary is a unofficial translation by CHIP of the original French.)
It’s been years since the Haitian political analyst has been so spoiled with so many events, some more comical than others. The country is dying, absurdity is in power, stupidity has imposed itself, infamy has returned at galloping speed and demagoguery is on everyone's lips. And to add to all that, international Machiavellianism is fully at play.
The selection of Stanley Lucas as special advisor to President Martelly has lifted the veil on the president’s political orientation and unequivocally defined his presidency. It reveals the political ideology, the strategic choices and above all the democratic limits of the regime. Haitian journalists are trembling with fear.
Faithful to the long, extreme-rightist tradition in Haiti, the government has sunk into a permanent posture of crisis, for a scapegoat is needed on which to blame the predicted breakdown. Jean Bertrand Aristide must be sacrificed once again. The former President has received guests at his home; this has been dominating the news in the Republic of Port-au-Prince. The man has been president twice; he is the head of a large mass party, a politician par excellence; it’s normal for him to meet with citizens of his country. Yet Stanley Lucas, Sauveur Pierre Etienne, Michel Sukkar ... they are all crying conspiracy.
Paradoxically, the former dictator Jean Claude Duvalier kindly welcomes supporters into his own home. Philippe Vorbe, a former football player on the national team, Franck Romain, a former army colonel and murderer of dozens of Haitian citizens ... all parade through his private residence. No one talks about that. Baby Doc travels everywhere; we really don’t have the eyes to track his whereabouts. Martelly, a follower of Duvalierism, faithfully replicates Duvalierist maneuvers in creating incidents like the one which recently occurred in the country's second city, Cap- Haïtien. So, Martelly belongs to the radical and extremist right.
However, the government in place presents itself more as a Third-Worldist variant of an ideological muddle than a traditional regime defending reaction. In general, extremist regimes of the right always brandish a frightening nationalist banner to enable them to maintain a total stranglehold over institutions and individuals. Martelly’s regime is totally different; not only does he perpetuate and even reinforce the vassal policy of his predecessor, René Préval, vis-à-vis big international finance capital, he accentuates it by appointing to the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) men totally nurtured on the imperial order.
Another characteristic of the radical right is the use of religion and morality as political instruments for manipulation of the masses. Martelly is the antithesis of religion and a disciple of obscenity. Yet, this has not prevented him from being embraced by the Christian West and certain Protestant opportunists in Haiti.
Where the regime is faithful to reactionary ideology, it’s in the cultivated scorn for national institutions. The Haitian Parliament is in Martelly’s sights to be dissolved. Authoritative voices, including that of Stanley Lucas, are calling for the heads of the most influential senators of the institution because the latter are concerned about the Government’s direction and are demanding accountability. Simply put, these senators no longer intend to serve as the sounding board for an anti-popular regime. Haitian justice is being harnessed with the entry of Josué Pierre-Louis into the Ministry of Justice as a minister but without the title.
The anti-intellectualism of the President is known to all. In the course of his election campaign, he reproached Myrlande Manigat, his opponent in the second round, saying that intellectuals did nothing for the country. Hence, it was necessary to place in power the most vulgar of the uneducated.
To that end, Stanley Lucas, an Anglo-Saxon apprentice, actively embarked to replace elements of the national middle class with those of the Diaspora. Through a so-called "resumé bank," Stanley Lucas is collecting the CVs of technical cadre from the Diaspora with the idea of finding them high-paying jobs in Haiti. Lately, according to a reliable source, they have been mobilizing dozens of cadre from the Diaspora under this scheme.
We can now expect the worst with his appointment to the Martelly administration. The basic question is: what will become of the indigenous national cadres who, against all odds, have remained in the country? They are working in education as teachers and school principals, in public and private administration ... Haiti’s existence rests upon the shoulders of the middle class, particularly those who are uncorrupted. Now the special adviser to Martelly wants to replace them with other cadres whom the Government will be obligated to pay in hard currency. In my article, "The Return to the Infamy Before 1946" (Haiti Liberté, May 25, 2011), I predicted the revolt of the middle class as a single bloc; the anger is already mounting.
The regime is authoritarian. The arrogance of the President has extended to the point of publicly demanding that journalists silence themselves. Voices of civil society are rising with force to denounce the dictatorial drift of Sweet Mickey. He has accused the press of being the catalyst of a campaign destructive to the country's image abroad.
Then there was the Cap-Haïtien incident (on July 24). The reaction of the President and his team was disproportionate. After a bottle was tossed at the presidential motorcade, close to 40 innocent people were bound and then illegally transferred to Port-au-Prince. They were later released when there was no basis for detaining these poor, unfortunate souls who were tending normally to their daily activities.
Martelly has continued his threats against the Haitian press, so too has his entourage. A security agent of the President seized a bullet-proof vehicle that was assigned to former President Aristide. Other agents have confiscated photographs from fellow journalists who wanted to capture the President in one of his moments of delirium. The henchmen of the regime, widely denounced as torturers and greed-mongers by RNDHH, a human rights organization in Haiti, have become increasingly threatening. Moreover, they make up the core of the elite unit for the personal security of the President. Now they can shoot at will because their signatures go hand-in-hand with authority.
The appointment of Lucas was an aberration. This man no longer has the reach of yesteryear. Since his ousting from the IRI for an excess of zeal, the person of Jean Rabel has done nothing but drag his self around Washington in the hopes of finding a new audience. At the OAS, in the course of an umpteenth conference on Haiti, Stanley Lucas was scheduled as the "keynote speaker" but was challenged to such a degree by participants that those in charge decided to withdraw the speaking invitation. The man is discredited.
Some people at the OAS suspect that Stanley has manipulated speaking invitations by placing phantom names on the membership list of his organization so as to inflate the figures. He has been closely monitored. During the aforementioned conference, he cavalierly photographed a journalist colleague who used to serve as spokesperson of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide for the foreign press. This was a clear form of intimidation.
Gérard Latortue decided to keep Stanley Lucas at arm’s length from his government after having received consistent information about the man’s poor political reputation. After circling endlessly around the de facto Prime Minister by sending memos to the interim government in the form of sterile proposals, which remained unaddressed, Lucas joined an opposition, becoming very bitter towards his Republican comrade. Until there is a shift in the wind, he will never forgive Latortue for the influence he exerted on the Bush brothers, the Governor of the State of Florida and President of the United States, to have him erased from the political scene.
Lucas tried to exact revenge with John McCain, a man he knew personally, during the last presidential elections. But the latter was defeated by Barack Obama, putting a definitive end to Lucas’ dreams of becoming the biggest manservant of Washington in Haiti.
The Washington lackey heads a bogus organization called the "Washington Democracy Project" and is totally isolated. His contacts in the U.S. House and Senate no longer exist–some have retreated into the private sector, as in the case of Jesse Helms and Porter Goss, others were defeated by Democrats in the last elections. This is an empty cask that’s before us, the young guns of the Republican Party having turned their backs on the Old Guard. The man is politically dead. That's why he is flitting from one tree branch to another to find somewhere to land.
Martelly offered him a golden platter. This was an undeserved reward because Stanley Lucas was initially opposed to the elections under the Préval Government. After realizing that among the scuttling candidates, Sweet Mickey was the best positioned, he changed his mind and boarded the train already in motion. He is an opportunist.
Stanley Lucas has very powerful political enemies in U.S. diplomatic circles in Haiti. He is poorly regarded by the United States Embassy because of his ruffling of diplomatic protocols affecting former Ambassador Brian Dean Curran in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Lucas had declared to the GNBiste leaders (architects of the 2004 coup) of the time that “it was he who represented the true intentions of the Bush administration in Haiti, not the Ambassador." Curran was so indignant after this episode that he took an early retirement into the private sector after a 30-year career in the service of his country.
According to an old acquaintance who wishes to remain anonymous, Stanley used his influence at the time to promote the financing of bogus projects of certain non-governmental organizations close to the opposition. This was to the detriment of other NGOs that were introducing well-balanced projects. In this sector too, notably with USAID and others, Stanley Lucas has accounts to settle.
His meteoric rise has left casualties in its wake. From his interval at the AFL-CIO, to the low of Lalue, in order to impose himself as the all-powerful representative of the International Republican Institute he pushed around his seniors, who to this day have not forgiven him. And many of them are still in office in Haiti. Whence the necessity for him to remain in his corner of Washington so as not to come to terms with his opportunism.
I myself met the person of Jean-Rabel during 1992 or 1993. He was working on behalf of the AFL-CIO, taking part in a delegation that was contacting international organizations with a view to tipping the diplomatic scales against the putschists in power. I was present when a comrade mentioned the name of an American who was working for his country’s government. He suddenly became agitated and terminated the meeting prematurely while imploring the comrade not to mention his name to that gentleman. Being very curious, I asked the American after the episode who was this Stanley Lucas was. The interlocutor replied that he was a small fish swimming in a big sea. Subsequently, I learned that he had supplanted all the big fish in order to make himself indispensible. These gentlemen are still in place in Haiti; so staying in a Washington cubbyhole is his only option. However, he has continued to let it be known, even up to yesterday, that these are "chimères Lavalas" who would do him harm were he to set foot in Haiti. It’s false!
Some have been wondering up to now who are Michel Martelly’s advisers, that is to say, what are their competencies and experience on issues? Never, ever, has a president officially appointed someone (Lucas) so disparaged to a position of such high stature. It brings nothing but complications for governing. This has already begun. On Thursday, August 4, 2011, Stanley Lucas posted a message on Facebook in which he directly accused me of having taken part in the assassination of Haitian journalists, in particular Jean Dominique, Brignole Lindor, others. With sheer vindictiveness, he did it again after republishing on the internet Web an article I wrote in 2009 with the title, "Stanley Lucas, Man of the Occupiers."
Many colleagues in the press as well as personal friends have advised me not to return to Haiti, my native country, for fear of never seeing me again, as was the case with Lovinsky Pierre Antoine. Thus, my second exile has begun as of the appointment of Stanley Lucas as special advisor to the President of the Republic. My family is since living in fear because it is believed the man is all-powerful.
In my capacity as journalist and progressive thinker, Stanley's move is not going to hold me back. My faith in a just and democratic Haiti is stronger than the intimidations of a presidential adviser. Nevertheless, I want to make Haitian and world public opinion aware that since Thursday, August 4th, a great threat has been hanging over my life and that of my family. May God protect us!
 In one week in 2008, three schools collapsed in Haiti due to faulty construction, including the Ecole Nationale Darius Denis in Lalue, Port au Prince. That collapse cost the life of a worker repairing the building. The worst collapse was at L'Ecole la Promesse Evangelique in Petionville, killing 89 students.