This week, Haïti Liberté begins
publishing a series of articles which will draw from 1,918
diplomatic cables about Haiti from U.S. Embassies around the
world. The cables were obtained by the transparency-advocacy
group WikiLeaks and made available to Haïti Liberté.
The cables cover an almost
seven-year period from Apr. 17, 2003, ten months before the Feb.
29, 2004 coup d’état which ousted President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, to Feb. 28, 2010, just after the Jan. 12 earthquake
that devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding
Cables from the Port-au-Prince
Embassy, that might have shed light on the U.S. role in the 2004
coup, unfortunately don’t begin until March 2005, though there
is one cable from March 2004.
The cables range from “Secret”
and “Confidential” classification to “Unclassified.”
Cables of the latter classification are not public, and many
remain marked “For Official Use Only” or “Sensitive.”
While not revealing any CIA,
military, or “back room” operations, the cables offer a
penetrating look into official U.S. strategies and maneuvering
in Haiti in the coup years (2004-2006) and the period after
President René Préval’s election (2006-2010). We see
Washington’s obsession with keeping Aristide out of Haiti and
the hemisphere, the microscope it trained on rebellious shanty
towns like Cité Soleil and Bel Air, and its tight supervision of
Haiti’s police leadership, of officer selection, and of the
United Nation’s 9,000-man military occupation known as the UN
Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Embassy officials offer candid
assessments of other ambassadors and of Haitian politicians,
government officials, and other public figures. Sometimes their
analysis is illuminating; other times, it is arrogant,
self-serving, or just plain wrong.
What emerges is a portrait of
how aggressively Washington seeks to manage Latin America’s
first sovereign nation economically and politically, especially
in the wake of the 2004 coup. But they also reveal how they are
faced with fierce resistance from the Haitian people.
The cables also reveal how
Haiti is perhaps the Western Hemisphere’s preeminent arena for
North-South struggles and East-West intrigues. Washington and
Paris square off against Caracas and Havana, particularly over
oil, and China and Washington’s surrogate, Taiwan, engage in
fierce diplomatic arm-wrestling that threatens to derail the
U.N. military mission in Haiti.
Originally, in November 2010, WikiLeaks began publishing the 251,287 leaked U.S. embassy
cables it obtained last year (the largest set of confidential
documents ever to be released into the public domain) by
providing them to large newspapers like the New York Times,
The Guardian and Der Spiegel.
Now, WikiLeaks is selecting
media in many other countries to provide them with the U.S.
Embassy cables relative to their specific country. Haiti
Liberté is honored that WikiLeaks has entrusted it with
releasing the cables relative to Haiti. We are also pleased to
partner with The Nation, the oldest continuously
published magazine in the United States, in publishing and
distributing the English-language version of Haïti Liberté’s
When Haïti Liberté
publishes an article, the cables we draw from will be published
in their entirety on the WikiLeaks site (www.wikileaks.ch).
However, in some cases, names might be redacted for safety
In short, the cables offer many
clues as to how Washington brought Haiti from the paramilitary
and Special Forces coup of 2004 to the electoral coup that
installed the neo-Duvalierist Michel Martelly in 2011. It is the
story of how the Empire struck back at a consistently rebellious
nation, which Washington has occasionally managed to cage, but
never to tame.