From Narcocracy To Democracy… Can A Marshall Plan Contain Haiti’s Global Drug Trade?
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has proposed a “Marshall Plan” that might help Haiti put in place a new foundation for nation building. But the Marshall Plan was designed to contain the spread of communism and if this one is to succeed it will need to contain the global drug trade that dominates Haiti’s economy and its political culture that has been supported by the United States. Earthquake notwithstanding, Haiti is one of the major transshipment points for cocaine and other drugs destined for North America and Europe.
The CIA World Factbook outlines the problem. The big items in the $500 million a year export economy include cheap t-shirts and undies sold at Wal-Mart, baseballs for Major League Baseball and Barbancourt Five Star rum.
Without the figures from the underground drug economy Haiti’s booked exports amount to less than the value of the bundled contracts of US sports stars Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers and suspended Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas.
The lucrative global drug trade is what keeps Haiti poor, what keeps it ungovernable and what jeopardizes the “Marshall Plan” proposed by DSK.
If the global drug distribution system has taken a hit from the earthquakes, it’s the media’s job to put the spotlight on who’s picking up the slack and where. So far that’s not happening.
A good place for online and print journalists to start asking questions would be US Senator John Kerry, whose name is on a famous report about the drug trade in Haiti, which leads back to deposed Panamanian leader and CIA asset Manuel Noriega and the old anti-communist Cali cartel. Like his pal singer James Taylor, Skull and Bones man Kerry was part of the 60s generation that launched comic book hero Freewheelin’ Franklin who said, “dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope…”
And in the Obama-Bernanke-Geithner flat affect US economy there isn’t much money trickling down. One reason a hit of crack still costs less than a value meal on the Paseo in Kansas City, at 93rd and Hough in Cleveland and outside the Toussaint L’Overture High School down in Florida’s area code 561.
With one of the big drug warehouses down it makes sense from the global security perspective for the Pentagon to recommend to Obama that he sign off on orders that send 10,000 troops to effectively occupy Haiti and control logistics and communications on the island of Hispaniola, which includes the Dominican Republic, another big drug drop.
The Marshall Plan worked in Europe because it had a strong military component. Notably the US, British, Canadian and French troops garrisoned in an occupied “West Germany.” The US presence on the island of Hispaniola now provides that. And it’s consistent with Washington’s efforts to bring the Caribbean Basin and the Central American isthmus back under what France and other governments dans le couloirs are calling neo-colonialist domination in the name of the Monroe Doctrine.
Honduras. The big base deal with Colombia. Plans to redeploy the mothballed 4th Fleet to patrol around the Caribbean and South America. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton playing petty soft power games, giving Taiwanese aid efforts priority over China and blocking the French Medecins sans Frontieres aircraft carrying doctors and relief supplies from landing in Haiti. And the expanded offshore activities of the US Coast Guard, a unit of the Treasury Department. American leadership is less concerned with taking back what is becoming a racially divided white minority America than it is with taking back America’s backyard.
According to the US General Accounting Office, Team Obama is already spending $12 billion each month to stabilize Iraq and prop-up the Karzai narcocracy in Afghanistan. Financing the billions in monthly hard power costs for 10,000 US troops to occupy Haiti dwarfs the “investment fund” set up by US president Barack Obama and former presidents Bush and Clinton. When fully funded, that fund will amount to less than the contract value of NFL Indianapolis Colts star quarterback Peyton Manning.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has already had to go on the record and deny that the temporary US presence in Haiti is at cross-purposes with peacekeeping efforts. Last week US Black Hawk helicopters buzzed over a Brazilian food distribution operation in front of the National Palace creating chaos and causing the Brazilian flag to fall to the ground. Brazil, which heads up the UN peacekeeping operation, plans to send another 1300 troops to Haiti.
With more than half of Brazil’s $208 million aid package to Haiti wasting away due to red tape foreign minister Celso Amorim met in Haiti with president Rene Preval on Friday in an effort to expedite distribution of the badly needed food and medical supplies.
One would expect Ban’s dollar-a-year man, UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton to have the clout to reconcile the differences though. After all, he learned a lot about Haiti from his dearly departed friend, former Democratic National Chairman and US Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, who was personal lobbyist for the family of dictator Papa Doc.
But when the dust settles it will become clear that Haiti is morphing into a Somalia waiting to happen, a situation far more volatile than than peacekeeping or earthquake relief. As the New York Times and other sources have pointed out, UN peacekeeping troops in Haiti are fighting drug gangs and their teams of looters one street at a time, suggesting that peacekeeping is the new war. A Marshall Plan for Haiti is a great notion, but its not likely to put an end to stuff like that.