Chomsky: Only a Massive Uprising Will Change Our Politics
Continued from previous page
What has to be done is what’s happening in Madison, or what’s happening in Tahrir Square in Cairo. If there’s mass popular opposition, any political leader is going to have to respond to it, whoever they are.
AMY GOODMAN: Noam Chomsky, I wanted to ask you about the situation in Haiti. The country is preparing to hold a controversial runoff presidential vote next month. The U.S. has resumed deportations to Haiti despite the earthquake-ravaged, cholera-ravaged country. And former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been given a passport that would allow him to return home seven years after he was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup. I wanted to go back just to a brief clip. I spoke to President Aristide at the time of the coup in 2004, and he talked about the role of the United States in Haiti and in the world.
PRESIDENT JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE: They went to Iraq. We see how is the situation in Iraq. They went to Haiti. We see how is the situation in Haiti. Pretending imposing democracy, we saw people killing people. Why don’t they change their approach to let democracy and the constitutional order flourish, slowly, but surely? After imposing an economic embargo on us, being, from the cultural point of view, very rich, from an historic point of view, very rich, but from an economic point of view, very poor, because we are the poorest country of the Western hemisphere, after imposing their economic embargo upon us, because the people wanted one man, one vote, so equality among us.
AMY GOODMAN: That was President Aristide in 2004.
NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s right. I mean, in 2004—I don’t have to tell you—the United States and France, the two traditional torturers of Haiti for hundreds of years, joined by Canada, you know, plodding along, carried out a military coup. They kidnapped the president, sent him off to Central Africa. The United States has tried hard to keep him out of the hemisphere ever since, blocked him from coming back to Haiti.
This last election, which is a complete farce, I think about less than a quarter of the population voted even. By most accounts, Aristide is the most popular figure in Haiti. He’s kept out of the election. His party, Fanmi Lavalas, has easily won every election in which there was even a modicum of sort of honesty. They were kept out of the election by the United States. So we have an election in which the most popular political figure is out, most popular political party is out, country is a total wreck, people can’t get registration cards. I mean, that’s a total ruin. A lot of money was pledged; very little of it has actually been allocated. Having an election under those conditions, it doesn’t rise to the level of a joke. There was an OAS, Organization of American States, investigation, but if you look at the people on the commission, it’s mostly the United States or its puppets, totally unserious. You can’t even laugh about it. I mean, Haiti, once again, is being denied the possibility of having a democratic election.
Now, it’s not the first time. The first real democratic election in Haiti was in, 20 years ago, 1990. To everyone’s amazement, Aristide won. Everyone assumed—me, too—that the U.S. candidate would win. Former World Bank official, he had all the money, all the elite support.
AMY GOODMAN: Marc Bazin.
NOAM CHOMSKY: He got 14 percent of the vote. You know, nobody was—it’s kind of like Egypt and what Marwan was saying about the Middle East. Nobody is paying attention to what’s going on in the slums and the hills, which happens to be where the population is. They’re just paying attention to what’s happening up in the rich sectors of Pétionville, you know, where the rich people live. Well, it turns out a lot of popular organizing was going on, a really impressive democratic achievement. It’s something that I wish we could even come close to here: actual, real, live democracy.