It was the American people’s intervention that prevented the annihilation of Trump. Haitian activists were pivotal in this. We ask that Trump do for us what we helped do for him, when he gets into office.
He must stop the elitist establishment in Haiti from destroying the people’s most popular candidate, whoever that turns out to be on November 20, 2016 in Haiti. ~~Ézili Dantó Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
It was the middle of September 2016 and the Haitian Sentinel ran a story about Donald Trump meeting with the Haitian-American community in Miami. Looking back, after an election that has upended both the Republican and Democratic parties, this meeting at the publicly funded Little Haiti Cultural Center was a seminal event that may have had a direct impact on Florida voters.
Trump was well behind in polling and it looked as if his chances of winning the Presidency were slim to none. It seemed an almost futile meeting for the Haitian-American community leaders who welcomed Trump to La Petite Haïti. The former Senate President of Haiti, Bernard Sansaricq, gave an impassioned account of Clinton Foundation abuses in Haiti, including drug money smuggled to lobbyists in cornflakes boxes, while Trump listened quietly. An industrial barrel, painted in the red and blue colors of the Haitian flag, doubled as a table in the front of the small room in the cultural arts center, a few blocks west of Biscayne Boulevard. The setting was a far cry from the opulence of Mar-a-Lago, just a short drive up the coast.
The litany of Clinton Foundation abuses and failures in Haiti were all too familiar for many with knowledge of events since the 2010 earthquake. A plague of cholera, rigged elections, $13 billion in reconstruction aid that vanished, and a gold mining contract tied to Hillary Clinton’s brother, were well known and well covered even before WikiLeaks exposed the inner workings of the Clinton Foundation. Still, the list of U.S. abuses in Haiti was not resonating with Americans, despite extensive coverage by the “paper of record,” the New York Times.
“Neg Mawon” or “Unknown Slave” statue; on the boulevard “Champ de Mars.” Before the earthquake, the Presidential Palace was the backdrop. The remnants have been torn down. (Photo: Nienaber December 2015) In a three-sentence comment that reads like a lament, the Haitian Sentinel put the legacy of the Obama/Clinton years and the U.S. installation of Michel Martelly as President on the table.
On the 5th anniversary of the 2010 earthquake, January 12, 2015, Haiti’s parliament would fall for not having organized elections to renew lawmakers. Haiti went from a democracy of 5,000 elected officials, to a totalitarian regime ruled by Martelly in just 5 years. Martelly would be ousted without a successor on February 7, 2016 and the facts are, the next United States president, whether it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be sworn-in before Haiti has a legitimately elected president.
Haitian-American activist Ézili Dantó thinks the September meeting was the day that Trump was handed the election. In fact, the day before the election, Dantó predicted that Trump would win, despite polls that showed him losing in a landslide. In an interview with Megyn Kelly after the election, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that senior staffers were “the walking wounded,” in the last days of the campaign due to the “avalanche” of personal attacks that flowed from the media. Certainly no one, not even the Trump campaign, expected or had predicted the outcome, except for a confident Dantó.
So, what happened at the meeting in Little Haiti that opened the door for Trump in the all-important state of Florida so he could go on to win the Electoral College and become the 45th President-Elect of the United States? Did something more, something psychological, influence the electorate referendum against the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the mainstream media, both conservative and liberal? Donald Trump ran under the Republican flag, but he was always closer to Bernie Sanders than Mitt Romney.
Not mincing words, Dantó thinks that Trump’s victory was indeed a psychological victory for the Haiti victims of what she calls the triumvirate of the “Bush dynasty, Clintons, and Obama— going back to the end of the U.S. supported Duvalier regime.”
The timeline of Haitian history, beginning with the 1492 landing of Christopher Columbus on the island of Hispaniola is one of occupation and subjugation by foreign powers. Flash forward to “modern” events and 1956 when Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier seized power in military coup and was elected president a year later. By 1964 Duvalier has declared himself “President for life” and established a dictatorship protected by the heinous Tontons Macoutes militia. His son, Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) succeeded him at the ripe age of nineteen and also declared himself president for life.
After Baby Doc fled Haiti in 1986, a governing council replaced him. By 1988 Leslie Manigat became president, but was ousted in a coup led by Brigadier-General Prosper Avril, who installed a civilian government under military control. History may appear tedious but Americans need to understand more than the isolated world they inhabit of like minded “friends” on social media.
The 1990 election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti’s first free election put Washington and the administration of George H.W. Bush on edge. Noam Chomsky wrote, “Washington was appalled by the election of a populist candidate with a grass-roots constituency just as it had been appalled by the prospect of the hemisphere’s first free country on its doorstep two centuries earlier.”
Within one year Aristide was ousted in a coup led by Brigadier-General Raoul Cedras, triggering sanctions by the U.S. and the Organization of American States. In 1994, during the Clinton years (1993-2001), the military regime relinquished power in the face of an imminent U.S. invasion while American interests “oversaw” a transition to a civilian government, opening the door to the return of Aristide.
Chomsky invokes historian Patrick Bellegarde-Smith: “The fear of democracy exists, by definitional necessity, in elite groups who monopolize economic and political power,” whether in Haiti or the U.S. or anywhere else. From 2003 to 2004, President George W. Bush (2001-2009) authorized U.S. military intervention in Haiti to protect U.S. interests there.
When asked about the impact of the Haitian electorate Dantó said, “In Florida, Haitian-Americans are the second most important group of American voters from the non-white immigrant community and they would not cooperate with the Democratic party and (all) vote the party line, although most Haitians in Florida probably did stay with the Democrats or a third party.”
People reporting Haitian Ancestry from the 2015 Community Ancestry Survey are 1,062,550, +/-32,547 individuals. This diaspora has both historical and genetic memory of occupation and enslavement by U.S. and foreign interests. The foreign born from Haiti residing in the United States are most concentrated in Florida and New York. These two states are home to more than 70 percent of Haitian immigrants in the 2008-12 census period.
So, is it possible that Haitian activists helped put a wrench in the media’s solid wall of shaming people into not voting for Trump? “We freed honest people to look beyond the mainstream media’s pundits, polls and predictions,” Dantó says.
Dantó insists a significant number of Haitians abstained or voted for Donald Trump. “Once we created doubt of Hillary Clinton possibly not winning Florida, that reverberated and amplified a groundswell already under way throughout the United States,” Dantó said. A Pew Research Report lends support to Dantó’s thesis. However, although Trump fared little better among blacks and Hispanics than Romney did four years ago, Hillary Clinton did not run as strongly among these core Democratic groups as Obama did in 2012.
In Miami-Dade County, Hillary Clinton pulled in 623,006 (63.7%), Donald Trump 333,666 (34.1%), and Gary Johnson 13,183 (1.3%) of the votes cast. The breakdown statewide as reported in the Miami Herald indicated underperformance in the African-American community.
Exit polls found that Clinton performed worse with African-Americans than Obama in Florida — 84 percent versus 95 — and slightly better with Hispanics — 62 percent versus 60 percent — but she won just 32 percent of Florida’s white vote, compared to 37 percent by Obama.
Pew Research says, “Among whites, Trump won an overwhelming share of those without a college degree; and among white college graduates – a group that many identified as key for a potential Clinton victory – Trump outperformed Clinton by a narrow 4-point margin.”
“The white working-class has been ignored and marginalized for too long by the political class. HRC called these folks Deplorables!” Monica Russo, executive vice president at 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, said in an email reported by the Miami Herald.
How can one explain this growing alliance of white women, blacks and rural poor (black and white)?
Can we look at the Haitian diaspora as a microcosm for an American electorate that did more than choose between the “lesser of two evils?” Like Haitians, did the poor feel dispossessed and abandoned? What about the Black community?
“Well, the Democrats are reeling and they’ll have to ponder the fact that the Black community they’ve taken so for granted did not fall in line to be taken for granted again. It’s an epic blow for them,” Dantó says. “For now, it’s a psychological victory for the Haiti victims of the Bush dynasty, the Clintons and Obama. We’ll have to see that Trump doesn’t do an Obama on us and put all of the Clinton-Bush people Americans just rejected back into government positions.”
Analyzing articles written by Garrison Keillor, “Trump Voters Will Not Like What Happens Next”, and “Deplorable Americans Decided to Drain the Swamp” by Todd Starnes; Dantó offers an interesting thesis.“The Liberal/Neocon white guy is scared and resentful, and the country white guy is celebrating,” Danto writes.
Neither want to talk to the other. Why? The U.S. leadership did not want to prepare the public for a possible Trump victory. Danto calls it “mis-leadership.”
Neither of the white guys writing these articles live in our world of the bipartisan U.S. liberal and neocon profit-over-people warmongering for resources and domination. But this Vodouist child of rural Haiti parents actually feels more sympathy for the obtuse country white guy in the Starnes article; the ones Hillary Clinton labeled the deplorable, irredeemable ones. That cowboy is made to feel shame for his gun, religion and open use of white privilege by a Duopoly that has a Kill List, uses religion and white supremacy to maintain permanent wars in the Middle East and across the planet. Danto understands being an outsider in more ways than one.
We (Haitians) are the constantly underestimated ones, the vilified and defamed ones, so we understand Clinton’s deplorables well. We understand that historically the rural white guy openly uses his white privilege to obfuscate the fact that the educated “yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera-goers, the grammar police” uses the sons and daughters of the country white boy as cannon fodder in the US military and police departments to carry out the Liberal and Neocon white supremacist agenda.
Can’t we all just get along? I am beginning to wonder.
Does the Trump victory suggest that the “country white guy” has more in common with the urban black community than anyone ever dreamed?
“It seems to me there is a historic opportunity here for thinking Blacks in the U.S. to discuss our common ground with the country white guy and build on this coalition with him against the U.S. liberal/neocon warmonger making policies that destroy his community, the planet and especially the Black women’s children everywhere,” Danto says.
“Black people are not your enemies. The best option is to built on this outsider coalition.”
It would be a denouement dripping with irony if voter analysis indicates that the Haitian/American electorate removed the shackles from closet Trump-leaning supporters in a Florida election. The verdict is still out, but it certainly appears possible that Haitians may have achieved some payback for an election rigged by Cheryl Mills and the Clinton State Department.
Hopefully President Trump will do all he can to uphold the results of the upcoming elections in Haiti next week. Presidential elections will be held on November 20 for the first round and a possible second round is scheduled to be held on January 29, 2017 if no candidate receives a majority (50 % plus one vote) of the votes in the first round.
And while he is at it, the new President might want to see what he can do about the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew without taking over the country in spectacular U.S. tradition. It would be a nice thank you.
Writer and author