Haiti Still Hurting
PORT-AU-PRINCE--"He came, he went. No one really cares."

That's the way Jean-Pierre Mangones sums up the 131-day presidency of Leslie Manigat, a 57-year old political science professor who was sworn in as Haiti's leader on February 7, 1988 and ousted by General Henri Namphy in the latter part of June.

Mangones is promotion director for the U.S.-funded export agency Prominex. He was educated at St. Johns University in New York City and returned to his native Haiti to go into business. Like virtually all Haitians, he chafed under the dictatorship of Dr. Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier. He was glad to see Baby Doc flee this nation of more than six million people in February of 1986.

The winter and spring of 1986 was a hopeful time, says Mangones. There was less repression under the junta, headed by General Namphy, which Baby Doc had left behind. There was hope for real democracy in this Maryland-sized nation, which had become the hemisphere's second independent country in 1804 by defeating Napoleon's army. There was even hope for an economic pickup, thanks to increasing aid from the industrial world, in a country that is the Western Hemisphere's poorest.

Most of that hope has vanished in the last two and a half years of turmoil. Mangones says: "Manigat's overthrow is a sign to all democrats that it is very difficult to become president without a popular base. Economically, the country can't stand all this. Besides the help we need, we've got to get our act together. We have ecological problems no one is talking about--our sea life is wrecked, we have water shortages, our trees continue to disappear." The latter is a problem because Haiti's chief cooking fuel is charcoal, and 8,000 foot mountains now stand barren.

"There's got to be a concerted national effort," says Mangones. "The big question remains the U.S., still our major partner. We can't become more dependent, but we need an agreement for economic help. We can't let ego take precedence over reality. After all, we're only 700 miles from Miami."

The chances of more help range between slim and none.

Namphy and his top military officers, such as Maj. Gen. Williams Regala and Brig. Gen. Prosper Avril, stepped in as soon as Manigat asserted a bit of independence from the military by sacking Namphy as chief of staff and shifting around other officers and entrenched civil servants. The June 20 coup was quick and bloodless. There was gunfire around the big white presidential palace here, but that appears to have been simply for dramatic effect, to scare people away. The only casualty was a soldier who shot himself in the leg accidentally. Dawn on June 20 revealed no bullet-pocked buildings along this capital's rubble-laden streets.

Namphy went on television at 1:30 a.m., June 20 and proclaimed a military government, putting army officers at the head of 11 of the 12 cabinet ministries. He made another television speech six hours later, lauding the army's "unity"--and beside him, on television, stood Col. Jean-Claude Paul, commander of the Sessalines Barracks behind the presidential palace. Paul, indicted by a Miami grand jury last spring on charges of conspiring to smuggle drugs, had been used by Manigat to try to split the army's loyalty, a tough job in an anarchic country where virtually the only stable institution is the 7,500 strong army.

The reaction to the coup among street vendors and money-changers in this city of one million people was simply to shrug.

A Belgian priest who has worked in Haiti for 28 years explains: "Everybody knew Manigat became president in an unconstitutional way, they knew he was a prisoner of the military." That is the opinion of Father Hugo Triest, director of Radio Soleil, the church-supported radio station which is the main source of news in this nation where three quarters of the populace can neither read nor write.

The atmosphere, nationwide, is far different than it was in the summer of 1987, when strikes, demonstrations and killings--by Duvalierists and the military--prevailed.

In the heady summer of '87 Haitians seemed to think they still had a chance for democracy, and fought Namphy's National Governing Council for a free presidential election.

There were nearly a dozen candidates on the ballot November 29, at least half of them moderate leftist to far left. That was the group that had battled the Duvaliers, been jailed, exiled and tortured. That group labelled itself "the democratic opposition" and stood up for human rights.

The morning of November 29 Duvalierist bullyboys shot and killed at least 34 people at Port-au-Prince polling places and wounded at least 70 more. The military did nothing to stop them.

Namphy cancelled the presidential election, and announced another presidential vote for last January 17 so he could fulfil his pledge to inaugurate a new president within two years after Baby Doc's flight.

Between 70 and 90 percent of Haitians abstained from the January 17 vote, but the military's candidate, Manigat, was declared the victor and took office last February 7.

Few words were heard from "the democratic opposition" after Namphy's June coup. Gerard Gourgue, a human rights leader who likely would have won a free election, was silent. Pastor Sylvio Claude said Manigat's departure was "a good thing." Eugene Gregoire, a lawyer, said "a de facto power has replaced a de facto government." Economist Marc Bazin was silent. Businessman Louis Dejoie II said, "the only way to put the country back on track is to have free, honest elections. Manigat was not viable nationally or internationally ... he had no popularity. I will wait and see what the military government offers the people before judging ... they can't govern forever with bayonets."

Namphy, in an interview with the Paris newspaper Liberation, said only that "the time has not come to have elections in Haiti ... the first need of the country is not politicians but education, development and jobs."

He has his work cut out for him. Haiti's per capita income last year was around $370. The infant mortality rate is 104 per 1,000--about 10 times the rate in the United States. Yet the population continues to grow (this is an overwhelmingly Catholic country and birth control is frowned upon), and Haiti is expected to add 1.5 million people by the year 2000. Two thirds of the populace exist on subsistence farming, though two thirds of the land is not arable. (Almost half the land, nevertheless, is cultivated in some fashion.)

The United States cut off $66 million in government-to- government aid after the November 29 massacre, but still permits $36 million in aid to flow through private, voluntary agencies, such as CARE and Catholic Relief Services.

Since the June 20 coup, Venezuela has eliminated a $1 million pre-fabricated housing program and West Germany has cut off $2.7 million to upgrade Haiti's electric system.

In all, says Gerald Zarr, who runs the U.S. Agency for International Development's program here, Haiti may get about $160 million in aid this year, a $50 million reduction from what Manigat expected last spring. France, Japan, Italy, Canada, Taiwan, some United Nations agencies, the World Bank, the Inter- American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are still donating under normal program levels, along with the United States and West Germany.

Contraband still flows here, mostly carried by tramp freighters from Florida. Manigat made an effort to stanch this trade in order to boost government revenues, but had little success. The chief result of his effort was to double the price of rice, a staple here, and such commodities as wheat and sugar. At the other end of the spectrum, the price of automobiles rose 40 percent.

Today, vendors peddle cartons of U.S. cigarettes on this city's main streets for $9 or $10 a carton and fifths of Dewar's White Label Scotch for $7 or $8 a bottle. The prices are cheaper than in many U.S. stores, since the goods are untaxed.

Haiti's $200 million annual government budget allows little room for maneuver. Manigat had been negotiating with the French for $15 million to $20 million in "bridge financing" to let his government get a loan from the World Bank or IMF, but that possibility now seems dead.

Haiti's coffee, mango and essential oils (for perfume) exports provide some income for the country, but the tourism business is moribund and the nation's biggest hotel, a 400-room Club Med, has been closed almost a year and a half, though there is talk here now of reopening it near the end of this year.

The assembly industry--goods shipped from the United States, finished here and returned to the United States duty-free--seems the best hope for an economic pickup, though it has suffered from the turmoil of the past two years. The industry produces items ranging from baseballs (Haiti is the world's largest manufacturer) to clothing, furniture and Gucci shoes. Today, it employs roughly 43,000 people, down 12,000 from 1984. Worker pay averages approximately $4.50 a day. Though $4.50 is high for Haiti, each worker supports five people, on average.

The plea from almost everyone here is for "stability." But no one knows if that will happen. Louison Balthazar, who, with her husband, operates a chic restaurant in the suburb of Petionville, says, "It could go either way, 20 years of this [military government] or the upheaval we had last summer. I'm not sure which I want."

Mangones adds: "For us, it's back to square one."

-William Steif

Multinationals Battle Brazilian Constitution
EXECUTIVES OF 16 multinational corporations with subsidiaries in Brazil, including Shell, Xerox, Brascan and Furukawa, held a press conference in Brazil in early July to kick off a campaign to change the proposed Brazilian constitution.

The corporations decided to spend $2 million on radio and television advertisements, pamphlets and lobbying legislators and government officials. Representatives of some corporations also contacted military officials, including Army Minister Leonidas Pires Goncalves, to outline their opposition to the draft and enlist support.

According to Paulo Cesra de Andrade, director of the Brazilian- Canadian mining enterprise Brascan, "We want to say that the multinationals are neither devils nor angels, they are a source of capital, like any other."

The foreign corporations argued that the constitution's text, as it stands, conflicts with government intentions to open the Brazilian economy further and lower the level of state participation in the economy. As Shell Brasileira de Petroleo director Robert Broughton told reporters, "If the constitution is approved as is Brazil will suffer greatly."

The second round of voting on the document has been delayed since July 21, but is expected shortly, with the constitution scheduled for promulgation in September.

President Jose Sarney numbers among those opposed to the draft. In a July 26 televised address, the Brazilian executive called for drastic changes in the Constitution, angering many of the 559 legislators who have been working on it for 18 months.

The publicity campaign against the proposed text includes a ten- minute film extolling the benefits of foreign capital in Brazil. The corporations purchased air time to show the program on all six television channels, beginning July 25. The group also purchased full page ads in the weekly newsmagazine Veja.

Esso Brasileira distributed a leaflet attacking the proposed constitution's ban of risk contracts on oil exploration amounts. Under risk contracts, the national oil company, Petrobas, grants oil exploration rights to foreign firms, which assume the costs of searching for oil. If oil is found, Brazil and the company share the revenue resulting from the well. The Federation of Sao Paulo Enterprises also produced a booklet which maintains that foreign corporations have invested $26 billion of risk capital since 1965, account for 35 percent of industrial tax revenues and produce 26 percent of the nation's industrial output.

Other corporations, eager to shun the publicity sought by the 16 companies buying ads, took another tack by concentrating their energies on direct lobbying of the president and legislators. The Rio de Janeiro daily O Globo reported on July 10 that Constituent Assembly President Ulysses Guimaraes had met with Hermann H. Wever, president of the board of directors of Siemans S.A., General Electric Vice President Nahid Chicani, and Philip Morris Vice President Antonio Teixeira da Silva. Together, the three men reportedly spoke for 68 multinational corporations.

In a statement given to reporters after the meeting with Guimaraes, the business leaders said they had emphasized the importance of foreign capital to the Brazilian economy and called for eliminating the clause differentiating between foreign and national capital in awarding government contracts. They argued that the clause would deter firms from entering the Brazilian market and might cause others to reduce their investments in existing plants. Also, they said, the clause would lower the quality of goods and services available to the public sector, while increasing their cost. Wever denied any connection between his group of 68 multinationals and the group openly advertising against the proposed constitution, though he refused to criticize their actions.

The controversial clauses in the draft constitution comprise only a handful of paragraphs in the 3,000-page document. Other than the prohibition against risk contracts and the differentiation between foreign and national capital in awarding government contracts, executives of multinationals feel threatened by amendments which nationalize mineral rights and tighten existing regulations on joint ventures.

Foreign and national businesses alike object to clauses which reduce the work week from 48 to 44 hours, extend the right to strike, increase social security benefits and reduce the length of the maximum uninterrupted work shift from eight to six hours. Other targeted clauses would mandate a week of paternity leave and increase maternity leave from three to four months.

The constitution under consideration will replace the one put in place by the military which ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. Constructing the document has been a long, confusing and arduous process, absorbing the energy of 559 legislators. Debate over virtually every aspect of Brazilian law and regulation has brought normal legislative work to a halt.

For months, the president focused on the clauses which would have shortened his term from five years to four and installed a parliamentary system, weakening the power of the executive. Opposition officials have accused him of plying his partisans with favors and delaying needed austerity measures for fear they would damage his popularity and cost him support when the length of his term was being decided.

Mr. Sarney's criticism of the draft in late July, and his demands that it be radically altered, brought a chorus of furious objections even from his partisans, one of whom argued that if Mr. Sarney had not spent so much energy ensuring his own continued rule, some of the contested clauses could have been eliminated before they reached the final draft.

President Sarney argues, however, that the draft would cost the nation 20 percent of its tax revenues, or $12.6 billion. It would also, he said, discourage foreign capital and lower production.

Some of Mr. Sarney's fears have already been realized. Profit remittances have jumped from 6 percent of annual profits to nearly the 12 percent permitted by law while reinvestment has sunk to maintenance levels. While roughly $900 million left the country in profit remittances in 1987, the central bank estimates that the 1988 figure will surpass $14 billion.

-Diane K. Bartz

Warren Anderson in Hiding
WARREN ANDERSON, FORMER chairman of the Union Carbide Corp., vanished from sight last month as Indian officials tried to summon him to court to answer homicide charges resulting from the 1984 accident at the Carbide plant in Bhopal, India.

Anderson has been free on bail since his arrest in India shortly after the December 1984 accident. Three attempts this year to serve Mr. Anderson with summonses to appear in court were unsuccessful because, as the prosecutor put it, "they [Union Carbide] do not know" where he is.

Interpol, the worldwide police agency, fared no better than the Indian courts in locating Anderson. Anderson's disappearance "is [an] indication of the same callous attitude toward the victims and our legal system that has been the hallmark of Union Carbide's conduct in this case," says D.S. Shastri, legal counsel at the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. "For Union Carbide to say they do not know the whereabouts of their former chairman is incomprehensible," he adds. "Nobody who knows the least thing about the management of multinational corporations would believe [it]."

Anderson and eight other former Carbide officials, as well as Union Carbide Corp., Union Carbide Eastern, Inc., and Union Carbide India, Ltd . have been charged in the Bhopal gassing. Current Carbide chairman Robert D. Kennedy has also been ordered to appear in court in connection with the criminal charges.

Earl Slack, an official at the company's Danbury, Connecticut headquarters, confirmed that Carbide had received the summonses and said that Carbide has not yet appeared before the court. He refused to comment on whether Carbide or any of its former officials would abide by the summonses and appear at a later date.

When Anderson surfaced earlier this month, a fourth summons from the Indian Court was issued and given to the U.S. government to serve upon Anderson, according to D.S. Shastri. Carbide, however, says that "to the best of our knowledge" Anderson has not yet been served.

The Indian government has two options if Anderson refuses to appear in court. It can declare him a fugitive and initiate extradition proceedings, although there is no extradition treaty between the United States and India and therefore no obligation on the part of the United States to turn Anderson over. Or, the Indian prosecutor can request that the case against Anderson be severed from those of other Carbide officials and affiliates so that the trial can proceed. The chief magistrate in the case, however, has so far rejected Carbide requests that the cases against Anderson, Union Carbide Corp. and Union Carbide Eastern, Inc. be separated from those of the others accused.

-Joyeeta Gupta

Chavez Fasts for Farmworkers
UNITED FARM WORKERS (UFW) President Cesar Chavez ended his "Fast for Life" Sunday, August 21, after 34 days. Chavez lost 31 pounds during the fast, and was "very weak," according to his doctor. UFW officials say it is too early to tell if the 61-year old union organizer suffered permanent damage to his health during the fast.

Chavez "passed on" the fast to Jesse Jackson, who agreed to fast for three days. Jackson, in turn, planned to pass the fast to Rev. Joseph Lowry, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who planned to pass it to actor Martin Sheen at the 25th anniversary of the March on Washington in late August. "

When Reverend Jackson was here [at a church service honoring Chavez] he said that ... when Cesar ended his fast, he would fast for three days and then he would pass it on and they would continue the chain of fasting," said Lorena Parlee, a spokesperson for United Farm Workers. "We've had hundreds and hundreds of people who have called and offered to fast in front of their local supermarkets," Parlee said.

Chavez began the water-only fast July 17 to draw attention to the deadly effects of toxic pesticides to both farm workers and consumers and to promote a boycott of California table grapes launched earlier this year.

"The fast is ... a declaration of noncooperation with supermarkets which promote and sell and profit from California table grapes and ... those who manufacture the poisons and those who use them on workers, on our land, and on our food," Chavez said in announcing his fast. "It is my fondest hope that our friends everywhere will begin a great movement of non- cooperation toward supermarkets; and that people will resist in a myriad of non-violent ways the presence of grapes in the stores where they shop."

But the fast is more than an attempt to convert the uninitiated: Chavez seemed disappointed by the silence that has greeted his latest campaign from individuals and organizations that have been strong supporters of farm workers' rights in the past. While noting that "we work hard at the many tasks within our movement," Chavez asserts that "the times we face truly call for more from us."

"Do we feel deeply enough the pain of those who must work in the fields every day with these poisons," Chavez asks, "or the anguish of the many families who have lost their loved ones to cancer, or who fear for the lives of their children, or who have lost their babies to miscarriages ... or who ask, with fear in their voices, 'Where will this deadly plague strike next?' Do we feel their pain deeply enough? I know I don't and I'm ashamed.

"It pains me to see that some of our own members are still cooperating with those who grow and sell the poisoned food we all eat. It pains me that we continue shopping at stores that offer grapes; that we eat at restaurants that display them; that we are too patient and understanding with those who serve them to us."

Indeed, much of Chavez's statement seems directed not at those who are ignorant or culpable, but at those who are Chavez's natural allies: "The fast is also an act of penance for those in positions of moral authority and for all men and women activists who know what is right and just, who know that they could or should do more, who have become by-standers and thus collaborators with an industry that does not care about its workers," the statement reads.

Chavez's moral prodding of fellow activists seems to have been effective. The campaign "wasn't as publicly visible" before the fast, said Parlee. "The bases were there--labor, churches and community groups," Parlee said, but these groups seemed unaware of "just how imminent the problem [is] and how fast action needs to be taken."

"Since the fast, we've had a tremendous outpouring of support."

-Louis Nemeth