Scottish Conservative politician supports Honduras, Haiti dictatorships

Scottish Conservative Andrew Bowie campaigning with British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017

By Conrad Landin in Scotland:

Exclusive: Ruth Davidson called to condemn Scottish Tory MP over links to coup-backing lobby group

Andrew Bowie took sponsorship from International Republican Institute accused of links to coups in Honduras and Haiti

SCOTTISH TORY leader Ruth Davidson is facing calls to condemn one of her MPs, after he met with a US lobby group linked to a series of coups d’etat.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie was sponsored by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on a two-day junket to Paris worth £450, the Morning Star can exclusively reveal.

The Tory politician told parliamentary authorities that the purpose of the January trip was “to discuss from a British perspective the response to populism and the changing political landscape in the West.”

The IRI has been linked to the failed 2002 coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

It has also been accused of playing a role in the successful removal of Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, and of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

Labour’s Holyrood shadow Brexit minister Neil Findlay said: “The Scottish Conservatives have tried to distance themselves from the more extreme elements in the Conservative Party.

“And yet here we see one of their MPs working hand-in-glove with an organisation that is implicated in the undermining of democracy and sovereign states.”

Mr Findlay said Scottish Tory leader Ms Davidson “should condemn and distance herself from the actions of this MP.”

The IRI is one of several organisations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which was established by the US Congress in 1983 after US president Ronald Reagan’s seminal speech at Westminster calling for an international alliance “to foster the infrastructure of democracy.”

It received a US government grant of $339,998 (over £230,000 at the time) for “political party building” in Venezuela prior to the short-lived 2002 coup.

On the day Mr Chavez was temporarily ousted, IRI president George A Folsom said Venezuelans “rose up to defend democracy.”

Stanley Lucas, institute boss in Haiti, was accused by former US ambassador Brian Dean Curran of behaviour which “risked us being accused of attempting to destabilise the government.”

Mr Lucas was an avowed opponent of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and counselled the opposition to refuse to work with the social democrat government in order to cripple it, according to the New York Times.

In 2004 a group of right-wing military chiefs ousted the Aristide government in a coup.

In 2009 Mr Zelaya was ousted as Honduran leader in another military coup.

The IRI said the sham election which followed was “free of violence and overt acts of intimidation” and appeared credible.

SNP MP Chris Stephens told the Star: “This revelation demonstrates that the Scottish Tories, far from being centrist, are hard-line rightwingers, whose views on domestic and international issues continue to alienate the electorate.

“Ruth Davidson should distance herself from Bowie. The extremist views held by the Scottish Tories are the reason they have lost 21 elections in a row in Scotland.”

Nine years on from the coup, we still need to stand up for Honduras: here.

Washington presses Central America to militarize and turn away from China: here.

Mass protests against endemic poverty, government corruption convulse Haiti: here.

4 thoughts on “Scottish Conservative politician supports Honduras, Haiti dictatorships

  1. Pingback: Scottish Conservative politician supports Honduras, Haiti dictatorships — Dear Kitty. Some blog | Indiĝenaj Inteligenteco

  2. National uprisings against poverty, inequality and austerity have flared across Latin America and the world in recent months, taking by surprise governments insulated from the institutionalised misery they preside over, writes the IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Allied Workers Associations).

    The uprisings’ outcome is undecided: in Chile, millions of people continue to take to the streets, unwilling to renounce their struggle against an entire social order in return for minor concessions.
    But in the impoverished nation of Haiti, a determined popular mobilisation has continued for over a year, refusing to bow to violence and hunger even as the situation becomes increasingly desperate.
    In October last year, a mass movement emerged demanding the government be held to account for the disappearance of billions of dollars of state funds.
    The US-backed government of Jovenel Moïse, ‘elected’ in a 2016 farce marked by fraud and a voter turnout of less than 20%, has responded only with relentless violence.
    Moïse and his family and cronies are directly implicated in massive corruption and the organisation of paramilitary violence, generally ascribed to ‘gangs’ but organised in the presidential palace. The people’s already scanty purchasing power has declined by half under his rule.
    While Moïse refuses to step down, the entire state apparatus has evaporated; only organised violence and racketeering remain. Haiti has no functioning hospitals, schools, courts, or parliament, no fuel and no foreign exchange to pay for the food imports on which it depends.
    Haiti’s capacity to feed itself was destroyed in the failed attempt to make the country a giant export processing zone when neo-liberalism was forcibly grafted onto entrenched networks of corruption.
    Foreign-owned businesses are shutting and fleeing. Hunger, disease and death stalk the country. Yet resistance continues.
    Opposition to foreign intervention is seared deep into the national consciousness, a product of the rebellion against French colonialism, the US invasion and occupation of 1915 (which introduced conscripted labour) and the 1991 coup which overthrew Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide.
    The country has still to recover from the 2010 earthquake which killed some 220,000 people and displaced over a million. United Nations peacekeepers brought cholera and target practice on the urban poor for the Brazil-based peacekeeping force; NGOs brought sex trafficking.
    Political parties, which traditionally have functioned as patronage networks backed by foreign powers, have zero credibility in Haiti today. The political meltdown is as complete as the social collapse, which the expression ‘humanitarian crisis’ barely captures.
    On October 10th, a broad coalition of some 150 non-party civil society organisations issued a platform of measures to meet the crisis through a Passage (Passerelle) of democratic transition.
    Among the signatories are 51 trade union organisations, including the national centres affiliated to the ITUC, the leading employer organisations, peasant associations and youth, student, religious and civil rights organisations.
    The Passage demands, among other measures, the immediate departure of the president and the non-functioning parliament, revision of the electoral system, and measures to ensure civil society oversight of eventual elections as well as emergency action to deal with the social and economic collapse.
    The situation is volatile, and politics in Haiti is fraught with manipulation. The country needs massive support, but not the ‘assistance’ of past years.
    The people of Haiti know very well what they don’t want. Union participation in and support for the Passerelle indicates a path for international solidarity.
    ‘The IUF affirms its full solidarity with our affiliate SYTBRANA and with the many unions in Haiti and their civil society allies seeking an internal solution to the crisis, and urges the international trade union movement to support our sisters and brothers fighting through their unions to stave off collapse and rebuild their country on new foundations,’ their statement concludes.


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