As we demand an end to the U.S. war machine, peace and an end to imperialism everywhere, we have to take the time to talk about the current political situation in Haiti. It has been reported that in coordination with Washington, Canada has begun a “significant military deployment in Haiti,” as admitted by the Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Sébastien Carrière.
Carrière continued by saying, “We took over … We delivered armor. There have been two deliveries since October. There would be a third delivery in the next few days, and another one later in February. There is this CP-140 surveillance operation, intelligence sharing, there are ships arriving. Listen, it’s still military deployment in a significant way.” Devastating weapons, mass surveillance technology and Canadian soldiers have been on the ground in Haiti for weeks to further repress the nation. But this isn’t new for the first free Black nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Haiti has been under attack by imperialists since its revolution in 1804. The U.S. slave-owning class, threatened by Haiti’s successful revolution, chose to isolate Haiti economically and politically, refusing to accept a free Black-led republic. While France agreed to recognize Haitian independence in 1825, they did so in exchange for the large sum of 150 million franc for the loss of “property” — the formerly-enslaved Black people of Haiti. Faced with isolation, Haiti felt obligated to pay this debt of $21 billion over 122 years — paying France until 1893, and then the United States until 1947 — keeping Haiti in a constant state of debt.
Imperialist forces of France, United States and Germany interfered with Haitian affairs leading to desabilization in the country, the assassination of Haiti’s president in 1915, and the U.S. military invasion and occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1947. As detailed in Eugene Puryear’s analysis, “Haiti: between a rock and a revolution,” foreign military interventions and occupations have been “efforts to destroy the popular revolution spirit of the Haitian people who have faced 2 coups, 3 dictators, 2 foreign military occupations, multiple death squads, 4 straight dodgy elections since 2006, 1 presidential assassination,” and a range of exploitative trade deals.
A U.S. Marine and a UN soldier in Haiti during a 2010 deployment. Public domain.
Now-exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide attempted to recover the billions stolen by France in 2003, and was removed from office through a coup d’état. In fact, it was a U.S. Navy SEAL team that removed Aristide from his home in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Tabarre on Feb. 29, 2004. Immediately thereafter, the United States, Canada and France landed troops in Haiti, militarily occupying the country for the following three months.
These same occupying countries met with the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank to have them pledge monetary “aid” to help strengthen Haiti’s police state to maintain peace and stability, and to respond effectively to civil unrest while “respecting human civil rights,” which resulted in a loan of $410 million to the financially victimized nation. This same predatory approach to aid was applied towards Haiti after the 2010 earthquake when $13 billion in funds raised for Haiti never made it to the Haitian people. Meanwhile, Haiti has over an 80% unemployment rate, while 60% of the population lives on less than $2 per day, with a minimum wage of $7.50 per day.
Is the struggle in Haiti really about gangs? Peaceful worker protests in Haiti are often met with violence. Through varying decrees made by the Moïse regime, all protests have been characterized as “terrorism” and incentive structures for police officers have been created to increase their violence against civil society. And now the already violent national police have even more violent, racist support with this new intervention.
Moïse was unable to control the protests and so dissolved the parliament, the judiciary and ruled by decree in dictatorial fashion until he was assassinated in 2021.
But where do these so-called gangs come from? The rise of “gang violence” has followed the rise of the mass popular movement in Haiti. Haitian elites have deployed paramilitary forces to try to “repress and intimidate” this huge popular movement against poverty wages in order to protect their private property. This has continued with state repression and paramilitary forces. Anyone is seen as a gang member when it comes to putting profit over people.
After Aristide’s removal in 2004, in June of that year, the United States handed the occupation of Haiti to the low-paid, multinational army called the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH. Since the early 2000s, “MINUSTAH is how the U.S. has outsourced its control of Haiti,” author and activist Bill Quigley explained. MINUSTAH has helped to fortify the U.S./UN presence in Haiti. In 2010, Nepalese UN soldiers introduced cholera into the country. In her article, “Call for UN to help Haitians affected by cholera,” Victoria Klassen states:
“The peacekeeping mission inadvertently introduced cholera into Haiti’s most extensive water source in October 2010, after sewage leaked from a UN camp housing cholera-infected peacekeepers. Since 2010, confirmed cholera infections have claimed around 10,000 lives and infected over 820,000 people in the country leading to over 10,000 deaths.”
In “The UN let off peacekeepers involved in a Haitian boy’s rape” journalist Amy Bracken reported, “But it’s here, in early 2012, that local youths reported seeing UN police in a vehicle sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy who is mentally disabled.” As the title states, no UN “peacekeepers” ever faced accountability. And that is just one reported case of the violence that these invasions and occupations have caused the Haitian people.
Destabilizing what was once the colonial gem of the French empire is a critical strategy in all of this. Various UN occupations have literally uprooted Haitian elected democracy and led to installments of puppet regimes, while state institutions were dissolved at a whim, as we see in the case of Haiti’s current Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
And the Haitian people don’t want any UN intervention at all — no matter what is “reported.”
Since October of last year, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have been taking to the streets across the country demanding the resignation of the U.S.-backed de-facto president Ariel Henry and his administration — and NO UN solution in Haiti, NO MINUSTAH. The Haitian people are demanding concrete responses to their needs. They are demanding resolution to the nation’s food insecurity, rampant inflation and severe fuel shortages. Haitians demand that the de-facto government withdraw.
“… July 2021, a few days after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse a gallon (3.78 liters) of unleaded 95 has increased in price by 128%, from 250 to 570 gourdes (2.11 to 4.83 euros), while the price of diesel and kerosene is now nearly 670 gourdes, representing a 90% surge,” as reported by Jean-Michel Hauteville of Le Monde. This is a surge that is choking Haitians at the request of the International Monetary Fund.
But most importantly, the Haitian people demand that we — workers, anti-imperialists and radicals of the world — unite with Haiti, uplift its self-determination and say ‘NO’ to any UN intervention in Haiti, wherever we are and in all our work. Haiti hasn’t been silent and for Haiti’s sake, neither can we.
this article was republished by Liberation News.