The West is still afraid of Black Haitians

Two demonstrators in front of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti.

At the beginning of March 2024, before the CELAC Heads of State meeting in Kingstown (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro denounced the new threats to the Haitian people: “We don’t agree with an invasion, whether open or camouflaged. The solution is for Latin America and the Caribbean to accompany, to help Haiti follow its own path and implement its own model, to rebuild its own state, its own institutions, and to resume all forms of cooperation such as the low-cost PetroCaribe oil program launched by Chávez”.

Three days later, in Caracas, he continued: “How many military interventions has the United States carried out in Haiti? When the rebirth of the Haitian people took place at the beginning of this century, we woke up to the news that a U.S. plane had kidnapped President Aristide and taken him out of the country. Haiti has been dismembered and martyred by imperialist interventionism, destroyed from within. There is talk today of an uprising of criminal gangs. But who equipped them with all those guns? These weapons came en masse from the United States. Who benefits from chaos? Who wants an invasion? What is happening in Haiti, they tried here in Venezuela when the extreme right destabilized the country, and they want to do it again here this year.”

“Gang war, spiral of violence”… The media’s “presentism” serves to conceal the U.S. intervention against Haiti. Below, we publish the analysis of Haitian anthropology professor Jemima Pierre, who reveals the “imperialist laboratory” denounced by Cuba and Venezuela.

If your knowledge of Haiti comes solely from the Western media, you could be forgiven for believing the following assertions:

  • “Haiti, a “failed state” overrun by “gang violence”, can only regain its stability through the invasion of a foreign military force.”
  • “Haiti has a sovereign government that has the legal authority to request a military invasion of the country to “fight the gangs.”
  • “The United States, in pushing Kenya and CARICOM countries to conduct a foreign armed invasion of Haiti, is acting with the best of intentions in Haiti and is committed to ensuring peace and stability in Haiti and the Caribbean region.”
  • “CARICOM acts in solidarity with the Haitian people and supports Haitian sovereignty.”

None of these statements is true.In fact, they serve to obscure not only the motivations behind recent calls for foreign intervention in Haiti but also the nature of Haiti’s current politico-economic reality and the history that has brought the country to this point. The repetition and saturation of these assertions in the media, even in the Caribbean region, has fooled much of the world into applauding foreign military intervention in Haiti. The truth is that, under the guise of helping Haiti, that country’s sovereignty and independence are, in fact, being stifled.

So what’s going on in Haiti? Why is the United States pushing for another foreign military invasion of Haiti? Why are CARICOM countries helping them? More importantly, why is the U.S. paying so much attention to the situation in Haiti?

To understand what is happening in Haiti is to understand the extent to which imperial, Western aggression against the Haitian people and Haitian sovereignty has been, and remains, constant. This aggression is reflected in the fact that Haiti is currently under foreign occupation, and has been for twenty years. This is no exaggeration. The only solution to the current crisis in Haiti is an end to the current foreign occupation.

In 2004, Haiti celebrated the bicentenary of its independence.

That same year, Haiti’s independence was thwarted by foreign powers. A year earlier, France, Canada, and the United States had hatched a plot at the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” meetings to overthrow Haiti’s elected government. In the early hours of February 29, 2004, the plot unfolded. That morning, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped by U.S. Marines and sent to a military base in the Central African Republic. That day, George W. Bush announced that he was sending military forces to Haiti to “help stabilize the country,” and by evening, two thousand U.S., French and Canadian troops were on the ground. CARICOM, under the leadership of Jamaican Prime Minister P. J. Patterson, protested vigorously against the coup.

The Franco-American-Canadian invasion force targeted and killed Aristide supporters oversaw the installation of a puppet prime minister, and enabled the formation of a paramilitary force that set up anti-Aristide death squads. The coup was subsequently whitewashed by the United Nations, which, under the leadership of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the USA and France, voted to send a “peacekeeping” mission to Haiti. The mission was deployed under a “Chapter 7” mandate, allowing foreign soldiers to use full force against the population. The UN took over from the U.S. forces and created the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), responsible for military occupation under the guise of “establishing peace and security.”

A multi-billion-dollar operation, MINUSTAH had between 6,000 and 12,000 military and police personnel stationed in Haiti at any given time, as well as thousands of civilians. The military wing of the MINUSTAH mission was led by Brazil, which provided most of the troops. However, this multinational military occupation force also included soldiers from several Caribbean, South American, and African countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Grenada, Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Guinea, Cameroon, Niger and Mali.

The UN occupation under MINUSTAH was marked by its brutality towards the Haitian people. Civilians were attacked and murdered. Peacekeepers” committed sexual crimes.UN soldiers dumped human waste in rivers used for drinking water, triggering a cholera epidemic that killed between 10,000 and 40,000 people. The UN has never been held responsible for these crimes against the Haitian people.

The occupation was reinforced by the creation and operationalization of the Core Group.

The Core Group is an unelected group of foreigners from Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, the United States and Germany who have proclaimed themselves the arbiters of Haitian politics. Neither neutral nor passive, the Core Group plays an active, interventionist role in Haiti’s day-to-day political affairs.It has sought to expand and protect foreign economic interests in Haiti.It has consistently intervened in Haiti’s sovereign political affairs, often without the collaboration or consent of the Haitian government.

It is claimed that this occupation officially ended in 2017 with the official withdrawal of the MINUSTAH mission. Yet the UN remained in Haiti through a new office with a new acronym: BINUH, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti. Haiti is currently run by a group of non-Haitian foreigners, the Core Group and the BINUH office, the very people responsible for destroying its democracy.

The Core Group’s occupation is at the root of the country’s current predicament.

The occupying forces oversaw the complete collapse of the Haitian state, while allowing a group of rogue foreigners – countries and companies, non-governmental organizations and multinationals – to take over the shattered fragments of Haiti’s political economy, largely to serve foreign interests. In fact, it was under this occupation that the U.S. and its allies, France and Canada, installed neo-duvalierist Michel Martelly in 2011, in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake; Martelly’s successor, Jovenel Moïse, in 2016; and the current unelected de facto Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, after Moïse’s assassination in 2021.

Under the Core Group’s occupation, life for the average Haitian deteriorated. But let’s be clear: the Haitian people have not taken the occupation lightly (1). One of the less publicized aspects of the current “crisis” in Haiti is the ongoing protest by the Haitian people against the occupation and for self-determination. The people demonstrated by the hundreds of thousands in 2004 after Aristide was deposed by the United States, France, and Canada. They protested against the imposition of another illegitimate president, Jovenel Moïse, in 2015 and 2016. They protested the U.S.-imposed corruption of Martelly and Moïse’s political party, PHTK, in 2018 and 2019. And they protested against the unelected, U.S.-installed de facto prime minister, Ariel Henry.

For over two years now, the U.S. has been pushing for a stronger military presence in Haiti, and protected Ariel Henry’s unelected and unpopular puppet government until his recent resignation.They protected this government in order to continue controlling Haiti. In fact, Haiti’s puppet governments have served the United States well. For example, it was Ariel Henry who imposed the IMF-backed removal of fuel subsidies for the population, which the U.S. had been advocating for years and which plunged the Haitian people into even greater poverty.

The Core Group and BINUH are the very people responsible for destroying democracy in Haiti

Today, the United States needs to maintain its control over Haiti because the country is strategically important to its geopolitical objectives – the further militarization of the Caribbean and Latin American region in preparation for its confrontation with China and the implementation of the Global Fragilities Act. Yet the U.S. was unwilling to put its own boots on the ground and turned first to Canada, then to Brazil, then to the countries of CELAC and CARICOM, all reluctant to lead the mission, even though they supported the call for military intervention. William Ruto’s Kenyan government jumped at the chance to lead the intervention, bought by a bag of money and a pat of approval on their neoliberal head. Haiti will now be invaded by the USA but with the “dark side” of Kenya and the CARICOM countries as cover.

Did the citizens of Kenya and the CARICOM countries ask their governments why the USA, Canada, or France wouldn’t send their own soldiers to invade and occupy Haiti this time? Have the citizens of these countries considered that the unelected de facto “Prime Minister,” Ariel Henry, has no legal basis for calling for a foreign invasion of Haiti? Have the citizens of these countries asked themselves why the U.S. or the UN is not calling for an armed invasion of a country like Ecuador, where brutal gangs have laid siege to the country, or Jamaica, where a state of emergency is almost permanent, or the U.S. itself, where mass shootings take place every day? Have the citizens of these countries asked themselves why the United States or the United Nations are not calling for an armed invasion of Israel, which is committing genocide?

Why Haiti?

We’re told that the U.S. interest in Haiti is humanitarian, that the U.S. wants to protect the Haitian people from “criminal gangs”. Yet U.S. weapons have flooded Haiti, and the U.S. has consistently rejected calls for the effective implementation of the UN Security Council resolution for an arms embargo against Haitian and U.S. elites importing weapons into the country. Moreover, when we speak of “gangs”, we must recognize that the most powerful gangs in the country are subsidiaries of the United States itself: the Bureau intégré des Nations unies (BINUH) and the Core Group, the two colonial entities that have effectively run the country since the 2004 coup. It is this gang, the Core Group, and its installed Prime Minister, Henry, who, along with the UN office in Haiti, are insisting on this violent solution to the crisis in the country – a crisis they themselves helped to create.

As Haiti faces yet another invasion – this time nominally led by Kenya and the CARICOM countries – I’d like to ask the Caribbean community to reflect on the vast arsenal at the disposal of the U.S. empire to convince the rest of the world to willingly accept yet another attack on Haitian sovereignty. I would also ask the Caribbean community to consider the fact that much of what we hear about Haiti today is a distortion – or outright fabrication – of Haiti’s social and political reality.

Document above: On March 13, Southern Command deploys an elite unit of U.S. Marines to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Most of them lack the historical context, especially when it comes to the incessant interference of foreign agents and institutions, to understand the Haitian situation. Much of it is based on a deep-seated racism that assumes blacks are ungovernable while opposing the implications of Haiti’s historic commitment to black freedom.

At the same time, the Haitian community’s ongoing protests against foreign troops and Western interference bear witness to its unshakeable courage. Haiti is the scene of one of the world’s longest struggles for black liberation and anti-colonial independence. This explains the US empire’s constant reactionary assault on the Haitian people, punishing their repeated attempts at sovereignty with decades of instability designed to guarantee and extend US hegemony. For two centuries, the imperial counter-insurgency against Haiti has aimed to put an end to the most ambitious revolutionary experiment in the modern world. The tactics deployed to attack Haitian sovereignty have been consistent and persistent.

As Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was in Guyana last weekend, in part to “continue to rally global support for the Multinational Security Support Mission (MSS) in Haiti,” we must ask ourselves why CARICOM leaders want to participate in the destruction of Haitian sovereignty and people. And we must remember that the “crisis” in Haiti was created and maintained by the United States and its allies. CARICOM countries must oppose the foreign occupation of Haiti and not prolong the crisis.

Following Ariel Henry’s resignation, the U.S. is creating Haiti’s new “government” by giving its Haitian bourgeoisie protégés 24 to 48 hours to send names to a “presidential council” whose first priority is to prepare the country for foreign armed intervention.

Any Haitian taking part in this masquerade is a traitor.

Of Haitian origin, Jemima Pierre is a professor of anthropology at UCLA, at the Institute of Social Justice of the University of British Columbia, and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Race, gender, and social class at the University of Johannesburg. Coordinator for Haiti / America of the Black Alliance for Peace ( Black Alliance for Peace )


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Source: Haïti Liberté – Translation by Internationalist 360°

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