On January 1, 1804, Haiti became an independent republic, following the revolution which had begun 13 years earlier as a rebellion of enslaved people against slavery and French colonialism. Previously known as Saint-Domingue, it was the most profitable colony in the world, generating greater revenue than all of the continental North American colonies combined. This immense wealth was generated by the sweat and blood of enslaved Africans who were being worked to death in their tens of thousands on coffee and sugar plantations. Shortly after the French revolution, which supposedly espoused the ideals of "liberty, equality and fraternity," on August 22, 1791 enslaved people rose up, demanding those ideals be realized, and slavery and colonialism abolished.
The 15 members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), joined by Haiti, Canada, and the Dominican Republic, on the afternoon of Dec. 21, 2022. Discussion centered on whether the Council would approve another nation or group of nations to militarily intervene in Haiti, ostensibly to assist the Haitian National Police (PNH) in their fight against armed “gangs.” The need for sanctions and how to apply them was also debated. The meeting was “far from orthodox,” in the words of one diplomat, primarily due to the frank remarks from one of the three briefers, Haïti Liberté journalist Kim Ives (whose full address is published separately) and the immediate follow-up statement by the Russian ambassador, who slammed the hypocritical conduct of Haiti’s three neo-colonial overlords—the US, Canada, and France.
On Thursday, December 29, several political parties of Haiti condemned de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s “National Consensus” that unilaterally promotes constitutional reform and asks for “help from the international community” to combat insecurity in the country. According to the protesting parties, Henry has been trying to illegally remain in power since the assassination of the former president, Jovenel Moïse, in July 2021. The leader of the Movement for Political and Cultural Independence Party (MEKSEPA), Vilaire Cluny Duroseau, said that the Consensus is a “macabre” attempt of the Core Group to continue controlling Haiti by any means necessary. Duroseau, who was a candidate in the presidential elections of 2016, strongly condemned Henry’s request for foreign military intervention.
On Tuesday, November 29, hundreds of Haitians protested in Port-au-Prince against the mass deportations of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent from the Dominican Republic. The protest was called by the Haiti chapter of the Assembly of Caribbean People (ACP). The protesters gathered in front of the embassy of the Dominican Republic in Port-au-Prince and demanded that Dominican authorities end the indiscriminate deportations and the inhumane treatment of Haitians on the other side of the border. They condemned the harassment meted out to their compatriots by the Dominican immigration authorities and security forces as racist and discriminatory in nature. Economist Camille Chalmers, leader of ACP Haiti and spokesperson of the Rasin Kan Pep La party, read a statement by the ACP denouncing the systematic repression of Haitians in the Dominican Republic and their mass deportation ordered by the Dominican President Luis Abinader.
On October 7th, in the face of massive and ever-growing demonstrations all across Haiti demanding the uprooting of the right-wing Haitian Tét Kale Party (PHTK) dictatorship, Prime Minister Ariel Henry exploited the fiction of a war between his regime and “gangs” to call for the intervention of foreign troops to expand the colonial occupation of Haiti. In doing so, he was echoing the tweet made the day before by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro. Within days, the Biden Administration proceeded to draft a UN Security Council resolution calling for the expanded deployment of foreign troops in Haiti. To date, the UN Security Council has not yet passed this resolution, due to concerns voiced by the governments of Russia and China.
Often, when you mention Haiti in conversation and the anti-imperial struggle that has consistently been waged by the Haitian people against imperialist forces for centuries, you are met with minor acknowledgement and some confusion by the listener. Even in cases where there are those who understand Haiti’s battle against imperialist interventions and incursions – many people are still unclear about: “why Haiti.” This is especially true in the present, where there exists a propagandized belief that there are no broader imperialist aspirations in the Caribbean, insofar as those interests cannot be tied to interests in Latin America, and especially to Cuba. Persistent myths about Haiti and confusion about the nature of politics in the Caribbean have allowed systematic investigations into (neo) imperial enterprises in the broader region to go largely uninvestigated.
On the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, peasant women, political activists, social activists, feminists, from across Haitian territory, will unite their voices on the streets. In their mobilizations to be held on November 25, they seek to publicly and internationally denounce the political violence against them, the repression and silencing of women of the working class sectors by paramilitary forces and instruments of the Haitian government. Following in the footsteps of the three Dominican Mirabal sisters, whose brutal assassination in 1960 inspired the commemoration on the November 25, they will denounce the racist, anti-Haitian and xenophobic violence against Haitian refugee women by the Dominican government and its public policies so similar to those of the former dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina.
On Sunday, November 13, dozens of journalists and communicators will mobilize in the center of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The press professionals will march to the Delmas 33 police station where the journalist Romelson Vilsaint of Radio Télé Zenith was executed on October 30 by the Haitian National Police when he denounced the arbitrary detention of journalist Dimanche Robeste and four others. In recent months, in the midst of strong protests and mobilizations of the Haitian people against the economic crisis, the de facto government of Ariel Henry, and the threat of foreign intervention, the attacks against journalists and social leaders by the police and paramilitary groups have increased. So far in 2022, according to data from the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), eight journalists have been murdered in the Caribbean country.
In the past when the U.S. intervened in Haiti, U.S. forces and its imperialist allies had the guns, and Haitians had machetes — and the guns won. Over the past few years, Haitians have acquired hundreds of thousands of guns, some of them high-powered, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Over 200 armed groups are operating in Haiti. Some of them are engaged in kidnapping and extortion, while others are defending their neighborhoods and providing some security, something the state does not do. Road blockades are common. Official United Nations resolutions, official U.S. statements and the worldwide bourgeois media refer to these groups as “gangs,” which is a racist smear.
I think when you look at the situation in Haiti today–and make no mistake, the situation on the ground is extremely dire, right? People are facing serious hardships, from food insecurity, from violence and insecurity, a lack of fuel and basic supplies. And I think there’s an approach that you see in the media, often, which treats this all as a recent development. The Washington Post editorial is a good example, saying that the assassination of the president last year is what has caused this situation, right? And so it’s looking at it in terms of a very short timeline. And I think it’s far more useful to see this as a much larger phenomenon, something that has slowly developed and transpired over many, many years. I think this is really key to understanding this call for foreign intervention as well, because the reality is, it’s easy to look at the situation and say, “Oh, Haiti must be this failed state that needs outside help.”
For over two months, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have been taking to the streets across the country demanding the resignation of the US-backed de-facto president Ariel Henry and his administration. The people are demanding concrete responses to their emergencies, such as growing food insecurity, rampant inflation and severe fuel shortages. Haitians demand that the de-facto government of the ruling far-right Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK) withdraw the suffocating increase of up to 128% in fuel prices, implemented on the request of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They demand that the international community respect Haiti’s sovereignty and their right to self-determination, and cease supporting Henry’s illegitimate government and stop interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
Haiti is awash in money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED had a direct role in funding opposition forces and paramilitary forces leading up to the 2004 coup against democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It is crucial, therefore, to explore how the NED is currently influencing Haiti by funding “Haitian-led” organization inside the country. The NED is overt regarding the grants it provides and funding it delivers on – you can simply visit their website and search. The organization is rarely analyzed, however, and their grantees are seldom scrutinized. The NED was founded in 1983. The NED’s co-founder, Allan Weinstein, was described by the Washington post as the “sugar daddy of overt operations”. According to its website, the NED is “dedicated to fostering the growth of a wide range of democratic institutions abroad” including political parties, business organizations, human rights organizations, and “independent” media.
With Russia and China increasingly assertive and influential worldwide, Washington recently rolled out its gambit to maintain global hegemony and gather former colonies and neo-colonies under its wing: the Global Fragility Act (GFA). The U.S. government has selected Haiti to be the first GFA “partner” in the Western Hemisphere. Also in the GFA’s pilot group are Libya, Mozambique, and Papua New Guinea, along with West Africa’s Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo. The GFA has been largely applauded by U.S. policy commentators and think-tanks as something novel and enlightened, but it is essentially a reformulation of Washington’s same-old imperial policies under new nomenclature.
The gloves came off at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday, October 17, 2022 in one of the best bare-knuckle since the dawn of the new multipolar world on February 24, 2022. And the subject was Haiti. The United States is to justify its fourth major military intervention into Haiti in a century. To do so, Washington is playing fast-and-loose with the UN Charter, trying to deputize one nation or group of nations to intervene on its behalf. Sources say that the candidates for the honor are Canada, Mexico, and Norway. However, veto-wielders China and Russia are pushing back, and there’s no guarantee that the US (with its usual allies, Canada and France) will succeed in its gambit. Brazil played the leadership role in the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), which lasted from 2004 to 2017.
Military intervention into Haiti is in the air again. And the East Coast establishment media—which have on occasion remembered that Haiti is a near neighbor and has been ravaged by anti-government demonstrations, a failing economy and gang violence—seem to be breathing a sigh of relief. The Washington Post (10/11/22) ran an editorial: “Yes, Intervene in Haiti—and Push for Democracy.” That followed on the heels of a piece in the other big opinion-maker, the New York Times (10/7/22), whose tall title read: “Haiti Appeals for Armed Intervention and Aid to Quell Chaos.” Without going into the article, it’s fair to ask: Who or what is “Haiti”? Is “Haiti” the current occupant of the prime minister’s chair?