How the US Continues to Orchestrate Chaos in Haiti
Orinoco Tribune, August 27, 2023 —
A column in UnHerd by Thomas Fazi describes how Haiti is witnessing a rise in violence once again as the country continues to oppose any foreign intervention, partially due to the mistrust in Ariel Henry.
The Caribbean nation of Haiti, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has an estimated large portion of the country, including almost 80% of the capital Port-au-Prince, directly under gang control, leaving economic life crippled amid a rise in murders, kidnappings, and sexual violence.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged for the deployment of a “robust use of force” through a multinational mission allegedly to restore law and order to the “nightmarish” situation as he put it.
People took to the streets and social media to oppose that, considering that gang warfare was less of an issue than foreign intervention, which the nation fought to end.
After its independence from France in 1804, the US occupied Haiti between 1915 and 1934, but in 1991, a former priest with strong anti-imperialist motives Jean-Bertrand Aristide became Haiti’s first democratically-elected president.
A few months later, he was removed in a coup, and the Clinton administration restored Aristide to power in 1994 and made him sign an agreement to introduce market-oriented reforms in Haiti. Clinton admitted this later, saying, “It was a mistake… I had to live every day with the consequences of the loss [of] capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed [its] people because of what I did, nobody else.”
A US-prompted coup
Another coup took place three years later, and Aristide accused the US of having a role in it, claiming that US forces kidnapped him and brought him out of the country forcibly.
Maxine Waters, a Democratic Congresswoman close to Aristide, said, “The way I see it is [US soldiers] came to his house, uninvited,” adding, “They had not only the force of the embassy but the Marines with them. They made it clear that he had to go now or he would be killed.”
The US denied Aristide’s claims, and in 2002, the French Ambassador to Haiti told The New York Times that France and the US “effectively orchestrated ‘a coup’ against Aristide” by coercing him to resign and go into exile.
A transitional government took over, which called on the UN Security Council for the intervention of a peacekeeping force, and shortly after, the UN officially launched its “Stabilization Mission” made of a 7,000-strong force by Brazil and other countries.
Despite its presence, Haiti continued to be ravaged by violence followed by the 2010 earthquake, which killed around 250,000 people, leaving Haiti crippled.
In 2021, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated inside his home by mercenaries, allegedly 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans. Only one person, a Haitian-Chilean businessman, was sentenced in the US for the crime.
Bowing to US imperialism
A struggle has been ensuing between the nation’s acting prime minister Claude Joseph, and Ariel Henry, a neurologist by training, who was named PM by Moïse but was never officially sworn in. Later on, Henry was backed by foreign powers, alongside the Organization of American States and the United Nations, and was imposed as acting PM, but he lacked any political legitimation and remains unpopular.
The Montana Accord opposition group, a broad part of Haiti’s civil society, opposed the legitimacy of Henry’s government and has been demanding elections, and this past December, he finally agreed to hold elections this year, but no date has been revealed.
It is said that Henry may have had a finger in Moïse’s killing, while Haiti’s chief prosecutor stated that he had contacted one of the chief suspects in the days before and hours after the assassination. The Justice Minister was requested to formally charge Henry.
In recent weeks, Haiti has witnessed a rise in violence once again as the country continues to oppose any foreign intervention. Although part of it is due to the mistrust in Henry, it also has to do with national resentment over more than a century of neocolonial interventions mostly by the US.
Jean Eddy Saint Paul, a Haitian sociology professor, explained, “Throughout Haitian history, the US has been actively engaged in undermining the legitimacy of Haitian leaders who refused to bow to American imperialism.”
The UN is not helping either, since during their 13 years in the country, UN “peacekeepers” raped women and girls and sexually exploited them for food in return. They are also responsible for the toxic waste in the Artibonite River, the longest on the island of Hispaniola, which caused a cholera epidemic in 2010 and killed 10,000 people. The UN hasn’t paid any compensation to the victims or their families.