“The truth speaks for itself: If there had not been a coup d’etat, today many of the beautiful dreams of the Haitian people would have already materialized. With justice, transparency, participation, there would be food for everyone, housing for everyone, schools for all and health care for all.”
“32 years after the victory of December 16, 1990, we are witnessing how the anti-democratic forces have failed. They have failed because the country has become a hell on earth. Everywhere is kidnapping, insecurity, misery, hunger, excessive cost of living, corruption, economic crimes, political crimes in a hell that is called a country.”
Today, the situation in the country could not be more dire. The unelected and illegitimate defacto prime minister Ariel Henry remains in power despite continuous mass protests demanding his ouster. Henry was hand-picked by the U.S. and its allies in the so-called Core Group of foreign occupiers that exercises colonial control over Haiti. Like the series of U.S.-imposed governments that have infected Haiti since the 2004 coup against the second Aristide administration, the Henry government has proven to be a disaster for the Haitian people. Following the dictates of the IMF and its structural adjustment policies, the Henry regime removed government subsidies on fuel prices, resulting in dramatic hikes in the cost of gas, food and other basic necessities. In response, Haitians took to the streets by the tens of thousands in a series of militant and powerful protests.
With collapsing infrastructure and a defunded health care system, Haiti is once again confronting a cholera epidemic. Food insecurity now threatens nearly 5 million people, including 2.4 million children, in a country of 12 million. Government-supported paramilitary groups continue to terrorize opposition neighborhoods, with kidnappings at an all time high.
These crises have their roots in the 2004 coup and the subsequent imposition of foreign occupation, coordinated through the United Nations. And yet, without a trace of irony, the same foreign powers and corrupt rulers responsible for this situation are now asking Haitians to believe that more intervention and more elite anti-democratic rule will somehow change all of this.
Fearful that the Henry regime is on its last legs, the U.S. and the U.N. have been lobbying other countries, including Canada, Mexico and the CARICOM nations, to become the face of yet another round of military intervention to insure that Haiti’s popular movement is kept from power. In a sign of things to come, the Canadian government, which was a key organizer of the 2004 coup d’etat, has just sent warships to patrol off the coast of Haiti. Speaking to a reporter from NPR, one Haitian activist made clear the anti-intervention sentiments of so many as he recounted the track record of the UN occupation that descended on Haiti in the wake of the 2004 coup: “All they brought was kidnappings and rape and cholera,” he said. “If the U.N. sends troops to Haiti, the fighting will get even more intense.”
Trotting out the familiar argument that “gang warfare” is the root of Haiti’s problem, the U.S. and Canada are also ramping up funding and training for Haiti’s notorious and corrupt national police force, including sending tactical and armored vehicles. The same militarized policing that has produced a wave of murders of unarmed Black people in the United States will continue to be exported to Haiti to bolster an already brutally repressive police force.
“The transition that the Haitian people want cannot take us from bad to worse. No. The transition that the Haitian people want is a complete break with this system of corruption to put an end to this ever-boiling cauldron of misery.”
Demand an end to U.S. funding for the Haitian National Police and military.
Demand an end to the Biden Administration’s unconscionable attacks on refugees.
Robert Roth is an educator and a co-founder of Haiti Action Committee