Horror and hope in Haiti after 20 years of occupation

Haiti-call-to-action-event-flyer-april-6th, Horror and hope in Haiti after 20 years of occupation, Featured World News & Views

by Haiti Action Committee

The immediate crisis in Haiti goes back to the Feb. 29, 2004, coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the imposition of occupation forces, first by the US, France and Canada, then by a larger UN force, dubbed MINUSTAH, which, while overseeing the police, participated in several documented massacres, and introduced cholera in 2010. MINUSTAH oversaw three rigged “elections” for president, bringing to power corrupt puppets who have ruled until Ariel Henry, originally forced in (in 2021 after the assassination of Jovenel Moise), was recently forced out. There are now no elected officials in Haiti.

Roger Noriega, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush administration’s most notorious war criminals, aided and abetted by the International Republican Institute [IRI], orchestrated the 2004 coup. Thousands were killed, raped, imprisoned or forced into exile. The Haitian people are still living with the coup’s horrific aftermath, which has ushered in 20 years of foreign military occupation, de facto dictatorship and terror, and a wave of neoliberal economic policies that have deepened poverty and starvation and weakened the ability of the government to serve the people (if it really wanted to). These policies have created a disaster in Haiti. 

Although the UN occupation troops formally left in 2019, some troops are still present as police trainers. The apparatus of the occupation continues; it imposed Henry onto Haiti as the hated and unelected “prime minister.” Grassroots Haitians are fed up with occupations, which benefit only elites and corporations, and have led to the dismantling of Haiti’s democratic institutions. 

Death squad paramilitary formations, commonly referred to as “gangs,” armed with weapons from the United States, terrorize the people. No wonder Haitians are fleeing Haiti by the tens of thousands, only to be forcibly returned because of US immigration policies. 

Now the Core Group, composed of the United States, France, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Spain, the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization of American States, has been trying to impose their own solution on Haiti, including another “peacekeeping” occupation to provide “stability,” fronted by Caribbean (CARICOM) and African nations, particularly Kenya. The Core Group countries calling for military intervention have created the very conditions that make military intervention appear necessary and inevitable in the first place.

In addition, Secretary of State Blinken says no one who is opposed to the drive for new multinational “peacekeeping” troops to reinforce the occupation can be part of this transition government. This caveat would eliminate Haitians who see occupations as the problem and demonstrate how little the demands of Haiti’s majority population are being taken into account. 

If Blinken really wants to help Haitians, he could start by stopping arms shipments from Florida to Haitian paramilitary death squads, disguised as “gangs.”

Haiti is in crisis and at a critical point historically. As the US and UN move forward with plans for a new foreign invasion, this time fronted by Kenyan police, the Haitian popular movement, including Fanmi Lavalas, the party founded by President Aristide, has demanded an end to foreign occupation once and for all. 

In November 2018, in response to the deteriorating living conditions created by successive corrupt and repressive occupation regimes, Fanmi Lavalas put forward a proposal called Crise et Solution (Crisis and Solution) for a truly democratic people’s transition government of “Sali Piblik” (public safety), consisting of honest, competent and well-respected Haitians selected by organizations representative of the majority population. However, it appears that this popular proposal has been coopted, as most of the listed transition government members are under the control of the Core Group.

Dr.-Maryse-Narcisse, Horror and hope in Haiti after 20 years of occupation, Featured World News & Views
Dr. Maryse Narcisse has had the strong support of the people ever since she was the presidential candidate in 2016 of the Fanmi Lavalas Party, Dr. Aristide’s party. However, Haiti’s leaders are not chosen by Haitians but by the US and other would-be colonial powers. Haiti has demanded self-determination since it won the world’s only successful slave rebellion by defeating Napoleon’s army.

Under the leadership of President Aristide, Haiti’s democratic Lavalas governments made historic advances in health care, women’s rights, housing, economic justice, food sovereignty and education. These programs outlined in the Fanmi Lavalas platform Investir dans l’Humain (Invest in People) upheld the dignity and human rights of the Haitian people, denied for so long by Western powers. The 2004 coup reversed these gains, but the achievements of the Aristide administrations are etched deep in the soul of Haitians and remain a foundation for Haiti’s future.

In positive news, the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA), founded by President and Mrs. Aristide on their return to Haiti from forced exile in 2011, graduated 389 students on March 3 this year. At the height of the manufactured chaos in the country, more than 1,000 people attended the ceremony. The university now has faculties in Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Physical Therapy, Agriculture and Nature Sciences, Law, Engineering and Continuing Education. This graduation symbolizes the hopes, desires, and ability of the Haitian people to create a society that provides the basics for everyone, if only given the chance.

In the face of repression and relentless terror that has driven hundreds of thousands from their homes, creating what Haitians have called a “hell on earth,” the Haitian people continue to defend their communities and to build new institutions, such as free clinics, cooperatives and schools.

The time for solidarity is now. We call on all freedom-loving people to defend the right of Haiti’s people to live with dignity, free from foreign domination. 

In the spirit of “Sali Piblik”  (bit.ly/3atiEug), the people of Haiti fight for dignity, sovereignty and liberation and say, “Nou Pap Obeyi (We will not obey).” 

We will not obey the dictates of foreign domination.

End the Occupation and All Interventions! 

Stop Funding Police Terror in Haiti!

Stop the Weapons Flow to Haitian Death Squads!

Self-Determination for the Haitian People!

Haiti-Palestine, Same Struggle, Same Fight!

What you can do

Sunday, April 6, 1-3 p.m. – Haiti: A Call to Action! East Side Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland. Featured speakers include Dr. Maryse Narcisse and Pacha Vorbe, leaders of Fanmi Lavalas, speaking from Haiti. This event will take place in person and on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-1QoZ095FQ

To learn about the democratic advances under President Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas progressive Haitian governments, check out ”We Will Not Forget: the Achievements of Lavalas in Haiti“ on www.haitisolidarity.net

Invite Haiti Action Committee to do a workshop about Haiti with your organization, book club or friends. Contact us at action.haiti@gmail.com.  

Hear Voices from Haiti via Haiti Action webinars on youtube. Follow Haiti news at www.haiti solidarity.net, https://www.facebook.com/HaitiActionCommittee and @HaitiAction1