The United States and Mexico have drawn up plans to invade Haiti, on the grounds of “stabilising” the country. Such proposals have received the blessing of Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, but have been met with mass opposition by Haitian citizens.
Protests have swept the country, with tens of thousands of Haitians, many young, coming out in major cities against foreign intervention and corruption. Monday 17 October saw a mass protest in Port-au-Prince, on the anniversary of Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ death. Dessalines led the Haitian revolution, which saw history’s first successful slave rebellion to found a republic.
The protesters have met harsh resistance from police, who last week killed at least one young woman, after firing at demonstrators. This brutality is supported by the imperialist powers, of course, as also last week, the US and Canada sent aid to the Haitian police. Such aid consisted of new weaponry and armoured vehicles.
This new threat of invasion follows the seizure of much Haitian territory by criminal gangs, with state institutions seemingly unable to tackle these criminals. Interestingly, a study by Sant Karl Lévêque estimates that between 40-60 percent of police are linked with the gangs.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who supports the invasion plans, has been the country’s acting leader since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse (more on that here). Haiti’s ambassador to the US, Bocchit Edmond, told Reuters “We wish to see our neighbours like the United States, like Canada, take the lead and move fast”
Washington is using the issue of criminal gangs, and weak government, as cover for its imperialist ambitions. The US can talk about ‘stabilising’ Haiti (much as they’ve talked before about ‘stabilising’ the Middle-East) but it is the United States who have played a leading role in destabilising Haiti in the first place.
It was the USA who sent 20,000 troops into Haiti in 1994, to help re-install President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. This was only 3 years after a US-backed military coup against Aristide, led by General Raoul Cèdras. Then in 2004, US, Canadian and French forces intervened to oust Aristide again.
Western powers don’t care for the suffering of the Haitian people, as they swing back and forth from one coup to the next. To these powers, the democratic rights of citizens are irrelevant. All that matters is securing a West-friendly, comprador leadership, to facilitate the continued looting of Haiti’s resources.
When the USA and it’s allies have repeatedly been involved in the otherthrow of Haiti’s governments, and to this day is helping militarise the country’s police to crush popular dissent, they cannot claim to care about stability and democracy. Yet again, Washington is disregarding the will of a country’s people, and seeking to secure its imperialist interests under the guise of righteously policing the world.
Mia English, is the News Editor of Challenge