International

Hands off Haiti!

01 November 2022
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By Dave Stockton

THE UNITED Nations Security Council is debating a call by its Secretary-General, António Guterres, for “armed action” to open Haiti’s main port and create a humanitarian corridor to solve what he calls “an absolutely nightmarish situation”.

The economic situation in the country is appalling. Nearly half the population, faces acute hunger and the country faces a new cholera outbreak. The last epidemic which swept the country in the wake of the earthquake killed 10,000 people in 2010.

The intervention is justified by the presence of armed gangs blockading the main ports. The gangs are a result, not the cause, of the country’s problems. These problems are rooted in the plunder and underdevelopment of the nation by western imperialism, aided by rival factions in the local political elite who share in the spoils in return for allowing these imperialist depredations.

The Western media focus on the gangs ignores the huge waves of street protests against soaring fuel and food prices since 2018. The protesters are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry who was installed by the Americans after the “mysterious” assassination of president Jovenel Moise in July 2021 by professional hitmen whom, many Haitians suspect, were organised by figures from the USA and Colombia.

Occupation

Haiti was first occupied by the US between 1915 and 1934 in an operation sponsored by New York banks. The brutal Duvalier dictatorship was propped up by the US between 1957 and 1985. A CIA sponsored coup overthrow the first democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991. When the military junta faced a popular uprising in 1994, 20,000 US troops arrived to ‘restore order’. After Aristide’s 2001 re-election on a programme of ambitious social reform, the US promoted a civil war which ended in his kidnapping and overthrow in 2004.

The motive for these coups? To seize control of Haiti’s natural wealth—oil, copper, uranium, and the world’s second largest reserves of iridium and to prevent any more radical ‘experiments’ like those in Cuba or Venezuela.

It is clear that the people of Haiti do not want or need another armed ‘humanitarian’ intervention. Real solidarity with the Haitian people means demanding:

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