There are a thousand reasons for the UN occupation troops in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to leave. And not one single legitimate reason for them to stay. [Castellano] [Kreyòl Ayisyen] [Français]
There are a thousand reasons for the UN occupation troops in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to leave. And not one single legitimate reason for them to stay. What are the only achievements of MINUSTAH? Let us quickly and frankly review the most remarkable of them:
• Over 10,000 violent deaths related to “paramilitary” or “humanitarian” violence;
• Over 6,000 deaths because of a cholera epidemic caused by MINUSTAH soldiers using local rivers as sewers;
• Thousands of rapes (at least 35,000 just between 2004-2006, according to a “Lancet” report);
• Over 700,000 people still living in tents more than a year and a half after the earthquake;
• 2 rigged, selective elections with historically low turnouts (a mere 22% for the last one);
• Increasing use of the sweatshop model of fake “development”;
• Providing a safe comeback for the nostalgic elements of the “good old days” of the Duvalier dictatorship;
MINUSTAH has been in Haiti since 2004, supposedly on humanitarian grounds. Yet, they should have never gone there. In any case, the list of their achievements is indeed queer for what is supposedly “humanitarian” intervention.
Sure, we know there is no such a thing as “humanitarian” intervention. Superpowers always intervene out of their own interests, not because it is best for the oppressed and impoverished majority. They intervene where they see business opportunities, and they don’t hesitate to crush (on “humanitarian” grounds) any local resistance to their grand designs. We’ve seen this pattern of behaviour time and again. But poor Haiti... no-one has had it as hard as they have.
Why? You can go back to the birth of the Haitian republic in 1804, as a result of a slave revolt - the first black republic in the world. Since then, to the eyes of the “civilised” powers of the West, it has been a pariah republic. In fact, everything possible has been done to make sure that Haitians were to remain forever an impoverished, oppressed group of people: illegitimate debts were imposed on them as soon as they became independent, they suffered blockades, embargoes, military occupations and interventions, and all sorts of dictators were imposed on the people according to the interests of this or that superpower, France first, Germany later, the US today. In its savage treatment of Haiti, the “civilised” West has shown the wild beast that lies inside it.
But to really understand what is happening now, we have to come closer in time to 1986, a crucial moment in Haitian history, when mass mobilisations all over the country, brought down the infamous US- and France-sponsored dictatorship of “Baby Doc” Duvalier. That a small, Third World, impoverished nation in the middle of the Caribbean could challenge the designs of the US masters and attempt to build forms of radical and direct democracy was surely too much for them to take. Since then, every single attempt by the “international community” led by the USA has been directed at suppressing the popular movement which toppled this tyranny and dared to build a Haiti of its own. First, they imposed new military rulers; then in 1991, they toppled the first democratically-elected president in Haitian history, Aristide, after a mere seven months in power; next they imposed yet another dictatorship; then, in 1994, they returned Aristide on condition that he implemented a programme of further neoliberal reform and remained in power for just a couple of months; then they let the country sink into an illegitimate debt crisis while they plundered it through their multinational corporations; then, when Aristide won the elections again in 2000 and showed signs of too much independence while rejecting full implementation of the plan for further privatisations drawn up for Haiti, the country was subjected to international sanctions on spurious charges of “undemocratic” behaviour, crippling the economy.
Finally in 2004, when all this proved insufficient, and with Aristide having incensed the colonial pride of the former French master by demanding that Haiti be given back the illegitimate compensation it had had to pay France for its right to be independent (which it started paying in 1825 and only finished in 1948), the CIA trained and armed a band of neo-duvalierist thugs in the Dominican Republic and sponsored a military coup which they carried out early in February 2004. Then, the US sent troops, kidnapped Aristide at gunpoint and put him on a plane to the Central African Republic. Brazil, which was willing to “do something” to ensure itself a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, then led MINUSTAH which took over from direct French, Canadian, Chilean and US occupation, giving it a cover of “legitimacy” from the so-called “international community”.
All this is well known and documented – not a mere conspiracy theory. How dear MINUSTAH is to US imperialist interests in Haiti was revealed in a 2008 cable from a US ambassador, revealed by Wikileaks: “A premature departure of MINUSTAH would leave the [Haitian] government...vulnerable to...resurgent populist and anti-market economy political forces—reversing gains of the last two years”. MINUSTAH “is an indispensable tool in realizing core USG [US government] policy interests in Haiti.”
So what is the role of MINUSTAH? It is not just an ordinary occupation force. It is more than that, it is actually the army supporting the de facto regime, the dictatorship imposed on the Haitian people since the 2004 coup (barely disguised in democratic robes by two sham, rigged elections, full of irregularities and with a historically low turnout from the people). The Haitian coup was a very peculiar one; because the Haitian army was disbanded by Aristide in 1995 (due to its historic role as a guardian of privilege and its tendency to engage in putsches), the coup could not be carried out by the army, so disgruntled ex-army officers became CIA mercenaries. But inasmuch as they could carry out the coup while posing as “freedom fighters” in true CONTRA style, they could not run the show; so military force has been provided by international “peace” troops – the blue helmets. They have repressed and attacked the poor and have let paramilitary gangs, armed by businessmen and recalcitrant oligarchs, do their dirty business. This is no surprise given the fact that the army of this “peace-keeping” mission is almost entirely composed of countries who have been themselves serious human rights abusers, such as Morocco, Jordan, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Sri Lanka, etc.
It is time to put a stop to this farce. On 29th February 2012, it will be the eighth anniversary of the coup. It will be eight years since this international-imperialist tutelage started. It will be the eighth anniversary of the complete ruin of the Haitian people. We should all – solidarity organisations, alternative media, everyone – start agitating already so as to make that day a massive day of solidarity with the Haitian people in their struggle for liberation from the heinous military boot of MINUSTAH. Now, after the cholera cases, the repeated assaults on poor shanty towns, the systematic rape made evident by the controversial leaked video of Uruguayan troops raping a boy, the Haitian people are demanding louder and louder an end to the UN occupation of Haiti. And we should join in and support their voices.
Some misled do-gooders will tell us that the Haitian people cannot be abandoned by the “international community”. But let’s put the record straight: the so called “international community” has long abandoned Haitian people, at least from a purely “humanitarian” point of view. All that the “civilised West” has done over the last decades is to inflict even more pain on the Haitian masses, to increase their hunger, to humiliate them, to rob them of everything they could get their hands on and strip them bare. The so called “international community” has shown no sign of genuine concern about the Haitian people, as proved by the extraordinarily inefficient response to the tragic earthquake last year, which only meant that international agencies filled their pockets with billions of dollars that the Haitian people have never seen. While the UN has refused to give more than half the money requested for humanitarian aid this year (U$382,000,000 in total was requested), while it would cost a mere U$200,000,000 to solve the crisis for the people displaced by the 2010 earthquake, while the UN has been unable to raise even U$100,000 to fight the cholera epidemic which has cost over 6,000 lives so far, the UN is spending roughly U$850,000,000 in keeping a rather expensive military occupation force, adding insult to injury. Instead of taking the opportunity to rebuild a better Haiti, as Bill Clinton (probably the single person with more Haitian blood on his hands) cynically said, the chance was taken for big US corporations to grab multi-million contracts without any responsibility to deliver, leaving hundreds of thousands out in the cold. Instead of taking the opportunity to move people back to the countryside by developing an long-overdue wholesale agrarian reform, they decided to pave the path of sweatshops as a means to “develop” Haiti.
All the “civilised West” has done in Haiti is to meddle in its affairs, to impose a neo-duvalierist regime against the will of the majority of the Haitian people, to crush the remnants of the movement that back in 1986 dreamed of a different country. This occupation, like the constant intervention and succession of US-sponsored terror regimes since 1986, is designed to break the people’s will, to convince them of the futility of resistance and to convince them that duvalierism is the best model for Haiti. But the Haitian people will prove them wrong: their whole history is an uphill struggle against servitude and this is just the latest chapter of it.
The time has come to say: enough is enough! There are a thousand reasons for the UN occupation troops in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to leave. And there is not one single legitimate reason for them to stay. Let’s start coordinating and working so that February 29th sends a very clear message to the international community: Haitian people are not alone.
So let us say it loud and clear:
No more lies, no more MINUSTAH!
No more occupation, no more MINUSTAH!
No more rape, no more MINUSTAH!
No more abuse, no more MINUSTAH!
No more murder, no more MINUSTAH!
No more racism, no more MINUSTAH!
No more colonialism, no more MINUSTAH!
No more intervention, no more MINUSTAH!
Respect for Haitian people’s dignity and self-determination!
There are a thousand reasons for MINUSTAH to leave, and not one for it to stay!
José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
October 7th, 2011