Caribbean Solidarity Network Statement: No to UN Intervention in Haiti

By Caribbean Solidarity Network, Oct. 10, 2023

The Caribbean Solidarity Network condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by the United Nations to launch another intervention to occupy and “stabilize” Haiti. 

While Kenya is taking the lead for this latest United Nations illegal occupation of Haiti, we also condemn Canada, who is a key architect of the multinational coalition with  deeply questionable human rights records that will be entrusted to undermine Haitian sovereignty once again.

This intervention will prop up the unconstitutional, corrupt and repressive government of Ariel Henry, and stifle legitimate political dissent against him and  the rest of the Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale (PHTK) mafia, and the handful of white Haitian oligarchs who regard this intervention as backup to continue their looting of Haiti. 

Despite the humanitarian rhetoric surrounding this intervention, a great deal of Haiti’s current challenges relating to underdevelopment and insecurity are the direct legacies of repeated foreign intervention (most recently from 2004 to 2017), which have always sought to stop Haitian popular movements from helping to shape its political direction. 

While Haiti has always had gangs, the roots of this current gang crisis emerged as a political response from the Haitian elite and state to crush the growing anti-political corruption protests targeting the US/Canada backed PHTK governments of Michel Martelly and Jovenel Moise. These protests, which started in 2018,  threaten the traditional rule of the white oligarchs in Haiti and their kleptocratic ways. This context has been missing from virtually all reporting on Haiti. 

Since taking power, the Biden Administration has repeatedly asked Canada to take the lead on what has now become the latest armed intervention in Haiti. Despite Canada’s efforts to portray itself as a respectfully distant and benevolent partner concerned with humanitarian issues in Haiti, their role is not surprising, as it has its own long and troubled history of intervention in Haiti (ie. the 2004 coup). 

Canada is one of the most active members of the CORE Group. The CORE Group is an unaccountable, imperialist organization made up of the ambassadors of Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, the European Union, Spain, the United States, the Special Representative of the Organization of American States and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations that have regularly met to chart Haiti’s political and economic future behind closed doors. 

This intervention is illegal because the current “Prime Minister” of Haiti, Ariel Henry was not elected by the Haitian people, but rather was appointed by the CORE Group, with Canada playing a direct role in this deeply undemocratic decision. In other words, it should not be surprising that a foreign installed and backed Haitian puppet leader is calling for a foreign intervention to help it achieve its goals of self preservation and continued pillaging and abuse of the Haitian people. 

Despite keeping a low profile for the much of the past two years, Canada has been very busy behind the scenes trying to build a coalition that will make this latest intervention more palatable and politically acceptable given the optics of an African led, largely Caribbean supported force in Haiti. However, in Trudeau fashion, what we are seeing is essentially another white imperialist occupation of Haiti, this time in Blackface. 

In order to build this occupying coalition, Canada has been busy meeting with members of the Francophonie since late 2022.Additionally, they met with Caribbean leaders in order to press them on joining an eventual multinational intervention force in February of this year, as well as the President of Kenya, William Ruto in May. Not surprisingly, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Suriname have joined to help carry out what will undoubtedly become another controversial, violent and politically and economically disruptive occupation of their regional neighbour. In June, it was revealed that Canada was looking to establish a “joint security coordination cell“ office to coordinate support for Haiti's national police in the neighboring Dominican Republic. Yes, Kenya is in charge on paper and will take the blame for the inevitable human rights violations, but Canada and the CORE Group remain in control.  

Our opposition to this latest round of United Nations intervention and occupation is rooted in the fact that we have seen this before. We have seen the imperialist geopolitical games behind the intervention, but also the traumatic human cost of intervention that Haiti still struggles with. 

The last UN intervention brought cholera to Haiti, killing over 10,000 and making over 800,000 ill. Beyond this, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was repeatedly engaged in human rights violations,  including widespread sexual violence, extrajudicial murder, the targeting of both political activists and communities oppposed to the occupation, the suppression of political protests, and it oversaw several deeply flawed elections. Numerous studies of MINUSTAH revealed a pattern of extensive systematic repression against the population - particularly politically active opposition communities. 

This occupation force came at a price tag of nearly $800 million USD per year, which is money that could have gone towards the building of much needed infrastructure and the provision of government programs. Adding to its horrific record of human rights abuses, the United Nations was also found guilty of negligence leading to the cholera outbreak and was called upon to provide funding for clean water infrastructure. Instead, they decided to claim immunity. 

Given that the roll call of countries involved in the occupation have been touted for their experience in urban anti-gang counter insurgency (similar to Brazil’s leadership of MINUSTAH), the abhorrent track records of the Kenyan and Jamaican police forces in particular should raise red flags for anyone concerned with human rights. Jamaica’s police force as recently as March was criticized by the US Department of State for troubling and widespread human rights abuses, notably unaccountability for extrajudicial killings, gender based violence and arbitrary arrests. Yet, we are supposed to trust them to bring “order, peace and stability” to Haiti. 

As Caribbean people and Pan-Africanists, we denounce the leaders who have sent troops to occupy Haiti as stooges of empire, as well as the heads of state that voted in favour of this action. Disappointingly Lula da Silva, who had previously sent Brazilian troops to lead the last UN occupation within Haiti, has once again voted in favour of this impending intervention.

If it was not for the historic struggle of the Haitian people and their Revolution in 1804, there is no way to tell when the Caribbean would have been free. All Caribbean peoples have this historic debt to Haiti, but it is crystal clear that important lessons have not been learned as we continue to do the bidding of those who have done us so much harm. This latest intervention is the continuation of a long and tortuous history whereby the powerful countries intervene to “save Haiti from itself”, while ensuring that their respective business and political interests are neatly taken care of by the reliable puppet government and the parasitic domestic elite. The long term political and economic damage, as well as the tens of thousands of Haitians who have died during each round of intervention are never considered. Rather they are deemed collateral damage on the wrong side of another humanitarian intervention. 

Down with the imperialist occupation of Haiti, and all power to the Haitian people!

 

Posted Oct. 21, 2023