Haiti’s Vibrant Struggle for Freedom since the Revolution

International leaders, including President Biden, are still supporting a kelptocracy that the Haitian people desperately want gone

Pro-democracy, anti-government demonstration in Haiti in 2018

From slave colony to lab-rat for imperialism

Only briefly after Haiti declared its independence, France asserted that Haiti must make debt payments to them, the expelled former occupiers. Unfortunately, this alleged debt was not challenged as vehemently as slavery was. It really should have been, because it was essentially a way to continue slavery by other means.

Disasters and Profiteers deepen the dependency crisis

In 2010, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake. We still do not know the true death toll, but estimates range from 92,000 to over 300,000 deaths. The quake damaged structures so severely that there was a bad cholera outbreak in the aftermath that went on for years. In the wake of the earthquake, there were attempts to show international solidarity with Haiti. However, individual donations to mega-NGOs like the American Red Cross did little for the Haitian people. According to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, the American Red Cross raised $500 million dollars in individual donations which was to be used to build new homes. They only built 6 homes. This is just one particularly heinous incident in a long and ongoing history of international charities, NGOs and “non profits” cashing in on sympathy for Haiti while delivering little to no actual aid. The earthquake deepened Haiti’s dependence on support from other governments and the UN, but much of the support that was promised never materialized, and the behavior of UN peacekeepers in the country has been, for the most part, ghastly. There is also a significant possibility that it was the peacekeepers who introduced cholera to the country.

The “Core Group”

One very influential faction in Haitian politics is not Haitian at all. It’s called the “Core Group,” and is essentially a diplomatic unity pact between the US, France, Brazil, Canada, the EU (ie, Germany) and the OAS. This group is often accused by Haitians of being representatives of the foreign powers enacting a proxy-occupation of the country through corrupt Haitian officials. Indeed, the countries in the Core Group are home to companies with investments in Haiti and which benefit from Haitian destitution through the exploitation of labor and natural resources.

A Haitian demonstrator dressed up to portray the crucifixion of Haiti by the Core Group in 2007

The PetroCaribe Scandal

Between 2008 and 2016, the government of Venezuela gave the Haitian government around $2 billion in disaster recovery aid. All of it “went missing,” (ie, was funneled into the foreign bank accounts of the president and his hangers-on) and this is one of the core reasons why the people of Haiti are so outraged at their government.

Protest and Repression

Haiti has been in a cyclical uprising since at least 2018. Public protests are brutally suppressed by the Haitian National Police (PNH), forcing protests to take on the character of insurrections. The first thing to know about the Haitian National Police is that they are trained and armed by the US. It is telling that the US will help a country arm and train an armed force, as this is considered vital for “stability,” and that everything else is essentially secondary. So when Haiti’s national police fire live ammo at protesters, it is something we can hold the US government’s guns-and-cops-first “aid” strategy directly responsible for. This type of “aid” is deployed into many other countries as well, mainly by the US government.

A meme from Haitian social media

Tools for Solidarity

The most foundational way to be in solidarity with the struggle for freedom in Haiti is to be informed about what is going on from a working-class Haitian perspective. One of the best places to find this information online is from the Haiti Info Project. Right now they are mainly on Twitter but are building a website as well. They are under-supported citizen journalists who are publicizing the perspectives of Haiti’s exploited majority. Their coverage, although just on Twitter so far, is invaluable and far more in-depth than any other English-language source I’ve been able to find. Once you’ve read their material and see how good it is, reach out to others and share their work.

Sources:

Haiti and the Shock Doctrine

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