Photo: Protest in Boston Oct. 17 against U.S. intervention in Haiti. Liberation photo
The Haitian people are intensifying their struggle against looming imperialist intervention with sustained militant demonstrations in defense of their country’s independence. Many thousands protested yesterday in the country’s capitol Port-au-Prince, attempting to march on the U.S. embassy. They faced fierce repression from police loyal to the illegitimate government of de-facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
The demonstration took place on the anniversary of the death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a hero of the Haitian Revolution who remains an icon of the country’s ongoing fight to defend its sovereignty. The Haitian Revolution shook the world at the onset of the 19th century — the first successful slave rebellion to establish a republic terrified the rich and powerful. Haiti has been under constant attack ever since.
As the people of Haiti continue their struggle, in the halls of power outside the country, plans for a military intervention are taking shape. While much remains uncertain about the scale and form of the intervention, several recent events have intensified the situation.
Yesterday at the United Nations, the United States along with Mexico rolled out a proposed resolution that would authorize the deployment of a military force into the country. Ostensibly the purpose would be to break the stranglehold that criminal gangs have over the country. In recent weeks, gangs — which are often connected to different elite power centers in Haiti — have blocked off major parts of the country and seized critical transportation arteries.
This situation has caused major hardships for the people of Haiti, but in reality intervention by an “international force” would be aimed at stabilizing the rule of Ariel Henry. Henry was installed in the wake of last year’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and subsequent breakdown in the institutions of Haitian government. Henry has no mandate to govern whatsoever from the Haitian people — his government is in place and given international recognition only because he was backed by the United States and allied powers. His administration is favored because he has no desire to challenge the looting of Haiti by western corporations or assert its independence on the international stage.
Last weekend, the U.S. and Canadian government announced that they were sending “security aid” to the Haitian National Police. This includes formidable weaponry like military-style armored vehicles, and is widely viewed as a possible precursor to an all-out invasion. The aid shipment to police was sent less than a week after they killed a demonstrator at a previous protest against foreign intervention and shot many others.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the former Prime Minister of NATO power Portugal, said yesterday, “We need an armed action to release the port and to allow for a humanitarian corridor to be established.” The language of a “humanitarian corridor” is a familiar formulation in the language of imperialism, designed to make a military invasion more palatable to international public opinion.
In these next critical days and weeks, international solidarity with the people of Haiti is especially crucial as they continue their centuries-long struggle for freedom and independence.