Photo: A U.S. Marine and a UN soldier in Haiti during a 2010 deployment. Public domain.
A new imperialist military intervention is being prepared targeting Haiti. The U.S.-installed government of de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced last Friday that it was requesting the “immediate deployment of a specialized armed force” by foreign powers, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons to restore the flow of essential commodities.
But military intervention by the so-called “international community” has always brought Haiti only deeper suffering and hardship. And the Haitian people know it. Yesterday, massive demonstrations took place in the capitol Port-au-Prince opposing the government’s call for an invasion. These were fiercely repressed by Haitian police, who murdered one protester.
There is nothing legitimate about Henry’s request for intervention. In fact, Henry’s entire government exists only because it was backed by a U.S.-led group of western powers in the aftermath of the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. With the country’s Supreme Court and legislature incapacitated, institutional chaos reigned and there were competing claims to executive authority. Henry was ultimately chosen by the Biden administration and given international recognition, but he has no mandate to govern whatsoever from the people of Haiti.
Henry’s regime has little effective control over the nation. Instead, large swaths of the country, including big sections of the capital, are controlled by criminal gangs, which has been making life unbearable for the people as they struggle to survive under these circumstances. There is a long history in Haitian politics of gangs being linked to various elite interests.
There are powerful outside forces pushing for an intervention. Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States — a regional body notoriously subservient to Washington — said that Haiti, “must request urgent assistance from the international community to help resolve security crises, determine the characteristics of an international security force.” A spokesperson for the State Department said that the Biden administration was, “coordinating with Prime Minister Henry and other international partners to determine how best the United States can provide additional support.”
The U.S. government is solely interested in exploiting the Haitian people and preventing Haiti from exercising its sovereignty. It has been this way for over 200 years, ever since the Haitian Revolution shook the world in the first successful slave rebellion to establish an independent republic.
Whether or not a military intervention comes with the fig leaf of being an initiative of the United Nations or some other multilateral entity, the decisive player is the U.S. empire. While the details of such an invasion are being discussed in the halls of power in Washington, the people of Haiti are taking to the streets to reject this affront to their independence and to resist the regime that has been imposed on them.