by the Black Alliance for Peace Haiti/Americas Team, published on Black Agenda Report, October 19, 2022
The vote in the UN Security Council did not take place. It appears that behind the scenes, Russia and China made it clear they would not support these measures. I published the Black Alliance for Peace Response to this a little further down if you are interested. [jb]
The Haitian people are united in their opposition to occupations of their country. The U.S. and its Core Group allies are once again using the United Nations to legitimize their latest invasion scheme. The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation can use their Security Council veto power to say no and delegitimize any new acts of aggression against Haiti.
NO TO FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTION IN HAITI!
YES, TO HAITIAN SELF-DETERMINATION!
An Open Letter to the Representatives of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation
The Black Alliance for Peace asks that the representatives of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation vote against a United Nations-sanctioned military force to Haiti. The Haitian people view the presence of the United Nations Integrated Office (BINUH) as a foreign occupation that, since 2004, has suppressed Haiti’s independence and sovereignty. We call on your countries to respect Haitian sovereignty and to support the Haitian masses in their stand against the ongoing occupation of their country by foreign powers.
We want to point out that the Haitian people have been engaged in nonviolent, nonstop protests for eight weeks. Despite the erroneous representation of these protests in Haiti as simply “gang violence,” the latest demonstrations are a direct result of two factors. First, they are a response to the everyday economic misery caused by rising inflation, especially through the staggering increase in the price of fuel. Second, they are part of a long history of demands for the end of foreign meddling in Haitian affairs, especially via the installation and maintenance of an unelected and illegitimate government by the Core Group, of which the United Nations is a part.
Attempting to solve the current crisis in Haiti through the deployment of a foreign armed force to protect unelected and illegitimate Haitian “stakeholders” will only exacerbate the situation for regular Haitian people.
We share with you the words of a coalition of Haitian grassroots organizations responding to the erroneous claims by UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutierrez, that the protests in Haiti were only “gang violence:”
“[T]hese popular protests are part of a struggle for a Haiti free from suffocating foreign interference, gangsterization, this extreme manufactured misery and an anti-national, illegitimate, criminal political regime established by the Core Group of which the UN is a member.”
Here is the Haitian people’s response to the recently passed IMF austerity measures on the country, measures which included the removal of fuel subsidies, tripling prices and raising inflation by 30%:
“This new decision, taken to the detriment of the interests of the people, has aroused his anger and also intensified a protest movement already initiated, whose objective is the recovery of our sovereignty, the recovery of Haiti’s destiny by Haitians, the establishment by Haitians of a legitimate government, capable of defending the interests of the people and meeting the various challenges of the moment.”
A brief historical contextualization is in order:
The UN Mission to Haiti Is a Foreign Occupation Repressing Haitian Sovereignty
As you surely are aware, the United Nations became an occupying force in Haiti after the U.S.-France-Canada-led 2004 coup d’état against Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. We must note that, in addition to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, only Jamaica’s P.J. Patterson, in his capacity as leader of CARICOM, spoke up against the coup.
Following the coup, the UN took over from U.S. forces. Under Chapter VII of the UN charter, the UN established the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (or MINUSTAH), for the tasks of military occupation under the guise of establishing peace and security. The Workers Party-led government of Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva then betrayed the Haitian people and undercut Haiti’s sovereignty by agreeing to lead the military wing of the UN mission in Haiti.
The history of the UN in Haiti has been a history of violence. An expensive, multi-billion dollar operation, MINUSTAH had between 6,000 and 12,000 military troops and police stationed in Haiti alongside thousands of civilian personnel. Like the first U.S. occupation (1915-1934), the UN occupation under MINUSTAH was marked by its brutality and racism towards the Haitian people. Civilians were brutally attacked and assassinated. “Peace-keepers” committed sexual crimes. UN soldiers dumped human waste into rivers used for drinking water, unleashing a cholera epidemic that killed between 10,000 and 50,000 people. The UN has still not been held accountable for this needless death.
The Core Group — an international coalition of self-proclaimed “friends” of Haiti — came together during the MINUSTAH occupation. Non-Black, un-elected, and anti-democratic, the goal of the Core Group is to oversee Haiti’s governance. Meanwhile, as with the first occupation, the United States and MINUSTAH trained and militarized Haiti’s police and security forces, often rehabilitating and reintegrating rogue members. The United States, in collusion with MINUSTAH and the Core Group, also over-rode Haitian democracy, installing both neo-Duvalierist Michel Martelly and his Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK), alongside Martelly’s protege and successor, the late Jovenel Moïse.
It is claimed that this occupation officially ended in 2017 with the dissolution of MINUSTAH. But the UN has remained in Haiti under a new acronym: BINUH, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti. BINUH has had an outsized role in Haitian internal political affairs. For example, soon after Moïse was assassinated, its representative, Helen La Lime, asserted that Claude Joseph would be installed as Haiti’s leader. Later, the “Core Group” switched gears and demanded that Ariel Henry should be president. And this is exactly what happened when a “new” Haitian government was announced on July 20, 2021, with Henry as leader. This, without any say from the Haitian people, without any pretense of a democratic process, without any concern for Haiti’s sovereignty.
UN Occupation Increases Violence and Instability
Haiti currently has an unelected, unpopular, unaccountable, and illegitimate prime minister, propped up by the United States and the western nations. Meanwhile, Haiti’s security situation has deteriorated considerably as groups, armed by the transnational Haitian and Levantine elite, continue their attacks on the Haitian people. We must emphasize that, in the eighteen years that the United Nations mission has participated in the occupation of Haiti, the Haitian people have only experienced violence and political instability. You must recognize the foreign occupation of Haiti has left it in a state of disarray and violence.
The consequences of Foreign Meddling and Occupation
We must remind you that we are entering the ninth week of protests of the Haitian people against both the U.S.-backed puppet government of Ariel Henry and the continued occupation and meddling of the Core Group and the UN itself. With all the talk of Haitian “lawlessness,” one would never know that the other main reason for the protests was the illegitimate government’s decision, under IMF austerity dictates, to cut fuel subsidies, amid spiraling inflation and economic insecurity.
No to Occupation. Yes to Self-Determination.
The speed at which contemporary events are moving in Haiti makes it difficult for those outside the Caribbean republic to understand its internal political dynamics. Because of this, it is easy to resort to historical cliches and short-hand analyses in an attempt to neatly package and summarize or flatten what are oftentimes complex, structural, and historical formations whose origins are as much rooted outside than inside the country. Thus to outsiders Haiti is in the middle of a crisis, a never-ending crisis marked by lawlessness and violence, by the failure of government and the collapse of the state, and by a savage populism paired with well-armed, predatory gangs.
We believe this representation of Haiti is fueled by an ancient racism premised on the notion that Haitian people (and African people more generally) are incapable of self-government, and this notion, in turn, nurtures the rationalization for the strengthening of the current mandate for the continued international occupation of Haiti.
We ask that you think with all seriousness about supporting this western-led military invasion of Haiti to attempt to solve a problem that western states themselves created. All nations should be able to chart their own destiny, not just some. You must know the history of the proud Haitian people whose Revolution changed the course of world history and material aid helped the liberation of the Americas from colonial rule and enslavement. Despite the continued affront to its self-determination, the people of Haiti will continue to fight for its liberation.
The Black Alliance for Peace, in alignment with the wishes of the Haitian masses and their supporters, absolutely stands against any foreign armed intervention in Haiti, and continues to demand an end to the unending meddling in Haitian affairs by the United States and Western powers. We hope that the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China will stand with the people of Haiti in its fight for liberation by voting NO on another military invasion to brutalize the long-suffering Haitian masses.
The Black Alliance for Peace, Haiti/Americas Team
*Featured Image: Src ~United Nations