The Record: U.S. Imperialism in Haiti

by Marty Goodman, published on Socialist Action, October 7, 2022

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Haiti’s mighty slave revolution, which declared its independence from France in 1804, horrified racist U.S.rulers, who have sought to crush Haitian independence for over 200 years. The U.S. first occupied Haiti during 1915-1934. U.S. Marines slaughtered thousands during a war of anti-imperialist resistance led by Charlemagne Peralte.

The first imperialist occupation changed Haiti forever: Haiti’s constitution was re-written – Franklin D. Roosevelt, then a high-ranking Navy officer, bragged that he wrote it. The new constitution allowed foreign investment, previously prohibited under Haitian revolutionary law, opening the door to the international textile sweatshop industry in Haiti today. Critically, the occupation re-made Haiti’s army into a force dedicated to repression. The new Army served well the bloody reign of the U.S.-backed Duvalier family dictatorship (1957-86), which cost over 50,000 Haitian lives.

In 1994, President Clinton re-occupied Haiti with over 20,000 U.S troops and a token UN contingent, after the bloody 1991 CIA coup against the elected liberal President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Refusing to build serious resistance, Aristide, in league with Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Black Congressional Caucus, backed a US-led UN occupation. Clinton returned Aristide under neoliberal World Bank conditions and gave amnesty to coup butchers. In 2004, a second bloody CIA backed coup against Aristide resulted in yet another US-led UN occupation, lasting until 2017, spanning both the Bush and Obama administrations. Obama cynically reinforced the occupation after the devastating 2010 earthquake. U.S. protesters responded in 2010 with cries of, “Doctors In! Soldiers out!” These latter-day interventions were not only meant to prevent another Haitian revolution but were also in line with racist immigration policy which seeks to deny asylum rights to Haitians fleeing U.S. backed dictators, while welcoming counter-revolutionary Cubans and white anti-communists in decades past.


The Biden administration has deported more Haitians than Obama and Trump combined, despite the blatant violation of U.S. and international immigration law. To date, Biden has expelled well over 26,000 Haitians fleeing the dictatorship of the corrupt U.S.-backed de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Amnesty International recently condemned U.S. Haitian refugee policy as historically “racist.” The lie that the capitalist Democratic Party is an alternative to the racism and imperialism of the Republican Party has proven to be a lie once again for working people.

Tens of thousands have mobilized in Haiti to demand that the corrupt U.S. backed Henry step down. Protesters also demand an end to the devastating rise in fuel prices demanded by Henry and the U.S.-dominated World Bank/IMF.

Today, Biden seems to be warming to middle-class capitalist politicians of the sham “Montana Accord,” who cynically call for a “Haitian-led solution” to Haiti’s crisis. The “Accord” is headed by Magali Comeau Denis, who was key in the 2004 CIA-backed coup against Aristide. Meanwhile, leaders like former U.S. diplomat Dan Foote, Dominican President Abinader, UN Secretary-General Guterres and others are calling for another imperialist intervention. A 2019 U.S. law, the “Global Fragility Act,” created the basis for yet another repressive imperialist intervention despised by the Haitian masses. U.S. imperialist bullying and the shell-game played by corrupt Haitian U.S. stooges must end. Some 40% of Haitians today are seriously malnourished. Working class led revolutionary organizations are the only alternative to Haiti’s misery. It is up to working people in the U.S. to provide Haiti with much needed solidarity!

*Featured Image: Demonstrators march during a protest against government tax hikes, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. | AP


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