|US Border Patrol deports Haitians like rustling cattle|
Why All The Hate For Haiti?
by Coast Watcher
Act 1: Once Upon a Time...
Toussaint Louveture and the Haitian Revolution inspired millions of free and enslaved people of African descent to seek freedom and equality throughout the Atlantic world. ~Slavery and Remembrance Organization.
Inspired by the American and French revolutions, in 1791 the enslaved population of what was then called Saint Domingue rose up in the world’s first successful slave revolt. Toussaint Louveture came to command the former slaves’ army and eventually his new nation. He proved himself to be an outstanding military leader, one who expelled the colonial powers of France, Spain, and Britain from the island in a series of brilliant campaigns. His power was such that Britain entered into negotiations with him whereby concessions were made in exchange for which the newly independent Haitians would not invade other British possessions in the Caribbean.
Louveture later allied with France because the Revolutionary government abolished slavery, while Britain would not do so until 1809. Tragically, he was betrayed and captured by France while negotiating a new treaty, eventually dying in a French prison in 1803. In spite of this, Haiti gained full independence from France the following year.
The one thing the 18th and 19th century white capitalists feared above all else was an armed slave insurrection. To have an entire island of self-emancipated slaves in the middle of one of the most lucrative economic areas in the world filled the colonial powers with utter horror. American President Thomas Jefferson worked hard to quarantine Haiti, both diplomatically and economically. Due to the development of the cotton gin, slavery was becoming a highly lucrative business in the United States. The last thing an American president wanted was the slaves at home gaining inspiration from a successful uprising. This official attitude didn’t change until the Civil War. The United States didn’t officially recognize Haiti as a nation until 1862 when the American institution of slavery began to be abolished.
The US government's interest in the island continued throughout the latter half of the 19th century. In 1868, President Andrew Johnson suggested American annexation of the island to secure a defensive and economic stake in the West Indies. From 1889 to 1891, Secretary of State James Blaine unsuccessfully sought a lease of Mole-Saint Nicolas, a city on Haiti's northern coast strategically located for a naval base. President William Howard Taft tried to be fair to the Haitians. In 1910 he granted Haiti a large loan in hopes that the country could pay off its international debt and thus lessen foreign influence. The attempt proved futile, however, due to the sheer scale of the debt and the internal instability of the country.
Act 2: Your Money or Your Life...
As the former colonial power, France took even more extreme action. In July 1825, the French King Charles X sent a fleet of warships to Haiti. In exchange for recognizing Haiti’s independence, he demanded a payment of 150 million francs as "compensation" to French plantation owners for loss of their assets in the shape of enslaved laborers and land during the Haitian revolution. As a guide to the enormity of the sum, 150 million francs was ten times the amount paid by the United States to France for the Louisiana Purchase.
Haiti had little choice but to give in to the outrageous demand. Unable to make payment through its own economy, the Haitian government was forced to take out loans from a French bank at crippling rates of interest. Over the following 122 years, Haiti paid French former slaveholders and their descendants sums equivalent to $20 to $30 billion by today’s values.
Is there any wonder why Haiti’s economy failed to prosper, even for an island so rich in resources? But the greed of western capitalism didn’t stop there.
Restructuring of the Haitian national bank gave American banking interests access to lucrative areas for development both in Haiti and in the neighboring Dominican Republic. The world of international politics collided as German investments in Haiti came into collision with those of America. Unhappy as they were about Haiti's close connection to France, policymakers in the United States were more concerned about increased German activity and influence in the country.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Germany's presence in Haiti increased as German merchants began establishing trading branches in the country, quickly dominating commercial business in the area. The United States considered Germany its chief rival in the Caribbean then, and it feared German control of Haiti would give the Germans a powerful advantage in the area. Corruption and greed, as well as numerous deaths and assassinations of Haitian presidents and other officials, led to American banks—aided by US Marines—in seizing Haiti’s gold reserves in December 1914. Gold bullion to the tune of $500,000 was transported by a US Navy warship to New York.
In 1915, Haitian President Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam was assassinated—the seventh in as many years—and the domestic situation in the island deteriorated rapidly. In response President Woodrow Wilson sent US Marines to Haiti supposedly to prevent anarchy, but in reality the Marines were sent there to protect American assets and to prevent German influence spreading.
The American occupation lasted until 1929 when a series of strikes and uprisings forced a gradual withdrawal of American troops. In 1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor Policy" resulted in the official withdrawal of America from Haiti although the US retained economic connections.
Haiti suffered a US-backed dictatorship from 1957 to 1986. Two western-backed coup attempts were launched against progressive President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a military coup in 1991, and another in 2004. President Bill Clinton sent in more than 20,000 troops to restore Aristide to power in operation “Uphold Democracy” in 1994. When the second coup failed, the US launched yet another military intervention which lasted until 2017.
There are allegations against President Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the effect that she colluded with US business interests to pressure the Haitian government into not raising the Haitian national minimum wage from 24 cents to 61 cents an hour. Documents obtained by Wikileaks implied that the US State Department helped block this pay raise. US embassy officials in Haiti clearly opposed the wage hike as well.
Act 3: No Time Like the Present…
The United States’ actions in and against Haiti for over a century is one of gross interference. Now we see yet another woeful chapter in the whole sordid tale as US Marines seize control of Toussaint Louveture Airport, and Canada lands military vehicles there, all with the active approval of the United Nations. The so-called targets of this UN operation are the gangs that have taken over large areas of the country—gangs which seem to have been primed and set going by American business interests.
How long this next go-around will last is anybody’s guess, but I doubt it’ll lead to any good. There are no "quick fixes" to centuries' old problems created by white European domination and colonialism in the Caribbean region. Rapid solutions to Haiti’s problems inserted from the outside will produce temporary results at best with no long-lasting effects. The key to resolving the Haitian issue should be placed in the hands of the Haitian people themselves.
Learn more about Haiti:
Bio: Coast Watcher is our resident armchair historian and observer of the human condition. The more the West says things are changing for the worse in Haiti, the more the West seems apt to invade and pocket Haiti's wealth and resources. Maybe that was the plan all along?
The Last Thing Haiti Needs is Another Military Intervention https://scheerpost.com/2022/10/20/the-last-thing-haiti-needs-is-another-military-intervention/
Haiti Invasion is a Testing Ground for US Imperialism's Conduct in the Age of Climate Collapse https://rainershea.substack.com/p/haiti-invasion-is-a-testing-ground
Nations Consider Sending Troops to Haiti, Despite Troubled Past Foreign Intervention https://www.rsn.org/001/nations-consider-sending-troops-to-haiti-despite-troubled-past-foreign-intervention.html
China Wary of International Troop Deployment in Haiti https://popularresistance.org/china-wary-of-international-troop-deployment-in-haiti/
More Foreign Intervention Won't Solve Haiti's Crises. Decolonization Will https://truthout.org/articles/more-foreign-intervention-wont-solve-haitis-crises-decolonization-will/
Haiti: US Manufactures Crisis to Justify Repression of Popular Movement https://popularresistance.org/haiti-us-manufactures-crisis-to-justify-repression-of-popular-movement/
Who is This "Haiti" That's Appealing for Intervention? https://scheerpost.com/2022/10/26/who-is-this-haiti-thats-appealing-for-intervention/
Seen on Twitter:
Haiti is a profit center for the Clinton Foundation; there's no telling what else we could find underneath that rock were we to actually look there; it’s just that the Clintons were so brazen in their corruption and theft of Haitian resources!! Just like Ukraine is for ol' Joe.— Cynthia McKinney PhD (@cynthiamckinney) October 21, 2022
If truth is the first casualty of war, humanity is the second. It is depressing to witness how readily people—and states—embrace the cultivation of ethnic and nationalist hatreds for political advantage. Rather than hastening peace, these strategies forbid it.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 24, 2022
It’s official. The United States is invading Haiti. https://t.co/hKYqTTzUcs— rotating villain (@ComradeDJs) October 23, 2022
Shouldn't everyone who so vocally protested Putin's invasion of Ukraine now also protest, with equal voracity, the coming US invasion of Haiti?— vryfokkenou (@vryfokkenou) October 24, 2022
* * *
Protests have intensified across Haiti after the government of Ariel Henry, facing popular opposition to his rule, sent a request to the United Nations for international military support.
The United States, Canada, and the Organization of American States are now mobilizing towards intervention to prop up Henry's illegitimate government, which was installed after the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse by US-trained Colombian mercenaries. This is another brazen attempt to deny the Haitian people their right to self-determination.
In response, the Cabinet of the Progressive International published a statement on Saturday calling for an end to foreign intervention in the country:
"The crisis in Haiti can only be repaired by following the basic demands of the Haitian people: an end to foreign meddling, an end to the brutal foreign-imposed austerity policies that sustain hunger and destitution, and support for Haiti’s full self-determination. The Haitian people have done nothing more, and nothing less, than resist an unjust colonial order built on their oppression."
Over two centuries ago, the people of Haiti defeated European colonialism, abolished slavery, and established the world’s first Black republic. In the process, they gave life to the political project of internationalism. From Ethiopia to Gran Colombia, Haiti helped the colonized, oppressed, and enslaved around the world in their struggles.
In the coming weeks, international solidarity will be critical as the Haitian people continue their long struggle for freedom. Join me in honoring that struggle, defending Haiti’s sovereignty, and supporting its people’s right to determine their own future.
For more information about the situation, read this piece by PI Council member Vijay Prashad, which explains the context behind the protests that have swept across the country.
Progressive International Secretariat