What can you do for Haiti?
Its government is void of legitimacy and authority, and it barely exists. The streets have been taken over by gangs. Fuel and food are scarce. Gas stations have only recently reopened two months after criminals took control of a critical fuel terminal. The country is currently suffering from a cholera outbreak. A desperate driver said to ABC News, “You don’t have anyone to call.”
The richest colony in Western Hemisphere was once the slave population. It won freedom and independence in 1804, only a few decades after the American colonies were established. Embarrassed by the rule of former slaves, the United States recognized Haiti only in 1862 when slavery was literally under attack in America.
Haiti was the only country in which slavery was violently overthrown. It found neither stability nor peace. America didn’t help. The U.S. troops entered Haiti to empty the bank’s national bank in 1914. They returned one year later, after the assassination of the Haitian president. After having “dissolved Haiti’s parliament at gunpoint and killed thousands of people”, the US troops left in 1934. They also controlled the country’s finances for over 30 years. The bankers in New York took a large portion of the earnings. This left behind a country so poor, that many of the farmers who contributed to the income often lived on a diet that was ‘close to starvation’.
The Clinton administration played a retrograde role in 1994, playing colonial hegemon. The U.S. invaded and overthrew the ruling junta. It also reinstated the demagogic president who encouraged his followers to “necklace” their opponents with gasoline-flaming tires. This was the restoration and maintenance of democracy. The United Nations ended its peacekeeping mission in the country in 2000. French and U.S. pressures to resign, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was removed in a second coup in 2004. A former French ambassador stated that the coup was orchestrated by Washington DC and Paris. (The new government conveniently dropped Aristide’s claims for reparations from France.
The U.N. Mission was established and operated until 2017. The occupation, which was interrupted by the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, was meant to bring order and law to the area. But instead the outside forces exacerbated the people’s hardships. The cholera epidemic which claimed more than 10,000 lives was caused by the occupiers . Pervasive sexual abuse of children and others was also a problem .
Jovenel Moise, Haiti’s President, was assassinated in July 2021. The country was almost without a leader, with four potential claimants to his position, including two rival prime ministers, two constitutions, an empty legislature, which had been long overdue for elections, and a supreme Court whose head had just died.
The interim government, which is wholly unlegitimate, is calling for some kind of allied intervention. Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary-General, advocated for an international force to support the Haitian National Police. The U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced support for the Haitian National Police in October. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield declared U.S. support to a U.N. Resolution proposing “a limited and carefully scoped, non UN mission led by a country partner”. The United States will work with partners and other Council Members to establish the parameters and determine the best way to support, enable and resource the mission.
It would appear that it would be an informal project of the willing, authorized, but not managed, by the U.N. America’s involvement in the development of such a resolution indicates its willingness to support it with force. Washington’s usual suspects in foreign policy want to send in the U.S. army. the Washington Post stated that “swift and muscular intervention are needed” in an editorial published on the day Moise was murdered.
Although the previous peacekeeping mission was “far from perfect”, the editorialists acknowledged that it brought “a modicum stability to Haiti …..” A modicum stability is preferable to all other possible scenarios at this moment in time.
The safely P.C. was the only hint at this. Only the safely P.C. hinted at this requirement. The Post stated that the earlier mission involved forces from Brazil, Uruguay, and other countries. We know what happened. Make sure that the next mission includes Canadians, Americans, French and Canadians. The Post has stated that they are obligated to support such a force. According to reports, the Biden administration wants Ottawa in the lead. Canada’s prime minister stated that intervention is required “in some way or another.”
The Post acknowledged that there may not be much public support for this idea and offered an argument as a last resort. The paper admitted that sending U.N. troops into Haiti would be a worrying move. However, it also stated that “but does anyone have better ideas?” This is a powerful and persuasive argument for forcibly taking over another country, regardless of whether its citizens like it or not.
Most Haitians, except for government officials and the elite of the commercial sector, are skeptical about this proposal. NPR’s EyderPeralta stated that most Haitians are skeptical of the proposal. This is contrary to the enthusiasm expressed by Post editors. Blogger and writer Daniel Larison pointed to an umbrella coalition of Haitian organisations, the Commission for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis. Also known as the Montana Accord [which] rejected the government’s request for outside military assistance.”
Monique Clesca , a Haitian writer, stated that “We don’t want U.S. troops or boots, U.S. uniforms and no other of those.” Many Haitians have fond memories of their experience with the last foreign intervention. Two Post journalists concluded that the request for another foreign intervention was “a divisive, delicate subject here, where there is the shadow of a lengthy history of destabilizing foreign intervenements, including the U.N. Mission that introduced cholera, looms large.”
It is unlikely that a new peacekeeping mission will be peaceful. Particularly, the conditions in Port-au-Prince are alarming. Max Boot, of the Council on Foreign Relations , called Haiti “a Hobbesian State of Nature–Somalia In the Caribbean.” The Post stated: “With gun fights raging at the capital Port-au-Prince and cutting off main roads leading to the provincial towns, relief groups have been frequently hampered in their distribution efforts. Fearful of gang warfare, ransom kidnappings, and other violence, thousands fled to the countryside.
It is possible for criminal gangs to resist violently but in irregular ways other disaffected groups. was warned by several analysts from Just Security that the gangs were heavily armed and had been engaging in street battles in Port-au-Prince neighborhoods for over four years. They will engage on territory they are familiar with, and although they will almost certainly be outgunned over the long-term, they can inflict severe damage on civilians and intervening forces.
The U.N. forces that had previously been deployed engaged gang members and caused significant civilian casualties. Pooja Bhatia was a former human rights lawyer. She investigated the U.N. mission and observed that UN troops had helped police terrorize the most vulnerable areas of Port-au-Prince. These were bastions of support to Aristide. Many civilians claimed that the [UN] troops were themselves responsible for the atrocities, many of whom were Brazilian soldiers who had been trained in ‘cleaning up’ Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.
A second occupation is not a good idea when compared to the current chaos in Haiti. However, Haitians are influenced by past interventions. The U.N. was last seen in 13 years. However, four years later, public order was completely dissolved.
It is clear that the United States and the UN are not the ones to solve Haiti’s political problems. There has been a long history of destructive and unsuccessful outside interference in Haitian affairs. “Each time outside forces have interfered in the name to help Haiti, they have consistently made things worse.” In September 2021, the Biden administration’s Specialenvoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote , resigned in frustration. His criticism of U.S. policy, which argued that “our Haitian friend” needs “the chance to chart their own course without international puppeteering or favored candidates, was devastating.
External intervention is largely responsible for the current situation. Larison explained that the current crisis is the result of U.S. government interference. The U.S. government backed Jovenel Moise while he was alive, and helped to keep Henry in power despite the lack of democratic legitimacy and opposition from many Haitians.”
Bhatia said that Henry had never been granted any constitutional authority, and was therefore implicated in Moise’s assassination. He is hated by the people he claims he speaks for. His only constituency is out of country. The US insists that the opposition, which is a remarkable coalition of activists, civil society leaders and popular organizations, negotiates with him over the past 15 months.
The civic group coalition wrote the Biden administration earlier in this month.
Your administration should reflect on the history of international intervention in Haiti and how these actions have contributed to the destruction of state institutions, democratic norms and the rule of the law. The human cost of previous interventions has been high, with many victims suffering rape, sexual exploitation and extrajudicial executions. Doctors Without Borders warned that such an intervention could lead to more bullets, more injuries, and more patients.
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Jonathan M. Katz , a journalist, also pointed out the “vacuum” that a century of U.S. occupations, invasions, and interference left behind. It will not make Haiti safer or more stable for its citizens if we send an armed force to fight one Haitian gang and their sponsors…
Foote concluded that “the hubris that leads us to believe we should choose the winner–again –is astounding.” The cycle of international intervention in Haiti has always led to catastrophic results. Haiti’s negative effects will continue to have devastating consequences in the United States and other countries in the hemisphere.
Failing to act can have a price. However, the U.S.’s foreign policy isn’t just about whether Haiti would be more prosperous. It’s about whether Americans would have a better life. One occupation is not the solution to both, even if it’s motivated by the best intentions. Actually, the Haitian civil society organizations presented the administration with a list to “support peaceful and equitable development.” This would be much better than continuing to treat Haiti like another social engineering experiment for U.S. military.