Let's support the Revolution in Haiti!


By Federico Méndez - The Marx International and New PST Argentina 11/4/22

Last Monday, October 10, the Haitian people took to the streets of Port-au-Prince to protest after the government and the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres , called for the deployment of an international armed force to "support the country . " Strikes, barricades, demonstrations and looting intersect with the actions of criminal groups; an enormous revolutionary crisis that is coupled with the insurrectionary wave that is sweeping the world and South America. Haiti is one of the most fragile links in the world capitalist crisis .

The bourgeois media and the capitalist government of Haiti claim that the actions of the gangs and drug traffickers are the main responsible for this crisis, and they even use this pathetic excuse to demand foreign intervention. Something that recalls when the South American dictatorships (in the '60s and '70s) used the advance of the guerrillas as an excuse to justify their intervention. But as history has shown, the main objective of these puppets of imperialism was to crush the working class and its organizations, the same as what the UN leaders want today for Haiti.

The central cause of the protests is the deterioration of living conditions due to the devaluation of the national currency and the increase in inflation. All this hand in hand with the greatest capitalist crisis in the history of humanity . Neither Haiti nor any other country in South America can escape the global consequences of the crisis, much less when it comes to semi-colonial countries. As if to have an idea, Cuba, its neighboring country, has been developing a mobilization process never before seen since the Revolution of 58.

The bourgeois media would have us believe that the central consequence is the pandemic first and the war in Ukraine later, but none of this is true. The real culprits are the enormous financial bailouts that followed the 2008 crisis and that are taking their toll worldwide, generating a wave of colossal inflation throughout the globe. [1]

unbearable conditions

Haiti is the poorest country in South America ahead of Venezuela and one of the 50 poorest countries in the world according to its GDP per capita.

The poorest countries in America according to their GDP per capita. Data updated to January 2022. Source: International Monetary Fund.

More than 50% of the population survives on less than three dollars a day, the equivalent in their national currency to about 382 gourdes, while inflation reaches an annual rise of 30%.

Food is at the head of inflation with 32%. Basic products such as oil, chicken and rice 90%.

According to the UN World Food Program (WFP) , 40% of the population (about 4.7 million) suffer from food insecurity and, among them, 19,000 are in "catastrophic levels of hunger" . According to the WFP, it is "the first time in Haiti" that there are people who are in phase five of the food security classification, the highest, and it would be the first time that Haitians suffer this severe level of hunger.

At least 40 deaths and 1,700 suspected cases of cholera were reported, but authorities believe the number is much higher.

Added to this is an outbreak of cholera caused by the lack of drinking water. The latter, a consequence of fuel shortages , prevents the operation of water purification systems.

The recent protests

The latest protests began with Prime Minister Ariel Henry 's announcement of a fuel price increase on 9/11. Two days later the government announced that the price of gasoline would rise from 250 to 570 gourdes (2 to 4.7 dollars).

Haiti has been facing an acute fuel shortage for three months , which has increased the price of basic necessities, public transport and the price of fuel in the informal market, where a gallon is sold for up to 2,000 gourdes (about 16 dollars).

Inflation, shortages, the outbreak of cholera, all this resulted in an explosive situation.

Textile workers protest.

In the following days, the protests spread throughout the country, along with the looting of shops, supermarkets and banks and the attack on the homes of politicians. In Gonaïve, the population set fire to the buildings of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and in Port-au-Prince they blocked Terminal Varreaux , the country's main terminal for oil products (70% of the total). Then Jimmy Chérizier , leader of the main criminal gang in the country ( the G9 an Fanmi e Alye : The Group of 9 One Family and Allies) claimed responsibility for blocking the terminal. In the city of Cabaret, armed groups invaded a prison and freed a large number of prisoners.

On September 23, the UN announces that all its non-essential personnel must return to their countries, to which the different Embassies joined.

On September 26, the Haitian Foreign Minister, Jean Victor Généus , stated at a meeting of the UN Security Council that "with the exception of isolated cases, the country is under control." This provoked indignation in the bourgeois and employer sectors, who demanded that the truth about the situation be told to the Council.

On September 27, the Port-au-Prince transport unions called for a general strike. On the 29th, workers from the Industrial Development Corporation ( Codevi ), one of the main industrial parks in the country, in the Juana Méndez commune, broke into the facilities to loot the food warehouses, causing its temporary closure.

Conflict in the Industrial Development Corporation ( Codevi ) on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic .

On October 7, the government requested the support of an international armed force to "unblock the main roads and ports and guarantee the free movement of water, fuel and medical supplies." Two days later, UN Secretary General António Guterres proposed sending a "rapid action force" to "help" the government regain control of the country.

On Friday, October 21, the masses took to the streets against the possible intervention of the UN, after it adopted a resolution that imposes sanctions and an arms embargo on the gangs. In the streets of Port-au-Prince, hundreds of Haitians raised slogans such as "Down with the UN" or "Down with foreign occupation . " In the Antillean country, punished by multiple crises for decades, there is great and justified mistrust due to the failure of previous international missions. In a street interview a protester said "It is true that we need help to develop our country. But we don't need boots" , and that "In addition, this government lacks the legitimacy to ask for military assistance.. In fact we are in the presence of a huge anti-imperialist movement .

Protesters carry a coffin with a photo of Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the flags of the United States and Canada during a protest demanding his resignation. and reject the proposal for foreign intervention.

These days, the United States and Canada are trying to form an intervention force, but the enormous mobilization of the Haitian people is bearing fruit: in a resolution released on Monday, October 10, and sent to state entities and to the special representative of the Secretary General of the UN in Haiti, Helen La Lime , the assembly of senators asks the Haitian prime minister, Ariel Henry, to "immediately suspend the execution of the resolution of October 7" on the deployment of a foreign armed force.

A country in permanent revolution

Although we consider that this last cycle of protests had been brewing without a solution of continuity since 2018, we have to clarify that Haiti, in the last 10 years, could not recover from the 2010 earthquake . This left more than 300,000 deaths , without counting the enormous material losses, which, as is well known, always fall on the working class and the poor people.

In 2018 a rebellion broke out. The trigger was the attempt by the government of Jovenel Moïse to increase the price of fuel, as part of a commitment with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) . This government had already been highly questioned for being involved in the Petrocaribe corruption case , which increased popular discontent.

Two days of general strike, popular neighborhoods under the control of the poor population, giving, in fact, processes of dual power . The insurgents, who demanded the resignation of the president, made the police - the only armed force in the country - flee to their barracks. Wealthy families and cabinet members, in panic, were fleeing the country.

The government had to go back by revoking the fuel increase decree, destroying the commitment with the IMF. After a revolutionary process very similar to what is happening at the moment, the government was able to direct the process towards parliament, blaming and dismissing the prime minister.

Who was Moses?

He was a banana and construction businessman, belonging to the neoliberal party PHTK (Haitian Skinhead Party) and an associate of former President Michel Martelly. Candidate of Imperialism and supported by the government of Donald Trump, he came to power in 2016 from a gigantic electoral fraud monitored by Minustah troops.

The Petrocaribe scandal

It was about the corruption scandal due to misappropriation of funds from Petrocaribe , the "solidarity" organization founded by Hugo Chávez that brings together Venezuela and other Caribbean countries for access to oil at preferential prices. The Bureau for the Monetization of Development Assistance Programs (BMPAD) served as an intermediary between Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Haitian companies: the BMPAD bought oil from Venezuela and sold it to local oil companies. The funds obtained from these sales had as their main purpose the construction and reconstruction of infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, roads, etc., after the 2010 earthquake. It consisted of 234 projects totaling $1.2 billion. However, an investigative commission revealed an embezzlement of around 2,000 million dollars during the period 2008-2016 (period in which the earthquake and five hurricanes occurred). This resulted in the works not being executed or left unfinished.

This scandal involved several governments but the main ones were those of Michel Martelly and Jovenel Moïse.

Kot Kòb Petro Caribe to? (Where is the money from Petrocaribe?) Haitian filmmaker and activist Gilbert Mirambeau asked himself in a tweet with a photograph of himself holding a sign with this question and blindfolded. The message - which went viral three years ago in Haiti - exposed corruption in the management of funds granted by the Chavista oil platform Petrocaribe.

At the beginning of 2019 and after two years of Moïse's government, the demonstrations returned, paralyzing the country again. The Haitian people had been badly beaten due to the devaluation of the national currency and the increase in inflation , while the government failed to fulfill its promise to do justice in the case of PetroCaribe. And it is not surprising since Moïse himself had benefited from these contracts, through Agitrans , a company owned by him. This increased popular discontent and the people took to the streets again to ask for his resignation.

Protests against the government of Jovenel Moïse, October 2019

Protests in 2019

The protests included workers from the textile sector, students, police officers, teachers, health workers and even employers and church sectors. Many of these sectors respond to the struggle coordination table: Democratic and Popular Sector .

In March Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant was ousted (his third in two years) and replaced by Jean-Michel Lapin .

In 2020 the seven prime ministers nominated by Moïse had fallen, he dissolved parliament and went on to govern through dictatorial decrees and intervening justice, all accompanied by violent repression. His next plan was to modify the Constitution to stay in power for a second term, something that had not happened since the bloody dictatorships of Papa Doc (1957-1971) and Baby Doc (1971-1986). In this regard he said: "I do not see how there is someone, after God, who has more power than me in the country. I am the president"

In March 2021 the demonstrations returned. To the above reasons was added the barbaric proposal of the Dominican Republic to build a wall on the border with Haiti. The government crisis deepened and on July 7, Moïse is assassinated by a paramilitary group, in circumstances that are not yet fully clarified. The government crisis deepened even more and on July 5 Ariel Henry, appointed Prime Minister by Moïse two days before his death, takes office.

The assassination of Jovenel Moise

According to an investigation by The New York Times , Jovenel Moïse was working on a list of politicians and businessmen involved in drug trafficking and wanted to implement a series of measures against corruption and drug trafficking, such as the destruction of a clandestine landing strip for planes from Venezuela and Colombia or the nationalization of a seaport suspected of being a gateway for contraband.

A central figure on Moïse's list was businessman Charles Saint-Rémy , suspected of drug trafficking and brother-in-law of former President Michel Martelly . Another member of the list is Dimitri Hérard , head of the police unit that protected Moïse and also suspected of drug trafficking. Among the list was the leader of the hitmen who assassinated him, Ariel Henry , a former DEA agent assigned to Haiti. [two]

A monument to racism in the Caribbean

The government of the Dominican Republic began construction of a 164-kilometer wall on the border with Haiti. On Sunday, August 21, 2022, the Ministry of Defense (MIDE) reported that progress is being made on a first stage of 54 kilometers. The project was promoted by the Dominican president, Luis Abinader , to "control" immigration.

These two countries have an economic relationship very similar to that between Mexico and the United States.

Free zones are developed in the geographical limit . These were inaugurated in the Aristide government , and spread throughout the country during the military occupation of the Minustah. These are multinational factories that produce for the North American market without customs duties or labor rights. In other words, cheap Haitian labor is fundamental to the profits of the Yankee multinationals. This is the underlying reason for the constant imperialist interference.

In turn, Haitian workers are essential for sustaining the economy of the neighboring country, especially the informal one. The much better economic conditions of the Dominican Republic stimulate a constant and growing wave of immigration.

Like the wall that Israel built on the border with Palestine or the United States on the border with Mexico, this wall will fuel xenophobia and racism. But as long as the living conditions of the masses continue to worsen, it will result in a complete failure, the waves of immigration will intensify and no artificial wall will be able to stop them.

The heroic Haitian people who shed their blood for the freedom and independence of South America.

Haiti was the first black republic in history and the first republic in Latin America, it was the first independent country to eradicate slavery, fully establishing the rights of man. It was also the first successful anti-colonial revolution in the Americas. After defeating the armies of Napoleon, England and Spain, Haiti, led first by Toussaint de L'ouverture and then by Alexander Petion , became a refuge for many Latin American patriots. Francisco de Miranda , Simón Bolívar , Manuel Dorrego received warm hospitality .

In 1815 Petion summoned Bolivar, who was a refugee in Jamaica, depressed and on the verge of suicide. The Haitian leader offered the future liberator arms, ships and soldiers to further his struggle for independence. In exchange for that support, he asked the South American revolutionaries to decree the abolition of slavery in America.

After the triumph and before his meeting with San Martín , Bolivar said:

"Lost Venezuela and New Granada, the island of Haiti received me with hospitality: the magnanimous President Alexander Petion lent me his protection and under his auspices I formed an expedition of 300 men comparable in value, patriotism and virtue to the companions of Leonidas. . ". [3]

After Bolivar legislated the abolition of slavery in the Congress of Angostura, the empires of Spain, France and the nascent United States blocked the Republic of Haiti from any international relationship. The North American president, Thomas Jefferson said then that "Haiti is a bad example" . The slave owners did not tolerate the existence of an independent country ruled by blacks. The nascent North American racist empire looked with concern at the emancipation of black Haitian slaves. After the retreat of Spain and France, the United States intervened militarily in the country in 1915.

According to the French revolutionaries the ideals of the French Revolution , "Liberty, equality and fraternity" , were not for black slaves, they had to remain slaves. The latter were the cheap labor that allowed them low prices for crops in what was once called "The Pearl of the Antilles" . To give us an idea, at the time of the outbreak of the French Revolution, 75% of world sugar production came from Haiti.

MINUSTAH: a crime perpetrated by the progressive governments of South America and Imperialism.

In 2004, imperialism sent an occupation force, under the banner of the UN, to support the government of René Préval , which was cornered by a popular revolution. It was the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti ( MINUSTAH , from the French MI ssion des N ations U nies pour la STA bilisation en H aïti ). It was made up of troops from Latin American countries under the command of a Brazilian general.

The MINUSTAH mission sought stability, but not for the Haitian working people but rather for the business of the mostly North American multinationals established in the country. These install their "maquilas" in this small country as if it were in China, but with the advantage of its proximity to North American soil.

The reason for using a force composed of troops from South American countries was that at that time they did not have major complaints against them as the UN did in Iraq or Afghanistan. They left the dirty work in the hands of the pseudo-progressive or pseudo-socialist governments of Kirchner , Correa , Morales , Bachelet , Vásquez , who sent their soldiers to repress popular protests (added the approval of the Chávez government [4] ), under the command of the Lula government in Brazil. Those governments that boasted an anti-imperialist discourse all the time, in fact, were and are a leash of Imperialism.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visiting Brazilian soldiers stationed in Haiti as part of MINUSTAH, 2008.

The only thing that MINUSTAH left behind was repression, rape, massacres in the poorest neighborhoods, the guarantee and coverage of the fraudulent elections that put Moïse in power. But neither Minustah nor its successor Minusjusth , nor the police (the only armed force in the country) were able to break the Haitian people and their formidable anti-imperialist movement.

The reaction that today is the government in Brazil "made a school" with the PT government.

Under the direction of MINUSTAH between 2004 and 2011, the Brazilian army fulfilled its most important mission in the UN, having the unfortunate record of being the UN mission that remained in an invaded country the longest.

Many of the MINUSTAH military chiefs who were promoted by the Lula and Dilma Rousseff governments are now members of the Jair Bolsonaro government.
Some of the generals are:
Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira , Chief Minister of the Institutional Security Cabinet of the Presidency of Brazil; Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz , Special Advisor to the Minister of the Secretariat for Strategic Affairs within the Presidency of Brazil; Floriano Peixoto Vieira Neto , Chief Minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of Brazil; Edson Leal Pujol , Commander of the Army; Ajax Porto Pinheiro , special advisor to the presidency of the Federal Supreme Court, the Brazilian Supreme Court;Luiz Eduardo Ramos Baptista Pereira , Chief of Staff of the Presidency of Brazil. [5]

Those leftist parties that confer a progressive character to the Lula government and that characterize it as a government diametrically opposed to that of Bolsonaro are omitting this fundamental part of the story. The actions of the Brazilian armed forces show that both the Lula and Bolsonaro governments are part of the same plan of the Brazilian bourgeoisie and Imperialism. At the moment of a popular outburst that questions the capitalist order, none of these governments will hesitate to use the armed forces to crush the masses and their revolution.

Latin American progressivism and war crimes

An investigation by Sabina Lee, from the Department of History at the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom), and Susan Bartels, from the Department of Medicine at Queen's University, Canada, brought to the fore the sexual violence carried out by blue helmets in Haiti [6] . The work maintains that during the occupation 265 children were conceived between Haitian soldiers and women, most of them as a result of rape. There are cases of girls as young as 11 who were abused in exchange for coins or a plate of food.

Among the complaints involving soldiers, the most mentioned are from Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Argentina, in that same order. All of them make up the MINUSTAH forces.

According to the report "11-year-old girls were sexually abused and impregnated by the blue helmets and left in misery, where they had to raise their children alone" , "I saw several girls of 12 and 13 years old there. MINUSTAH soldiers They got pregnant and abandoned them. These girls have had miserable lives ever since ," says a woman interviewed. "I always listened to the women who complained about the sexual violence that MINUSTAH exerted against them. And through the abuse they infected them with AIDS. And several of them became pregnant," declared one of the interviewees."The soldiers destroyed the future of these girls by impregnating them. This has had a negative impact on society, because these girls could be lawyers, doctors or anything that could help Haiti. Now, instead, they roam the streets or markets carrying fruit to support the children they had with MINUSTAH soldiers," says another interviewed by Lee and Bartels. [7]

The boys born from these relationships are known in Haiti as "petit minustah" or "bébés casques bleus", which shows that this is not an isolated phenomenon. Specialists put the victims of abuse at around 2,000.

And as if that were not enough, the legacy of MINUSTAH includes the cholera epidemic that broke out in 2010. The investigations determined that it had been generated by Nepalese soldiers who arrived in Haiti sick. This outbreak left more than 8,000 dead.

The workers of the world must give all our support to the Haitian people. From La Marx International we say:

  • Long live the Revolution of the People of Haiti!
  • UN troops out!
  • For a workers and popular government that ends with the racist, oppressive, colonial and nefarious capitalism in Haiti!
  • Let's unite in support of one of the most moving and important revolutions of a people that has historically been a vanguard in Latin America and the World!

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