The Virginia CPUSA is once again saying “Hands Off Haiti.”
The Fallout From Last Year’s Assassination Continues, Even Now
In an article from last year, the Virginia CPUSA expressed outrage over the possibility of some sort of military intervention in Haiti after the coup that took place there last year. A year has passed since then and the fallout has led up to an uprising across the country. The mainstream media has also met the current crisis in the country with much silence. It does not even attempt to downplay the significance of the events (much like the New York Times has done with the rise of fascism in Italy) as it does not even mention them. A conspiracy of silence by the heads of the media has thus fallen over the United States and much of the Western world.
In the last month especially, vital supplies and resources have begun to run out in the country. This has been followed by riots and urban uprisings which have been followed by calls for an intervention into the country. It is not enough that Haitians solve their own problems in their own country; to the international bourgeois, it is more important that they solve the problem for Haitian people by dealing with the Haitian people through bloodshed and repression. In a sudden “about-face” by the Biden administration, according to CNN’s Kyle Atwood, the United States has recently “drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution that would support the deployment of a rapid action force to Haiti.” This comes shortly after the Dominican Republic had stated that it won’t be doing any military intervention into the country of Haiti.
This is a major escalation just from last year. As the previous October article by the Virginia CPUSA on Haiti reads,
A year later, the Haitian administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry has proven just as inept and corrupt as that of the late Jovenel Moïse’s own previous administration before his assassination. A move to cut fuel subsidies by the government at a time when fuel is expensive has only exacerbated popular discontent. This comes after years of mass corruption by an unpopular government, which draws its legacy from the ousting of the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his cohorts back in 2004 in a U.S.-backed coup d’etat. This is on top of a recent cholera outbreak that has hit the country.
Let The People of Haiti Decide Their Affairs
The current crisis in Haiti is in many respects the same one that started in 2004. From Vijay Prashad, director of the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research, in an article on the situation in Haiti,
“Unions and community groups have been in a cycle of protests and strikes that began in 2018, long before the pandemic and the current global inflationary wave. This cycle of protests has several authors:
- Political destabilisation of the country that came in the aftermath of the 2004 coup against Aristide. No government since then has had political legitimacy within the country, since most of them have been appointed – in one way or another – by the United States and the Core Group. The current head of government, for instance, is Ariel Henry, who has been the acting president since the assassination of deeply unpopular president Jovenal Moïse in July 2021 by a conspiracy of Colombian mercenaries, Haitian American agents, and others. Henry came into political life fully funded by the United States government, for whom he was the instrument in the coup against Aristide in 1991.
- The Haitian State has been dismantled and replaced with a pliant NGO structure that relies upon the goodwill of the Haitian oligarchy and their foreign allies. The Core Group of countries took advantage of these serious problems in Haiti to import onto the island a wide range of western NGOs, which seemed to substitute for the Haitian State. The NGOs soon provided 80 per cent of the public services. They ‘frittered’ considerable amounts of the relief and aid money that had come into the country after the earthquake. Weakened State institutions have meant that the government has few tools to deal with this unresolved crisis.
- Economic dependence is now total. When even the pliant Haitian politicians tried to raise minimum wages to assist the purchasing power of an increasingly desperate population in 2009, the United States directly intervened to inform the parliament that it must not list wages. Such a wage increase would hurt the ability of US-based multinational garment manufacturers from making vulgar levels of profit. The garment sector accounts for 90 per cent of Haiti’s exports. This sector, thanks to free trade agreements that are beneficial to the companies, provide almost no rights for workers. The multinational corporations used money for relief after the devastation of the 2010 earthquake to build the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti’s northern flank. The present protests have their origin in working-class strikes in Caracol that broke out in January 2022 against the sweatshop conditions in the garment factories. Dominique St. Eloi of the Centrale nationale des ouvriers haïtiens (CNOAH, National Centre of Haitian Workers) said that the workers wanted a wage rise from $5 or 500 Haitian gourdes per day to $15 or 1500 gourdes per day. ‘With 500 gourdes per day, without any government subsidies, we cannot meet our needs while the prices of basic goods, transport costs have increased’, St. Eloi said.
- The US policies of destabilisation in the Caribbean further exacerbated the situation in Haiti. Illegal US sanctions imposed on Venezuela crushed the PetroCaribe scheme, which had provided Haiti with concessionary oil sales and $2 billion in profits between 2008 and 2016 that was meant for the Haitian State, but which vanished into the bank accounts of the oligarchy.
These four developments provide the start of an explanation for the crisis that Haiti has faced over the past decade, which was revealed through the cycle of protests since 2018.”
The entire article where this passage is from is worth reading in full, but one point should be made clear: the people of Haiti need to decide what happens to them and nobody else. The issue of the sovereignty of a nation is at stake. The corrupt administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry was unelected and has only made the crisis worse. The wide range of community groups, labor unions, and general concerned citizens of the country have voted with their feet on this matter. The current government of Haiti must go, not be upheld by the international bourgeois. So far, China and Russia have stalled the meeting that would ultimately decide the course of international intervention by tabling the decision for later. The proletariat of Haiti must decide what happens. Any attempt at intervening would only make things worse.
“Hands Off Haiti” Then, And Hands Off Haiti Now
In our previous article on the matter a year ago, we were strictly against any intervention or meddling in the Haitian people’s affairs. The current fiasco only highlights the importance of what co-chair Joe Sims said regarding the requirement of building a peace movement at home. When referring to the Civil Rights revolution of the 60s and its history, Joe Sims had this to say,
“But Martin [Luther King, Jr.] and others set themselves the task of building a mass movement that isolated the GOP, shamed the Dixiecrats, and made some switch sides. The result was the Civil Rights revolution. It was a big democratic breakthrough. But that was just the beginning. Martin then turned his attention to questions of war and peace. And he started to leverage that democratic breakthrough for the cause for peace in Vietnam. Oh, it was tough going. In fact, all hell broke loose, and important sections of the civil rights community balked. But Martin had a notion, and the movement for democracy joined hands with those opposing the war. Martin was murdered, but the writing was on the wall, mainly because the Vietnamese won the war on the battlefield. But the U.S. peace movement played no small role.
A year later in 1969 Nixon began withdrawing troops, and in 1973 Madam Nguyen Thi-Binh led the Vietnamese delegation to Paris and the peace treaty was signed.”
If we are to build a broad coalitionary movement against imperialism, we must merge it with the fight for our rights and general communal welfare at home. In all frankness, while morality is good, Marx has said that the proletariat ultimately have a self-interest and stake in this fight. So it goes with the proletariat in the United States. Black, Latino, white, Arab, Asian, LGBTQI+, neurodivergent, and so on and so forth have a stake in this fight. Historically, the uniting of the women’s movement, Black liberation movement, the union movement, etc., etc., etc. against the imperialist machine of the United States, the prime imperialist power in the world, has only strengthened and made durable the wider coalitionary movement in the long run. A United Front can only be necessary in this fight, the fight against imperialism.
Haiti fought and bled for their sovereignty and self-determination. The gains of the Haitian Revolution should be upheld and not breached any further. A year ago, we said “Hands Off Haiti.” Today, we again say Hands Off Haiti.
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