Home Headlines Haiti's Struggle For Freedom: US Imperialism, MINUSTAH And The Overthrow Of Jean-Bertrand...

Haiti’s Struggle For Freedom: US Imperialism, MINUSTAH And The Overthrow Of Jean-Bertrand Aristide

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After President Aristide was removed from power, he was sent into exile; first he lived in Venezuela and then went on to the United States. Then under Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, a paid CIA informant who organized a death squad called the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) targeted Aristide’s supporters that resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 people. The Haitian population was now officially under state terror since Aristide’s departure.

William Jefferson Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1993. He promised the return of Aristide with a plan to re-introduce neoliberal policies that Aristide opposed. Clinton also wanted to end the Haitian refugee crisis on Florida’s shores due to Haiti’s political crises. Under US and international pressure along with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 940 on July 31 1994, the military regime in power agreed to step-down as US troops were deployed to Haiti under Clinton’s order. So on October 15th, 1994, the Clinton administration permitted Aristide to return to Haiti to complete his term in office, but under the conditions that he adapt the economic program of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the defeated US backed candidate Marc Savin from the 1990 elections.

Aristide had to accept the terms and returned to Haiti with 20,000 US troops on stand-by for the transition. American style “Democracy” was back in Haitian politics. The World Bank and the IMF are the same institutions responsible for impoverishing many nations in the Third World and now were responsible for the Neoliberal economic policies that eventually destroyed Haiti’s economic sovereignty. Aristide remained in power until 1996. Then René Préval was elected president for a 5-year term, winning 88% of the popular vote. Préval was Aristide’s Prime Minister for several months until the 1991 US-instigated military Coup.

Aristide was re-elected in 2000 and resumed his Presidency in 2001. Then in February 2004, the United States and France once again removed Aristide from power and flew him out of the country because he refused to “Privatize” State Owned Enterprises that included Electricity for private run “Monopolies”. The Privatization of State owned enterprises would squeeze the poor even further into paying higher prices for their basic utilities. The US used the assassination of gang leader named Amiot Metayer to destabilize Aristide’s government as it caused anti-government groups to turn against Aristide. The National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti was formed under Amiot’s brother, Buteur Metayer, who accused Aristide for his brother’s murder. The rebels took control of the North and eventually invaded the capital of Port-au -Prince. The U.S. escorted Aristide out of the country on February 28, 2004 and sent him to the Central African Republic then to South Africa. Aristide’s lawyer had claimed that the U.S. was arming anti-Aristide groups before the assassination of Metayer and that France and the US had “kidnapped” Aristide. Another staged Coup against Aristide, this time under US President George W. Bush. Aristide was exiled to South Africa.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1542 was established on April 30th, 2004 due to Haiti’s instability in the region that would allow peacekeepers on Haitian territory. The purpose of the mission was to train the Haitian National Police Force and provide peace and security to the Haitian population. Since June 1st, 2004, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission In Haiti (UNSTAMIH) better known as MINUSTAH led by the Brazilian Military has been a disaster for Haitians.

Since their arrival, Haiti has experienced human rights violations under the banner of stabilization, but rather has been a destabilizing force under MINUSTAH. MINUSTAH’s primary objective was to train the Haitian National Police Force, but had been implicated in numerous crimes, from the sexual assault of an 18-year-old Johnny Jean by Uruguayan peacekeepers caught on video to the sexual exploitation of minors including prostitution and rape that involved more than 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers.

The murder of a 16-year-old boy hung in a UN base in Cap Haïtien on August 2010 after he was accused of stealing $200 from a UN interpreter and the outbreak of Cholera in mid-2010 that killed over 6,000 Haitians and infected over 400,000 other’s that were exposed to the unsanitary practices by Nepalese peacekeepers on another UN base began a public outcry against the UN occupation of Haiti. MINUSTAH is also a political police force who executed Pro-Aristide groups in Cite Soleil on Dec 22, 2006, a slum in the capital of Port-au-Prince that killed more than 30 people including women and children.

It was massacre against the community for their support of the Lavalas movement which involved more than 10,000 people who rallied for the return of President Aristide and called for an end to the UN military occupation of Haiti, but the United Nations claimed that they were out to capture or kill “Gangsters and Kidnappers”.

On October 15, 2012 MINUSTAH’s mission has been extended to 2013. Then it will be extended to 2014. Maybe the UN occupation will become permanent? What is the real purpose of this military occupation? Is it to set up bases that the US and its’ allies would be able to use against their enemies such as Cuba, Ecuador or Venezuela? Haiti is in close proximity to Cuba and the northern cone of South America. There is also one element of Haiti that should not be overlooked, and that is the vast amount of natural resources Haiti has on its land. Haiti has bauxite, coal, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, gypsum, hydropower, marble, silver, tin, lignite, nickel, limestone, manganese, marble, iron, tungsten, salt, clay, building stones and most importantly oil. Oil had been discovered in Haiti. Haitian writer, Dr. Georges Michel, published an online article on March 27th, 2004 titled ‘Oil in Haiti.’ Dr. Georges Michel wrote:

“It has been no secret that deep in the earthy bowels of the two states that share the island of Haiti and the surrounding waters that there are significant, still untapped deposits of oil. One knows not why they are still untapped. Since the early twentieth century, the physical and political map of the island of Haiti, erected in 1908 by Messrs. Alexander Poujol and Henry Thomasset, reported a major oil reservoir in Haiti near the source of the Rio Todo El Mondo, Tributary Right Artibonite River, better known today as the River Thomonde”

One of the main reasons that the US, Canadian and European governments decide to send American and UN Peacekeeping forces is to undermine governments who oppose their policies and to exploit their natural resources for profit. In an October 2008 cable released by Wikileaks, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson said that “The security dividend the U.S. reaps from this hemispheric cooperation not only benefits the immediate Caribbean, but also is developing habits of security cooperation in the hemisphere that will serve our interests for years to come.”  

Do US interests involve natural resources and a central military location to checkmate Cuba and other countries located in South America that are non-compliant? It is interesting to know that a crises whether a natural disaster such as the Haitian earthquake of January 12th, 2010 where an estimated 316,000 people had died, over 300,000 injured and left more than 1 million people homeless or a political situation that would involve regime change was used as an excuse to place UN Peacekeeping forces (MINUSTAH) in Haiti. It is the same organization that committed numerous crimes that will train the Haitian National Police Force as a tool to control and subjugate the Haitian population.

Haiti has natural resources and a hard working population.  They should not be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is enslaved again, but this time under Globalization, a system that is under the control of Western Imperial powers.  After 221 years nothing has changed. Western Powers, both old and new control the political, social and economic landscape of Haiti. Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly is the new US approved President of Haiti since May of 2011.

He has resurrected the Haitian military with intelligence and security units with former military officers, members of the Police force and paramilitary death squads that were involved in Aristide’s Coup d’état in 2004. Reestablishing the Haitian military was a campaign promise he kept and will keep well into 2013 with a Duvalier-style government. With President Martelly in office until 2016 and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) until October 15th, 2013, it seems that Haiti’s future will be marked with the same problems it has experienced since it gained independence back in 1804.

 

By: Timothy Alexander Guzman

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