What the hell is happening in Haiti?

A conversation with
Haiti Action Committee

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The situation in Haiti today could not be more dire. While the puppet government of Ariel Henry has fallen, the reign of terror continues. During this year alone, more than 1500 Haitians have been killed as a result of paramilitary violence. Journalists, clergy, peasant-farmers, students, workers, market women vendors, and others raising their voices in protest have been met with beatings, incarceration, rape, assassinations and mass killings. Fanmi Lavalas, the people’s party of Haiti, has repeatedly characterized the situation as a “Hell on Earth”.

These crises have their roots in the 2004 coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the subsequent imposition of foreign occupation, coordinated through the United Nations. Now, once again, the U.S. and the U.N. are pushing for a new foreign invasion, this time fronted by troops from Kenya, Benin and the Caribbean. Contractors are already being flown into Haiti to construct a base for the foreign troops. The Biden Administration is providing weapons and equipment – military aid in the form of 80 Humvees, sniper rifles, riot control gear and more. The notoriously repressive Kenyan police are expected to arrive in Haiti later this month.

Without a trace of irony, the same foreign powers responsible for the disastrous state of affairs in Haiti are asking Haitians to believe that more foreign intervention masked by a UN Security Council resolution will resolve the crisis. While Haitian grassroots organizations have demanded a people’s transitional government composed of honest and democratic forces, the U.S. is once again attempting to control and manipulate the process in order to maintain elite rule in Haiti.

Only a fundamental change in Haiti of the kind envisioned, articulated and fought for by Haiti’s powerful grassroots movement can reverse any of this. And the U.S. government, as it has been so often, is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way.

Pierre Labossiere is the founder of Haiti Action Committee and Seth Donnelly is a long time activist with HAC., a Bay-Area based network of activists who have supported the Haitian struggle for democracy since 1991. Its members travel frequently to Haiti and are in close touch with Haitian grassroots activists, legal and human rights workers, and victims of repression. Through demonstrations and civil disobedience, Congressional lobbying and educational events, publications and community organizing, Haiti Action Committee is working to build a strong Haiti solidarity movement.

Other Voices is a monthly conversation for activists produced by Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. Other Voices has been broadcasting programs for nearly 30 years, first on cable TV and now online via Zoom. The program was created and is hosted by PPJC’s director, Paul George. (Image source: US Marine Corps / Flickr / Public Domain)

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