The Canadian chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles thoroughly condemns Canada’s military aid to and interference in Haiti. Canadian and United States military aircraft delivered “security equipment”, including tactical and armoured vehicles and others supplies, to Haiti on October 15.
On October 17, hundreds of thousands of Haitians marched under the banner of “Occupation is Over, Long Live Our New Independence” in the streets of Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, Jacmel, Cap-Haïtien, Jérémie. Gonaïves and elsewhere protesting foreign intervention along with chronic gang violence, poverty, food insecurity, inflation and fuel shortages, and demanding the unequivocal resignation of de-facto President Ariel Henry.
Though the pretext for the delivery of Canadian military machines is to assure drinking water and assist the national police in controlling criminal gangs, the foreign presence is resulting in more upheaval and harm to the people. The crisis in Haiti is clearly a crisis of imperialism. The national police of Haiti, long armed and trained by foreign predators, operates against the people’s struggle for liberation and a decent standard of life. The oppressed and working people of Haiti say, “No to Canada and the US in Haiti!”. The ILPS in Canada thus demands that Canada, the US and other foreign forces get out of Haiti and that there be an end to the unending meddling in Haitian affairs.
Haiti was a colony of Spain and then France until a people’s revolution overthrew French colonialism and declared independence in 1804, a slave uprising that led to the founding of a country which was both free from slavery and ruled by former slaves and their captives.
The colonialist and now imperialist powers have done all in their power to never let Haiti live truly free. In their crudely ambitious desire to control the Caribbean and its people so as to exploit them, Western imperialism has persisted in making Haiti a neocolony at their service. Gaining financial footing there by the 1890’s, US Marines occupied Haiti directly from 1915 to 1937. The US and its allies in Canada and Europe, in collaboration with the local elite and criminal elements, have been able to install dictators, though the people’s resistance continually struggles for independence and democracy. The perpetual turmoil and successive dictatorships have made Haiti poor and unable to manage natural disasters and build a truly independent economy.
Western imperialism facilitated the collapse of nation-building and democratic order by backing the vicious and corrupt Duvalier Presidents, father and son, and their most feared police, the Tonton Macoutes, who terrorized the people through the 1950s into the 1980s. The people’s movement caused “Baby Doc” Duvalier to flee, with US assistance, in 1986.
The US, Canada and Western Europe were hostile to the pro-people reforms of leftist President Jean-Paul Aristide, legitimately democratically elected in 1990. They sided with the Haitian elite, forced Aristide to flee and imposed a trade embargo which triggered the exodus of thousands of Haitians. The coup was soon defeated, but the United Nations soon stepped in and, with the US, began constructing a new police force. The progressive figure René Préval took over the presidency in 1995, only to dissolve the Parliament under pressure in 1999. Aristide was once again elected in 2000 by a large majority, but the West imposed aid sanctions and challenged his authority.
Allegedly sent to stabilize the subsequent societal unrest, the UN (MINUSTAH mission) and US forces caused more instability and deprivation. The US, as well as Canada, again trained the national police, who tried to put down the people’s struggle. Chaos is preferable to independent, democratic, local governance, it seems.
Canada organized the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti which was held in Meech Lake, Quebec in 2003. No Haitian government officials were invited, only representatives of Canada, France, the US and some Latin American officials. Journalist Michael Vastel reported that the conference put forward the need for regime change in Haiti. On 29 February 2004 Aristide was essentially kidnapped with Canadian military assistance and flown against his will to exile in Africa.
Préval was re-elected in 2006, but the burgeoning economic crisis, largely due to foreign interference and external dependency, caused more unrest. Hurricanes followed by a huge earthquake combined with the 2008 global financial crash and another hurricane in 2010, brought the Haitian people into abject ruin. COVID-19 caused more devastation. The US-backed President Moise’s term was contested and he was mysteriously assassinated on July 7, 2021. Interim President, Claude Joseph, declared martial law soon after.
Neither the US nor the UN nor Canada are helping. On the contrary. ILPS in Canada calls on Canadian and other foreign forces to leave and let the Haitian people decide their future. No more funds or training for the cruel national police, no more military interventions or imperialist meddling in Haiti’s affairs.