At the time of writing, U.S. imperialism, with the complicity of the UN and the repudiated Haitian government, is preparing a new military intervention in the Caribbean nation. Although they are using gang control and the social crisis as an excuse, in reality, the intervention is directed against the mass movement heroically fighting the social catastrophe to which it has been subjected. This crisis has been worsened by the IMF’s austerity measures, as well as the policies of the corrupt Ariel Henry government, imposed by the United States itself.
The mass movement is heading toward a process of rebellion after continuous, nonstop protests in recent months. In view of this, imperialism is looking to placate the rebellion at all costs to avoid having problems in its own backyard, at a time when the war in Ukraine could escalate and put more stress on the global situation. The intervention is also coming amid a new dynamic of class struggle in Europe.
The Gangs Farce
It’s indisputable that since Henry’s puppet government assumed power, armed paramilitary groups have gained ground in the Caribbean country. Their rise has accompanied worsening misery accentuated by food shortages and rising fuel prices. But what the United States, UN, and Haitian government cynically ignore is that it is they themselves that have maintained historical ties to organized crime, and encouraged the creation of these gangs through repressive State forces.
The armed groups that the Haitian government and capital have used against mass movements are not new. These gangs have developed in parallel with the forces of capital and the State — different factions of the regime have supported, at their discretion, their chosen gang or gangs. And today they have lost “control” in the context of the great breakdown of the state and government.
Even the National Network in Defense of Human Rights (Red Nacional de Defensa de los Derechos Humanos — RNDDH) expressed its rejection of the Government using armed gangs to establish a climate of “terror” in the country. In fact, the government has supplied to gangs the necessary “inputs” to carry out the attacks, explicitly stating, “To carry out this new war, the National Equipment Center (Centro Nacional de Equipamiento — CNE) — a state institution — provided the G-9 and Fanmi e Alye (Families and Allies Gang) with heavy machinery to destroy houses and build a passageway to Jean Pierre’s redoubt.”
The Real Problem Is Ariel Henry’s Government, Supported by Imperialist Forces
Ariel Henry’s government is rejected, rightly so, by broad sectors of the masses. Henry assumed power after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, in the middle of an open crisis of power. The assassination was never fully investigated, having happened in the context of a previous wave of mobilizations against Moïse. The former president remained in power at the end of his term, in the style of a true self-coup, supporting the policies of imperialist imposition and curtaining democratic freedoms.
But by all accounts, Henry ended up imposing himself with imperialist approval in July 2021, with full support from the so-called Core Group, or contact group, which is led by the United States, and includes France, the Spanish State, Brazil, Germany, and Canada. A “designation” — which didn’t respect any succession plans and wasn’t supported by the population — was signed by the UN and OAS (Organization of American States). In other words, an open violation of the Haitian people’s sovereignty.
In August of the same year, various organizations signed the so-called Montana Agreement, which proposed an interim government to govern the country until “safe, free and fair elections are called.” The Agreement sought to avoid the explosion of mass movements and provide a political solution to the prevailing political crisis. Yet neither U.S. imperialism, nor the Core Group, the UN, or OAS, nor even Henry himself, was willing to accept this, preferring to sustain the corrupt, de facto government. This caused the Montana Agreement to get bogged down, and it became a symbolic expression of a political way out in the face of discontent and growing government breakdown. Meanwhile, the mass movement strengthened, directly occupying the streets with increasingly massive protests. The movement showed its hatred for a government that, in the past 14 months, has done nothing but worsen the misery of the Haitian people.
With a very clear problem of legitimacy on his shoulders, and a population mired in misery, Henry signed an agreement with the IMF in June of this year. The agreement meant severe austerity within the framework of the financial organization’s “orientation” to “help the authorities to take stock of the implementation of the policies entrusted to them,” which “possibly opens the way” to an international credit program. In other words, Haiti would possibly be able to access a loan if it implemented the necessary austerity.
Among its various components, this agreement proposes to eliminate the fuel subsidy in the immediate future, passing on the cost directly to the Haitian people, a severe blow that increases the cost of living; in other words, more misery. Thus, when Henry announced the end of the fuel subsidies, alleging a shortage of funds to sustain them, the price per gallon (3.79 liters) of gasoline fixed by the government would increase from $2 to $4.78; diesel from $3 to $5.60; and kerosene from $3 to $5.57. This has inflamed protests that have already been intensifying, ad which have led to the complete paralysis of the capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as in other cities.
A central demand of the mass movement is the resignation of the current government. It’s an absolutely just demand insofar as imperialist domination and the various puppet governments have prevented any form of self-determination of the Haitian people.
But the current social unrest, rage, and protests haven’t fallen from the sky — they’re been brewing since at least 2021, in struggle against the previous Moïse government, and much earlier. It is against this movement of the masses that a potential military intervention would be directed. As we know, the United States has historically supported coups d’état in Haiti and imposed presidents that are friendly to imperialist economic and political interests. The U.S. has even occupying the country militarily, whether directly or via multinational “pacifying” forces.
The Hypocrisy of the UN, Biden, and “Progressive” Governments
For all these reasons, Henry’s calls for military intervention under the pretext of the gangs and social and healthcare crises hide the real objective: an intervention to preserve the government with international support. This intervention aims to repress the mass mobilizations and their organizations, which actually oppose the armed gangs.
It’s hypocritical of UN Secretary-General António Guterres to ask countries to consider the immediate deployment of a specialized international armed force to respond to the humanitarian crisis. Guterres conveniently uses the existence of gangs and the outbreak of cholera to justify military intervention, but “forgets” to mention two things. First, as already stated, there is a Haitian mass movement that rejects the current de facto government. Second, there was the previous military intervention in the framework of the UN, MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti), which lasted 13 years, from 2004 to 2017. Various Latin American countries (including Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, under Lula, the first Kirchner government, and Evo Morales, respectively), participated or led, along with troops from other countries, a military occupation at the request of the United States. This violated the sovereignty of the Haitian people, and led to all kinds of abuses and murders, including hundreds of sexual abuses of women.
This type of military occupation has only served to stifle the people’s rebellions and to put an end to any process of national self-determination. In the case of Haiti, since its heroic revolution of Black slaves, it has suffered the constant military, economic, and political aggression of the various imperialist powers, especially the United States, which even occupied the country for almost 20 years at the beginning of the 20th century. “Forgetting” MINUSTAH is how the policy of constant imperialist aggression is justified, including that which is willingly reproduced by French imperialism and the UN, with the complicity of the governments of Latin America.
On October 21, the UN Security Council will discuss the issue of Haiti. According to a U.S. official, the Biden administration has already drafted a Security Council resolution that would support the immediate deployment of a rapid action force in Haiti. Therefore, the occupation is likely to be carried out similarly to MINUSTAH, by soldiers from U.S. imperialism’s junior partner states. At the time of writing, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, Brian Nichols, has visited the island to “analyze” the situation and evaluate the request for military intervention.
Say NO to Any Kind of Imperialist Military Intervention in Haiti
There is no solution to the crisis in Haiti that comes from military interventions directed by U.S. imperialism or from the facades of international organizations at its service, such as the UN or the OAS, which impose governments docile to U.S. imperialism. This has been demonstrated over the years in various parts of the world, especially in Latin America. These have deepened the internal problems of the country for decades, plunging the Haitian people even deeper into misery.
The masses and peoples of the continent must say NO to imperialist military intervention in Haiti, or any variants of military intervention in the framework of the UN, like MINUSTAH. The working class and oppressed in Latin America and the Caribbean are the main stakeholders in the face of this new aggression in the making, which can only lead to redoubling imperialist appetites in the region. The working class and oppressed must support the fundamental demands of the Haitian people.
For its part, the U.S. working class can and must support the uprising in Haiti by organizing in the heart of imperialism to support the demands of the Haitian people. The struggles being waged in the U.S. against inflation and attacks on democratic rights must include the complete rejection of any imperialist intervention. They must also repudiate the criminal policy of the U.S. government toward Haitian migrants who are persecuted and repressed in Texas and elsewhere, and the racism of which they are victims in Latin America.
In Haiti itself, only workers and oppressed people can go all the way in the struggle against the prevailing misery, the ruling classes, and their corrupt governments supported by imperialism. For this, it is necessary that they take their destiny into their own hands and, in the heat of the struggle for their own demands, oppose any kind of military intervention, as well as any occupation force disguised as a “peace mission.” In the heat of their struggle, the Haitian people must strengthen their own mass organizations by setting up organizations of self-determination, trusting only in their own forces, in the perspective of a government of the workers and oppressed — the only government that can truly and definitively solve the crisis.
The Trotskyist Fraction–Fourth International (FT-CI) calls on all organizations that claim to be anti-imperialist and democratic, those that claim to be of the workers’ and socialist Left, human rights, social movements, workers, youth, women, who have been championing their demands in the continent, to join forces and categorically reject any kind of military intervention in Haiti.
No to military intervention in Haiti!
Out with imperialism from Haiti, Latin America, and the Caribbean!
We stand with the Haitian masses in their rebellion and their most heartfelt demands!
Down with the IMF!
For the right to self-determination of the Haitian people!
For a socialist Haiti within the framework of a Federation of Socialist Republics of Latin America and the Caribbean!
ARGENTINA: Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas (PTS) / BRAZIL: Movimento Revolucionário de Trabalhadores (MRT) / CHILE: Partido de Trabajadores Revolucionarios (PTR) / SPANISH STATE: Corriente Revolucionaria de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores (CRT) / MEXICO: Movimiento de las y los Trabajadores Socialistas (MTS) / BOLIVIA: Liga Obrera Revolucionaria (LOR-CI) / VENEZUELA: Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo (LTS) / UNITED STATES: Left Voice / URUGUAY: Corriente de Trabajadores Socialistas (CTS) / PERU: Corriente Socialista de las y los Trabajadores (CST) / COSTA RICA: Organización Socialista Revolucionaria (OSR).
First published in Spanish on October 16 in La Izquierda Diario.
Translation by Molly Rosenzweig