Antiwar Voices Condemn UN Authorization of US-Backed, Kenyan-Led Invasion of Haiti
"EVERY foreign military invasion and occupation of Haiti has brought nothing but pain and misery to our people," said one Haitian-American critic.
Haitians protest against possible foreign intervention in August (Photo: Radyo Rezistans/Facebook)
By Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams
Peace proponents in Haiti and around the world condemned Monday's authorization by the United Nations Security Council of a U.S.-backed, Kenyan-led multinational military invasion of Haiti to help its unelected government fight gangs that have run roughshod over parts of the Caribbean nation's capital.
The U.N. resolution—which was reportedly co-authored by the United States and Ecuador with input from Kenya—was approved by the 15-member Security Council, with 13 votes in favor and Russia and China abstaining. The measure authorizes a Multinational Security Support (MSS) force supported but not carried out by the U.N. to deploy for up to one year, with a review after nine months.
Kenya has offered to contribute 1,000 police officers to the invasion force, with the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Antigua and Barbuda also pledging to send forces. The U.S., while not sending any troops to Haiti, has offered $100 million in logistical support for the operation.
While no date has been set for the deployment, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month that the intervention could begin "in months," while Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Mutua told the BBC that the force should be in Haiti by next January, "if not before then."
Jean Victor Généus, the foreign affairs minister under Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry—who has served as acting president since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse --called the Security Council action "more than just a simple vote."
"This is in fact an expression of solidarity with a population in distress," Généus said, according to the Associated Press. "It's a glimmer of hope for the people who have been suffering for too long."
While some Haitians support an intervention as ongoing gang warfare has forced thousands of Haitians to flee their homes in the capital Port-au-Prince, others condemned what they are calling the latest chapter in a long history of imperialist invasions and meddling in the country.
"EVERY foreign military invasion and occupation of Haiti has brought nothing but pain and misery to our people," Jemima Pierre, a Haitian-American associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and member of the Black Alliance for Peace coordinating committee, wrote on social media. "So if you're still advocating that as some kind of solution, we know you hate us and think that we are only deserving of violence and degradation."
"The U.N. occupation of Haiti brought us a cholera epidemic that sickened a million and killed more than 30,000," she added, referring to the MINUSTAH "peacekeeping" operation authorized in 2004 by Security Council resolution 1542. "No 'gang' in Haiti has killed that many people while creating an ecological disaster. The U.N. has never paid reparations for that massacre."
The MINUSTAH mission was also marred by a sexual abuse scandal in which U.N. personnel reportedly raped girls as young as 11 years old before abandoning them to raise children—dubbed "petit MINUSTAH"—alone.
"Every invasion of Haiti is sold as helping to quell 'chaos.' Each time it just strengthens the neocolonial elite and the associated exploitation by Western companies," wrote U.S. journalist Eugene Puryear.
Referring to Kenyan President William Ruto—under whom the country's armed forces and allied militias have been accused of war crimes including the murder, rape, and torture of civilians in counterinsurgency operations—Puryear added: "This one will be no different. Shame on President Ruto for trying to use Pan-Africanism to cover for imperialism."
Imperialist invasions and meddling are as old as Haiti, home of the world's only successful nationwide slave revolt and the second country in the Western hemisphere to win its independence, after the United States. Haiti was the first truly free nation in the Americas, and the world's first Black republic. Its revolution also belied the hypocritically egalitarian pretensions of the French and U.S. revolutions, the latter of which fought to preserve and expand slavery while declaring that "all men are created equal."
While recognizing the crushing debt imposed by France as a condition for independence, the United States withheld diplomatic recognition of Haiti until 1862. Half a century later, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, a professed champion of national "self-determination," ordered a U.S. invasion in the name of "stability" following the assassination of Haitian President Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. The murder sparked widespread violence and U.S. Marines, wroteTime, "landed at Port-au-Prince and began forcibly soothing everybody."
U.S. troops occupied Haiti until 1934, killing thousands of Haitians who resisted the invaders. Occupation forces and administrators implemented forced labor to build infrastructure and public works projects. The occupiers introduced Jim Crow segregation while looting the country's finances for the benefit of New York banks. Rape of Haitian women and children by U.S. troops ran rampant, and went unpunished.
After U.S. troops left, successive U.S. administrations backed Haitian dictators including the brutal kleptocrat Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, even as his death squads murdered as many as 60,000 Haitians.
Haiti finally held democratic elections in 1990. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a Catholic priest, was elected with two-thirds of the vote. However, less than a year later he was overthrown in a military coup whose plotters included CIA operatives.
In 1994 Joe Biden, then the junior U.S. senator from Delaware, said that "if Haiti just quietly sunk into the Caribbean or rose up 300 feet, it wouldn't matter a whole lot to our interests." President Bill Clinton did not agree, and that same year his administration secured United Nations Security Council authorization to stage a U.S.-led invasion to "restore democracy" to Haiti. Clinton sent 25,000 troops on a "nation-building" mission, and Aristide was returned to the presidency.
However, a decade later the George W. Bush administration actively worked to topple Aristide's government in events culminating in a 2004 coup, in which the same CIA-trained forces that previously ousted the president again played a key role.
"Once again, the U.S. government is using the United Nations to push for a genocidal military intervention in Haiti," the International People's Assembly, a network of over 200 leftist groups, wrote on social media Monday. "The disastrous experiences of foreign interventions show that they only serve to deepen violence, poverty, and injustice against the Haitian people."
Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.
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