By DANIEL SUGASTI
Unified Socialist Workers Party (PSTU), Brazil
On Oct. 2, the UN Security Council approved sending a new multinational military contingent to Haiti. The measure comes six years after the end of the so-called United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). A full-fledged foreign occupation, then led by the Brazilian Army, the mission left in its wake countless crimes and humiliations of all kinds against the local population.
Now, the justification consists of the supposed need to strengthen the police force of this Caribbean country in the fight against the armed gangs that have proliferated in a context of misery and economic collapse.
The unpopular Haitian prime minister, Ariel Henry, has long been demanding a new international intervention. The resolution was presented by the U.S. and obtained the support of 12 countries, among them Brazil, which holds the presidency of the Council for the month of October. Lula’s government is once again preparing to intervene in Haiti, initially by training the Haitian police in more effective repression techniques.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, was under military occupation between 2004 and 2017. MINUSTAH was led by Brazilian forces, promoted by Lula’s government, and continued by Dilma and Temer. A series of so-called “progressive” governments also participated in the occupation (Néstor Kirchner, Evo Morales, Fernando Lugo, among others), who did not hesitate to collaborate with this colonialist task in the service of Washington.
The presence of the blue helmets was not, as their defenders argued, a humanitarian mission, nor was its purpose “restoring international peace and security.” The objective was to repress the Haitian peoples’ protests, to support the successive corrupt governments, and to lend a hand to U.S. imperialism itself in the control of that region, since Bush was bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MINUSTAH committed horrible crimes against the Haitian people, including the rape of Haitian women by soldiers—there are estimated to be more than 2000 cases, with 300 of them involving children—and they were also responsible for a cholera epidemic, which killed more than 10,000 people.
In the case of Brazil, the Haitian occupation was led by many high-ranking military commanders who would go on to occupy important positions in the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, including Augusto Heleno, Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, Fernando Azevedo e Silva, Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, among others. They would not take long to “perfect” their techniques of repression through their experiences in Haiti and in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. At that time, all of them responded to Lula’s orders. This is yet one more example of how the PT [Workers Party] governments laid the groundwork for the growth of the extreme right in Brazil.
Nineteen years later, Lula and the Brazilian PT have approved a new aggressive incursion in Haiti and are ready to participate. The Brazilian and Latin American left cannot be complicit in this atrocity.
We need a broad campaign, promoted by all left and social organizations, including human rights organizations, to organize actions to reject the new military occupation of Haiti. From the IWL, we are proud to have categorically opposed, from the beginning, the military occupation of Haiti, even when the vast majority of the left adopted a position of complicit silence or even justified it in their obsessed with so-called “progressive governments.” During the occupation, a delegation of the CSP-Conlutas and the Brazilian PSTU visited Haiti and fought, together with Batay Ouvriye and other local organizations, against MINUSTAH.
At the same time, we must show solidarity with the struggles of Haitian people against the government and the local bourgeoisie which, in concert with imperialism, are responsible for the country’s economic collapse and widespread misery. These are the factors behind the proliferation of armed gangs and urban violence.
At the same time, it is necessary to promote solidarity actions and to self-organize humanitarian aid for the Haitian people, who are experiencing terrible living conditions and who will now face a new foreign intervention. We have full confidence in the social strength of the Haitian working class and people, who are the heirs of a heroic past of struggles.
No to the new military occupation of Haiti! All our support to the struggles of the Haitian people!
Photo: UN “Blue Helmet” troops in Haiti.
Republished from: https://litci.org/en/no-to-the-new-military-occupation-of-haiti/ — the website of the International Workers League – Fourth International