By Raheel Hayat, Medium
On February 29th, 2004, U.S. armed forces barged into the home of democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s and kidnapped him and his family and took them to the Central African Republic. That action was the culmination of months of a destabilizing campaign by the United Sates of a popularly elected government by the Haitian people. Massive demonstrations on Feb 7 of the same year (up to a million people in Port-au Prince) demanded that the president be allowed to finish his full term in office. However, the United States, France and Canada determined to remove Aristide, decided to ignore the demands of the Haitian people.
This was the second coup d’état against President Aristide. The United States had also engineered a successful coup against Aristide in 1991, leading to years of oppression and terror in Haiti, which left thousands of people dead and was followed by a United Nations occupation of the country. Today, there are well over 10,000 United Nations troops in Haiti, safeguarding the interests of colonial powers.
Notably, both coups not only reinforced a legacy of oppression by colonial powers on the people of Haiti, it also decelerated a burgeoning democratic processes in the country and its peoples’ right to self-determination. Today, in a country where 95% of the local population is of pure African blood, a small mulatto minority is running the country clearly in league with imperial powers to control and exploit the country’s resources.
Brief History of the Haitian Struggle:
Haitians are a proud people with a rich history. Haiti is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that had a successful slave revolution in 1804. It was also the richest colony in terms of resources in the Western Hemphisphere. A threat to the white slave owner and colonial power structure from the beginning, the country has been often targeted for brutal oppression. Active campaigns by United States and France to undermine the revolt of 1804 and any revolt since then have led to immeasurable suffering for Haitians. However, this has not broken the spirit of these proud people.
From 1986 on, the Haitian people built a progressive leftist movement called Fanmi Lavalas. This movement overthrew the brutal dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier and brought to power a new democratically elected government. Throughout their history, Haitians have shown incredible resilience and ability to organize grassroots resistance, despite the attempts of United States and other colonial powers to crush this spirit. This is the reason for punishing the people of Haiti, a spirit of independence from the yolk of colonialism and their refusal to bow down to colonial masters. But despite the best efforts of the Haitian people, the exploitation of their land continues unabated to this day. Lavalas was not even allowed to participate in the 2010 elections and a right wing puppet government was handpicked by United States and Canada to take over a devastated landscape post the massive earthquake that same year.
There are tremendous mineral resources in Haiti. The United States and Canadian mining companies today go around digging for resources like gold, oil, marble and other rare resources in Haiti without any resistance from the current government. They also look at Haiti as a source for cheap labor. United States and Canada are currently building factories in Northern Haiti where goods for companies like Gap, Target and Walmart will be manufactured by local Haitian laborers being paid well under the minimum wage of most places in the world.
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