Who loves to hate Haiti? An interview with Haitian Activist Pierre Labossiere
The international foreign policy of plantation diplomacy has once again forced the nostalgia of colonization into the Caribbean, where the history of African liberation from enslavement capitalism began in 1804 with the Haitian defeat of Napoleon’s French army. Defeated and humiliated, France embarked on a fanatical campaign of revenge and terrorism against Haiti. Haiti was even forced to pay reparations to France. Since this historic point, many countries (Europe, Canada, the USA) and even the UN have attempted to destabilize the island Republic of Haiti. Between 1915 and 1935, Haiti was invaded, occupied, and exploited by the USA. In 1957, the USA supported the corrupt and brutal regimes of Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc) and his son, Baby Doc (1971) in Haiti. So once again, in order to liberate Haiti from the greed of corruption and the corruption of greed, the people of Haiti took action to restore democracy in their country.
In spite of never running for office, the Haitian people elected a soft-spoken, humanitarian priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as their candidate for president. After winning the election with 90% of the vote in 1991, President Aristide made democracy in Haiti more than a political platitude; it became a reality. He put people’s needs and desires above corporate profits and opulence. Most importantly, Aristide could not be bribed, bought, or reversed in his humane policies. It’s no wonder the citizens of Haiti are adamant about the return of their beloved President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Ironically, it is Haitian President Aristide’s humanity and the democratic policies of Fanmi Lavalas’ (Haiti’s democratic political party) that make Aristide so powerful and the Lavalas so feared. After six failed assassination attempts, this larger-than-life man of integrity and honor has been kidnapped and forcibly removed from Haiti, for fear of his power and influence. Likewise, the Lavalas political party remains banned as members and supporters continue to be demonized, detained, imprisoned, and/or assassinated. Haitian democracy is hated for many reasons, and by many in the global European economy.
Dozens of statistics as endless scenarios bear witness to Haiti’s assault: Haitian earthquake “relief” is being used as a pretext for Haiti’s demise. More than 33% of every dollar of US aid in Haiti is used to finance the military occupation of Haiti. Less than 10% of every dollar of aid for Haiti gets to the people. Much of the relief supplies and emergency aid has been confiscated and is being sold, rather than given to Haiti’s earthquake survivors. Children are being molested, stolen, and enslaved outside Haiti…and the reports continue to flow across the airwaves and over the internet.
Fortunately there are many genuine sources for details of this Caribbean crisis at our fingertips. One can easily avoid the mainstream views and get the news on Haiti at www.haitiaction.net and www.haitisolidarity.net. Also, Oakland has an invaluable source of information on Haiti, ready and able to give voice to this beacon of liberty at a moment’s notice. Just as Haiti is a jewel of the Caribbean, Pierre Labossiere, Haitian national and co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee, is a jewel of east Oakland. This fearless humanitarian is one of the many social-justice heroes here in the Bay Area. He is active in the campaigns to free political prisoners and the demand for an investigation into the 2007 kidnapping and disappearance of Haitian human rights advocate, Pierre-Antoine Lovinski. An impassioned intellect, Mr. Labossiere describes the current events in Haiti as pure economic sabotage:
Haiti is constantly being impoverished and underdeveloped by the inhumane economic policies of the international community. In the USA, Senator Jessie Helms is one of the politicians leading the charge to withhold and deny monetary funds to Haiti. The International Development Bank (IDB) continues to withhold funds from Haiti. In the meantime, Haiti is illegally forced to pay interests on these loans in spite of the fact the monies have never been released to the country. Loans for Haitian hospitals, education, clean water, housing, infrastructure, and national disaster preparedness are routinely diverted and denied. These malevolent economic practices have set the stage for the disaster Haiti is being forced to endure today.
Under democratically elected President Aristide, Haiti’s social services were priority one. Haiti had effective, emergency-preparedness programs in place. Hundreds of Haitian doctors and thousands of citizens were trained in first aid and other emergency procedures. Unfortunately, Haiti’s entire emergency response system was systematically destroyed once President Aristide was kidnapped and removed from his country in 2004. At this point, the US military immediately shut down Haiti’s medical schools in order to transform hospitals into military barracks for the invading forces occupying Haiti. Doctors, nurses, and lab techs were locked out of their facilities as the sick and elderly were forced into the streets.
Although Haiti has been misrepresented as one of the poorest countries in the world, it is actually one of the richest countries on earth. This agricultural powerhouse is also ripe with gold, silver, uranium, bauxite deposits and oil reserves. That’s why the UN and the USA want control of Haiti. President Aristide, however, wants Haitians to control Haiti. Aristide always put the people’s welfare above the profane desire for profits. There was dignity for work, respect for the poor, and hope for the future. All people, rich or poor, had direct access to Aristide and the national palace. There was no discrimination or preferential treatment. Haiti’s democratic movement was a national success.
Although Haiti is not at war with anyone, many European countries are at war against Haiti. Since the earthquake, 20,000 USA troops came to Haiti to “secure” the island. According to friends and family members, troops guarded the UN embassy and the banks in Haiti. They patrolled streets and assisted vacationing foreigners. They also halted the distribution of aid to Haitians while observing their misery and death. The airport was immediately shut down. Food and emergency supplies went undistributed as countless Haitian men, women, and children were allowed to perish. The escalating, foreign military takeover of Haiti is a pretext to further destroy Haiti’s democratic movement. Haitians want to know why 20,000 USA marines are in Haiti because they were not part of any type of rescue services.
Under the auspices of foreign aid, invading, corrupt forces have shown a systematic lack of respect of human rights and justice in Haiti. Since foreign occupation, poverty, kidnapping, sex-slavery, along with the abuse of women and children continue to climb. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) have contrived sadistic policies that force Haitian farmers and agriculturalists off their land, forcing them to import food from USA and other wealthy, foreign countries. Wages were further depressed as forced dependency on exports escalated. Once the IMF and WB denied Haiti the right to invest in its agricultural development, the country was forced to import 186,000 metric tons of rice (1996) as opposed to the 7,000 tons imported per year (1986). Farmers have been transformed into depressed pools of unemployed labor, forced to toil in foreign sweat shops. Over a 40 year period, Port-au-Prince grew from a population of approximately 200,000 to 3 million.
Today, all who promote democracy in Haiti continue to be attacked. Bowing to pressure from the European international community, Haiti’s prisons were filled with Lavalas members, Aristide voters and supporters. Fortunately, the earthquake freed many of Haiti’s innocent, yet illegally detained citizens. However, Haiti’s only democratic political party, Fanmi Lavalas, remains feared and banned because their social platform is “investing in human beings.
Since 2004, however, others have been investing in the foreign occupation of Haiti. The USA has spent $5 billion to invade and destabilize Haiti in hopes of controlling its abundant resources. Occupation, militarization, and conquest remain the central themes of foreign aid to Haiti. That’s why 97% of the Haitian population voiced their resentment for the recent elections in Haiti by boycotting the entire international and political farce. There’s no need for elections or foreign occupation since President Aristide is the president of the Republic of Haiti.
However, the annexation of Haiti has become a cadence of global interest$ as a multitude of genuine assistance from every-day angels gets drowned in the mix. The question remains, whose interest$? Those interested in exploiting Haiti’s mineral resources, or those interested in keeping Haiti self-sufficient? Those interested in exploiting Haiti’s labor force, or those interested in keeping Haiti free of poverty, unnecessary imports, and boycotts? Those interested in dominating Haiti, or those interested in Haiti’s right to independence? While capitalism is busy creating wars to keep the world safe for imperialism, everything possible is being done to destroy democracy in Haiti. And as the dust settles, Bill Clinton emerges as the appointed overseer of Haiti’s re-colonization.
So what could be done today to give Haiti immediate and long-term aid? The IMF, World Bank, and IDB could cancel Haiti’s spurious debt. France could return the $21 billion in reparations it forced Haitians to pay for ending slavery in Haiti. President Aristide could be returned to Haiti today, without incident. Instead of making the UN embassy in Haiti the largest embassy in the world, the president’s palace could be restored for the return of Haiti’s only legitimate leader, democratically elected, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
See also: www.haitiaction.net & www.haitisolidarity.net