We support the struggle for a free and independent Haiti, without gangs or occupying troops

By International Worker’s Unity-Fourth International

Violence between armed gangs and the police has worsened in the last week in Port-au-Prince, parallel to the intensification of the efforts of U.S. imperialism to ensure the sending of occupation troops to Haiti in application of U.N. Security Council’s Resolution 2699 of October 2023. The main gangs of the country, which control more than 80% of the capital, have attacked the National Palace, the Toussaint Louverture airport at the capital and the main prison of the country, freeing some 3,000 prisoners. This military offensive is taking place while the de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry, repudiated by the majority of the Haitian people but supported by U.S. imperialism, is on an international tour securing support for a foreign military occupation.

At the end of February, Henry met in Guyana with CARICOM heads of state and then visited Kenya, a country which in exchange for $100 million in U.S. military assistance has pledged to send 1,000 troops to Haiti. Kenya’s highest court stopped the deployment of troops, but the government continues to maneuver to send them.

The CELAC summit which brought together the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean in early March, also issued a declaration which included support for Resolution 2699 and the military occupation of Haiti. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres was present to lobby in support for the intervention.

As part of his efforts to legitimize the foreign military occupation, Ariel Henry pledged before the CARICOM meeting to hold elections by August 31, 2025. But he has not honored his earlier promises to hold elections by February 2024. It should be recalled that his appointment as Prime Minister in 2021, after the assassination of then President Jovenel Moïse, was decided by the Core Group, composed of the ambassadors of the governments of the U.S., Canada, France, Brazil, Spanish state and Germany, as well as representatives of the European Union, the U.N. and the OAS. Under his mandate the accelerated deterioration of the country that characterized the right-wing governments of Martelly and Moïse, of the PHTK, also propped up by U.S. and European imperialism, has continued.

Kenya’s repressive forces have a long record of crimes against their own people. In July 2023, in the face of protests against the anti-people economic measures of William Ruto’s government, police repression left more than 20 people dead. Other Caribbean and African governments have also been bribed by U.S. imperialism to be part of the occupation contingent in Haiti, among them the Bahamas, Jamaica, Senegal, Belize, Burundi, Chad and Benin. An attempt is being made to reedit the failed experience of MINUSTAH, led by Brazilian troops sent by Lula da Silva between 2004 and 2017, joined by troops from other self-styled progressive governments in the region such as those of Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and Chile. These troops committed atrocious crimes against the Haitian people, generated a cholera epidemic that killed thousands of people and were co-responsible in generating the conditions in which criminal mafias have prospered, sustaining the regime that emerged from the coup d’état of 2004 and its anti-popular governments at the service of the Haitian bourgeoisie.

Similar to Central American gangs or Mexican drug cartels, Haitian gangs are supplied with weapons from the U.S. and financed through drug trafficking and extortion, reaching agreements with politicians and businessmen. As a consequence of the confrontations between gangs and their actions against the population, around 4,000 people died and 3,000 were kidnapped in 2023, while more than 300,000 were forcibly displaced. Agricultural production has been damaged by gang attacks on the peasantry.

The Haitian state has about 10,000 police officers in a country of about 11 million people. During the past year, it is estimated that more than 1,000 police officers emigrated to the United States. Gangs have also infiltrated the police. Imperialism intends to make up for the repressive deficit of the Haitian bourgeoisie with a foreign occupation to perpetuate the subjugation of the Haitian people to illegitimate, corrupt and servile governments in the interests of the U.S. and the European powers.

It is very alarming that in a situation of economic and social asphyxiation, with a minimum wage that is equivalent to less than 4 dollars a day and an annualized inflation of over 20%, while hunger increases, the de facto government of Ariel Henry at the end of February paid 500 million dollars to the Venezuelan government for Petrocaribe debts. In 2018 thousands of people mobilized in Haiti against corruption in the management of this fund. Governments received around four billion dollars through the Petrocaribe financing scheme, most of which was embezzled. Any payments related to this debt should have come only from the money of the corrupt and oligarchs who enriched themselves with Petrocaribe, not from the State funds needed to meet the urgent needs of food, health, education and access to water and electricity. We demand that the terms of the Petrocaribe debt negotiation be made public.

Despite the terrible difficulties, the mobilizations of the Haitian people against the government of Ariel Henry, and their recent mobilization in defense of the irrigation canal in Ouanaminthe, show that there remains great potential in the mass movement. There have also been attempts at community self-organization to confront and expel gangs from popular neighborhoods. The challenge is, in the midst of the enormous difficulties presented by the situation, to take steps towards the unity of those on the left who are striving for a government of the working class and the popular and peasant communities, as well as the youth, in order to make visible a political alternative to the organizations of the bourgeoisie and the mafias, both in the field of mobilization and in an eventual electoral process.

At the level of all Latin America and the Caribbean we must mobilize in solidarity with the Haitian people. In the Caribbean and African countries whose governments are preparing to send troops, we must oppose these plans in the service of U.S. and European imperialism. In the countries whose governments are members of the Core Group, demand the dissolution of this instrument of political subjugation that violates the right of the Haitian people to self-determination, especially when facing governments that claim to be democratic or even leftist, such as that of Lula in Brazil. We support the demand of the Haitian people to get rid of the illegitimate and anti-popular government of Ariel Henry supported by imperialism. We support the struggle against the criminal gangs that seek to terrorize urban and rural communities. No occupation troops or gangs. That all foreign debt be cancelled and that the U.S. and France pay reparations for their historic crimes against Haiti. For the unity of the Haitian working people to take their destiny into their own hands and overcome the current crisis.

International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International (IWUFI)
March 5, 2024