For Immediate Release
Media contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 19 – 2022 (Toronto)
On October 16, 2022, the Canadian military sent “security equipment” to Haiti, consisting of tactical and armored vehicles to the Haitian National Police, as the first step of what will become a broader multi-national intervention in the country. While falsely portrayed as “humanitarian intervention”, the Caribbean Solidarity Network stands in direct opposition to this latest Canadian imperial intervention in Haiti, as it undermines Haitian self-determination and props up the illegitimate, criminal, puppet government of Ariel Henry.
Media coverage repeatedly conveys the story of shortages, hardship and violence due to the unchecked power of gangs. The most notorious of these gangs, the G9 – with alleged ties to the ruling PTHK party, has been holding the terminal Varreux hostage, restricting shipments of food across the country. While the hardships facing Haitians are real, they must be reported within the wider context of both recent and historical realities. The primary reasons for Haiti’s current crisis is the repeated failures of past international interventions, which were largely conducted with thinly veiled economic and political interests that benefited foreign powers and the small group of Haiti’’s elite. Failure to acknowledge these wider realities and political interests is disingenuous, inaccurate and patronizing to the Haitian people. The current miseries faced by Haitians are but symptoms of ongoing political, military and economic interventions aimed at containing Haitian self-determination and controlling Haiti for the enrichment of corporate, private and political interests.
Since its independence in 1804, which is the first successful uprising and rebellion fought by enslaved peoples, (despite a formal declaration) Haiti has been targeted by multifaceted wars to reinstate colonialism, involving military, diplomatic and economic interventions from France, Great Britain, Spain, the US and Canada Today, the CORE Group, of which Canada is a leading member, along with the US, European and other neighboring country governments, is leading the neocolonial charge.
This latest intervention is not a defense of Haitian democracy, instead, it prevents it from taking root. Past and recent interventions have been diametrically opposed to the will of the Haitian people and have only benefited the interests of the small Haitian elite, who in turn benefit gangs and multinationals. The track record shows that when genuine democracy in Haiti was given a chance, it brought leaders who enacted policies that did not benefit the Haitian elites, who are strongly linked to gangs such as the G9, the political mafia of the ruling PHTK, and a handful of Canadian mining and apparel multinationals who use the ongoing crises to continue to pillage the country.
Canada’s intervention in Haiti for the past 22 years has helped to lay the foundation for the current crisis by 1) planning and directly overthrowing the democratically elected government in 2004; 2) supporting the deeply controversial and unpopular United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (2004-2017) that was prone to widespread human rights abuses, widely confirmed and documented; 3) providing support for the illegal coup government; 4) backing the illegitimate governments of Michel Martelly and Jovenel Moise; 5) directly intervening in Haiti’s political affairs by playing kingmaker, selecting Ariel Henry who has undermined Haiti’s progress; and 6) undermining any popular Haitian led solutions to the current crises.
On October 17, the Globe and Mail published an embarrassing piece calling for naked colonialism in an article titled, “The only way to save Haiti is to put it under UN control”. In a time when decolonization and the crimes of colonial rule in Canada and elsewhere are widely discussed and reported, it is shameful that recent articles in the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail are calling for direct intervention. These irresponsible calls for Canadian soldiers to directly intervene in Haiti’s political crisis perpetuate the pattern of harmful and unaccountable actions that weaken Haiti’s political institutions and popular calls for self determination.
The Caribbean Solidarity Network argues that the only way to save Haiti is for Canada to get out and stop meddling in Haiti. We base this position on a longstanding analysis of Canada’s role in Haiti, and repeated reasoning with the Haitian diaspora and comrades in Haiti.
The Caribbean Solidarity Network supports the self-determination of the Haitian people, a significant portion of which is directly opposed to foreign intervention and wishes to see a Haitian solution to the current political crisis. The nationwide protests are a grassroots response to the challenging economic conditions and gang violence, but they are also directly connected to a wider social uprising that began in 2018 against the Moise administration, elected with one of the lowest voter turnouts in the recent history of elections in Latin American and the Caribbean (9.6% of the electorate).
Canada is on the wrong side with this intervention, and must pull back and remove military aid. The government of Ariel Henry is illegitimate, and he and his predecessors have committed massacres and human rights abuses for years (such as the 2018 La Saline Massacre) without any statement of concern by the Canadian government. This intervention is disingenuous, there is no humanitarian concern, and only serves to preserve the neocolonial status quo.
We call for the Canadian government to listen to the Haitian people, who have repeatedly spoken against the illegitimate government of Ariel Henry, and reset our relationship to one based on respect for the Haitian people, their struggle, their sovereignty and their right to be able to govern their country how they see fit. As our comrades of Quebec-Haiti Solidaire say, “it is time to Let Haiti Breathe.”
We encourage everyone to learn more about Canada’s horrific track record of harmful intervention in Haiti, please read the writings of Jean St. Vil, the documentary Haiti Betrayed by Elaine Briere, or Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority by Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton. We will be releasing more information on Canada’s history of terrorism in Haiti in the upcoming days to provide more context.