Mehring Books is pleased to make available to readers of the World Socialist Web Site a pamphlet from its archives that provides historical background to the events currently unfolding in Haiti. Published in 1987 under the title Down with the Namphy Junta! US Hands off Haiti!, this pamphlet reviews the record of imperialist oppression of the Caribbean nation from the invasion of US Marines in 1915, through the bloody reign of “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc,” and up to the tragic events of November 1987, at which time thugs loyal to the US-backed regime of General Henri Namphy killed scores of unarmed Haitians attempting to exercise their right to vote.
The US installed General Namphy after the fall of hated dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as “Baby Doc,” in 1986. His regime continued using all of the brutal methods of repression employed by his predecessor, including the Tonton Macoutes, notorious paramilitary units. The administration of US President Ronald Reagan, with the support of congressional Democrats, sought to use the 1987 election violence as a pretext for military intervention on the island.
This pamphlet compiles a series of articles from the Bulletin, the weekly newspaper of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party, in November and December 1987. The warning issued by the Workers League at the time against illusions that US troops would “liberate” the people of Haiti retains full force. The Bulletin wrote:
“Behind all the hypocritical expressions of outrage by the capitalist politicians lies the determination to preserve US economic hegemony and political domination over Haiti and the entire Caribbean. Yankee imperialism was born in the brutal exploitation of the masses of this region and continues to condemn its peoples to the status of oppressed semi-colonies or direct colonial rule. Control over the resources, cheap labor and markets in the Caribbean remains a vital prop for US imperialism and it is forced to defend it even more ruthlessly under conditions of mounting economic crisis.”
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