Biden administration drafts UN resolution for deployment of foreign military forces to Haiti

The Biden administration has drafted a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution authorizing the deployment of foreign troops to Haiti, according to a report in the Miami Herald. The resolution is the first official confirmation that the US is preparing yet another invasion of the Caribbean nation, which has suffered for over a century from recurring, blood-soaked military interventions by American imperialism and its allies.

The draft resolution comes in the wake of direct calls, first from Haiti’s hated, US-installed president, Ariel Henry, and then the UN Secretary-General António Guterres for the dispatch of a “multinational rapid action force” to the island-nation to bolster its repressive police forces, restore bourgeois order and suppress mass popular discontent. “We wish to see our neighbours like the United States, like Canada, take the lead and move fast,” Bocchit Edmond, Haiti’s US ambassador told Reuters Oct. 10.

Protesters calling for the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry run after police fired tear gas to disperse them in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. [AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph]

A copy of the US resolution was obtained by the Herald and reportedly confirmed by multiple US and UN officials. The draft comes a few days after Guterres sent a letter to the UNSC calling for military forces be sent to Haiti in the name of combatting “armed gangs,” who are allied with opposing sides of Haiti’s political elite and have waged a campaign of violent terror against the population while gaining a hold over critical infrastructure. 

The resolution comes amid mass protests that have been ongoing for several weeks involving tens of thousands in the capital Port-au-Prince and other major cities like Cap-Haïtien and Gonaïves. The demonstrations have raised social tensions to a breaking point. Protesters are demanding the resignation of the unelected, imperialist-backed puppet regime of Henry and an end to dire social conditions in the impoverished country, marked by rising hunger and skyrocketing prices for fuel and other basic goods. 

In recent days, widespread demonstrations flared in opposition to Henry’s request for foreign security forces to help preserve his crumbling regime. Popular opposition among Haiti’s workers and oppressed masses is also directed against the gang syndicates that currently occupy large swathes of the country and have long collaborated with leading government officials in carrying out massacres against the civilian population. 

The insurgent movement of the Haitian working class and poor is emblematic of developments internationally, where worker unrest has sprung up in many parts of the globe in response to exploitation, rising social inequality and mass death created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This global strike wave has emerged in countless countries, from Argentina and South Africa to Lebanon and the United States. 

The US and Canada announced Saturday that they had deployed armored vehicles and other military supplies to Haiti’s police, which have had to surrender control of territory, including in much of Port-au-Prince, to powerful gangs.  A spokesman for the US military’s Southern Command said the provision of equipment was a joint operation involving the US Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force. 

A US State Department statement said the equipment would assist Haiti’s National Police (HNP) “in their fight against criminal actors fomenting violence and disrupting the flow of critically-needed humanitarian assistance.” 

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Images circulated on social media Sunday showing a Canadian Boeing C-17 Globemaster III landing at Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture international airport and unloading the first batch of military equipment. Although Canada’s embassy in Haiti declared the shipment was not for impending Canadian and American troops, many on social media found the claim dubious at best and saw it as a sign foreign intervention is imminent. 

The US-drafted UNSC resolution singles out one of the most notorious gangs and criminal leaders rampaging the nation, Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier, and his G9 Family and Allies. The draft proposes sanctions be imposed on groups and individuals who “threaten the peace, security or stability of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country,” including an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on perpetrators.

A possible tipping point for the decision to send armed reinforcements came from a gang-related blockade of Varreux fuel terminal north of Port-au-Prince, a storage facility that is one of Haiti’s largest fuel distribution centers. The terminal owners announced Saturday that “armed men” had attacked their installations and fled with more than 28,000 gallons of petroleum products. 

The images of Canadian equipment landing in Port-au-Prince recalls the scenes in February of 2020 when US forces delivered armored vehicles to then-president Jovenel Moïse that he subsequently used to crack down on a broadening protest movement against his plans to consolidate a presidential dictatorship.

Equipment delivered to the Moïse government was transferred directly into the hands of G9 and Chérizier, a former officer of the HNP who would become a henchman of Moïse in terrorizing the population and crushing dissent. Among the most infamous terror campaigns launched by G9 and sanctioned by Moïse were an August–September 2020 massacre that left 22 dead, and the April 2021 massacre staged in the Bel Air slum of Port-au-Prince.

The phony claim that the sending of arms to Haiti is necessary to assist the HNP in combatting gang violence is refuted by the violent repression the police has meted out to protestors throughout the wave of demonstrations prompted by the ever-worsening economic situation, including last month’s elimination, at the behest of the IMF, of oil price subsidies.

Last week police shot at protestors demonstrating against a foreign military intervention, killing at least one young woman.

People carry a woman's body after she was shot by police during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. [AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph]

The reality is that the thuggish gangs share deep connections with significant sections of Haiti’s National Police dating back at least to Moïse’s regime. According to a survey conducted by Sant Karl Lévêque, a human rights organization, an estimated 40 to 60 percent of police officers have connections with gangs. 

The US media’s coverage of the social disaster unfolding in Haiti has increasingly sought to exploit the gang violence to justify a colonial-style occupation of Haiti aimed at reasserting Washington’s domination in its Caribbean “backyard.” 

By far the loudest purveyor for this filthy propaganda drive has been the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, which has issued editorial after editorial demanding “boots on the ground” to prevent the country from being “sucked deeper into a vortex of anarchy.” 

The most recent was published October 11, under the title “Yes, intervene in Haiti—and push for democracy.” The editorial concedes Henry is a US puppet, who presides over an “unelected, illegitimate government” that “has either enabled or promoted the country’s dissolution into criminal gang fiefdoms allied with the country’s elite.” But then, without missing a heartbeat, it suggests a US-led military intervention can promote democracy, going so far as to claim “Haitians would support—if with misgivings—the chance” foreign troops would provide “at restoring some semblance of normal life.”

American imperialism’s repeated occupations of Haiti

Since the dawn of the 20th century there have been three major US-led military interventions in Haiti—launched in 1915, 1994 and 2004. All were aimed at upholding American imperialism’s role as the central economic and geopolitical power in the Caribbean region, and ensuring the impoverished country was saddled with a government entirely servile to Washington and the US financial elite. 

The first occupation, which lasted until 1934, was not Washington’s first instance of interference in Haiti but rather consolidated its grip over the country. Six months beforehand, US Marines had marched on the state treasury in Port-au-Prince and took the nation’s entire gold reserve. At the height of the US military presence, 5000 Marines were stationed in the country of less than 3 million and brutally suppressed a radical and largely peasant-based resistance movement, the Caco. The fighting led to the murder of over 15,000 Haitians but only 16 US fatalities. 

In seeking to crush the anti-occupation rebellion, the US employed the nascent technique of aerial bombardment. Caco villages with families, children and livestock were bombed in indiscriminate aerial assaults. Ground troops were then sent to kill survivors.

The resistance to the occupation reached a climax when rebel Charlemagne Peralte was pinned to a door and left on a street to rot to death for days at the end of 1919. The US military described Peralte as the “supreme bandit of Haiti.”

At the outset of the occupation, American forces seized Haiti’s customs houses, imposed martial law, instituted press censorship, and outlawed dissent. The US installed a pliant president, imposed a one-sided “treaty” ratified only by the US Senate and rewrote the constitution to eliminate a ban against foreign land ownership.

After two decades of occupation, American forces left the country in the hands of army and police trained in the violent methods of the Marines, and a thin layer of business elites and politicians who enriched themselves while the masses languished in poverty. The US-trained Haitian army became the backbone of capitalist domination for the next five decades. For almost thirty years, the US backed to the hilt the stridently anti-Communist dictatorships of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and then his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, despite the atrocities they perpetrated through their tonton macoutes paramilitary forces.

The second occupation came in September 1994 when a 20,000-strong US occupation force landed on the island to return to power Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who three years earlier had been ousted in a Washington-backed coup led by General Raoul Cèdras. With the de facto support of the Bush senior and Bill Clinton administrations, Cèdras presided over a reign of terror in Haiti’s poorest neighborhoods perpetrated by his military and CIA-backed death squads.

But ultimately Clinton decided capitalist rule in Haiti and Washington’s global agenda of “human rights” imperialism would be better served by allowing Aristide—who following his ouster has prostrated himself to the US and pledged to impose IMF austerity and privatization policies—to be returned to power and serve out the remaining 16 months in his presidential term. The Pentagon’s occupation force encountered no resistance from its longstanding Haitian army allies and with Washington’s blessing Cèdras was allowed to retire to Panama, where he lives to this day.  

How Washington and Ottawa collaborated with fascist killers to overthrow Aristide

Having returned Aristide briefly to power in 1994, the US military acting in concert with Canadian and French military forces, and in close coordination with former Tonton Macoutes and army personnel who had served as killers for the Cèdras’ dictatorship, organized his bloody overthrow in 2004, four years after he had been re-elected as president. In his second term, Aristide was even more servile to US interests and at their behest implemented neo-liberal policies and ceded key positions in his government to opposition forces. But this was not enough to calm the nerves of the traditional ruling-elite who wanted to be able to plunder the resources of the state at will and viewed Aristide, because of his previous association with social opposition, with pathological hatred.

For several years, the George W. Bush administration placed economic and diplomatic pressure on Aristide, demanding that he agree to power-sharing with the representatives of the traditional Haitian capitalist elite—bankers, sweatshops capitalists, and Duvalierist state functionaries—and right-wing middle class professionals. Subsequently, no doubt buoyed by the supposed success of the US invasion of Iraq less than a year before, Washington opted for regime change. Toward this end, it and Ottawa encouraged, if not directly set in motion, a rebellion of former army officers and Tonton Macoutes. North America’s imperialist governments refused all requests from Haiti’s elected government for assistance until the rebels were at the gates of Port-au-Prince, then intervened under the pretext of preserving order and democracy and promptly kidnapped Aristide and bundled him on a plane for the Central African Republic.      

Today’s gang leaders, such as the former officer Chérizier, allied with sections of the HNP and security forces, follow in the footsteps of the homicidal terrorists mobilized for the 2004 coup, like Guy Phillippe and Louis-Jodel Chamblain. Both were former Haitian army officers with US ties. Phillippe received training from US Special Forces, while Chamblain was a leader of the CIA-backed FRAPH organization that carried out state terror in the early 1990s. 

Apart from having a government in Port-au-Prince even more at Washington’s beck-and-call, an important motivation for the third American military occupation of Haiti was to prevent Haiti’s socio-economic and political crisis from triggering a refugee crisis. The Bush administration feared an outpouring of refugees would destabilize neighboring Dominican Republic—a site of unfettered domination by US corporations—and the greater Caribbean region, and further expose the hypocrisy and brutality of US imperialism’s treatment of refugees.

The US, Canadian and French military forces that ousted Aristide and his government, were soon replaced by a UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). This was largely staffed by military personnel from lesser developed countries, including Brazil, Jordan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. MINUSTAH troops would remain in the country until 2017, serving as a backstop for a succession of right-wing, US backed governments. The UN “stabilization forces” also inadvertently introduced cholera to Haiti provoking a major health crisis.

Following the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people, US and Canadian troops were redeployed to Haiti under the MINUSTAH mandate. Under the guise of providing humanitarian relief, they ensured the catastrophe did not ignite a social explosion or mass refugee exodus, then promptly left Haiti to its fate. The whereabouts of the $13 billion donated for Haitian earthquake relief, very little of which reached the Haitian people, and the role Bill Clinton, who served as co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, played in its dispersal remain live political issues in Haiti.

The military intervention in Haiti that the US, with the support of Canada, and other of its allies is now preparing is motivated by the same predatory imperialist interests and intrigues as those that preceded it.

Washington is concerned that the political crisis and growing social unrest will destabilize the region. Dominican president and multi-millionaire Luis Abinader along with several other Dominican officials have been pleading for months that the imperialist powers place occupation forces in Haiti. They fear that the insurrectionary movement in Haiti could inspire Dominican workers and worsen the Dominican Republic’s own refugee crisis.

Above all, Washington wants to ensure that whatever government holds power in Port-au-Prince, whether headed by Henry or another member of Haiti’s kleptocracy, its leading personnel are selected by Washington and its policies tailored to US interests.

Moreover, at a moment when the US is leading a criminal NATO-instigated war against Russia over Ukraine, American imperialism wants to preserve the sordid fiction that it has the responsibility for maintaining “order” in the Americas and for launching “humanitarian” interventions on the international arena. 

The working class in the United States, Canada and worldwide must come to the defense of Haitian workers in opposing any US-orchestrated military intervention in Haiti. The democratic and social rights of the Haiti’s workers and rural toilers will only be secured in revolutionary struggle, led by the working class on a socialist internationalist program, against imperialism and the venal national bourgeoisie.