The Haiti/Americas Team of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) vehemently protests CELAC’s (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños / Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) apparent support for multinational military intervention into Haiti, and strongly opposes CELAC including unelected Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in its recent summit in Buenos Aires. We deem such acts as betrayals of the Haitian people as well as the democratic and anti-colonial forces in the region.
Founded in 2011, CELAC is a bloc of 33 Caribbean and Latin American countries. It has stated its mission as promoting regional integration and providing an alternative to U.S. power in the region, especially as that power is channeled through the multi-state entity, Organization of American States (OAS).
At the conclusion of the summit, CELAC members released the Buenos Aires Declaration, a 28-page, 111-point document covering environmental cooperation, post-pandemic economic recovery, food and energy security. Included in that document was CELAC’s endorsement of the development of the region as a Zone of Peace, free of nuclear weapons and committed to non-militaristic solutions to intra-regional problems.
Yet, CELAC’s commitments to peace as well as to other principles, such as “democracy; the promotion, protection and respect of Human Rights, international cooperation, the Rule of Law, multilateralism, respect for territorial integrity, non-intervention in the internal affairs of States, and defense of sovereignty,” are all directly undermined by its stance on Haiti. By inviting Henry, CELAC has legitimized an unpopular, Core Group-installed, de facto prime minister in Haiti. Henry has not only refused to hold elections, but he has presided over the departure from office of every single elected official in the country. Meanwhile, against the wishes of the Haitian masses and majority, he has begged for foreign intervention to shore up his power.
The Haiti/Americas Team affirms the words of Ajamu Baraka, chairperson of BAP’s Coordinating Committee, who stated, “Solidarity has to be reciprocal. CELAC must commit itself to supporting the democratic struggles in Haiti against an illegitimate U.S. puppet [government]. Inviting the Haitian government to CELAC is like inviting Juan Guaidó to represent Venezuela.”
Points 101 and 102 of the Buenos Aires Declaration directly address the situation in Haiti. Point 102 endorses the September 8 letter from the UN Secretary General to the President of the Security Council encouraging the organization of a “specialized multinational force” to intervene in Haiti. Nowhere in the Declaration do they mention the role of the international community in creating the current crisis in Haiti. Nowhere do they mention that the crisis is a crisis of imperialism, brought on by the United Nations, the Core Group (an alliance of countries as well as multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank), the United States, Canada, and other so-called “friends” of Haiti in the international community.
If CELAC supports non-intervention in the internal affairs of independent states, how can they call for foreign intervention in Haiti? If CELAC promotes a Zone of Peace, how can they demand foreign military intervention? If CELAC is for regional sovereignty, how can they support an imperialist design, driven by the United States and others? If CELAC is an advocate for the people of the Caribbean and Latin America, how can they so brazenly ignore the wishes and demands of the people of Haiti?
BAP’s Haiti/Americas Team suggests CELAC government leaders listen to the voices of the Haitian people, and their supporters in the region, as well as CELAC Social. This new entity of more than 200 organizations issued its own declaration demanding, in part, that the “region give its own response to the Haitian question, respecting the principle of non-intervention and the right of the people of Haiti to define sovereignly their destiny.”
CELAC’s position on Haiti is ill-informed and dangerous, representing an all-too frequent, reactionary “Haiti exception” when it comes to the “progressive” governments of the Americas. Peace and solidarity in the region cannot be achieved at the expense of Haitian sovereignty. CELAC must avoid contributing to Haiti’s current crisis—the crisis of imperialism.