Having failed, so far, to strong-arm enough CARICOM member states to act as a fig leaf behind which it could launch an invasion of Haiti, the US is doubling down on its efforts. In early May, it was reported that Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations had visited Brazil to press the recently elected president, Lula da Silva to agree to Brazil leading the invasion force against Haiti. At this point it is not clear what decision, if any, has been made by the Brazilian government but it needs to be remembered that for 13 years, from 2004 – 2017, Brazilian troops played a significant role in the UN occupation forces in Haiti, called the U.N. Mission for Stablization of Haiti (Minustah).
This operation too was widely advertised as being carried out to “help the people of Haiti”. However, it helped them by introducing a devastating cholera epidemic into that country in 2010 which infected nearly a million people and resulted in some 10,000 deaths. For many years, the United Nations deliberately lied about its responsibility for introducing the cholera epidemic until finally being forced to admit to its role in 2016. In addition to introducing cholera, the UN occupying force was also involved in wide scale sexual abuse. Haitians have reported that the Minustah troops routinely sexually assaulted and exploited Haitian women, going as far as to sexually assault children as young as 11 years old, leaving some of them pregnant. This is how the US and the UN ‘helped’ Haiti in their last invasion and occupation and its current plans to launch another will likely have similar results.
As part of their efforts to drum up public support for its invasion plan, the US has launched a relentless disinformation campaign according to which “spiralling gang violence” is making life in Haiti unbearable for the people and “international support” – aka a US organised invasion – is needed to save the people of Haiti. At the heart of this propaganda onslaught is the racist logic that the people of Haiti are incapable of solving the problems their country faces and it’s only by the US taking up the ‘white man’s burden’ and invading that these can be resolved.
At the beginning of May, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, one Volker Türk, released a report focusing on the rise of crimes in Haiti and stating that “Haiti needs urgent support from the international community to stop the suffering of people at the hands of violent gangs”. His boss, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was reported on 14 May to have travelled to Kingston, Jamaica to meet with Prime Minister Andrew Holness to discuss among other matters, the situation in Haiti. Holness is on record as being willing to send Jamaican troops to Haiti as part of a US invasion force.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime database puts the murder rate in Haiti in 2018 at 6.68 per 100,000 people, lower than in the USA. The World Bank’s Intentional homicides data set puts the murder rate in Haiti at 13 per 100,000 people in 2021. These are the latest officially available statistics of the murder rate in Haiti. What these figures do show is that the murder rate in Haiti is well below a number of countries in the region. For example, the World Bank’s intentional homicides data set provides the following information on murder rates in the region in 2021, Antigua and Barbuda 17 murders per 100,000 people, St Vincent and the Grenadines 31 per 100,00, Trinidad and Tobago 29 per 100,000, St Lucia 39 per 100,000, Brazil 22 per 100,000 and Jamaica 52 per 100,000 people. The UN further reported that between January 1 and mid-March 2023, there were 531 murders in Haiti. However, the Jamaica Constabulary reported that in Jamaica from January 1 to April 30 this year, there were 409 murders. This means that the current murder rate in Haiti is 4.6 per 100,000 people while, in Jamaica, it is 13.64 per 100,000 or three times worse than in Haiti.
It is clear from the data that the murder rate in Haiti is significantly lower than in many countries across the region and lower than in some countries who are supporting the idea of a US invasion of Haiti to deal with “spiralling crime”. Will these individuals also be calling for “urgent international support” in the form of a foreign military invasion to bring down crime and save the people in their own countries or is such special treatment for Haiti only?
The fact of the matter is that the planned US invasion of Haiti has nothing to do with helping the people of that country. Its sole purpose is to reinforce and support the unpopular puppet government that the US and its Core Group allies have imposed on the people of Haiti and which the Haitian people completely reject. The main problem facing Haiti and her people is not the criminal gangs but the relentless colonial oppression of Haiti by the US and its Core Group in pursuit of their selfish economic interests. The Core Group must be disbanded and its interference in Haiti must end. The illegitimate US backed government must step down and the people of Haiti must be allowed to sort out their country’s problems themselves.
Hands off Haiti!
Disband the Core Group!
No to the US invasion!