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Who remembers there is a small place in the Caribbean Antilles, surrounded by the sea and with no rivers, with about ten million souls whose majority is forced to live in misery, many times without electric light (even because when there is light they cannot afford it), no clean water to wash their hands, no drainage system, even less in the camps made with sticks, paperboard and plastic, affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, cholera and the occupation forces of the Minustah?

By Marta Morales

They say true pain hurts inside. That is no news! To talk about Haiti, to think about the population and not feel a deep pain inside is practically impossible for every true Marxist, as “nothing human is alien to us”; and the same is valid for anyone who defends human rights.

To talk about Haiti is to understand that capitalism kills. In face of the apathy, indifference and abandonment by the rich and powerful, who even under a situation of extreme poverty and desperation continue to drive their affairs, we need to understand they are not concerned about Haiti if it is not about exploiting the workers even more; they do not care unless it is to make more profits, competing with the international prices in detriment of the health and life of the poor, miserable workers who have lost almost everything except their dignity and their ancestral rebelliousness.

Because Haiti was the crib of rebelliousness in our invaded America, pillaged and colonized –and now going through a re-colonization process by the US, owner of the world, and its cohorts.

The Pride Of Making History

Haiti was the first nation to achieve independence in America, in 1804, and featured the first and only black slaves’ victorious revolution in the world. It is not something to dismiss. On the contrary, that revolution, that history, that heritage, made the imperialism constantly concerned about controlling it and crush it.

Since discovered in the Spanish invasion in 1492, until 1625, Haiti was under Spanish domain. Then it was port of French pirates and bucaneers, until in 1697 the Spanish and French divided the territory, which is now both Haiti and Dominican Republic.

Thus, the Haitian independence struggle went through several stages, in which different alliances between land-owners, slaves, merchants and poor white people unified against the colonial pact. Then, the free mulattos supported the poor white people living in the island, hoping to achieve equal rights, until in 1790 the white repressed the mulattos, so the latests allied with the rebels, which in 1791 started the revolution that would make them free in 1804.

Led since 1793 by Toussaint L’Overture, who confronted the Spaniards, the French and the British until being taken as prisoner in 1802 and killed in France. Then Jean Jacques Dessalines took charge, he defeated the French and Dessalines declared the independence while calling himself emperor (the Napoleon way…).

Haiti became, like this, the first recpublic independent of the European domain, through a revolution made by slaves.

The North American invasions and Duvalierism

In the XX century already, the rebellions were almost permanent. In 1915, the US invaded Haiti for the first time and imposed forced work to the population until 1934.

In 1957, François Duvalier, later known as Papa Doc, took charge; his dictatorial regime lasted until 1986 (since 1971, after his dead, his son took place, Jean Claude – Baby Doc), through dead squads, the globally known “tonton macoutes”, which established terror by killing everyone opposed to Duvalier. In 1986, a popular revolt confronted the tonton macoutes, who were beaten and carried through the streets of Puerto Príncipe, capital of the country, what forced Baby Doc to run to France for asylum – in 2011 the government of Michel Martelly brought him back to the country, were he died of a heart attack in 2014.

Since 1986, there were several elections in Haiti, all fraudulent, which caused several popular revolts and in more than one occasion impeded the assumption of the candidates the imperialism was trying to impose, since it installed its military forces in the country after Duvalier’s fall.

In 1990, through a popular front and with 67% of the votes, Jean Bertrand Aristide took position, a father following the Liberation Theology against Bazin, the imperialist candidate who only got 14% of the votes. However, seven months later Arisitide was deposed through a military coup led by Cedras, who killed 5000 followers of Aristide in an action compared to the the ones taken by the Argentine Videla’s or the Chilean Pinochet’s dictatorships.

The resistance that took places against Cedras, the crisis it caused in the regime, and the possibility of a new democratic revolution made the US imperialism invade the country again in 1994.

After the invasion new elections were called, in which the candidate of Aristide, René Préval, won with 87% of the votes. In 1995, he dissolved the Armed Forces. In 2000, Aristide himself replaced Préval with 92% of the votes, in what was considered the first civil succession in the history of Haiti, which has suffered 56 military coups already.

Anyone could think since Aristide’s assumption, and with such level of popular support, the government would be concerned about improving the life conditions of the workers and the Haitian people. However, Aristide had a pact with the Clintons (back then Bill Clinton was president of the US, and his wife Hillary was already part of the Secretariat of the US State) to implement the hard neo-liberal plan that Cedras was not able to.

The dissatisfaction and great demonstrations in the country due to this situation made the US conclude the Popular Front was no further useful to impose the hunger and misery policies, so they organized the fall of Aristide launching a campaign against him, inventing paramilitary groups like the Nicaraguan “Contras” after the Sandinist revolution. Like this, it prepared a third invasion that took place in 2004, with Bush son in power, who “outsourced” the occupation to the Latin American governments, with Brazil and Lula at the head, leading Argentine, Uruguayan, Chilean, Paraguayan and Bolivian military forces, as the US itself was focused on the invasion of Iraq and the conflicts in Middle East.

Just in 2006 they called for new elections, in which once agains Préval won with a wide difference despite the fraud, but the masses on the streets forced the imperialism to recognize him. However, as soon as Préval took turn, he became a US puppet, repressing strikes, privatizing the State companies, signing the Hope Act[1], completing with this the transition of Haiti into a colony of the US.

The Minustah

The Minustah (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) invaded Haiti in 2004 (year of the bi-centenary of the independence), and for 12 years now has been usurping the sovereignty of Haiti and imposing nefarious conditions for the workers and the people. Camouflaged as a “peace mission” (where there was actually no war) and even as “humanitarian help” (after the earthquake in January of 2010), the Minustah is nothing but an international armed force of the lackey governments, especially the Latin American ones, serving the US imperialism.

Its soldiers occupy the streets of the cities, control the workers and the people, rape women and children, sack belongings, transmit diseases already eliminated like cholera, an leave the country annually to give space to other soldiers that arrive to repeat the same cycle, the same horror and subjection story, without the country actually being restored after the “natural disasters” and without the “humanitarian help” ending the precarious camps, which the workers and poor that survived the earthquake -and more recently the Hurricane Matthew- are forced to live in.

Besides, Haiti became a training camp for the Latin American troops, which try to reproduce the same repressive methods in their countries to secure the demonstrations and rises or popular rebellions. A very known case is Rio de Janeiro and the police repression to the “favelas” [slums], through the implementation of the UPPS [Pacifying Police Unities], taking the life of young black, poor people, specifically.

The Clinton and the cheap workforce

Not to talk about reconstruction of the country after the earthquake. The fraud regarding this is such that the West Department -where Puerto Principe is- was the most affected region, but the reconstruction is taking place in the North East, following the Plan Collier[2], which in 2009 was taken to Haiti by the General Secretary of the United Nations.

Like this, for example, the investment made for the construction of factories to shelter workers with no rights and starving was taken out of the money arriving to Haiti as humanitarian help after the earthquake. And hundreds of hectares of cultivated land were expropriated by the government of Martelly following an agreement signed in 2011 (one year after the earthquake) between Hillary Clinton, the Inter-American Development Bank and a Korean textile firm, without the deprived families receiving any compensation until the present day.

But there is even more: the Clintons made of Haiti “their own country”- very much like Leopold II, from Belgium, with the Congo Free State. Since 1994 (date of the second US invasion), the Clintons began to take the country as their own, benefitting out of the Operation “Support Democracy”, which according to Wayne Madsen in an interview with Strategic Cultura Foundation should have been called “Operation Support Clinton’s Wealth”.

In 2010, Bill Clinton was named by the UN the representative of the US in Haiti, and with the excuse of the earthquake, by Obama’s request, Clinton and Bush opened an account to raise funds “for the reconstruction in Haiti”, what actually turned the Clintons the investors themselves, although now in the field of gold mining.

The Clintons’ investments, guarded by the Minustah for a long time, soon started being preserved by the Israeli security company HLSI. And the list goes on, with the manipulation of the price fall of rice exported by Haiti -which went to be commercialized by the Dominican Republic after the maneuvers and business of Clinton- among other investments, all strongly protected by the occupation forces.

Basically, in the international division of labour, Haiti is reserved to the role of provider of cheap work force for the confection of products like jeans, t-shirts and shoes, which the workers that make them will never be able to use, as the salary they receive is US$5 per day after exhausting shifts, where their health and well-being worth nothing in a country with 80% of the population unemployed, which is to say a huge industrial army of reserve, allowing the free substitution of one worker by another, more prepared or with fewer pretensions.

In this situation, not only starvation, misery, natural disasters (avoidable or less controllable than in other countries better “ranked” in the world scale) are the common currency, but also the NGOs, those organisms that became popular over the last years because of the discredit in the governments. They self-call “non-governmental organisms” but their members, be them rightists or leftists, are nothing but servants that report back to the bosses every month. And we know who their bosses are; or at least we know for sure they are not the peoples they say they support.

Migratory Flow

In face of the devastating perspective of the poor, sacked Haiti, great part of the population decide to try their luck –that is to say, to work, eat and simply live- in other countries. The statistics point that, from the total migratory flow that took the Haitian population from 15 to 10 million since 2009 until the present, the people with superior studies are the ones to leave the country the most. Of them, 80% migrates: some to Canada (the French region, as they share the language), and the rest to different Latin American countries, specially Brazil that already counts with 70.000 Haitians.

Of course, not everything that shines is gold, and it could not be different in this case. I do not know how the Haitian that migrated to Canada are living, but I can say the Brazil that hosts immigrants is not precisely the paradise they were told they would find when they left Haiti to come here.

Arriving to Brazil after weeks of peregrination, many of them paying up to US$4000 to the “coyotes” (smugglers) in the borders just to be able to cross, they were sheltered in sheds in the state of Acre, with no comfort whatsoever and waiting for the papers to make them legal so they can work – mainly in the South of the country, in the agro-business so predominant in that region.

Many left Acre to go to São Paulo, financial capital of the country, wealthy and settled, which seemed to offer better life conditions. But the conditions for the Haitians were dirty boarding houses with barely nothing for $700 reales [US$215] (almost a minimum salary), in a poor neighborhood of the city [Baixada de Glicério]. Papers? No, they have to keep on waiting. With the crisis unleashed in Brazil, no one is concerned about Haitians.

Many times they are robbed or scammed as they do not understand the language and they do not know how to move through the immense city. Other times they are beaten by other workers, also poor, that were convinced the black Haitians come to the country to impose, through their needs, a reduction of salaries or the loss of labour rights.

The only possible solution

In other words… capitalism kills! And who does not feel the pain inside facing the reality of our Haitian brothers is, and will be, our enemy, as capitalism and imperialism are imposing these horrors and sentence of misery and alienation.

But the ones who do feel the pain, the ones who share it, have the obligation of the international solidarity, of a revolutionary international struggle to put an end to the capital, and with it also end starvation, misery, the sacking of our class and peoples. We have the obligation of fighting together, of organizing as class to impose the international socialist revolution, like the one carried by the slaves in Haiti to liberate us from the chains imposed by the capital.

Thus, the Haitian revolution has to be part of the Latin American revolution, not only because it is part of our continent but because that revolution will have to defeat the bourgeoisies of Brazil, Argentina and all other countries that called themselves “left-wing” even under bourgeois governments, which were accomplices of the imperialism against Haiti and against the people we owe so much to since the struggle for the first independence of our own countries. We must not forget that Simon Bolivar was sheltered and supported by the Haitian revolutionary government after his first and defeated attempt of independence. It is a huge debt we have with our Haitian bothers!

Is it hard? Of course. But it is the only possible solution for a world walking towards barbarianism if the working class and the workers as a whole do not change its direction through a socialist revolution. And there are no shortcuts to the revolution. It is the struggle, the organization, the party and the revolutionary leadership.

Is it impossible? No, it is not. And more: it is more necessary and urgent each time. The workers’ and masses’ needs are more urgent each time; the counter-revolutionary apparatuses that, like Stalinism, impeded the independent revolutionary organization of the workers, do not exist anymore or no longer have the same strength and prestige; and the new reformist counter-revolutionary apparatuses that emerge are not a quarter of the previous one, as a consolidated machine to avoid and/or crush revolutions.

On the other hand, the working class still struggles, the peoples struggle, the masses struggle… it is only necessary to build a revolutionary leadership to drive these processes leading the working class at the head of the working masses to the take of power. Is it much? Yet, it is… but it will be, or we have no solution.

The re-colonization steps forward, the poor peoples are more and more submerged in misery, the “developing” countries are indebted for generations, the “first world” countries are rapidly loosing the “social well-being” keeping them apart from the ills of capitalism… there is no corner of the world, no worker on the planet, which does not feel, live and suffer the consequences of an economy designed in favor of the profits of a few and the growing needs of all the rest.

So then, what to do? There is a lot to do, and it is hard, yes… but it is not impossible. We do not have much to loose. Haiti has barely nothing to loose, and like it also many other forgotten countries in the world, suffering and bleeding in wars, occupations, catastrophes and genocides. What more are we waiting for? Let us start building today the future we crave, so there is no more pain in Haiti or any forgotten countries in the world!

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[1] The Hope Act (textiles in commercial agreements) opens the gate for commercial exchange in which Haiti cannot decide what enters the country from the US and what does not; the US do not pay custom duties or taxes over the goods coming from the maquilas. There is no control over US products or the selling price in Haiti; there are no limits for the multinational capital; but there is a commitment of Haiti of moving forward with the privatization of public services, among other measures. That is why it is said the Hope Act, together with the military occupation, sealed the transformation of Haiti into a US colony [A.N].

[2] The Plan Collier for Economic Security in Haiti was designed by the professor Paul Collier under request of the General Secretary of the UN, and his report was taken to the country in 2009 (before the earthquake). It was designed on the base of commercial incentives to the US to bring a model of assistance to those who donate money to Haiti. In this case it is worth to say: to foresee is to lead!

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Translation: Sofia Ballack.