By Ryan Fox- Oaklandpostonline
There is very little debate that the United States of America is the military and economic juggernaut of the world. In order to achieve that status, the U.S. has had to exploit many smaller nations. One nation that has suffered severely from U.S. intervention is the tiny Caribbean state of Haiti. You may remember hearing about Haiti recently as a massive earthquake killed thousands back in 2010. You may have asked back then, why are the people of Haiti suffering so much? Why are they so poor? Well, the United States is partially to blame.
It is hard to sum up the history of Haiti, so I will try my best to keep it short. Haiti first became an independent nation from France in 1804 after a brutal 13 year civil war. It was the second republic in the Western Hemisphere (after the U.S.) and was the world’s only successful slave rebellion. Due to the fact that the country was run by former slaves, it became ostracized in the international community which was dominated by Europeans. Haiti fell under the control of a number of crooked presidents and government overthrows were a semi-common occurrence. In 1915 the U.S. occupied Haiti and essentially installed a puppet government. The U.S. occupation ended in 1934, and left the nation in shambles. In 1957 Francois Duvalier took control of Haiti and initiated the most brutal dictatorship the country had ever seen. He and his successor, his son Jean-Claude, were responsible of thousands of murders carried out by a secret police unit. The Duvalier regime had complete U.S. backing, due to its anti-communist stance.
After the Duvalier’s were overthrown, the people of Haiti were finally free to have their first democratic election. 63% of the Haitian people supported political new comer Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a priest who promised reform and to help the countries poor. Unfortunately Aristide was not liked by the U.S., since he sought to increase the wages and living standards of everyday Haitians. This clashed with the interest of U.S. business which ran a number of sweat shops in Haiti. The U.S. would overthrow him not just once, but twice. Each time he was elected by an overwhelming majority of Haitians, and each time thousands of Haitians were slaughtered by forces that were financially supported by the U.S.
This massacre of innocents is a huge kick in the gut for those who truly believe in democracy. Each time Haitians voted for Aristide, the U.S. stood in the way. Now the U.S. is interfering again, and we could see more violence as a result.
Back in the 2010 presidential election in Haiti, the U.S. backed now President Michel Martelly. Martelly has picked a successor, Jovenel Moise. As of when this article was written Moise now stands against Jude Celestin, a politician under Aristide and an overall Aristide supporter. Martelly and Moise’s party, the Haitian Tèt Kale Party, has promised outright violence if Moise does not win. Martelly has also been using the Haitian police to assault voters who might support Celestin. Will the U.S. back Moise and his reign of violence, just has it has done before? Only time will tell, and it is our job to hold the U.S. accountable for fighting against popular democracy.