Power & Market

American Policies Only Make Haiti Worse

Since the end of the Cold War, the US has overthrown Haiti’s government three times. In 1991 to remove President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power. In 1994 to put Aristide back in. In 2004 to remove Jean-Bertrand Aristide again, followed by an invasion of Marines. This, followed by a 15-year United Nations occupation of the country. 20,000 American troops would bolster that occupation after the 2011 earthquake.

The multinational occupation of the country introduced novel diseases, both biological and social. The country saw its first ever outbreak of cholera in 2010, resulting in the deaths of thousands. The US NGO-Industrial complex descended upon Haiti. Bill Clinton co-chaired the “Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.” The IHRC controlled the disbursement of almost all aid and services in the country. Bill Clinton, really the Clinton Foundation, became the country’s de-facto colonial overlord. Real colonial overlords tend to leave behind functioning railroads, schools, and hospitals. Haiti got rigged elections, the dismantling of its state institutions, foreign mercenaries, and politically connected NGOs.

Between 1990 and 2010, Haitian elections (when they occurred) were characterized by uneventful transfers of power between the same two people, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Rene Preval. After the 2004 US coup exiled Aristide to South Africa, Preval won the 2006 elections with 52% of the vote. He concluded his term in 2011 by revoking Aristide’s exile, despite pressure from Barack Obama on both the Haitian and South African governments. Aristide got the message kept out of politics until late 2016.

Foreshadowing the installation of a comedian as president of Ukraine in 2019, the unquestionably rigged 2010 Haitian elections saw the ascension of a Konpa singer named Michel Joseph “Sweet Micky” Martelly. The October 2015 elections were so obviously rigged in favor of Martelly’s hand-picked successor, Jovenel Moise, the ballots were annulled. In November 2016, in Haiti’s last elections ever, Moise won in the first round with 52% of the vote. The UN initiated a withdrawal from the country in April 2017, completed in October 2019. In July 2021, after overstaying his term by a year, Moise was assassinated. Ariel Henry was appointed “interim” President and Prime Minister under pressure from the Biden Administration.

Back Into Haiti

Haiti’s political and security situation has deteriorated. The government failed to hold the October 2019 elections, or any others. Street gangs filled the security vacuum. In January 2023, the last 10 senators in Haiti’s parliament saw their terms expire. Haiti had no democratically elected government officials, and a president with no legitimacy.

So now the US wants to go back in. Marine Times reports that the United States is considering deploying an elite Marine security team to Haiti because of the deteriorating security situation. Accounts affiliated with the Neocon think tank AEI are claiming that “the timer for an international mission was yesterday.”

The boogeyman in the push for another multinational aggression against Haiti is Jimmy “Babekyou” Cherizier. The former police officer is accused of forming a gang and carrying out over a dozen massacres around the capital city of Port-au-Prince between 2019 and 2021. He was accused of carrying out summary executions after two other officers were killed during a police raid in partnership with the UN, after which he was fired from the police. He is also accused of participating in the “La Saline Massacre,” where Haitian police allegedly worked with the G9 gang in a slaughter where “they pulled men and women form their homes to execute them in the street. Some were beheaded, others chipped into small pieces, and others shot.”

The G9 Family is a coalition of 9 groups in the capital, accused of having ties to Haiti’s conservative PHTK party. Predominantly “Delmas 6”, personally led by Cherizier and formed by people in his neighborhood of the same name. Also “Baz Pilate”, composed of dismissed and serving police officers, often from specialized corps such as SWAT and riot police. The alliance includes former and serving police officers, young ex-Lavalas (Aristide supporter) members, PHTK’s political base from working-class neighborhoods, deportees and former soldiers.

Cherizier admits to being a vigilante, arguing that “The day I become a gang leader who gives someone a gun to go steal, bring me money, to kidnap, to do bad things, that’s the day I’ll take that gun and shoot myself in the head. I will never be a gang leader. Yes, I’m a social leader. Where I am, I organize the funerals, weddings, communions, and take care of the sick. Yes, I am a leader.” A UN report begrudgingly associates the formation of the G9 coalition with a 12% reduction in murders.

The evidence for Cherizier’s guilt in these massacres is weak. All accusations originate from Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network. RNDDH is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA cutout specializing in “spyless coups”. Before the 2004 US invasion, the RNDDH falsely accused Aristide’s government of genocide in La Scierie. The UN Special Rapporteur admitted that “I don’t want to say that they are not a real human rights NGO, but I think that for this particular case, they have failed.” Likewise, the RNDDH report on La Saline provides no evidence for Jimmy’s participation in, or physical presence at, the “massacre” which eyewitnesses describe as an gun battle between gangs.

Insane rumors have percolated about Cherizier. The Daily Mail claims without evidence that his nickname “Babekyou” comes from his “reputation for burning people alive - something he has long denied.” Burning people alive is something you do to send a message, a message that is lost if you deny it. The Telegraph has taken his assertion that civil war in the country would “lead to a genocide” as evidence that he plans to perpetrate a genocide.

You don’t need to be libertarian to see that Ariel Henry and Jimmy Cherizier have exactly the same level of legitimacy to their claims to represent Haiti. Henry wasn’t elected to the office he holds, and his terms have expired. Even under Haiti’s Constitution, he’s just a guy in a suit.

This is not an argument that the US should give weapons to Jimmy. There is no guarantee that such weapons would stay in his hands. His less capable or morally upright lieutenants might give into the temptation to sell excess supply. Some weapons may be captured in battle. Members of his coalition include gang members who might decide that the new balance of power favors a return to criminal activity.

Why America Does This and Why It Must Stop

The US continually intervenes in Latin American countries for the apparent purpose of ensuring that they be as dangerous as possible for the people who live there.

Consider El Salvador. The US has gone into apoplectics over Nayib Bukele’s successful transformation of the country from the global murder capital to the incarceration capital. In Fall 2020, the US and its cutouts accused Bukele of negotiating a secret pact with MS-13 to cut back on murder so his Nuevas Ideas party could win the election. For this it targeted high ranking Salvadoran officials under the Magnitsky act, also now used against Cherizier. When Bukele announced he would seek reelection in 2024, the AP compared him to Daniel Ortega and Juan Orlando Hernández. Bukele has directly accused the US Ambassador of interfering on behalf of crime lords.

Consider Honduras. The country is the de-facto headquarters of USSOUTHCOM. John Kelly, Trump’s Chief of Staff, was its commander living in Tegulcicalpa, not Miami. In 2009, President José Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a US-backed military coup. Ensuing shenanigans included an election so dirty, Trump-favored OAS Secretary General Luis Leonardo Almagro admitted that “facing the impossibility of determining a winner, the only way possible so that the people of Honduras are the victors is a new call for general elections.” The coup, which installed a known drug trafficker as president, had blowback. Zelaya’s wife formed a coalition with various far-left groups called Libre and in 2022 was elected the country’s first ever Democratic Socialist president. Worse, for several years after the coup, Honduras overtook El Salvador as the murder capital of the world. The result? In 2019, Hondurans were the second most common nationality for migrants attempting to cross the US southern order.

For both Honduras and El Salvador, Americans are told that rampant crime there is why their people have to come here. Yet the NGO-Industrial Complex accuses Bukele of violating the apparent “human right“ to murder Salvadorans there and Americans here. El Salvador’s homicide rate is now lower than many American cities. If Bukele’s success sticks, both countries will be better off. The problem for the US is that El Salvador will not have an economy reliant on remittances from the United States.

If Haiti persists in this direction, the annual deluge of thousands of expatriate Haitians into the Dominican Republic and the United States will continue. Who can forget September of 2021, after Moise’s assassination, when some thirteen thousand Haitians attempted to cross the Rio Grande. Jimmy Cherizier is a vigilante who has killed people. But he is also the subject of a full-spectrum demonization campaign by the US government and its regime media in order to justify an invasion of the country. Don’t fall for it.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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