Diaspora

Dechoukaj of imperialist invasion of Haiti – Stabroek News

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Grounded in pro-democracy movements during the US-backed dictatorship in 1986, the Haitian Creole word, “Dechoukaj” became a clarion call for Haitian resistance. Literally translating to “to uproot,” the Dechoukaj years were characterized both by intense social conflict and immense hope for the transformation of Haiti and freedom from the oppressive rule of the Duvaliers.
It seems that Haiti, since heaving off the yoke of colonial enslavement in 1804 has been trapped in a cycle of engineered instability and a yearning for hope. We have seen evidence of this through multiple invasions in Haiti, often portrayed as humanitarian interventions. The driving force behind these moves is often the US, whose 19-year occupation of Haiti contributed toward widespread murders, economic theft and corruption. Another example of an intervention that was portrayed as being necessary to help the Haitian people, was the entrance of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission. Also known as MINUSTAH, this intervention was in Haiti from 2004-2017. MINUSTAH’s stabilization efforts were as far from humanitarian as one could possibly get. It was responsible for helping police to terrorize Haitians along with a host of human rights violations, including the rape of Haitian children. They were also responsible for causing the deadliest cholera outbreak in the 21st century amongst Haitians. While charges against the UN were brought to court, these charges were dismissed due to the immunity that is held by the UN. It’s a stark portrayal of the lack of accountability that is necessary for interventions such as these to be able to continue unhindered.
Now, once again, Haiti is under threat of humanitarian stabilization intervention. With armed gangs stopping access to gas reserves in the city’s capital, many aid routes have also been cut off, resulting in large-scale hunger. All this against the backdrop of immense price increases in fuel and food prices, further driving Haitians into food insecurity and social instability. The country is also under threat of an emerging cholera outbreak, which will be very difficult to keep contained, as Haiti’s leadership continues to fail its people.
Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry, has from his installation with the blessing of  the Biden administration, been facing significant protest actions from Haitians as they do not recognize his regime as valid. Henry was installed following the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse last year. He was favoured as Moïse’s replacement due to his reluctance to stop the continued corporate rape inflicted on Haiti from the West, nor does he care to assert Haiti’s independence on the international stage.
In the wake of mounting gang control and public protests, Henry in response sought out the international community for the provision of a “specialized armed force.” While the rationale for this was given as an opportunity to stabilize the country and restore commodities in the country, it is more about solidifying Henry’s rule. The Haitian people are actively against the move given the sordid history of US imperialist intervention and occupation in the country, and they do have a right to be worried. History would prove that military intervention has only further deepened the suffering of Haitians. We have already begun to see the harmful beginnings of it, as massive protests against the planned invasion were intensely suppressed by Haitian police, resulting in the murder of a protestor.
Regardless of the form of intervention that comes to Haiti, there is bound to be prolonged violence and insecurity after the brief stint of stabilization that they might bring. Decisions are constantly being made on Haiti’s behalf with the major presumption being that Haiti cannot manage its affairs due to government corruption or ineffectiveness. There is the belief that without interventions such as these, Haiti would simply descend into the image the international stage likes seeing portrayed for it. That image is one of violence, disease and instability that would require Western saviours. But if we have learnt anything from the continued imperialist invasions of Haiti, it is that these actors are often the cause and main drivers of Haiti’s issues, and justifying their continued occupation of the Republic just does more harm.
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