Thursday, May 30, 2013

Haiti’s Struggle for Freedom: US Imperialism, MINUSTAH and the Overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News - A former French colony called Saint-Domingue in the Western side of the Spanish Island of Hispaniola erupted into a Slave revolt against France. The revolt cost the lives of over 100,000 blacks and over 20,000 whites not including innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs of the revolution. The new Haitian Republic was born and won its independence from France in 1804. It became a free Republic that abolished slavery and became a center of inspiration for many African slaves across the world.

But since the Haitian Revolution and it’s resistance to slavery, Western nations has managed to keep Haiti enslaved. From Internal conflicts that divided Haiti to successive dictatorships and a constant fear against a French invasion in the decades that followed, Haiti has always experienced a struggle for freedom. When President Theodore Roosevelt introduced “The Roosevelt Corollary” in a 1904 address to the US congress in relation to the Monroe Doctrine, he mentioned the fact that the US will intervene on the side of Europe who was in constant war against their former colonial possessions in Latin America if any new conflict were to arise from that point on. In 1915, the US Marines lead by Major General Smedley Butler, occupied Haiti under the orders of US President Woodrow Wilson to protect US Corporations and to prevent a people’s revolution. The occupation lasted until 1934. Then after the US occupation ended, Haitians chose a national assembly and elected Sténio Joseph Vincent as President of Haiti with US approval turned out to be an Authoritarian President. And of course, the United States was its’ number one trading partner. Then followed President Élie Lescot who was ousted in a 1950 Coup by Army General Paul Eugene Magloire, another US approved presidency since he was anti-Communist. In 1957 Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier became President-For-Life, of course with US approval until 1971. Then his son Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier became his successor until a popular revolt of the Haitian people in 1986 removed him from power. Under the Duvalier Dynasty, over 60,000 Haitians were killed and tortured by the Tonton Macoutes, a death squad created by “Papa Doc” who routinely used machetes and guns to murder his political opponents and anyone who spoke negatively against his regime. Many people were burned alive and hung in public. Top Members of the Tonton Macoutes were leaders of Voodoo which did earn them unlimited authority and the respect of the Haitian people. After Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was removed from power, the Tonton Macoutes were still active in other death squads for years to come, many eventually ended up in the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haïti (FRAPH), A creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Haiti’s relationship with the United States, France and Canada in the past decades is a contributing factor to the Haitian government’s failed political and economic policies that has had a negative impact on its people.

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