What’s going on in Haiti in 2021? | Alexandre The Haitian Tweet

Written by Alexandre, Edited by Shirley Dor

After months of turmoil in Haiti, many public figures, celebrities, and influencers turn to Twitter to bring awareness to Haiti's continuous violence. Making the hashtag #FREEHAITI viral with continuous support for change in Haiti. One tweet, in particular, stood out to us as it back-tracks the centuries of turmoil in Haiti. Giving us the eternal political crisis in Haiti.

The tweet reads:

What’s going on in Haiti? [A simplified thread] #FreeHaiti 🇭🇹🕊

Haiti has long been in a state of revolt, as far back as the colonial age when our ancestors were forcibly brought here by colonists to exploit our lives in exchange for wealth.

When Haiti declared independence in 1804, this sent shockwaves around the Atlantic world, serving as the domino that would lead to the end of the colonial system as they’d known. As you would imagine, it was imperative for the world powers to snuff their power and influence.

From funding militias of slave masters to embargoes from nearly every world power and even forcing Haiti to pay billions of dollars in reparations to those slave owners, since 1804, the west has had its neck on Haiti. The country was never given a chance to develop.

Her geographic position and natural resources were also of a lot of interest. Haiti is full of gold, bauxite, oil, fertile land and is positioned in the central Caribbean. Over the course of its history, 5 different world powers have colonized or tried to annex the country.

Fast forward to 1915, when the US occupied Haiti for almost 20 years. Haiti’s constitution, designed to stop foreigners from profiting off Haitian land, was altered by puppet governments put in place by American marines to allow just that. Haiti’s gold reserves were gutted.

Though American marines left Haiti in 1934, the country still had control over Haiti’s finances until 1947, but still controlled the country through the proxy of the murderous dictators Francois and eventually his son Jean Claude Duvalier between 1957 and 1986.

Originally, in 1957, Daniel Fignole, a left-wing FDR-styled politician, was appointed provisional president, but his popularity amongst the impoverished Black population. Long story short, his popularity and activism went against American interests, prompting his ouster.

Making sure nobody like him would threaten the US's hegemony over Haitian politics, a sham election was held, putting Francois Duvalier, a right-wing, Black nationalist was put in power.

Making sure nobody like him would threaten the US's hegemony over Haitian politics, a sham election was held, putting Francois Duvalier, a right-wing, Black nationalist was put in power.

It’s important to understand that his Black nationalist, pro-Haiti rhetoric was only a guise. His paramilitary ex-cons, the Macoutes, terrorized the same people he claimed to support (the poor Black masses) and regularly took orders from the US in exchange for aid.

His son, Jean-Claude, took power after his death and was more or less the same. While a little more laissez-faire, he and his wife (part of the elite which Francois claimed to be fighting) gutted Haiti’s treasury and left the country in shambles when they left for Paris in 1986.

I realize that this thread is far from “shortened,” but in all honesty, there’s no way to explain Haiti’s situation without going over these details. The countries situation is just that complicated ... but let’s continue!

In 1990, Haiti held its first democratic elections since the rise of the Duvaliers. Jean Bertrand Aristide, a liberation theologist, and the priest, the front runner, competed against a slew of foreign-backed politicians.

Aristide successfully defeated Marc Bazin and Louis Dejoie, two elitists, in an election where over 50% of the population showed out. Aristides' promises of limiting American influence on Haitian politics, raising the minimum wage, and land redistribution made him very popular.

Not too long after did George HW Bush begin funding anti-Aristide groups and plotting with the military general, Raoul Cedras, to have Aristide overthrown. This happened only 9 months into Aristides' presidency.

The amount of bloodshed during this time period could fill a lake. This is the perfect time to mention the US’s policy towards Haitian refugees held in Guantanamo's inhumane conditions and significantly more likely to be deported than their Cuban counterparts.

Aristides' popularity continued to be massive years after being ousted. When Bill Clinton assumed office in 1993, he promised to reinstall Aristide as long as he accepted the neo-liberal reforms that would ultimately benefit the US.

This was all part of a program spearheaded by Reagan and the IMF that ultimately undermined Haiti’s agriculture and made them dependent on the US for food. Peasants would be forced to move to the cities to work sweatshop jobs for a couple of cents a day.

Nonetheless, Aristide remained very popular and continued to improve the lives of the poor between 1994 and 1996. After Haiti’s first peaceful transfer of power and general stability, he won re-election by massive margins in 2000.

Not too long after, George Bush, freshly inaugurated in 2001, claimed that the elections were a sham and proceeded to embargo the country while also funding gangsters and anti-Aristide groups to have him overthrown.

After Aristide demanded reparations for the $40B indemnities they had to pay to France to gain independence, the US, France, Canada, Brazil helped the Haitian elites funded a coup d’état against him in February 2004. The loss of life and violence during this period was immeasurable.

It was decided that the UN would occupy Haiti on a peacekeeping mission. This occupation was marred by the deaths and r#pe of thousands of Haitian people. Aristides political party Fanmi Lavalas would be barred from participating in the 2006 elections.

Haiti’s next election was planned for 2010. Luckily for the elites and the West, Haiti suffered a massive earthquake in January that obliterated the government and its organization.

This was the perfect opportunity to further meddle in Haiti’s affairs. Billions of dollars were donated to NGOs like RedCross and the Clinton Fdn. Without being unaccounted for. Haitian orphans were being trafficked, and there were even reports of Haitian cadavers being sold.

In the midst of this mess, fraudulent elections were held. Michel Martelly, a raunchy performer, and neo-Duvalierist won the elections despite not meeting constitutional requirements. When he lost in the first round of voting, the OAS and Clintons interceded and gave him the win.

His land reform platform would have been a nightmare for our founding fathers. Martelly made reforms that allowed foreign businesses to own Haitian mines and buy massive swaths of land from Haitian peasants. Thousands would find themselves moving to the city to work in sweatshops.

To make matters worse, the UN admitted to depositing human waste into Haiti’s main rivers. This resulted in a deadly cholera outbreak that marred the country, resulting in the infections of 1M and deaths of up to 60,000. The UN took responsibility but wouldn’t take other actions.

By the end of Martelly’s presidency, he and his party were exposed for stealing millions of dollars in loans from Venezuela meant for projects for the people. The people were emerged after finding out he spent 9M dollars on a beachfront house in Florida.

In 2015, a year before elections, Martelly introduced Jovenel Moise, a banana farmer from northern Haiti. His main platform was agricultural reform, and he flaunted around his banana plantation, which he used as leverage.

Moise went on to win a very contested election where less than 20% of the electorate turned out to vote. Not too long after did the people find out his plantation was a sham and that he also profited off the Petrocaribe loan. He did not have much to stand on.

To summarize, his presidency, which started in 2017, has been marred by massacres of his political opponents, gang violence funded by his political party, gross mismanagement of funds, and chronic protests. Unrest, especially since 2018, is almost a weekly occurrence.

As one would guess, Trump, who came into power around the same time, provided Jovenel Moise with the aid and legitimacy to stay in power. In 2019, American mercenaries sent by the US state department were deployed in Haiti during massive protests and then safely sent back.

This year, a constitutional referendum and presidential elections are expected to be held in Haiti, as demanded by Trump (and now Biden) State Department and the UN. The opposition and the people, in general, are very skeptical about their legitimacy.

This is especially concerning since Jovenel Moise has been ruling by decree since 2020 and wants to dissolve the parliament completely. These match the footsteps of Francois Duvalier's rise to power.

Uncle Joe seems to have no intention to let up on the US’s tradition of imperialism in Haiti. Despite the fact nearly every governmental and civil organization independent of the President agrees his term ends this year, Biden’s administration says otherwise.

While Haitians cast off their physical chains back in 1804, Haiti is still a colony being exploited by corrupt politicians and the global elites. Will she ever truly be free?

“We have dared to be free. Let us dare to be so by ourselves and for ourselves.” - Jean-Jacques Dessalines. #FreeHaiti 🇭🇹🕊 The fight continues.

One thing I failed to mention is the kidnappings that spiked during 2020. Kidnappers are snatching up random people on the street in exchange for ransom in the thousands and even millions. What’s most mind-boggling is that some survivors report being taken in gov’t trucks.

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