imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Haiti: Workers Solidarity, Yes! Imperialist Occupation, No!

by Internationalist Group Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 at 12:38 PM 212-460-0983 Box 3321, Church Street Station, New York NY 10008

The January 12 earthquake in Haiti that devastated the capital city, leaving well over 100,000 dead and a million homeless, was one of the worst geological calamities of modern times. The earthquake was a natural disaster, but the horrendous death toll and monumental destruction were caused by capitalism and imperialism. Now the human suffering has been enormously compounded by to the militarization of the relief effort and reoccupation of Haiti by the United States. More than a dozen flights by aid groups, carrying rescue squads, tons of medical supplies and entire field hospitals, were refused permission to land at the Port-au-Prince airport by U.S. military air controllers who are now in charge. Food was already stocked in warehouses, but agencies refused to distribute it for fear of "riots." The media blitz is a propaganda war to embellish the image of U.S. imperialism. This phony humanitarianism are being used to disguise a new U.S. occupation of Haiti. We demand an end to the imperialist occupation, U.S./U.N. forces get out of Haiti and stop blocking entry of Haitian refugees.

January 2010

Washington Exploits Earthquake to Reoccupy the Country
Haiti: Workers Solidarity, Yes! Imperialist Occupation, No!

MINUSTAH “peacekeeper” guards food in Haiti, January 17. We demand U.S./U.N. forces stop blocking aid to Haitian people. No to imperialist occupation! Troops get out now! Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Stop Blocking Aid to Haitian People – U.S./U.N. Forces Get Out!

JANUARY 20 – Suddenly the earth began shaking. In less than a minute Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas lay in ruins, virtually destroyed in one of the worst geological calamities of modern history. Even a week later, the number of those who perished is uncertain: surely well over 100,000 dead, perhaps anywhere from 200,000 to half a million. An estimated 1.5 million people are now homeless. Agencies calculate that some three million people, a third of the country’s population, require emergency aid. And unlike the Asian tsunami of 2004, whose trail of destruction spread over a vast ocean expanse, the deadly force of the January 12 quake was concentrated in a few hundred square kilometers of this beleaguered Caribbean island nation. A land that was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere was laid waste.

Now the human suffering has been enormously compounded by to the militarization of the relief effort and reoccupation of Haiti by the United States. More than a dozen flights by aid groups, carrying rescue squads, tons of medical supplies and entire field hospitals, were refused permission to land at the Port-au-Prince airport by U.S. military air controllers who are now in charge. Currently some 12,000 U.S. Special Forces and Marines are landing in Haiti, supposedly to provide “security.” And the number of troops in United Nations “peacekeeping” mission, which has occupied the country on behalf of the U.S. since 2004, is being increased from 9,000 to 12,500. This huge military occupation is not intended to deliver aid, but to put down unrest by the poor and working people of Haiti. For while President Barack Obama cynically talks of helping the Haitian people and the press and TV are filled with calls for donations, the reality is that the U.S./U.N. forces have been actively blocking aid efforts, just as they did after the Katrina hurricane in New Orleans under President George W. Bush.

Behind this propaganda is barely disguised racism. Some reactionaries openly spew out this filth. Christian fundamentalist TV preacher Pat Robertson blames the earthquake on the Haitian people, whom he accuses of making a “pact with the devil” by throwing off French colonial rule more than two centuries ago. The mainstream bourgeois media are barely more subtle, portraying Haiti today as a basket case, incapable of providing for itself or doing anything at all in the face of this disaster. They whip up hysteria about “looting,” and roaming gangs of “armed thugs,” when in fact instances of violence have been remarkably few and “looters” are arrested for having a sack of powdered milk. There were already large stocks of food in warehouses in Haiti, but the U.S./U.N. military and aid agencies refused to distribute it for fear of “riots.” And while groups of Haitian young men were desperately digging with their bare hands to try to pull out survivors from destroyed schools, what heavy equipment was available was focused on rescuing foreigners and U.N. officials in elite hotels.

U.S. soldier from 82nd Airborne as he clears Haitians out of Port-au-Prince General Hospital, January 19. (Photo: Ariana Cubillos/AP)

The media blitz amounts to a propaganda war to embellish the image of U.S. imperialism. While Obama escalates the war on Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan, killing scores of Afghan children, Haiti would show that Washington “cares.” This hypocritical theme is bolstered by selective reporting. As medical professionals who rushed to Haiti complained there were no supplies available, there was hardly a mention of the more than 400 Cuban doctors already in Haiti, along with several hundred Haitian doctors trained in Cuban medical schools, who had three field hospitals up and running within a day. But the broader point is that the colossal hypocrisy, journalistic distortion and phony humanitarianism are being used to disguise a new U.S. occupation of Haiti.

Clearly the needs of the Haitian masses are so overwhelming that they would accept aid from any source. Moreover, the Haitian government of puppet president René Préval, barely functional in normal times, has all but disappeared. Yet there is huge concern over what the U.S. forces are up to. When elements of the 82nd Airborne Division marched to the General Hospital skeptical crowds looked on, and as soon as the troops arrived they began forcing Haitians out. Washington is gearing up to declare Haiti a “failed state,” like Somalia, and to call for some sort of international protectorate, perhaps under United Nations auspices. The U.N. “peacekeeping” mission for the “stabilization” of Haiti (MINUSTAH), set up after U.S., French and Canadian forces ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, was already a U.S. occupation using Brazilian and other Latin American troops as mercenaries. Now Obama has apparently decided to assume more direct control.

Amid the media madness, it is necessary to sharply denounce the imperialist occupation of Haiti and demand all U.S./U.N. forces get out! To those who worry that this would mean cutting off aid to the suffering Haitian people, it should be pointed out that the U.S. military is not there to deliver humanitarian aid. You don’t need Navy guided missile destroyers and combat troops recycled from Iraq to provide medical supplies or food. And in fact, for more than a week the U.S. government provided no assistance whatsoever. All the rescue teams, doctors, medicines, water and food were provided either by American and international volunteer groups and agencies or by other countries, where they weren’t directly blocked by the U.S. Yet every day 25,000 people were dying due to lack of medical attention, according to a spokesman for Boston-based Partners in Health, which has been providing medical services in Haiti for years.

In the United States, various reformists are calling for one or another version of “aid not occupation,” much as in the “peace” movement they call for “jobs not war.” They want to change the government’s priorities, not attack the imperialist system. Certainly it is vital to oppose the occupation, and the Haitian masses desperately need aid. But to call on the U.S. government, either implicitly (as does the social-democratic International Socialist Organization) or explicitly (in the case of the Mao-Stalinist Revolutionary Communist Party) to provide such aid feeds dangerous illusions. The RCP writes that “The U.S. government must immediately focus its resources on getting aid directly to the Haitian people” (statement, January 13). It is not only U.S. military forces who are involved in imposing imperialist tutelage. U.S./U.N./IMF, etc. financial “aid,” whether in the form of loans or grants, always comes with numerous strings attached. By placing distribution of vitally needed supplies in the hands of outside agencies, they prevent the Haitian population from organizing a capability to respond.

We demand that the U.S., U.N., Red Cross and other imperialist agencies stop blocking aid from reaching the Haitian people. While Obama has announced that Haitians already in the United States will be eligible for Temporary Protected Status, the U.S. is still threatening to return any Haitian caught in a boat headed for the U.S. It won’t even let many earthquake victims needing intensive medical into the country for treatment. Thus we demand that the U.S. stop blocking the entry of Haitian refugees at the same time as we fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrants. In addition to demanding that all U.S. forces get out, we oppose all measures subjugating Haiti to imperialist economic domination, such as the infamous Structural Adjustment Programs imposed by the World Bank and USAID that have led to the destruction of Haitian agriculture and wholesale privatization of government owned utilities. We also emphasize that the military deployment is a threat to Cuba, just 45 miles away, where the U.S. maintains a torture prison. We defend Cuba, a (bureaucratically deformed) workers state, against imperialism and counterrevolution, and demand that the U.S. return the Guantánamo naval base.

“Looter” arrested for possession of a bag of powdered milk, Port-au-Prince, January 15. (Photo: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Haiti has a special place in world history, as the only successful slave revolution in history. The Haitian Revolution of 1792-1804 inspired slave revolts in the United States, from Denmark Vesey to Nat Turner, and served as a beacon of liberation to oppressed blacks throughout the Caribbean and South America. Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint L’Ouverture at the head of an army of former slaves was able to defeat three colonial powers: the French, Spanish and British. This struck terror in the hearts of the capitalists, who quarantined the black republic for decades. The United States militarily occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934, and sent in the Marines in 1994 (under Bill Clinton, to put in Aristide as Washington’s man in Port-au-Prince) and again in 2004 (under Bush, to oust Aristide). Obama’s dispatch of thousands of U.S. troops amounts to yet another U.S. invasion of Haiti, using the cover of “humanitarian” aid. To symbolize it, he invited the two former presidents to the White House to announce an obscenely named “Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.”

The earthquake was a natural disaster, but the horrendous death toll and monumental destruction were caused by capitalism and imperialism. As class war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal noted from Pennsylvania’s death row, the media incessantly refer to Haiti as the poorest country in the Hemisphere but they never tell you how it got that way. One reason why there was such massive destruction is that some 2 million Haitians live in shantytowns around the capital where their flimsy dwellings can hardly withstand hurricanes, much less a 7.0 earthquake. Many of these urban poor were former peasants forced off the land by the collapse of agricultural prices as a result of U.S.-engineered “free trade” policies. In the 19th century, the former French colonial masters demanded that Haiti pay a ransom amounting to billion in today’s currency as the price of its independence. Since then, whenever the U.S. wasn’t directly occupying Haiti, it employed puppet governments such as the notorious Duvalier dynasty (“Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc”), who ruled from 1957 to 1986. Even former Liberation Theology priest Aristide dutifully carried out Washington’s dictates.

Reactionary imperialist forces such as the Heritage Foundation see the earthquake as an “opportunity” to impose new constraints on Haiti. For those fighting against imperialism, the popular mobilization to rescue earthquake victims, organize tent camps of the survivors and distribute aid can offer the basis for the only real solution to Haiti’s woes: international socialist revolution. In Mexico following the 1985 earthquake, tens of thousands of Mexico City working people who were left homeless organized independently of and against the government whose soldiers prevented them from rescuing their neighbors and relatives. But leadership was key, and various self-proclaimed socialist groups who took charge of the organizations of those affected by the quake turned them into agencies for channeling government welfare funds.

IG at demo called by Haiti Emergency Committee outside U.S. Mission to United Nations, January 22, demanding U.S./U.N. forces stop blocking aid, no to occupation. (Internationalist photo)

Although Haiti is indeed a desperately poor country, in addition to slum dwellers and peasants it has a working class, much of it employed in factories producing directly for the U.S. market. These workers last summer waged a bitter battle seeking to raise the minimum wage to a mere a day (see “Haiti: Battle Over Starvation Wages and Neocolonial Occupation,” in The Internationalist No. 30, November-December 2009). This small but militant proletariat can place itself at the head of the impoverished urban and rural masses seeking to organize their own power, particularly at present where the machinery of the capitalist state is largely reduced to rubble and a few marauding bands of police, many of them former members of death squads. The key is to forge the nucleus of a revolutionary workers party that can wage an internationalist struggle against imperialism and its local capitalist flunkeys, to form a workers and peasants government to expropriate the bourgeoisie, call for a voluntary socialist federation of the Caribbean and extend the revolution to the imperialist heartland of North America. ■
Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

The Shortwave Report 08/31/18 Listen Globally! A30 11:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy