US Invasion and Occupation of Haiti

I accepted one of the Workers World special edition newspapers whose headline read: US troops invade Haiti: Pentagon sabotages relief effort, escalates suffering. Here was the truth, writ large and bold without evasion or circumlocution.   I knew it from reports in the European press that I read regularly, but this was the bald truth in English.  This was why I had come to support my suffering and oppressed brothers and sisters, hundreds of thousands of whom are living under sheets which offer no protection from the rains which are going to come soon.  Already nightmarish conditions risk turning deadly for those who have survived thus far.

sheet cities.jpg

The Guardian from the UK reported: “Rebuilding Haiti will take generations because the earthquake-shattered country was starting from ‘below zero’ and logistics remained a ‘nightmare’, the United Nations warned today.”  Read the full article here.

It was 18 degrees with a strong north wind blowing down Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn on Friday, January 29, 2010, at 4pm, when a group of people had assembled to rally for the Haitians.  Most of us were of Haitian descent, though not all of us were.

Originally, the plan had been to march from in front of the Federal Building there at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, across to the Federal Building on the Manhattan side.  The fierce cold caused the organizers to stay there on the Plaza instead, where people spoke in Creole and English about the conditions in Haiti.

I met a young man from Haiti whose family are still there.  Though one aunt had been pinned under debris, she was rescued and all the rest of his family are, thank goodness, safe.  His father is a civil engineer, he told me, and is now frantically engaged in trying to make order out of the chaos.

I saw a family with two young children, shivering in the bitter cold as I was. but standing up against US aggression of a devastated country.  Frankly, I thought we would have been better off moving across the bridge than standing on the icy pavement of the plaza in the wind.  I held chemical handwarmers that Bob Parsons kindly provided and they helped a little.  Since I had, as I always do, arrived very early, my feet felt dangerously cold and numb before the speeches were ended.  I took my newspaper and left.

On Saturday, I held the paper with the prominent headline: US Troops Invade Haiti: Pentagon Sabatoges Relief Effort, Escalates Suffering, in front of my face on the subway as I read it and accompanying articles.  I was hoping that others would see it.  No one commented, but I did what I could to shake the complacency of my fellow citizens whose tax money, like mine, is going to pay the soldiers who are keeping water, food, and medical supplies away from the people who need it.  A French official is reported to have said of the US that this is not a military, but an international relief operation.  The US occupation is effectively genecide as well as illegal invasion.

In the post from this blog on November 11, 2008, there is a report of Ann Wright’s warning to us to be on guard against military slogans that cloak US aggression.  “Peace time engagement,” “War on drugs,” “War on terror,” “Disaster assistance,” are all words masking militarism and aggression. Read the full post here.  The current situation in Haiti is a perfect example.

Why, I wondered, does the US want to invade and occupy the poor country of Haiti?  Yes, US corporations might be able to build more tourist hotels there, but the devastation is so great.  What is it worth to the US Empire?

A look at the map revealed that Haiti is directly north of Venezuela which has the world’s largest oil reserves.  The US staged a failed coup to oust the democratically elected leader of that country in 2002.  It continues to support opponents of the democracy there and has installed military bases in neighboring Colombia, a country with a repressive, militaristic government that does whatever the US wants.  Ecuador and Bolivia,  both strong democracies close by, have thrown the US out; and the burgeoning democracies of Brazil, Argentina, and others, are all refusing to allow US military expansion and colonialism.  A military base in Haiti might be useful to US aspirations for the oil in South America as well as that in the Middle East.

The US corporate media do not want US citizens to realize the truth.  I have to look elsewhere for it.  You can click here or above to see the article from Workers World.   I for one must do what I can to stop US aggression in Haiti and elsewhere.  A first step is for me to recognize in spite of the lies we are fed that it exists.   The next is to demand that it end.

Links to sources of information:

An article in the Guardian gives the startling information that, “The US military signalled plans to start transferring authority to the state and aid agencies within three to six months.”  I ask who gave them the authority to begin with. Such statements in western media hint at the invasion and occupation without saying it clearly.

Bill Quigley, professor of law at Loyola University in New Orleans, and Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights has been in Haiti and refutes the repeated assertions of US media that there is looting and aggression of Haitians against one another.  He writes from there, “Haitians are helping Haitians. Young men have organized into teams to guard communities of homeless families. Women care for their own children as well as others now orphaned. Tens of thousands are missing and presumed dead.”

Guigley continues in another report that, “After days in port Au prince I have seen only one fight – two teens fighting on a streetcorner over a young woman. No riots. No machetes.”

NOTE: FEBRUARY 10, 2010

Here is a link to an article in Black Agenda Report, titled US Attempts to Erase Haitian Nationhood.

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