The Core Group is said to make crucial decisions sometimes on behalf of Haiti without the involvement of the Haitian government. I wonder who will be benefiting from those decisions
I published last week a humorous satirical piece about the meddling of the US in the failed politics imposed upon Haiti. Reading those factual points first will allow a better understanding of the sarcasm.
Haiti won its independence from France in 1804 after Dessalines’ army defeated the French army (in the battle of Vertières in November 1803). Twenty-two years later, France asked the new nation of Haiti to pay so they could recognize its sovereignty; they threatened to reestablish slavery if the ransom was not paid. Haiti had to bankrupt the entire treasury of the country and had to take a loan from France (“Double Debt”) to pay at least the equivalent of 28 billion US dollars in today’s currency. In simple terms, the slaves had to pay their oppressors—yes, you read it right.
Following its independence, in the early 1800s, Haiti helped colonized nations in the hemisphere to seek freedom, offering both monetary assistance and soldiers. Haiti is the ultimate symbol of freedom. Frederick Douglass eloquently paid tribute to the Haitian forefathers in 1893 stating that the freedom blacks were enjoying then was the fruit of the battles of the Haitians. “By striking for their freedom, they stroke for the freedom of every black man,” he said. The first nation to stand and debunk the concept that one race was somehow superior to another one.
The United States did not recognize Haiti’s independence until 1862, 58 years later. From the start Haiti was a threat because enslaved workers in Southern states were locally, the most important source of revenue, the engine of the economy.
In December 1914, the US took Haiti’s gold reserve from the Haitian national bank. It was never returned.
The US invaded Haiti in 1915 and occupied the country until 1934. Consequently, 15,000 Haitians were killed, including armed citizens who stood up to the occupation as well as innocent people. The US also took control of Haiti’s finances.
The US embassy in Haiti is the fourth largest in the world, behind only Iraq, Armenia, and China.
In 1994, US troops brought Aristide back following the coup in 1991 after placing an embargo for three years on the people of Haiti. In 1995, the US and Aristide dissolved Haiti’s army instead of reforming the justice system and replaced it with the current police force.
President Clinton admitted to killing the Haitian rice production, which benefited his Arkansan farmers by forcing Haiti to reduce tariffs on imports from 30% to 3%, benefiting only the rich oligarchs. Almost every decision seems to favor the super-rich for some strange reason. Now, because our farmers have no real source of revenue and means to send their children to school, the children travel to Port-au-Prince for jobs. In an overpopulated city with no investments, this tragedy unfortunately creates one of the most predictable and preventable pathways to gang recruitment. But who has given that responsibility to Clinton to make decisions for Haitians? Not the Haitians for sure. I never saw his name on a ballot in Haiti.
The Core Group is a coalition of ambassadors from the United States, Canada, France, and the European Union, appointed by the UN Secretary General to facilitate negotiations between the government and political actors. They are said to make crucial decisions sometimes on behalf of Haiti without the involvement of the Haitian government. I wonder who will be benefiting from those decisions.
The last UN force introduced cholera in Haiti, which killed more than 10,000 people between 2010 and 2019. One of the victims, a kind and soft-spoken man, an amazing father, Thelusma Rosilus, was my uncle. However, the families of the victims have never been compensated. Moreover, following this mission, UN soldiers left behind many Haitian women with fatherless children and no way to take care of them; many of these children were the result of rape. According to the Associated Press, based on an investigation in 2017, more than 100 UN soldiers ran a child sex ring in Haiti for over than 10 years and none of them has been jailed. Many boys were raped.
After the assassination of the last president, Jovenel Moïse, in July 2021, Dr. Ariel Henry was illegally nominated Prime Minister by the Core Group against the will of the people and the constitution. He is also a named in the president’s assassination.
The Biden administration has deported more than 26,000 Haitian asylum seekers in the middle of a humanitarian crisis and food insecurity while opening the US border to thousands of immigrants from other countries. Haitians know who their real friends are.
In places like Martissant, Cité Soleil, La Saline, within the last four years, tens of thousands of people have been kicked out of their homes by the gangs controlling territories. The gangs are known to be utilized by the government, politicians, and the rich oligarchs. These three groups thrive in chaos. They also provide gangs with the heavy weapons because there is no way for these gangs to access or to afford these weapons if they are not brought to them.
Consequently, there has been no traffic in certain parts of Port-au-Prince for almost two years now. The government has done absolutely nothing about it. The gangs are also paid to intimidate the populace during elections to scare them away from the voting booths, which is the only way these corrupt politicians and government officials stay in power forever. The oligarchs come up with the money and choose their candidates based on their interests and the gangs operate.
The gangs are better armed than the police force. Thus, the good police gets butchered on a regular basis, while some police officers are part of gangs. Some members of the institution are very corrupt and likely involved, directly or indirectly, in the president’s assassination. This is a mess.
Kids do not go to school for weeks to months at a time because they are either displaced or in unsafe conditions due to gang activity. There is barely any electricity in the whole country, even though the government is paying millions of US dollars every year to different companies to provide electricity. The country usually goes weeks without gas at the pump, largely due to the incompetency and corruption between the government and the powerful businessmen who control that sector.
Haitian politicians own million-dollar homes in the United States, Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Europe, which were built with funds intended to help with education, healthcare, infrastructure, and the fight against hunger and poverty in Haiti. Four billion US dollars were given to the Haitian government as a loan starting in 2006 by Venezuela as part of the PetroCaribe Project to build infrastructure in Haiti. That money has been squandered.
About 50% of Haitians are illiterate. The education system has been on its knees for decades, with hundreds of schools providing education with unqualified or under-qualified teachers. Most public hospitals are now mortuaries if they are even functioning.
Most Haitian politicians are corrupt. Some are rumored to be involved in drug trafficking. This month, Canada imposed sanctions on 8 Haitian politicians, including the former President Michel Joseph Martelly and the former Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe, for their participation in acts violating human rights in Haiti.
Most Haitians are hardworking, peaceful, and proud people. They just get trapped between the corrupt politicians and the oligarchs. Countries like the US, Canada, and France as well as organizations like the UN tend to be closer to those corrupt groups than the people. There are many honest Haitians, but they are never given a chance to lead their country.
If the US, Canada, the UN, OAS, and the European Union would like to help Haiti, all they need to do is to persuade the French government to return that immoral ransom to a legitimate government elected by the people with a program that focuses on improving the quality of life of Haitians. Second, they need to understand that Haiti did not need their help when it came to fight for freedom. Stop meddling in Haiti’s affairs like it’s a province of US, French, or Canadian territory. Haiti needs partners, not friends.
Claude Louis, M.D.