Ask Haitians on the street why they have put their wiry bodies in the paths of the bullets and tear-gas canisters of Haiti’s various mercenary forces, foreign and domestic, and they will tell you it is because they want to end the foreign occupation. They might add that they cannot make a living, care for their parents, send their children to school, get food to eat or even clean water to drink. In all likelihood, the word election will not come up. Yes, the fraudulent elections of August 9 and October 25, 2015 were an insult, but they are far from being the worst one, which is the more than decade-long foreign rule of the world’s first black republic by a coalition of colonial powers and their lackeys, with genocidal intents. Haiti’s more astute politicians look as though they are running ahead of the crowds, but they are checking back all the while, to make sure they follow the popular will.
Haiti is in the midst of a new iteration of its continuing revolution. The predatory international community has not quite decided whether it should behave more like a rat skittering away from a sinking ship or a rabid dog foaming at the mouth in its final stand. For days, a C17 cargo plane has been parked in Port-au-Prince’s international airport, threatening to carry off Haiti’s opposition, waiting to transport a cargo of fleeing colonists, or both. The bloodthirsty former paramilitary goon, Guy Philippe, has been returned to the country. He is supposed to frighten the population, but he merely reminds everyone that he could be quickly made to run into exile again with his tail between his legs. The opportunistic non-governmental organizations (NGO), which depend on the status quo to guarantee their tax-free salaries, have already changed their rhetoric to attack Michel Martelly and his surrogate Jovenel Moise, and discuss them in the past tense. No one is fooled.
- For too many years in Haiti, people’s lands have been appropriated from the north, the coasts, and the offshore islands.
- For too many years, farmers, fishermen, and ranchers have been herded into fluorescently lit boxes from which their 45-cent-per-hour labor could be harnessed.
- For too many years, middle-class educated Haitian men have been shipped at the rate of 75 a day to Brazil for degrading and dangerous slave labor.
- For too many years, unidentified bandits on motorcycles have systematically assassinated Haitian leaders and intellectuals.
- For too many years, Haitians have been pariahs in the world because they have lacked a government to represent them.
- For too many years, Haiti’s servile politicians have not even bothered to disguise their loyalty to the foreign occupation and treated with disdain the citizens of their own country.
- For too many years, those treacherous politicians have worried only about their cuts of the profits while they have watched the international community make war on Haitians.
Simultaneously with a dismantlement of Haiti’s municipal-water systems, the United Nations has infected Haitians with cholera, not once, but at least twice: first with cholera from Nepal in 2010 and then with cholera from Bangladesh in 2015. The savage eradication of the creole pig and flooding of the Haitian market with Clinton’s subsidized Arkansas rice were not enough; the millet crop had to be destroyed too. It was contaminated in November 2015 with a fungus, probably the notorious blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea, to trigger a famine. Exactly how much can a people take? This is not about elections.
Only recently, Haiti looked like such an appetizing morsel: a new Batista’s Cuba with tropical climate, proximity to Florida, and plenty of sin and corruption. But Haiti is stuck down the throat of the international community in this Hillary Clinton election year. The historical moment is now. If Haiti scuttles the Clinton election, it will do the world a big favor. In this David-Goliath fight, it is not one bit sentimental to bet on David. As in 1803, the choice between independence and death is an easy one, because Haitians have nothing left to lose. If the mercenaries come, their eagerness to risk their lives for their masters will be tested. As ever, Haitians will follow their own path. No colonist will be allowed to take Haiti and re-enslave Haitians. Bring in more cargo planes, because a whole lot of humanitarian imperialists will soon need an airlift.
Dady Chery is the author of We Have Dared to Be Free. | Photo one, Vodou ceremony by Billtacular; all other photos are of the January 2016 protests in Haiti: two, three, and six by Dieu Nalio Chery/AP; four from STF; five from US News.