The UN "Mandate" System in Haiti is a Racist System Imposed Through Force of Arms

January 27, 2015

On January 9, the U.S. court system protected the United Nations from a Haitian compensation claim regarding the massive cholera outbreak precipitated by the UN occupation. U.S. federal Judge J. Paul Oetken sided with the U.S. Justice Department and declared the U.S.-hosted agency “immune” from the class-action lawsuit. 

The Obama administration and the United Nations deny the right of Haitians to make the claim even though the cholera epidemic occurred under UN trusteeship.  

The cholera epidemic began in Haiti in 2010 after a catastrophic earthquake.  Prior to 2010 cholera had been eradicated in Haiti for nearly a century.

The UN took over Haiti after the February 29, 2004 invasion by U.S. marines, which replaced the democratically elected constitutional government of Jean Bertrand Aristide with a U.S. colonial regime backed by a UN “peacekeeping” mission. According to the UN “mandate” authorizing the colonial occupation, the Haitian people are not yet ready for independence and self-determination and need to be “mentored” and “civilized” by the imperialist powers.  

The U.S. marines invaded Haiti in order to crush the popular movement which, prior to the U.S. invasion, initiated a program of democratic reforms including doubling the minimum wage and investing in schools and hospitals. During his tenure, Aristide also resisted privatization of state-owned resources.

For several years leading up to the invasion, the U.S. government worked to destabilize Haiti and overthrow the constitutional government headed by President Aristide.  The U.S. applied economic pressure, blocking various international agencies from providing credits, loans and aid to Haiti. At the same time, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. government agencies encouraged, financed and organized criminal, paramilitary death squads inside the country.  

Within weeks of the U.S. invasion, these gangs took control of various areas in the north of the country, attacking hospitals, schools, government offices and food warehouses to create panic amongst the population. But in the capital of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian people were organizing to defend themselves and their elected President from any attacks by these fascist gangs. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians came out in political demonstrations and popular organizations began building street barricades and other defenses against a possible armed attack. 

In this situation, the U.S. government, unable to bring its handpicked fascist gangs into the capital, decided to invade the country and remove Aristide. In other words, U.S. imperialism, as it has done elsewhere, played the double game of creating chaos and violence and then presenting itself as a “peacekeeper” in order to invade a sovereign country and impose its dictate. 

Nor were these events the first in which U.S. imperialism tried to suppress the popular resistance of the Haitian people and imposed laws to facilitate U.S. economic domination, including laws legalizing foreign ownership of the land.

In 1957 U.S. imperialism and the Haitian elite brought the Duvalier family to power in order to crush the rising democratic and social movements of the masses.  Then, after 1986, when the mass struggles of the Haitian people brought down the Duvalier dictatorship, the U.S. supported a succession of military regimes including, from 1991-1994, a junta headed by General Cedras.   

From 1915-1934 the U.S. marines occupied and directly ruled Haiti. Before leaving, the marines installed a puppet government financed and armed by U.S. imperialism. 

Previously, after stepping up its economic and military penetration of Haiti and Latin America generally, in 1905 the U.S. forcibly took over Haiti’s Customs Office and began dictating Haiti’s trade and financial policy.

Today, a mere five years after the devastating earthquake, the Haitian people are stepping up their struggle and are increasingly coming out in large-scale demonstrations and other actions to demand an end to the UN “mandate,” the withdrawal of all foreign troops,  and the restoration of the constitutional government of the country.