No to US/UN invasion of Haiti

Issue 

No to US/UN invasion of Haiti

The UN Security Council resolution authorising "all necessary means to facilitate the departure from Haiti of the military leadership" sets the political framework for a US-led invasion of Haiti under UN cover.

While the US ruling class is still divided about political viability of such a move, military preparations have been under way for some time. A July 15 report to the UN Security Council called for the deployment of 5000 combat troops, 6500 combat support troops, 3500 offshore reserve troops, military trainers and a civilian police component.

The scale of these forces has more to do with imperialism's concern about maintaining "public order" after the invasion than with the defeat of the small Haitian army. This was spelt out clearly in the report which refers to the need to use "coercive means" in order to establish a "stable and secure environment throughout Haiti". The Clinton administration wants to avoid an "uncontrollable" popular mobilisation sparked by the replacement of the Cedras regime.

The Haitian people have a long and proud history of struggling against imperialism. Widespread popular mobilisations brought down the US-backed Duvalier dictatorship in 1986 and prepared the way for Jean Bertrand Aristide, a liberation theologist, to win a landslide victory in the 1990 elections.

The first coup attempt against the Aristide government was defeated by popular mobilisations, but a second coup succeeded when General Cedras seized power in September 1991. The purpose of the coup was clear — to end the participation of the masses in the social and political life of the country and their backing for the anti-imperialist policies of the Aristide government.

It is widely believed that the coup was backed by the US Central Intelligence Agency. Given the US' role in coup attempts against popularly-elected governments (Allende's in Chile, 1973 and Arbenz's in Guatemala, 1954), this should come as no surprise. US officials have confirmed that Cedras had been an important intelligence source for many years.

Washington has always been uncomfortable with the prospect of Aristide's return to power in Haiti. This explains why, despite the rhetoric about democracy, they have been so slow to act. Since the coup, many in the US administration have campaigned against Aristide and claimed that there is no evidence of any systematic human rights abuses in Haiti. However, the 20,000 Haitians who have fled the country since mid-June give lie to this claim.

The aim of a US/UN invasion is to restore a government amenable to imperialist interests. The Ti Legliz (little church) movement, an anti-dictatorship church and human rights organisation which played a crucial role in bringing down the Duvalier dictatorship, says that the intervention aims to legitimise, under international cover, "the total erasure of the Haitian people from the political scene of its own country".

President Aristide has called for "prompt and decisive action" to restore democracy in Haiti, but he has refused to sign a Security Council petition requesting a military intervention. Many of his supporters have also opposed a military intervention arguing that it would reduce Aristide's room to manoeuvre and dilute the mandate he received in the elections.

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