Collective punishment is one of the oldest strategies in warfare and history attests to that. From God ordering the Israelites to slaughter every inhabitant of Jericho to the merciless retributions of Genghis Khan’s hordes against the population of conquered lands to the unlawful occupation of Haiti, the practice has proven effective in subjugating nations, which is what has happened to Haiti since its successful challenge of slavery at the beginning of the 19th century. Although slavery was slated to disappear, as subsequent events demonstrated, its rejection by courageous Haitian slaves earlier than the slave-owning nations would have wanted was somewhat considered responsible for the institution’s demise. In reality, slavery survived as an economic system for another 84 years when Brazil became the last nation to abolish it in1888.
Essentially, it was the industrial revolution that brought an end to slavery not the epic Haitian insurrection. Nonetheless, the insolence of the courageous slaves, who challenged the system and ultimately founded a sanctuary for all Negroes wanting to escape it, was never forgiven by the slave-owning nations. As a result, Haiti became the recipient of a collective punishment that took it from having been France’s richest colony to the poorest country in the Americas and, thus far, no other country has ever been so comprehensively persecuted. Financial strangulation, economic embargoes, the shameless employment of agent provocateurs, threats and occasional military occupations became the norm in the troubled relations between Haiti and the great powers from 1804 to the present.
The vindictiveness was such that for 58 years, the U.S, then a slave-owning nation, refused to recognize Haiti’s independence. In1862, in the midst of its Civil War (1861-65), the U.S finally established diplomatic relations with Haiti. In 1825, France extorted 150 millions gold francs from struggling Haiti in return for a formal recognition of its independence. Adding insult to injury, the ransom money was borrowed from France itself at an absurdly exorbitant rate. The debt was finally acquitted in 1947, some 122 years later. When Haiti finally demanded the repayment of the ransom money, France and the U.S. invaded the country on February 29, 2004, 59 days into its bi-centennial. Despite the unambiguity of the Monroe Doctrine, then-U.S Secretary of State Colin L Powell nonchalantly declared that France had the right to intervene in Haiti, because of its past colonial ties to that country. As if that was not insulting enough, the illegitimate prime minister imposed on Haiti by the occupiers, Gerard Latortue (2004-06), a domesticated Negro by any definition, dismissed the restitution demand as “absurd and illegal”.
When Latin American leaders met at the Congress of Panama in 1826 to lay the foundation for what would become the Organization of the American States (OAS), Haiti was pointedly not invited, even though it helped most of the participating countries in their liberating fight against the Spanish Crown. In 1897, Germany, incensed at the criminal conviction of Emile Lüders, one of its resident citizens by a Haitian court, responded by sending two warships to Haiti. The government of Tirésias Simon Sam (1896-1902) compelled to apologize to the German government and compensate Lüders. Naturally, ordinary citizens of the great powers enjoy de facto diplomatic immunity in Haiti and are usually the instigators of all destabilization campaigns against non-conformist Haitian governments.
The list of indignities meted out on the defenseless little Haiti by the great powers since 1804, of which the current occupation is one, are too numerous to be included in this article. Critics however attributed the country’s decline to a primitive political system that plunged it into a revolving cycle of instability from its founding on January 1st 1804 to the present, while conveniently omitted these foreign interferences, the reason behind it all. Each military occupation was portrayed in the media as a humane mission to bring stability and decency to a perennially uncivilized country. In 2004, the year of Haiti’s bicentennial, a political crisis conceived by Canada, France and the U.S was inexplicably classified “a threat to international peace and security” by the Security Council, leading to a mandated occupation of the country under Chapter 7 of the U.N Charter.
Since then, a genocidal campaign against the country’s progressive forces continues unabated as the judiciary, the police, parliament and the executive branch become thoroughly subordinated to the interests of the occupiers. Not surprisingly, the villainous crimes perpetuated by the illegitimate and criminal regime of Gerard Latortue could not be investigated, while the organizational structure, personal included, imposed by his provisional government remains unalterable.
Like skin color or ethnicity which, in many countries, defines a person’s social status, geographical location plays an essential role in shaping the destiny of many of the world’s inhabitants. Strategically located in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, Haiti remains a victim of geography, a reality exemplified by the1915, 1994 and 2004 invasions of the country by the U.S, its powerful neighbor. Because any action provokes a reaction, the Haitian people, far from being subdued, will ultimately retake possession of their destiny, notwithstanding the magnitude of the undertaking. To paraphrase Toussaint L’ouverture “the roots of freedom are deep and numerous”. In Haiti’s perpetual fight for freedom, equality, justice and dignity, many are ready to renew the struggle and relit the torch of liberty that has been desecrated by the impossibly arrogant elite and other impenitent collaborators.

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