A year after the unguarded but truthful statement of Hedi Annabi, the U.N commissioner in charge of the Security Council mandated occupation of Haiti, affirming that the U.N does not have a development plan for Haiti and never will, the charade continues. On March 9th and 10th, weeks before the scheduled legislative elections in which Haiti’s largest political party is barred from participating, former U.S president Bill Clinton and U.N Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, visited the country to personally assess the situation, which many observers see as a combustible pot waiting for a spark. Like absentee landlords, worried about the way the domain is being run, the esteemed visitors commented on the necessity for the international community to help bring stability and not abandon Haiti. These were basically the same generic statements upon which stood the foundation of the Security Council resolutions. Not surprisingly, the dignitaries’ commentaries and advices did not convince any Haitian who has yet to accept the U.N-mandated occupation that is institutionalizing the very system, which brought the country to its knees. Contextually, Haitians should expect more of the same empty promises and repression disguised as a mission to save the country from itself.
In the meantime, the millions of Haitians who live under the repressive watch of the MINUSTAH are getting poorer and more desperate by the hour, while the international community’s indifference to their plight, exemplified by its halfhearted response to the devastation of last year’s hurricane season, remains unchanged. Conveniently, the caravan of collaborators, sarcastically labeled “caravan of hope”, which promised an exhausted nation a new beginning without Aristide, evaporated into thin air. The country remains as divided as ever, while the caravan’s coachman, Andy Arpaid, is busy reaping the fruits of his successful odyssey that has condemned Haiti to an uncertain future despite the generic statements emanating from the international community promising a better tomorrow to the millions of impoverished Haitians.
The malevolence of the international community toward the country is too obvious to ignore. Hedi Annabi’s honest statement only confirms that sentiment. From requisitioning a medical school for its soldiers and expelling its faculty and students to ignoring Latortue’s crimes to turning the country into an open market for international agro-businesses to imposing the patronizing presence of NGO’s upon Haiti as a condition for dispensing aid, the international community’s cruel intentions and deceptive policies could not be clearer. Simply put, the occupation of Haiti was conceived to prevent or postpone a reorganization of the country’s repressive economic system that has condemned generations of Haitians to a permanent state of hopelessness and crushing poverty. In that regard, did Jean Bertrand Aristide err in his attempt at reforming the system? Yes, because he failed to apply the appropriate methods that were subsequently used by Gerard Latortue, his successor. Could the former president have prevented the February 29th 2004 coup? No, because the political climate for reforming Haiti’s socio-economic system was inopportune, even the most skillful politician would have failed unless he practiced the Dessalinian tactic of fait accompli.
Unfortunately, failure has its price. It is not a coincidence that the period following the February 29th 2004 coup is, to date, the most repressive in Haitian history. Gerard Latortue, the man appointed to replace Aristide, embarked on a systemic eradication of populism that largely intimidated reformers, mainstream or Lavalas-affiliated, into submission. Conveniently, kidnappings for ransom by criminal gangs and legitimate political grievances became two faces of the same coin that elicited scorn and hatred from the international community. Fully vested with plenipotentiary powers, the Latortue-Boniface regime (2004-06) used intimidation, assassinations, and arbitrary imprisonment to silence the opposition and assert control.
Complicating matters is the fact that the occupation is placed under the tutelage of the all-powerful Security Council, which would consider any armed insurrection against its decision “a threat to international peace and security” punishable by whatever method it deems necessary. Hence, the dilemma facing any frustrated Haitian who might resort to violence against the occupiers. While any armed insurrection remains unattractive, other options are attainable within the present system. Governments have rights but also obligations. More importantly, because the former derives from the latter, any government that does not abide by this rule forfeits its constitutional mandate to govern. As the situation attests, the current government is as illegitimate as the U.N occupation, since it fails to live up to its obligations. Therefore, a permanent state of constructive anarchy, involving daily demonstrations and civil disobedience by the throng of unemployed young Haitians, should do the trick.
The notion that Haiti is unstable merits to be put in perspectives, since many countries in the Americas are no-man lands that warrant the international community’s attention. Appropriately, the architects of the greatest injustice ever perpetuated on a defenseless little nation should claim victory and leave. Having pacified one unstable and dangerous state, they should spread their gospel of good governance to other dangerous states such as Guatemala, Jamaica, and Mexico, to name a few. As they say: in life as in nature, there is sometimes an idyllic calm before a storm arrives. Despite the scorching poverty gripping the majority of Haitians and the government’s obvious indifference, Haiti is enjoying a relative calm that masks the disturbing reality of an imprisoned nation yearning to reclaim its freedom and dignity. The unjust occupation, orchestrated to support the aims of the elite should end. The sooner it happens, the better it would be for everyone.