The media is using appalling conditions facing ordinary people in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, to cover up the role of imperialism and boost racist myths.
Since Ariel Henry’s government took over last year, armed groups have gained ground. They build upon a country shattered by repeated foreign imperialist invasions and US economic pressure.
And the Haitian state and the US have themselves encouraged paramilitaries who are prepared to do as they are told. Different elements within the ruling class developed their own armed supporters to fight over the control of the state.
Sometimes these escape the rulers’ control. According to activist Gedeon Jean, “We know that there are at least two serving or former policemen in every gang. “We know cars with police licence plates are used for kidnappings. Whether the police as an institution is involved, we don’t know.”
And behind all of this stands the major armed bully—the US. In 2010 the US used a devastating earthquake as an excuse to deploy 17,000 soldiers. The mission was responsible for an outbreak of cholera that killed 10,000 people.
A United Nations (UN) force intervened directly in Haiti from 2004 to 2017. Democracy went out the window and the invasion force carried out terrible abuses.
UN soldiers raped hundreds of women and girls with the promise of giving them medicine, clothes and food. They also ran a child abuse ring, where homeless girls and boys as young as 12 were raped.
The BBC pretends that the present horrors are not primarily the result of such interventions. It says that now gangs are “kidnapping, raping, and killing at will” as if this has not been the fate of Haiti’s people for decades.
This is the main reason why almost half the population—4.7 million Haitians—face acute hunger. In the capital around 20,000 people are facing famine-like conditions.
The BBC also writes out of history the resistance by Haitian people themselves. It’s a racist refusal to see most Haitians as anything but barbarians who must be controlled by repressive states and imperial forces.
Yet for much of this year ordinary people have fought against the Henry government through massive street protests and blockades.
An end to fuel subsidies saw a new surge of resistance, at times shutting down Port-au-Prince, as well as other cities. These built on fightbacks against the previous government, and earlier.
It is this movement that any further foreign intervention will be determined to put down, not gang elites. The BBC says “armed gangs are the greatest plague”. The worst warlords come from Washington.
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