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little community of Haiti, anchored in the Caribbean Sea, has
had her mission in the world, and a mission which the world had
such need to learn. She has taught the world the danger of slavery
and the value of liberty. In this respect she has been the greatest
of all our modern teachers. Frederick Douglass (1893)
coup d'etat in Haiti, where the Americans spirited the president,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, out of power and out of his own country,
is just the latest event in 200 years of U.S. complicity and support
of repression in Haiti.
hard-fought Haitian Revolution, which occurred roughly a decade
after the U.S. Revolution, the government of George Washington,
which talked about 'liberty to all men', entered the conflict, but
not on the side of liberty. The Washington Administration authorized
the grant of $400,000 a vast sum in the 1800s not
to support the forces of freedom, but to the white planters. They
sent money to the French for arms and food to support their resistance
to the uprising. America's secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson,
writer of the Constitution, did the actual paperwork. When it came
to slavery or freedom, the Americans, slaveowners themselves, chose
slavery to support.
By Jan. 1st,
1804, Haitian independence would be declared, and for the first
time in world history, a slave army bested imperial armies, and
How did the
U.S. respond? Did they welcome them to the brotherhood of free nations?
The words of a U.S. congressman, said some 20 years after Haitian
independence, stated U.S. policy towards the Black Republic: "Our
policy with regards to Hayti is plain. *We never can acknowledge
her independence ...* The peace and safety of a large part of our
Union forbids us even to discuss [it]." So said South Carolina
Senator Robert Hayne in 1824. It wasn't until 1862, when the Civil
War was raging, that the
U.S. recognized its nearest free neighbor. They couldn't recognize
it for almost 60 years because they didn't want Blacks in the U.S.
to see a free Black people, as diplomats, and leaders of government,
functioning in the U.S. The official U.S. policy, was white supremacy.
From 1915 to
1934, the U.S. occupied Haiti, fighting a bitter guerrilla war that
left thousands dead. They murdered guerrilla leader Charlemagne
Peralte, in 1919, and then paraded his nearly naked, chained body,
to try to stifle the Cacos Rebellion.
and supported the Duvalier regimes,and since the fall of that dictatorship,
have actively and secretly supported Duvalierist elements in the
trained many of the people who were the most repressive elements
in the army, and backed the FRAPH, which was an anti-democratic
terrorist army in Haiti.
They have always
opposed Pere Aristide, for his support of the *Lavalas* (Creole
for 'the Flood', or the masses) movement.
Think of it
this way; in the last century, how many times have you ever seen
the U.S. support anything in Latin America? How many times have
they trained, backed, armed the right-wing militaries? Even torturers,
rapists, and mass murderers?
Why would Haiti
be any different?
soft expulsion of Aristide, opens the door to bring back Duvalierist
elements to the fore, to 'discipline' the riotous, rebellious Haitian
people, who've never forgotten their revolutionary origins. They
want Haiti 'stable' to perform as a docile labor force for the bourgeoisie,
both in Haiti, and the U.S.
based on dominance, control, and fear, cannot countenance the Haitian
example of people's power, of, yes, the barest fraction of 'democracy.'
Thus, they use various means to achieve the same ends. Thus, the
removal, at gunpoint, of Aristide, 'for the good of the Haitian
Let the Haitian
people decide their own government:! It isn't for the U.S. to decide
It's time to
end this empire, for the good of the people of America, and for
the good of the people of the world.
We must demand
it, and then work for it, to end this reign of madness.
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.