PI Briefing | No. 7 | Hands off Haiti

Break the cycle of US intervention and defend Haitian sovereignty.
In the Progressive International's 7th Briefing of 2024, we bring news of the PI’s campaign to keep Kenyan police out of Haitian streets. If you would like to receive our Briefing in your inbox, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.
In the Progressive International's 7th Briefing of 2024, we bring news of the PI’s campaign to keep Kenyan police out of Haitian streets. If you would like to receive our Briefing in your inbox, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.

In 1804, the people of Haiti led a revolution that rocked the world, defeating the French colonisers, liberating the enslaved, and establishing the world’s first Black republic.

In the two centuries since, however, the Haitian Revolution has been brutally punished: with sanctions, invasions, and repeated regime change at the hands of Western powers.

Basic services have been paralyzed across the country. And demands for change by Haitian workers have been met with batons and gunfire.

Now, the United States is once again preparing a military intervention to protect its interests in Haiti — but this time, the US is spending $200 million to launder its regime change efforts through a “Multinational Security Support Mission” to be led by 1,000 Kenyan police who do not even speak the local language.

In other words, the United States is sending Africans to slaughter Afro-descendants 12,000 kilometres away — for a small price to be paid to the Kenyan President.

Unsurprisingly, the move faces enormous opposition in Kenya. The opposition Orange Democratic Movement has said the putative mission “undermines the spirit of Pan-Africanism.” The Communist Party of Kenya has vowed to “fight in the streets of Nairobi for our brothers and sisters in Haiti”. Gacheke Gachihi of Mathare Social Justice Centre and PI Council member has warned that the US wants to make Kenyan bodies “appendages of imperialism.”

Kenya’s High Court has tried to block Kenya's role in the intervention, declaring it "unconstitutional, illegal and invalid.” But Kenya’s President William Ruto has vowed to ignore the Court's ruling and push ahead with the deployment with the full backing of the US State Department.

Haitian opposition is no less robust. The country’s streets are full of citizens protesting against the unelected government of Ariel Henry, who took power after the assassination of the previous president. This month, once again, he postponed elections.

Henry has requested the intervention to counter the gangs that de facto control parts of the country. However, according to the Haitian Democratic Committee, the intervention would only “protect the leaders… not the Haitian people.” Haiti’s citizens demand their sovereignty and democracy, not foreign armed forces.

The deployment of Kenyan police to this mission in Haiti would be an affront – both to the spirit of Pan-Africanism and to the commitment of Latin American and Caribbean states aiming to establish a 'zone of peace'. It reflects the United States’ reliance on client states and proxies to do its bidding. And it threatens to exacerbate the already-devastating conditions of life facing millions of Haitians.

That’s why the Progressive International has launched a Hands Off Haiti campaign to keep Kenyan police out of Haitian streets, break the cycle of US intervention, and defend Haitian sovereignty.

The campaign brings together 26 organisations from four continents who call on all peoples and nations of the world to stand against the latest US intervention in Haiti.

Find out more and join them here.

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Art: To Preserve Their Freedom (1988) is one of 41 paintings by African American artist Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000) that together tell the story of the "Father of Haiti", jointly titled: The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture. Despite being born into slavery in 1743, L’Ouverture was a leader in the great Haitian Revolution, and led the campaign to draft Haiti’s first democratic constitution in 1800. During his years in power, L’Ouverture worked to balance the economy and create security in Haiti (then known as Saint-Domingue). However, in 1802 L’Ouverture was deceived by the French, he was deported to France where he was jailed and died in 1803, failing to see how his achievements provided groundwork for Haiti’s victory. Haiti’s independence was declared on 1 January 1804.

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