U.S. diplomatic cables now released from Wikileaks make it
clearer than ever before that foreign troops occupying Haiti for
more than seven years have no legitimate reason to be there;
that this a U.S. occupation, as much as in Iraq or Afghanistan;
that it is part of a decades-long U.S. strategy to deny Haitians
the right to democracy and self-determination; and that the
Latin American governments supplying troops – including Brazil –
are getting tired of participating.
One leaked U.S. document shows how the
United States tried to force Haiti to reject $100 million in aid
per year – the equivalent of 50 billion reals in Brazil’s
economy – because it came from Venezuela. Because Haiti’s
president, Préval, understandably refused to do this, the U.S.
government turned against him.
As a result, Washington reversed the
results of Haiti’s first round presidential election in November
2010, to eliminate Préval’s favored candidate from the second
round. This was done through manipulation of the Organization of
American States (OAS), and through open threats to cut off
post-earthquake aid to the desperately poor country if they did
not accept the change of results. All of this is
The UN troops were brought to Haiti
to occupy the country after the United States organized the
overthrow of Haiti’s democratically elected president,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, for the second time, in 2004. Some 4,000
Haitians were targeted and killed in the aftermath of the coup,
and officials of the constitutional government jailed while the
UN troops "kept order." Many more would perish after the
earthquake because Haiti’s public infrastructure was crippled
during the four-year international aid cutoff that Washington
organized to topple the elected government.
Another leaked document shows how Edmund
Mulet, then head of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH),
worried that Aristide might regain his influence, and
recommended that criminal charges be filed against him. Mulet
has been openly partisan in interfering in Haiti’s politics, and
dismissed Haitians who protested the UN mission as “enemies.”
Mulet had an incredibly arrogant
posture considering that Haitians were angry about the mission’s
bringing cholera to Haiti, which has now infected 380,000
Haitians and killed 5,800. If MINUSTAH were a private entity, it
would be facing multi-billion dollar lawsuits and possibly
criminal prosecution for its horrific negligence in polluting
Haiti’s water supply with this deadly bacteria. Ironically, the
$850 million dollar annual cost of MINUSTAH is more than nine
times what the UN has raised to fight the cholera epidemic.
Brazil is not an empire like the
United States and has no reason to be a junior partner to one,
especially in such an ugly and brutal venture. It goes against
everything that Lula, Dilma, and the Workers’ Party stand for.
It eviscerates Brazil’s potential for
moral leadership in the world – which Brazil has shown in many
areas, since the historic changes initiated under Lula’s
administration. It is long past time for Brazil to get its
troops out of Haiti.
Originally published in Folha de Sao
Paulo (Brazil), July 21, 2011. Mark Weisbrot is co-director of
the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C.
He is also president of Just Foreign Policy.