Global Study on Homicide by the UN
Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODP) has published its world survey
for 2011. Its published figures on homicide rates place Haiti
very low in comparison to the other countries of the Caribbean
and Latin America.
According to the study, Haiti's homicide rate in 2010 was 6.9
per 100,000 people. That compares to Jamaica (highest rate in
the Caribbean) at 52, Trinidad at 35, the Bahamas at 28 and the
neighboring Dominican Republic at 24. The rate for the U.S.
colonies of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (2007
statistics) is 26 and 39, respectively.
murder rates in the world are in Honduras (82), El Salvador
(66), Belize (42) and Guatemala (41), all of which are U.S.
client states. By comparison, Nicaragua's rate is 13, Mexico's
is 20 and Brazil's is 23 (2009 figures). Haiti's rate is only
marginally higher than the U.S., which is 5.
The UN report
does not contain figures for Haiti for the two years of illegal,
foreign-engineered government in 2004 and 2005. But during the
four years of elected government from 2000 to 2004, the annual
rate was high, between 15 and 20. These were the violent years
in which paramilitary forces assaulted ordinary Haitians and
governing institutions in the destabilizing prelude to the
overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide government in
The Global Study
on Homicide brings together global, regional, national and
sub-national homicide data in one publication. While not
necessarily indicative of overall, relative crime figures in
each country, it is perhaps the closest that is readily
Homicide is a very specific, illegal act, the "crime of crimes"
that is easily quantified.
Other violent crime statistics
compiled by the UNODP have two great disadvantages.
One, the organization’s reporting from countries is incomplete.
Two, definitions and measurements of the different categories of
violent crime vary from country to country, as does the capacity
to record them.
'Violence' as justification for
military intervention that facilitated Aristide’s overthrow in
2004 became institutionalized through the UN Security
Council-mandated military force called MINUSTAH. The UN has
always justified its actions by saying that foreign soldiers are
needed to save Haitians from themselves. Officials of the United
Nations in Haiti as well as the embassies of the U.S., Canada
and Europe never cease to claim that Haiti is permanently
threatened with descent into chaos and violence.
large international commercial media outlets typically chimes in
with their own versions of this fable. Yet, the UNODP’s homicide
figures for Haiti fly completely in the face of these claims.
double-speak deliberately confuses and conflates the so-called
violence of legitimate protest demanding social and political
rights, including measures of self-defense, with the violence of
Haiti’s wealthy elite and its backers in the U.S., Canada and
Europe as they conspire to keep Haiti poor and keep poor
Haitians marginalized in their own country. Thus was the
“violence” of the 2000-2004 destabilization period and coup
Since the Jan.
12, 2010 earthquake, reporting of popular protests against
MINUSTAH or the slow pace of earthquake aid and reconstruction
often suggests, subtly or brazenly, that descent into chaos
Contemporary media presentations of Haiti are sometimes
reminiscent of news reporting in the 19th and early
20th centuries when naked colonialism still ruled in
the colonies or “spheres of influence” of the U.S. and Europe.
That era’s newspapers regularly warned of inevitable violence
and pillaging by Black people against any and all social order
should they succeed in gaining their freedom.
The reported homicide rate for Haiti raises an
obvious question: If Haiti’s crime and violence rates are
exponentially lower than neighboring countries, why, exactly, is
a seemingly permanent UN military occupation force of 13,000
foreign soldiers and police in the country in the first place?