The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Toward a U.N. Military Force?

Nov 7, 2022

This article is translated from the October 22, 2022, issue of Combat Ouvrier (Workers’ Combat), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

U.S. and Canadian military planes landed in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince in mid-October to deliver armored vehicles for local police.

The next Monday, Haiti’s prime minister asked the U.N. Security Council to send even more powerful support, i.e., the intervention of a military force, to “stabilize this country gripped by chaos.” That day marked the 216th anniversary of the assassination of the revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines, known as Haiti’s founding father. Notably, no grand commemoration was held.

But a demonstration headed toward the U.S. embassy. Its most repeated slogans did not condemn the high cost of living or rising fuel prices, but were slogans like, “Down with Ariel Henry”—the prime minister—and “No foreign intervention!” The politicians who organized the protest support proposals to re-arm the police to confront the gangs, instead of using a foreign military force.

The idea of landing U.S. soldiers is not rejected by workers in Port-au-Prince’s industrial zone and working class neighborhoods. The notion—rather, the illusion—that these soldiers could control or even completely eliminate the gangsters is gaining ground.

In the logjam Haiti has become, gangs hold the population hostage. They orchestrate the fuel shortage in Port-au-Prince, smuggle in gasoline from Santo Domingo, and profit by reselling it at seven to ten times the price.

Government offices are closed. Public services are non-existent. Small businesspeople in the informal sector try to keep going somehow. Public transport drivers strive to provide service, at prices elevated by the exorbitant cost of gas.

Added to this misery and unhealthiness is a rapidly growing cholera epidemic. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported more than 600 cases and 35 deaths from cholera in the first three weeks of October.

In this situation, working and poor people can only depend on their own organization and on their own numbers to resist exploitation.