Kevin Pina, video | Dady Chery, review
“Since terror is the sole resource left me, I employ it…. We must destroy all the mountain negroes, men and women, sparing only children under twelve years of age. We must destroy half the negroes of the plains….” – French General Charles Leclerc referring to his battle against Haitians in 1803.
“We must kill the bandits, but it will have to be the bandits only, not everybody.” – Brazilian General Heleno Ribera, UN Military Commander in Haiti, 2004-2005.
Kevin Pina’s documentary is the definitive account of Haiti’s most recent anti-imperialist revolt. The new gambit for Haiti began in 2000 with the surprise election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President, but it suffered a setback with Aristide’s February 29, 2004 kidnapping and the installment of a foreign military occupation.
Larceny and lust for gold were certainly key motivators for the new occupation of Haiti. For about 20 years, the United Nations Development Program, the French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minière (BRGM), a German group, and Canadian junior companies quietly surveyed Haiti’s Massif du Nord for its minerals and stuck to the story that only copper was to be found there. On the other hand, as early as May 2005, the coup government of Boniface Alexandre (President) and Gerard Latortue (Prime Minister) began to sign away Haiti’s mineral rights for 15-year terms to foreign concerns. Now the story is that an abundance of copper had obscured the silver and gold. This would hardly be the first invasion of Haiti for its gold since the 16th-century conquistadors. As recently as 1914, about 24,000 ounces of Haiti’s gold reserves were carried off to Citibank by U.S. kingmaker and banker Roger L. Farnham.
The documentary gives excellent historical context to the new occupation, which followed the letter of the 1915-1934 US invasion of Haiti in the main, with some variations. This time the U.S. and its loyal Haitian paramilitaries teamed up with Canada and France into a Multinational Interim Force (MIF) to purge the country of Fanmi Lavalas (Aristide’s Party) officials and partisans. Haitian patriots were called “bandits,” as they had been 89 years earlier.
When the jobs of killing, imprisoning and torturing Lavalas partisans proved too burdensome for the MIF, a “peacekeeping” force — the so-called United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) — was quickly arranged by the UN Security Council, despite Haiti not being at war. The troops arrived on June 1, 2004.
It is in the roles of “peacekeepers” that emerging powers like Brazil, Chile, and Argentina came to embrace the western imperialist mission. Despite the pretext that the Latin American troops had come “to stabilize Haiti for elections,” the soldiers functioned as the private army of Haiti’s elite. Unarmed Haitians were enthusiastically killed with the same kinds of head shots the racist 1910’s US-occupation marines used to call “popping off Cacos.” Such thirst for Haitian blood from Latin Americans would have been disputable without this brave documentary.
The hard-hitting video also does the great service of exposing the participation of human rights organizations in the persecution of Lavalas officials and highlighting the silence of international NGOs about the large-scale human rights violations that took place in Haiti between 2004 and 2006.
Even without the more than 7000 killed by the UN-introduced cholera and the numerous documented rapes of Haitians by UN troops, the bloodshed that immediately followed Aristide’s removal should have been enough to recommend the non-renewal of the UN mandate in Haiti after MINUSTAH’s first year. Yet year after, (s)election after (s)election, this criminal force has been renewed and expanded.
Current countries represented in MINUSTAH are:
Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, United States, and Uruguay.
As you watch this important documentary, keep an eye on the shoulder patches of the troops for their countries’ flags. Notwithstanding the pretty talk about repaying Bolivar’s debt to Petion, it is quite easy to tell Latin American friend from foe.
Source: Haiti Chery | You Tube
© Copyright © 2011-2013 by Dady Chery. Reprints must include a “live link” to the article, cite Kevin Pina as the author of the documentary, and Dady Chery and Haiti Chery as the original source for the review.