From A Verdade, Brazil
A journal of the workers in service of the struggle for socialism
Brazilian Troops in Haiti are Serving the Interests of the USA
Haiti was the first republic in the world established by Blacks. Despite this advance, today this country is miserable. Half of the population is illiterate and undernourished, and the life expectancy is barely 50 years, and a better future is not in sight.
Its recent history has been marked by the intervention of the United States in an attempt to impose a regime permanently under its control. The USA financed the 30 year brutal dictatorship of Francois Duvalier – Papa Doc and of his son, Baby Doc, who murdered thousands of people. After various struggles and without being able to prevent the changes in the country, the U.S. ended up supporting the decision of the people to elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president. Meanwhile, for proposing the minimum of political independence for his people, President Aristide was deposed by the reactionary elites of the country supported by the USA in a military coup in February 2004.
This fact provoked a revolt of the poorest section of the population, who did not accept the coup and began an armed struggle to return him to power, mainly against the former military forces under the tutelage of imperialism. With this, the country has been transformed into a real powder keg. Demonstrations are taking place constantly and the repression is increasing. As a way of "pacifying the country," a multinational interim military force was sent to Haiti consisting of Canada, Chile, France and, mainly, the USA, which arrived right after the downfall of the president.
Unable to continue their military mission, because of the high costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. decided to use Brazil to defend their interests in Haiti. They proposed to the United Nations Security Council that Brazil should lead a mission to Haiti, because the Brazilian government is in a campaign for a seat on that Council.
Thus, on June 1, 2004, MINUSTAH (the security force headed by Brazil) was created, according to Resolution 1542 of the Security Council, called the "Stabilization Mission of the United Nations in Haiti." According to the UN, it is authorized to use deadly force in case it is attacked or some crisis places the "blue helmets" at risk of an attack. About 1,300 Brazilian soldiers are taking part in this mission.
The Brazilian "Oranges"
But what is the Brazilian Army doing in Haiti?
According to the High Command, it is "helping the transitional government of Haiti in maintaining order, in reforming the security sector… and in the full restoration of a democratic state of law," more specifically "patrolling the streets, providing security to the population and fighting."
But fighting against whom?
The Brazilian Army is fulfilling the missions of the puppet government formed by a coup of the USA in Haiti. The impostor put in power is an executive who lives in Florida, Gerard Latortue, who only goes out into the streets of Port-au-Prince with a security force hired by the United States. In one of his interviews he said what the role of Brazil should be: "To help us to fight against violence." In other words, to disarm, seize and even kill the Haitian popular opposition.
There are also serious accusations that the Brazilian Army has been providing cover to the campaign of terror by the police in the slums of Port-au-Prince. And more: they have been accomplices in the abuses by the Haitian national police and have even killed innocent people.
Among the documented cases is that of Esterlin Marie, whose 2-year-old son, Herlens Henri, died from a shot fired in a shoot-out in the slum of Cite Soleil in December 2004. That action was part of an operation of Brazilian troops in support of the Haitian police fighting "local gangs." The family has accused the Brazilian soldiers of the death of the little boy and of having removed his body from the national cemetery. And, General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, who commands the mission in Haiti, confessed that same month of being pressured to use more force.
In summary, in the poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince the foreign armies are trying to massacre the Haitian resistance under the false banner of disarmament. In reality, the MINUSTAH is carrying out a "sweep" against those who are opposed to the U.S.-installed government in Haiti. However, much armed resistance is continuing to take place in various neighborhoods, which have been practically abandoned by the impostor government. One example is the neighborhood of Bel Air, a stronghold of the supporters of ex-President Aristide. This was taken by armed groups and, therefore, abandoned by the police and the public administration, which for months had not cleaned the streets of the neighborhood.
On the other hand, many of the former allies of the USA are being transformed into enemies of the armies of the UN. Two soldiers were killed on March 20, one from Sri Lanka and the other from Nepal, by supposed members of the former Haitian Army which aided in the deposition of President Aristide.
These are demanding payment from the interim (impostor) government of Haiti as a reward for having helped to overthrow the President. One of the leaders of the former army, Ramissainthe Ravix, affirmed: I am calling on all of the former soldiers in the whole country for an uprising," in a demonstration in Terre-Rouge. It is worth remembering that the U.S. was allied with the former troops who had been demobilized by Aristide, but many mercenaries continue with them hoping for future gains.
For the Immediate Withdrawal of the Troops!
It is clear, therefore, whom the Brazilian Army is serving in Haiti: the interests of the rotten and submissive Haitian bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism. When a whole people has been massacred for decades by the USA with starvation, corruption and assassination, the Brazilian soldiers are there to suffocate the popular resistance which is not yielding to the impositions of imperialism.
It is necessary to respect the right of a people to decide what road to follow and to prevent the slaughter that U.S. imperialism is trying to import into that country. Therefore, if President Lula really has respect for the Latin American peoples, he should immediately withdraw these troops from Haiti.
(Serley Leal is responsible for editing A Verdade in Ceara)
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