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PostPolitical Upheaval in Haiti (Timothy Ashby, -Spain, 07/11/21 3:16 am)
I know Haiti well. It was one of the countries I was responsible for when I was a US Commerce Department official (Director of the Office of Mexico & the Caribbean and subsequently Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Western Hemisphere with SES rank).
Prior to my 1987 government appointment, I visited Haiti in 1986 on a "Crisis Management Training" mission with a JSOC/DEA team that was gathering intelligence on narcotics trafficking. This was soon after "Baby Doc" was ousted. I was taken on a (private) tour of the presidential palace where the opulence and extravagance was mind-boggling, considering that ordinary Haitians were literally starving just outside. A good example of this was the heavily air-conditioned salon where First Lady Michelle and her friends took tea wearing their mink and sable coats to stay warm.
A key clue to the motive for the assassination of President Moïse is that most of the assassins were retired members of the Colombian military. Haiti is an important narcotics transhipment centre for the Colombian cartels. Most, if not all, members of the Haitian government, including the late president, the Haitian military, intelligence and police are involved in smuggling drugs into the United States. I suspect that President Moïse wanted a bigger cut of the billions that the narcotrafficantes are earning from the ravenous US cocaine market.
The "West" (primarily the USA) has poured billions of dollars into Haiti to "help out," much of which was stolen. Ironically, the only real period of political stability Haiti has had in its long history was during the US occupation from 1915-1934. While this episode is now decried as "colonisation," the US Marines peacekeepers left after setting up a transition government, leaving Haiti with its first modern infrastructure, public health, education, and agricultural development as well as a democratic system. The country had fully democratic elections in 1930. The USA also established and trained Le Garde to maintain law and order after it restored sovereignty in Haiti. At a time when racial discrimination was rampant in the USA, Le Garde was manned overwhelmingly by blacks, with a US-trained black commander, Colonel Démosthènes Pétrus Calixte. Most of the Garde's officers were mixed race, many of whom were also trained in the USA and their children educated there. The Garde was a national organization; it departed from the regionalism that had characterized most of Haiti's previous armies. In theory, its charge was apolitical--to maintain internal order, while supporting a popularly elected government. Sadly, it too became corrupted within a short time.
After the devastating Haitian earthquake in 2010, a large number of Haitians actually petitioned the US to occupy the country permanently and make it a US state or territory.
JE comments: Much appreciate your frank appraisal, Tim. Would you dare to make a prediction on the medium-term political situation? Few of us are versed on the dismal complexity of Haiti's competing factions.
Three of the Colombian mercenaries were killed in firefights with the police, and several more remain at large. Will the ones who got caught spill the beans on what appears to have been a vast conspiracy?