Haiti’s humanitarian crisis: Rooted in history of military coups and occupations

By Roger Annis and Kim Ives
Published in International Socialist Review, Issue 77, May–June 2011

THE INTERNATIONAL mainstream media presented the November 2010 election in Haiti as a predictably chaotic event in a country notorious for political violence, corruption, and dictatorship. But something new crept into some analysis of the event, a sense that the big powers present in Haiti had a big hand in the election-day fiasco.

The world was rightly aghast at the chaos it read about or watched on television. But the implication by some that Haitians were to blame, and that Haitian elections unavoidably lead to such chaos, is false. In reality, the November exclusion election and its second-round denouement on March 20, 2011, is simply another chapter in foreign, primarily U.S., imperial policy in Haiti over the past two decades that has sought to disenfranchise the Haitian masses and roll back the national sovereignty of Latin America’s first independent republic.

Grasping this reality not only allows decryption of election myths but also explains why so much of the international relief and reconstruction effort since the January 12, 2010, earthquake has been a failure, and what can be done to reverse that...

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