The killing of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti was shocking in an era where the outright killing of a government leader, even an unpopular one, was thought gone. The killing brought more insecurity and trauma to the world’s first Black Republic and what one activist called the original champions of human rights because Haiti outlawed slavery.
With already serious economic problems, political unrest and violence, the killing has deepened an already pressing crisis. What’s needed is a Haitian solution to a Haitian problem, which is easily said but not easily done. A major problem remains constant U.S. meddling in Haiti, whether it’s the federal government, entrenched rich oligarchs doing U.S. bidding, corporate robbers, or non-governmental organizations and charities that claim to help but never seem to truly solve problems.
An account of possible U.S. involvement came July 12 with the arrest of a Haitian businessman from Florida, allegedly in connection with the July 7 murder. Haitian authorities announced the arrest of Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 62, who previously expressed a desire to lead Haiti, and was referred to a as Christian pastor. According to the Associated Press, a close friend said Mr. Sanon, who had hired Colombians as security for a trip back to Haiti, may have been duped into joining the plot. Colombian ex-soldiers have been arrested and charged with killing President Moïse in his home July 7.
“The associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns, said Sanon told him he was approached by people claiming to represent the U.S. State and Justice departments who wanted to install him as president,” reported the Associated Press.
Haiti’s National Police chief, Léon Charles, however, said, “officers found a hat with the logo of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 20 boxes of bullets, gun parts, four license plates from the Dominican Republic, two cars and correspondence, among other things, in Sanon’s house in Haiti.”
Colombia’s national police chief connected a Florida company to buying 19 plane tickets from Bogota to Santo Domingo for the Colombian suspects. Most arrived in the Dominican Republic in June and moved into Haiti within weeks, said the Associated Press.
Haiti has a long history of political violence fed by brutal dictators installed and propped up by the United States, which once occupied Haiti for 19 years.
“I don’t know who killed Jovenel Moïse, but I know the U.S. is not a neutral party,” said outspoken Haitian lawyer and activist Ezili Danto of the Free Haiti Movement during a social media live stream July 10.
At presstime, it was unclear whether the U.S. would honor a request from Haiti’s interim prime minister to send troops to Hatii. U.S. troops in Haiti must be an emphatic “No!” and the Congressional Black Caucus must not support such an invasion, nor any face saving by the Biden administration.
What the U.S. must put in place now are rescue efforts assuming Haitians may flee their beloved country as we saw in the 1990s. We cannot wait for their bodies to start washing up on Florida or other shores before we demand humanitarian efforts. Black America, in consultation with our Haitian brothers and sisters, must organize and make that demand today.
We cannot allow the U.S. to declare there is no room in the inn. America owes Haiti much for bloody policies and any acts to save Haitians lives are very small steps toward repentance. The U.S. helped create this mess and has never wanted a free and independent Haiti. We must never forget that.
The U.S. is sending FBI and Homeland Security officials to Haiti in response to a government request. We certainly can’t trust these agencies, nor the government who sends them. Perhaps some kind of independent and even Pan-Caribbean group could come in to assist with the investigation, but we can’t foolishly, blindly trust agents of the U.S. government.
Look back two years ago: In February 2019, mercenaries, including Americans, were involved in a plot to electronically transfer $80 million from the Haitian central bank into the direct control of President Moïse. The men, paid $10,000 each and promised $20,000 on completion of the job, arrived at the Port-Au-Prince Airport via private jet carrying an unregistered “stockpile of semiautomatic rifles, handguns, Kevlar bulletproof vests, and knives.
A trio of politically connected Haitians greeted the Americans when their plane landed around 5 a.m. An aide to embattled Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and two other regime-friendly Haitians whisked them through the country’s biggest airport, avoiding customs and immigration agents, who had not yet reported for work,” reported the Intercept, an investigative news website.
The plan went haywire when the presidential aide was rebuffed at the bank, police were called, a standoff ensued before the mercenaries surrendered. “Within three days … (the) team would be released and sent back to the U.S., having somehow managed to escape criminal charges in Haiti,” the Intercept noted. The U.S. State Dept. intervened on behalf of the hired guns, who faced no U.S. charges. When released into U.S. custody, Haitians officials said the men would be tried in the U.S. That never happened.
The Intercept reported in March 2019 that “an investigation found that (an oil payment) fund’s nearly $2 billion had been largely misappropriated, embezzled, and stolen, primarily under Haitian President Michel Martelly’s leadership between 2011 and 2016. Moïse came to power in 2017, after the Port-au-Prince district attorney accused him of money laundering.”
Recordings the night of the murder captured voices in English calling on presidential security to stand down, saying the DEA was conducting an operation.
But the plight of the Haitian people, the Haitian president’s contested reign nor a failed “democratic” process matter to America. No matter who is elected, nothing seems to change for Haitians, who are very dependent on remittances from the Haitian Diaspora, and living on less than $2 a day. Largely untapped billions in gold, the rare mineral iridium, oil and other natural resources are in Haiti—but not in the service of the nation and her resilient people.
We believe Haitians can solve their own problems. The road obviously is not easy or simple with such a history of killings, hurt and betrayal. We know, however, America, the United Nations, and U.S. proxies cannot be at the center of any solution. Their destruction and exploitation of Haiti disqualify them.
Haitians are best qualified to resolve their problems. Black America must support these legitimate, independent efforts. That means listening to our Haitian brothers and sisters and helping to chart a course based on atonement, reconciliation and responsibility. Again, not easy work but necessary work. Finding a way forward is our only option lest we doom current and future generations of Haitians to exploitation and death. Let’s pray for Haiti and act in her best interests from the highest motivations with a willingness to challenge old enemies who seek to dominate and destroy our people.
As Dr. Greg Carr, chair of the Africana Studies Department at Howard University, said, “I think this Moïse assassination just continues the attempt to kill Haiti from outside, whether by propping up proxy politicians or direct invasion. And that we must always remember that Haiti continues to be tortured and punished for the same reasons that Black people are attacked everywhere in these societies, including the United States. These people are never going leave us alone, so we need to learn the lesson that we need to fight back.”