U.S. intervention in Haiti is a “bitter pill to swallow”
Santo Domingo, DR
The possible military intervention of the United States and other countries in Haiti is such a bitter pill to swallow that so far, the great country with a history of military presence in the Caribbean thinks repeatedly about the advantages, disadvantages, and consequences of taking the step.
The United States can no longer stand the pressures of internal political sectors that believe that the situation in Haiti is going from bad to worse and that the only temporary solution could be to send several thousand soldiers to restore peace, open the school system and help schedule elections.
The pressures are not only coming from within the country, but the Dominican Republic, which previously disguised its desire for “friendly countries” to intervene, has now demanded that it happen as soon as possible because its trade interests are at stake.
It is in President Abinader’s interest that the United States heed his call. He knows that the present is not the best moment for the leading trading partner, which in a few days will have mid-term elections that could define the control of Congress between Republicans and Democrats.
Abinader has everything under control on the Dominican side, and most other politicians do not have much to say. For example, one of his opponents, Leonel Fernandez, explained why he did not order the construction of a border fence or wall, which is being done now.
Also, the Dominican leader has the problem of consuming the budget in buying armaments, paying per diems and supplies for the border, with the new battalion based in Barahona. The border, especially in times of conflict with Haiti, has been a market for various traffics.
If the United States is not in a better position to threaten and give before the November elections, neither is Brazil, one of Haiti’s friends that could participate in the intervention, as it will have the second round of its elections on October 30, so it would turn its attention to the internal issue.
According to the polls, it is difficult for such a sensitive issue as the probable foreign intervention in Haiti to be considered by President Bolsonaro, the presumed loser of the supplementary elections on the indicated date. Should Lula da Silva win, he would not take the step.
Only a foreign intervention led by the United States could quell the virulence unleashed by the gangs in Haiti and contribute to other ills, such as the increase of drugs in the Caribbean, the spread of diseases challenging to combat, and political instability.
The U.S. threatens gangs.
The United States is so far threatening the gangs. One of the ringleaders of the banditry, Jimmy Chérisier, known as “Barbecue,” armed to the teeth but scared to death because he surely knows well what the Americans did with the gang leader of Jamaica, Christopher Coke, known as “Dudus.”
After resisting in the slums of Kingston, the country’s capital, “Dudus,” the drug czar who had built an empire and political power, was handed over to the U.S. marshals in June 2010, after pitched battles that lasted several days, resulting in numerous deaths that shook Jamaica out of its marijuana sleepiness and prized tourist destination.
The fate of “Barbecue” and the other Haitian gang leaders is sealed. After the latest episodes of vandalism, which included the assault on the Varreaux oil distribution station by an armed group that arrived in boats from the country’s southern region, anything can be expected.
Even if he did not decide before his election to participate in the intervention, President Biden dispatched Assistant Secretary Brian Nichols to Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, tasked with backing the faltering regime of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and offering support to the National Police.
The U.S. wants to ensure that the scheduled updated elections are organized and that schools are reopened for the start of the school year. Also, the fight against drugs and human trafficking is maintained, and Haitian migration to the United States is contained.
Nichols visited Prime Minister Ariel Henry and met with the so-called Montana Group, a conglomerate of businesses, churches, and political parties that intend to push for the upcoming elections to give the country a new president.
At the same time, the United States sent a Navy Coast Guard cutter to the coast of Port-au-Prince, apparently trying to show the muscle of the northern country and its decision to intervene in case the situation worsened. It is difficult to understand how much worse the Haitian problem can get.
On Wednesday, as Nichols and the U.S. commission arrived in Haiti, a group of armed men stormed a Haitian police station in Martissant, a considerable capital neighborhood, and made off with an armored vehicle and numerous weapons. As it is always said, “the case is under investigation.”
The looting continues
Acts of looting continued in the provinces. In Cap-Haïtien, street mobs stormed government offices, as they did in Gonaïves, the cradle of independence in 1804. The United States has had relations with Haiti since 1862, many years after independence.
Abraham Lincoln, who dictated the liberation of slaves through the Emancipation Proclamation, is credited with arranging recognition of the Caribbean state through the whispers of his Haitian barber, William Florville, according to the unwritten history of those relations.
There are severe opponents in Haiti to the intervention. One of them, historian Pierre Buleau, denounced that neither the government nor Prime Minister Henry was qualified to call for intervention. Another journalist, lawyer, and historian, Georges Michel, anticipated his criticism of the foreign presence on Haitian soil and criticized the Prime Minister.
For tomorrow, Sunday, the small leftist party Petit Desalin (in Creole), which vindicates the political sons of the father of the country Jean Jacques Dessalines, is calling for a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Port-au-Prince to reject the intervention and repudiate the government.