US Imperialism in Latin America: The Example of Haiti

Tulio is a US Black on the site who has consistently defended US imperialism, particularly in Latin America. Here, he uses they “they do it too” argument to support US imperial meddling in its neo-colonies in the Western Hemisphere.

Latin Americans do plenty of that to each other. They are their own worst enemy. Hell, in 1969, Honduras and El Salvador went to war over a fucking soccer match. Thousands of civilians ended up dying. Here is your homework assignment: Find out why Bolivia is a land-locked country. They weren’t always one.

So, because Latin Americans fight each other from time to time, US imperialism should intervene constantly in Latin America to create a continent of impoverished neo-colonies dependent on their US imperial master? And if you disobey your Yankee patron, we will slaughter you by the thousands.

The US overthrew Aristide under George Bush, put in a Duvalierist regime, which then murdered 3,000 Haitians. US Marines showed up at his door and ordered him to leave the country or they would murder him and his family. The coup regime was then kept in power by a UN army that massacred poor Haitians and helped the Duvalierists slaughter the poor. Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have stated explicitly that Aristide is not coming back.

Aristide incurred the wrath of World Imperialism by daring the raise the minimum wage. In addition, he built more schools in 4 years than had been built in 200 years since 1804. He offered every poor Haitian child a free lunch once a day, but he could not afford to feed everyone. And he rejected the World Bank and IMF terms for Haiti.

For these crimes (probably mostly for raising the minimum wage), the US, Canada and France overthrew Aristide, slaughtering many Haitians in the process. Afterwards, 3,000 poor Haitians were brutally murdered by the Duvalierists while the US, Canada and France looked on and cheered.

It is curious why a supposedly non-imperialist country like Canada got involved, but they have a lot of factories in Haiti.

The US also has many factories in Haiti. Aristide was overthrown by the US at the behest of US corporations who owned factories there.

The role of France is complicated. Let us say that France has hated Haiti ever since they threw out the French colonialists in 1804 and slaughtered some 25,000 Frenchmen in the process. France has never forgiven them and has demanded that Haiti pay back France for the loss of its stolen colonial property. Why France overthrew Aristide is not known, but I believe he said he was not going to make payments to France anymore.

I am very curious to see how Tulio feels about US imperial meddling in Haiti, which resulted in the US colonization of Haiti for decades followed by decades of US support for the Duvalierists who destroyed the country, stole all the money for themselves and their elite pals, and murdered 150,000+ Haitians with their Tonton Macoute militias, not to mention the overthrow of a proud nationalistic Black man by three rich White Western countries, which resulted in the mass murder of 3,000 Haitians.

Jean Bertrande Aristide was the first pro-people President in the history of Haiti. For the crime of helping his people, Western imperialism overthrew him at gunpoint and then oversaw the mass murder of 3,000 Aristide supporters.

This Haiti vignette is US policy in Latin America in a nutshell. This is what it is, everywhere on the continent. This is how it’s been off and on since 1850, with a brief respite with the Good Neighbor Policy under Roosevelt.

The US imperialist war on the Haitian people has continued under Barack Obama, a Black President.

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0 thoughts on “US Imperialism in Latin America: The Example of Haiti”

  1. “It is curious why a supposedly non-imperialist country like Canada got involved, but they have a lot of factories in Haiti.”

    Big LOL. Canadians “non-imperialist”? My experience with Canadians in real life and on selling on Ebay tells me they are most whiny, Miss Consumer Reports, the “Customer is Always Right”, entitled mofos on Earth. If Canadians didn’t have the US and Australia’s skirts to hide behind, they’d be half killer, half nancy boys, Ladyboy Mounted Police. Canadians are bullshit. America >>>> Canada. Be proud of that, at least.

    1. A lot of these “non-imperialist” countries play a crucial role of keeping the US/British Empire afloat like Canada and the Scandinavian countries that provide military assistance to imperial NATO missions like recently in Libya and the almost complete genocide of the Serbs in Kosovo and part of the rendition torture flight program.

      Canada is a major recruitment ground for western backed jihadists to fight as mercenaries in our proxy wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya.

  2. Dear Robert
    I don’t dispute what you wrote about Haiti, but in my opinion, both the friends and foes of the US vastly overestimate the American capacity to influence events in Latin America. Haiti is a pathetically weak country. Not only is it dirt-poor, but it is also a failed state. No other Latin American country has a state which is as dysfunctional as Haiti’s. The poorer a country is and the more dysfunctional its state is, the more easily it will become an object of foreign intervention.

    Most of what has happened in Latin America would have happened anyway if the US didn’t exist. By the end of the 1970’s, most Latin American countries had dictatorships. Do you think that they were simply installed by Washington? I don’t think so. I think that they were created to protect powerful internal interests from the “excesses” of democracy.

    Many years ago, I read the Portuguese translation of a letter which Lyndon Johnson wrote to Castelo Branco, the first President of the military regime in Brazil. In that letter, Johnson asked for a Brazilian military contribution to the “struggle for freedom” in Vietnam. I haven’t read Castelo Branco’s reply, but he obviously said no because not a single Brazilian soldier ever fought in Vietnam. Castelo Branco’s response was not that of an underling.
    When Jimmy Carter announced an embargo of grain exports to the Soviet Union, the Argentinian military government rushed in to sell grain the the Soviet Union. They were guided by Argentinain interests rather than American wishes. BTW, they also knew how to separate foreign policy from ideology. The same regime that tortured and killed scores of leftists, was willing to do business with the Soviets in defiance of the Americans.

    When people talk about American hegemony, I always say: If the Americans are so powerful, why are the Commies still running Cuba? After all, every American President from Eisenhower to Bush Junior said that Cuba should become “free” again. The fact that the US even has a military base in Cuba shows the limits of military power. Setting up a military base abroad is one thing, to scare foreigners with it is quite another.

    The US can be compared to a guy in a village who is the only one that has a machine gun. He may have far more firepower than the rest, but in their daily lives the other villagers can ignore his machine gun because he can’t very well start spraying bullets every time another villager does something that displeases him. The US is not all-powerful, neither in Latin America nor in the rest of the world.

    Regards. James

  3. @James your example does invalidate Robert’s overall analysis. If a country is a hegemon, an Imperialist power, such as the United States, it would be willing to grant concessions that at face value are detrimental and contradictory to the hegemon’s interests so long as its overarching objective is preserved. One illustrative example: South Korea was allowed to maintain a highly protected home market by the US in spite of the fact that this policy was superficially counter to the interests of US multinational corporations. The US’s paramount interest in the Korean peninsula was to prevent the North Korean regime from prevailing to such an extent that it was willing to grant such a concession — to allow the South Korean government to maintain a highly protected home market — since this would allow the South Korean economy to industrialize and prosper, and give its citizens a solid reason to support the South Korean government against the North. The quid pro quo is that the South Korean military subordinates itself completely to the US military.

    However, if there are no countervailing security concerns, no concessions would be granted to a neo-colony, and if it attempts to implement economic policies that run counter to US Imperialism, then the imperialist dogs of war will be let loose. Haiti is one example Robert had just cited. There are numerous others that truly pains me to enumerate (most if not all of them were moderate to left wing social democrats):

    – The candidate tipped to win the presidential elections in Columbia in 1947, Gaitan, who was assassinated in 1947 with the alleged connivance of the local CIA station.This unleashed a reign of terror conducted by the ruling class in Columbia, which continues to this very day.
    – President Arbenz of Guatamala – ousted by a coup engineered by the CIA in 1954.
    – The coup d’etat against Juan Bosch of the Dominican Republic and the subsequent occupation by US troops in 1965.
    – Allende of Chile in 1973 – The CIA’s involvement in overthrowing a legitimately elected left wing government is indisputable.
    – The Sandinista’s in Nicaragua during the 1980’s. The Contra’s were celebrated as “freedom fighters” despite their well document involvement in the massacre of peasants and NGO workers in the countryside.
    – The invasion of Grenada in 1983 by US forces, after the coup d’etat and murder of the progressive Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop.
    – The apparent attempt to overthrow Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in 2002.
    – The ouster of Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009 and eventual support for the illegitimate government by the US despite the opposition of the Organization of American States.
    – Many, many more examples in Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay,…etc. too many to enumerate.

    If you are a leader of a South American nation and are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the majority of the people in your country, and you act to promote the material interest of your people, which would inevitably require the interests of US multinational corporations in your country to be curtailed (not expunged, mind you, simply curtailed), you run the very high risk of getting overthrown by your own military if not assassinated with the active connivance of the CIA.

    My second point: The inability of US Imperialism to realize what it desires, only proves that there are limits to the power of a hegemon and does not prove that it is a force that is not detrimental to the interests of the people it is trying to subjugate. For example, US Imperialism’s inability to force Hugo Chavez from power does not contradict the fact that it is desperately trying to kick him out, not because he isn’t working to promote the material interests of the vast majority of his people, but precisely because he is trying to do so in defiance of the interests of US multinational corporations and the Imperialist state.

  4. Bernardo,

    Not bad. But your analysis is about 20 years too old and reads like a Chomsky summary. And Chomsky himself is a slow, old man much passed his shelf-life. The last 20 years have shown (at least to me, and I’m not the quickest kid on the block), it’s not about US imperialism or even white imperialism. It’s about dumb luck movement of humanity down the mostly arbitrary unfolding of machine creation. And these machines are as suicidal as they are murderous.
    US imperialism only makes sense if you have a known, stable class on men or women in charge, living large, and in control of most resources. And that is true in only a very limited way. The true oppressive dynamic is North vs South. Northern races vs Southern races. Whites are all north, Blacks are all south, East Asians are combination north and south.

  5. Kindly explain the US’s current actions in South America in terms of your Northern vs Southern race theory:
    – the on-going efforts to oust Chavez from power;
    – the US’s complicity in the theft of the Mexican presidency;
    – the establishment of a ring of military bases in Columbia;
    – US recognition of the illegitimate government in Honduras.
    You can be facetious about the entire thing because you live safely in the USA, but US Imperialism is all too real for me having friends killed by local death squads (moonlighting Filipino military personnel trained by the US military).

  6. Dear Roberet
    If a country feels threatened, as South Korea does, it may look to the US for protection and therefore make concessions to the US. That doesn’t prove that the US is a hegemon. Most countries in the world do need the US, either militarily or economically.
    It is true that the US has sometimes played a role in overthrowing leftist regimes in Latin America. However, they would not have gotten anywhere without support from the domestic enemies of the regime. For instance, I see no reason for believing that American support for the coup against Salvador Allende was indispensable for its success. Allende had plenty of enemies within Chile itself.
    In very weak countries like Nicaragua, the US can obviously play a bigger role than in countries like Chile or Argentina. Let us never forget that Latin Americans have a will of their own. It is really an insult to them to believe that they only carry out the will of Big Brother in Washington. Just as the US tries to use some Latin Americans, so some Latin Americans try to use the US against their domestic enemies. A lot of right-wingers in Venezuela would love to use the US to get rid of Hugo Chávez, but they would be acting in their own class interests and not simply complying with American wishes.

    Cheers. James

  7. In regards to Haiti, it’s very superstitious and backwards. It’s backwardness coming from the superstition. Considering this face, how much of the evil they experience is from foreigners, and how much is self-made?

    1. Note that when the US did briefly colonize Haiti in 1915, everything about the nation highly improved. Once they were gone, everything went back to slums.

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