Debout, les damnés de la terre!

Haitian Disaster: Neocolonial Nightmare

The following statement was presented by an IBT supporter to a meeting of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee on 28 January.

Haiti has been devastated by an earthquake, but the horrific result of this natural disaster was conditioned by centuries of racism and neocolonial oppression. Having cast off the yoke of French domination in history’s only successful slave revolt, the Haitian people were made to pay a terrible price for their audacity.

Even before the earthquake Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; a country in which the vast majority were forced to live in grinding poverty—most subsisting on less than $2 a day. It is difficult to find words to express the misery and suffering that they must now endure.

Yet the top priority of the imperialist powers is not to rescue Haiti’s impoverished millions but to restore “order” and protect the property of foreign investors and the domestic elites. They have seized the country’s airport and set up militarized zones, restricting the distribution of desperately needed aid. The real reason that thousands of foreign troops are being deployed is not to help the victims but to ensure “stability” and maintain Haiti’s neocolonial status. The Toronto Star aptly described the international “Friends of Haiti” conference held in Montreal earlier this week as a gathering of “bankers, diplomats and aid officials.”

Nothing fundamental will change in Haiti until the imperialists are driven out and the property of the domestic ruling class is expropriated by a revolutionary workers’ and peasants’ government. Haiti can only truly be rebuilt as part of a Socialist Federation of the Caribbean. Class-conscious working people in North America and beyond can best show solidarity with Haiti’s oppressed through participating in the struggle to uproot the system of global capitalism that has so abused and brutalized them.

Imperialism knocked Haiti down—

Socialism will build it up!

Debout, les damnés de la terre!