Haiti’s Political Solution Must Be Revolutionary, as Proposed by G9: Interview With Kim Ives

By Saheli Chowdhury, Orinoco Tribune, June 1, 2023

In an interview with Orinoco Tribune, Kim Ives, journalist and expert in Haitian affairs, said that any political solution in Haiti must be revolutionary, as Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier’s G9 coalition has proposed. When consulted on gang violence and self-defense committees, Ives stated that the G9 anti-gang organization has been stigmatized by the Global North in order to advance interventionist agendas in Haiti.

Kim Ives is a journalist, documentary filmmaker, and an editor of the newspaper Haïti Liberté. In December 2022, Ives spoke before the UN Security Council to explain current affairs in Haiti. His work has been published by The Guardian, The Nation, The Intercept,  the Progressive, Jacobin, and NACLA Report on the Americas, among others. His documentary films include Bitter Cane, Ayisyen Leve Kanpe, The Coup Continues, Killing the Dream, and Rezistans. His most recent work is the documentary series Another Vision: Inside Haiti’s Uprising, jointly directed with Dan Cohen.

Orinoco Tribune co-editor Saheli Chowdhury asked Ives a number of questions regarding Haiti’s self-defense movement, gang violence, the G9 and Jimmy Cherizier, natural resources and imperialist capitalist depredation, arms trafficking, the cholera epidemic, and the recent attempts of military interventions by Canada and the US.

Watch the interview

About the much vilified Cherizier, Ives said, “He was a cop, a stellar cop, as we show in the film, who was fighting the gangs, and the police essentially hung him out to dry after a botched operation and began to use him as their scapegoat, or as their target, because he began to organize these neighborhood committees, not just for self-defense, but, really, to create a revolution in Haiti, to overthrow the bourgeoisie which fuels a lot of these gangs. They use these gangs  to carry out their inter-bourgeois battles or to keep the people at bay. He [Cherizier] said ‘this is a corrupt system; these people are using us to fight their political battles, and we do not want to be their cannon fodder anymore,’ so Jimmy Cherizier became a big threat to the system.”

When asked about how the Bwa Kale self-defense movement started in Haiti, Ives explained, “There was a busload of young men with guns who were stopped at a police checkpoint in an area of Port-au-Prince called Canapever, and the police discovered the weapons that were on their way to reinforce a gang which was in some sort of military confrontation further away up the hill, from Port-au-Prince, and they were taken into the police station. But the night before, the population of Canapever had been terrorized essentially by shooting of gangs, you know, some sort of battle that’s going on, and so they were very keyed up and they basically demanded the police removed these guys from the police station, they put them in the middle of the street, they piled tires on them, they stoned them, killed them, sometimes with machetes mostly, and then they burned their bodies. And this horrific scene was really to send a message to the gangs who have been terrorizing the Haitian people for the last five years, we can even say ten, to say that they were not going to accept it anymore.”

Meanwhile, the US has levied personal sanctions against Cherizier and mobilized a veritable army of NGOs to support the parties of Haiti’s bourgeoisie, maintaining imperialist domination of the island. “Haiti is what you call the Republic of NGOs,” said Ives. “There are some 3,000 NGOs based in Haiti. It has more NGOs per capita. NGO—non-government organization—is a great misnomer, because almost all these non-governmental organizations are sponsored by some government, whether it’s the US, the Canadians, the English, the French, but NGOs are the ones who… prey on the population. For many, it is a big business, especially the religious ones.”

“To me,” said Ives, “the only way out of this… is a revolutionary solution, and this is what the G9 is proposing. They are saying we have to put the people in power.” After democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was abducted by US marines and flown out of the country in 2004, Haitians have grown impatient with political solutions. “Basically, Cherizier and the G9 are Aristide with a gun,” Ives continued. “Cherizier is saying ‘no, this has got to end, we are going to take these guns that you put in our hands to fight for you against each other; we are not going to fight each other anymore, we are going to fight you.'”

When consulted on the Cholera outbreak affecting Haiti in recent years, Ives clarified that the worst of the crisis took place in 2010 when more than 10,000 Haitians died from cholera that was introduced in the country by UN troops from Nepal. He explained that this year some minor outbreaks have been reported. He added that the main cause of this crisis is the lack of water treatment and waste management infrastructure in the island, creating sewage clogs near urban centers and causing contamination.

“This is a big problem, but during the coup against Jean Bertrand Aristide, the second coup against Aristide from 2001, when he came into power until 2004, they cut off International Development Bank aid, I think it was a $158 million project to improve Haitian sanitation, and the US, to put pressure on Aristide, cut it off illegally, totally illegally,” Ives said in relation to this issue.

At the close of the conversation, Ives stated that the US and Canada are trying to put troops on the ground in Haiti and are looking for support from CARICOM countries, but most of the CARICOM has not yet supported the interventionist agenda. He clarified that the US and Canada are trying to build a “coalition” of Black-majority nations in order to whitewash the upcoming military occupation, and so far only Bahamas and Jamaica seem to be on board.


Posted June 6, 2023