Interview with Jackson Jean, Haitian Journalist, on the Situation in Haiti

By Cadre Journal, August 15, 2023

The Cadre Journal: Briefly outline the situation on the ground in Haiti now. What is the extent of the crisis of food shortages? Are paramilitary groups like “Grand Grif” still committing atrocities like that at the Artibonite Valley?

Jackson Jean: There are two situations regarding the Haitian case:

The internal situation and the external situation.

Haiti is currently facing a "soft" dictatorship. There is no constitutional order. There is no legitimate power. There is no national sovereignty. In addition to an institutional vacuum - (there is no legislative power and no independent judiciary power). In fact, the absence of democratic, public politics.

External because the political leaders are all under the control of the so-called International Community which is in reality the International and/or North American Bourgeoisie who cannot yet find a consensus among themselves on Haitian resources.

The armed gangs, including the Grand Grif, are only a tool of popular control in the Capital and of the peasantry in the province. The Artibonite Valley was economically hit by the Bill Clinton Administration since it was the capital of national production, especially agro-ecological rice. Since then, Haiti is the largest importer of agro-industrialized rice from the United States after Mexico, Japan and Turkey. Haiti today represents an annual income of 236,000,000 US$ for the 5 American rice producing and exporting states. In recent years, Artibonite was beginning to recover its rice production and as usual, by "chance" it was invaded by armed gangs to intimidate the workers of the land.

We can make the same analysis for any point in the country where armed gangs have bases. Martissant and Canaan have, according to the report of the Directorate of Mines, oil wells and other mines. Today the Minister of Security herself said with her own words that these are lost zones.

The generalized insecurity and the political crisis in Haiti have caused more than 50% of the Haitian population to be in conditions of food insecurity.

What is the ongoing fallout of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse? Recently, Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar was sentenced in Miami for helping Colombian mercenaries obtain the weapons used in the killing. What is the reaction to this news, and the possible implications it has in the truth of the assassination?

The assassination of Jovenel was only an "insurance policy" to ensure that Haiti will not have a popular and leftist government like several Latin American countries historically allied with the United States. This is the case of Colombia and Chile. In this international context where the Western-North American hegemony is threatened, losing Haiti would be a total defeat. Haiti is close to Venezuela, Cuba and Miami. Allowing the possibility for Haiti to have diplomatic relations and cooperation with China and Russia could produce an international crisis just like the Caribbean Crisis in October 1982 and also a second revolution in Haiti.

Jovenel Moïse just played the game of American Intelligence, he had eliminated all the democratic institutions of the country: the parliament, the supreme court... all. He had so much power that he said "that after God no one has more power than him".

He appointed ministers, fired deputies, arrested judges... with decrees, outside all laws and the constitution.

The only thing he ignored is that the last thing that must be eliminated to ensure control of the country is the elimination of the Presidency. And to do this you have to kill the president. He built his own cemetery.

After his assassination, the country is institutionally empty. We cannot even talk about elections in such a chaotic situation. Because first, basic democratic institutions must be established. Provisionally, through a political consensus among the key actors of society (civil, religious, political). Something almost impossible for the moment. How can a chaotic situation be resolved with those who have an interest in chaos?

The United States has no jurisdiction to arrest someone who committed a crime in Haiti. Haiti is not a province of the United States. Moreover, the United States is a suspect. The soldiers who assassinated Jovenel were trained by the United States, confirmed by the Pentagon itself. Is it possible to be a suspect and a judge at the same time? The arrest of Rodolphe Jaar is only a "collateral" consequence to better cover up the real perpetrator of the crime.

What is the status of the Ariel Henry government? It is widely considered illegitimate; how is it using armed force to maintain its power?

The equation is simple: The international bourgeoisie controls the local bourgeoisie. The local bourgeoisie controls the politicians. The politicians control the military and paramilitary forces. Consequently, the latter used the police, the army or the armed gangs to satisfy the whims of the US or international bourgeoisie.

If one looks at how the gangs are federated and organized one will have no doubt that there is an intelligence behind them. The strategic points where they have bases. Besides, all the weapons they have are weapons of war "made in the USA". Where do these weapons enter the country? In the American and Haitian customs. Who controls the customs? The governments. The gangs have only one owner, the Haitian government and the United States.

What is the status of the renewed foreign invasion of Haiti by the U.N.?

All military interventions in Haiti have a single purpose. To re-establish economic capitalism.

It is not yet possible to move forward with the invasion thanks to the objection of Russia and China in the United Nations Security Council. Which is a Haitian weakness. Because these two countries have their problems. We cannot count on them forever. Suppose Russia would receive a proposal from its international players regarding Ukraine to vote against Haiti or China regarding Taiwan, it is logical and politically correct that they will vote against Haiti to solve their crises.

This is a dangerous weakness. And it is because of the trap of "pacifism" in which the Haitian opposition fell into, which is part of the distraction of Western-North American imperialism to have time to prepare the war and its policies of domination and colonization as George Padmore said and on the other hand, as Theda Skocpol theorizes, they are not prepared with the necessary resources (financial, military...) to rebel. They are forces that help to better position themselves in a negotiation or conflict. The Haitian people will never come out from under the thumb of the United States if they are in a position of organizational and resource weakness.

What are the anti-imperialist strategies presented by groups like Political Platform Pitit Desalin (PPPD), ? How have they been mobilizing the people of Haiti against imperialist invasion? What are some of the tensions among the different left-wing forces?

In Haiti's modern history, it is verifiable that the United States always plays two roles to improve Haiti's political scenario. In 1991, the documents published by the Wikileaks cables reveal that the opposition that carried out the coup d'état against Prime Minister Jean Bertrand Aristide, a coup "condemned" by the United States. He has even returned to power with the support of the United States... These military coup plotters were actually agents of the NSA and CIA.

It was too late for Aristide to realize that the plan was to force him to privatize state enterprises. A plan that worked.

Many current figures, groups, strategies and movements supposedly of the Haitian left or opposition are very dubious since, as historian Suzy Castor said, U.S. intelligence is historically ready to do anything outside of laws, morals and ethics just to preserve the economic interests of its elite.

How have the people of Haiti been mobilizing against the imperialist invasion?

The popular movements most present in recent years are movements of civil disobedience against the economic sectors. The Petrocaribe movement was not only a movement against corrupt politicians, it also had the international bourgeoisie in its lens. The Petrocaribe fund will help Haiti to save 100 million US dollars earned by the oil companies. And PetroCaribe will sell the oil to DINASA (the Haitian oil supplier) which in turn will sell it to the four foreign oil companies that are doing well in Haiti: Texaco, Esso (also known as Exxon), National (formerly Shell) and [the French company] Total, who have boycotted the Venezuelan program including some Dominican companies.

More recent movements like "Peyi Lòk" also attacked the local and international bourgeoisie. Currently, the Bwa Kale movement also threatened the businessmen and politicians who finance the armed gangs.

The economy is the target of the popular movements. In any case, the people have nothing to lose since the profits go into the pockets of the businessmen or corrupt politicians.

The anti-imperialist movement has many similarities with the anti-colonialist or anti-racist movements of the contemporary century.

Is there an organized left-wing unity in Haiti? Are the various left-wing/anti-imperialist forces in communication with one another and organizing together?

Haiti, since 1804, is a global epistemological actor. When they were talking in France about human rights, they were not talking about black people as human beings. Likewise when they were talking about the American Revolution, they were only talking about a white bourgeois revolution. All the concepts were defined on the basis of the Western vision. We were able to redefine not only what a revolution is for everybody, but we also redefined what a human being is. Since then, we continue to question the definition of concepts such as religion (voodoo has no god and no sacred books), language (Creole grammar differs from the Western norm), culture (Haitian dances have no predetermined steps)... and organization (Haitian structures are not subject to hierarchical bureaucracy but to moral and human values).

The Haitian left is not organized nor is it united on the basis of the Western left vision. It does not prevent it! There is a Haitian left. There is unity. There is organization. But with Haitian criteria, of African origin.

And like any organization beyond the criteria, there is divergence of ideas, of interest and contradictions because they are not homogeneous groups.

In short, yes, there is unity, there is organization and communication.

How are organizations like Tèt Kole Ti Peyizan and other women’s organizations fighting against sexual violence by the state and mobilizing more women to join this struggle?

The current strength of the peasants' and women's associations is communication. It is perhaps the only right that the dominant minority has not yet taken out. Besides denouncing publicly and before international organizations, they unite with other peasants of the region, with the MST of Brazil and Via Campesina, as in the case of Tet Kole Ti Peyizan, to better fight against oppression, knowing that the struggle of women and/or peasants is an international struggle, since the agenda of the oppressor is global.

How have recent disasters such as yesterday’s earthquake and floods exacerbated the suffering of the people?

Haiti, like any other country, has known natural disasters since its existence as a territory. These are not the real causes of suffering but are capitalized by a specific sector and the latter caused the suffering. The current situation in Haiti could have improved after the earthquake. The collection of the reconstruction fund (13 billion dollars) by the international community was leaked under Bill Clinton's administration. Months later, military intervention infected the Artibonite peasantry with a cholera outbreak and left thousands dead throughout the country.

The real cause of the suffering is the absence of public policies to prevent natural disasters and the disheartening of national and international political actors who want to take advantage of these sufferings at any cost.

What can those in the Global North who want to be in solidarity with the struggle against foreign intervention in Haiti do?

The workers, the peasantry, the racialized, the oppressed of the Global North must build networks and counter-agendas for social, political, narrative and economic struggle to help each other. Most urgently for Haiti today, visibilization is of twofold importance: to remember and to  apply pressure. With memory, evil can be avoided. With pressure you can avoid the worst.


Posted August 17, 2023