Group photo of the heads of government in attendance at the 44th CARICOM summit held in The Bahamas, February 17, 2023 (Photo: Our News)
Canada continues its tradition of interfering in Haiti and subordinating the human rights of its people for its own interests.
This article was originally published in Orinoco Tribune.
Canada will send two navy ships to Haiti in the coming weeks to help the unelected government of Ariel Henry address “gang violence” in the country. This announcement was made by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, February 16, during his participation at the Summit of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held in Nassau, the Bahamas.
This interventionist move from Canada in Haiti was expected since CARICOM had announced, in a statement issued on February 14, that the prime minister of Canada would attend the summit as a “special guest.” Trudeau had stated that he was “look[ing] forward to meeting with the leaders of CARICOM to discuss how we can continue to work together to support the people of Haiti,” an euphemism for keeping Haiti under imperialist control and chaos.
In his speech at the CARICOM summit, Trudeau said, “We’ve announced more support for the Haitian people, as they work to bring an end to the crisis in Haiti. In the days to come, we’ll deliver additional tactical and armored vehicles—and deploy Royal Canadian Navy vessels off the Haitian coast.”
He added that this decision was taken “in response to Haiti’s request for assistance.”
He further announced that Canada has imposed additional sanctions against two Haitian individuals “who have supported criminal gangs and fuelled instability.” The individuals were not named.
Trudeau also announced $10 million of additional funding “to protect Haitian women and children along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border.”
“Canada will continue to provide support to bolster the capacity of the Haitian National Police to respond to the crisis, including by delivering three additional Haitian-purchased Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles,” a statement by the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office declared.
Canada has already provided extensive material and logistical assistance to the Haitian National Police to crack down on anti-government protests against deteriorating living conditions and security issues. Specifically, since July 2022, Canada has deployed a long-range patrol aircraft to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability to the Haitian police, even airlifting specialized vehicles to the police in the name of combating “gang violence.”
In Nassau, Trudeau stated that an additional $12.3 million in humanitarian aid will be allocated to Haiti to cover “food and nutrition needs of vulnerable populations, help meet the safety and emergency sexual and reproductive health needs of vulnerable women and girls, prevent and respond to gender-based violence, and provide water, sanitation and hygiene to address and prevent cholera.”
Although he remarked that long-term solutions must be sought to end the “crisis in Haiti,” he did not make any announcements regarding transfer of technologies, building productive capacities or creating sources of employment. His focus was, instead, on “humanitarian aid” and “humanitarian intervention.”
Trudeau’s latest announcement is part of the US-Canada attempt to carry out a military invasion of Haiti in order to help de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry remain in power, and to impose on Haitians a president servile to US interests as his successor.
In his meeting with Henry at the CARICOM summit, Trudeau assured him that Canada “will support an inclusive political dialogue in Haiti to lay the foundation for free and fair elections.”
The Canadian PM’s words should be considered in the context of recent history, given that his country was involved in the overthrow of the elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, banning Aristide’s party from subsequent elections, and backing the United States in imposing Michel Martelly as president of Haiti in 2015 although he did not win the election. Ariel Henry would not have been able to continue as the de facto head of state of Haiti since 2022 without support from the Canadian government.
“The last thing Haiti needs is more Canadian gunboat diplomacy,” wrote Canadian historian and anti-war activist Yves Engler, pointing out how Canada, through centuries, dispatched gunboats to Haiti to repress and extort the nation. According to Engler, Trudeau announced sending the two naval vessels “to please Washington and prod Caribbean nations to dispatch their forces” to Haiti.
Over the last few months, Washington has been pushing for a military occupation of Haiti by proxy, by delegating to a third country the task of leading “a specialized multinational force.” The US does not want the mechanism of the United Nations Peace Corps to be used for this intervention. Although this is illegal in international law, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the European Union, and even the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) have endorsed the US proposal. Earlier this week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called upon the international community to “urgently consider the deployment of a specialized force,” thus betraying his mandate, which is supposed to be based on peace.
Saheli Chowdhury is from West Bengal, India, studying physics for a profession, but with a passion for writing. She is interested in history and popular movements around the world, especially in the Global South. She is a contributor and works for Orinoco Tribune.