The United Nations occupation of Haiti under MINUSTAH and BINUH brought instability, violence, and even cholera to that nation. Signatories of an open letter to Mexico's president Lopez Obrador remind him that his support for regional self-determination means little if he spearheads renewal of the BINUH mandate.
Dear President López Obrador,
We, the undersigned, condemn in the strongest possible terms Mexico’s spearheading of the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office (BINUH) in Haiti. The Haitian people view BINUH’s presence as a foreign occupation that, since 2004, has suppressed Haiti’s independence and sovereignty. We agree. We want you, President AMLO, to seriously consider your role and the role of the Mexican Republic in extending the UN’s mission and continuing the repression of the Haitian people.
Over the years, we have seen you emerge as one of the more progressive voices in the hemisphere. We have applauded your commitments to forging new, more equitable, relations between the nations and peoples of the Americas, especially against western and northern bullying and dominance. For this reason, we believe you should not allow yourself to carry out US and Western neo-colonial policies in Haiti. Since you support self-determination for the region, all countries must be allowed to assert their independence, including Haiti. The renewal of the UN mandate is against Haitian sovereignty. We do not want you to end up on the wrong side of history.
The UN Mission to Haiti Is Foreign Occupation and Denial of Sovereignty
As you surely know, the United Nations became an occupying force in Haiti after the U.S.-France-Canada-led 2004 coup d’état against Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Following the coup, the UN took over from U.S. forces. Under Chapter VII of the UN charter, the UN established the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (or MINUSTAH), for the tasks of military occupation under the guise of establishing peace and security. The Workers Party-led Brazilian government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva then betrayed the Haitian people and undercut Haiti’s sovereignty by agreeing to lead the military wing of the UN mission in Haiti.
The history of the UN in Haiti has been a history of violence. An expensive, multi-billion dollar operation, MINUSTAH had between 6,000 and 12,000 military troops and police stationed in Haiti alongside thousands of civilian personnel. Like the first U.S. occupation (1915-1934), the UN occupation under MINUSTAH was marked by its brutality and racism towards the Haitian people. Civilians were brutally attacked and assassinated. “Peace-keepers” committed sexual crimes. UN soldiers dumped human waste into rivers used for drinking water, unleashing a cholera epidemic that killed between 10,000 and 50,000 people – and to which the UN has still not been held accountable.
The Core Group — an international coalition of self-proclaimed “friends” of Haiti — came together during the MINUSTAH occupation. Non-Black, un-elected, and anti-democratic, the goal of the Core Group is to oversee Haiti’s governance. Meanwhile, as with the first occupation, the United States and MINUSTAH trained and militarized Haiti’s police and security forces, often rehabilitating and reintegrating rogue members. The United States, in collusion with MINUSTAH and the Core Group, also over-rode Haitian democracy, installing both neo-Duvalierist Michel Martelly and his Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK), alongside Martelly’s protege and successor, the late Jovenel Moïse.
It is claimed that this occupation officially ended in 2017 with the dissolution of MINUSTAH. But the UN has remained in Haiti under a new acronym: BINUH, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti. BINUH has had an outsized role in Haitian internal political affairs. For example, soon after Moïse was assassinated, its representative, Helen La Lime, asserted that Claude Joseph would be installed as Haiti’s leader. Later, the “Core Group” switched gears and demanded that Ariel Henry should be president. And this is exactly what happened when a “new” Haitian government was announced on July 20, 2021, with Henry as leader. This, without any say from the Haitian people, without any pretense of a democratic process, without any concern for Haiti’s sovereignty.
UN Occupation Increases Violence and Instability
Haiti currently has an unelected, unpopular, unaccountable, and illegitimate prime minister, propped up by the United States and the western nations. Meanwhile, Haiti’s security situation has deteriorated considerably as groups, armed by the transnational Haitian and Levantine elite, continue their attacks on the Haitian people. We must emphasize that, in the eighteen years that the United Nations mission has participated in the occupation of Haiti, the Haitian people have only experienced violence and political instability. You must recognize the foreign occupation of Haiti has left it in a state of disarray and violence.
For this reason, we have also been disappointed in your government’s participation in the U.S. government’s racist migration policies. While we are alarmed by the stories of the poor living conditions and the violent treatment of the growing population of Haitian migrants within Mexico, Mexico has also colluded with the United States — and against the people of the Americas — by accepting payment to militarize its northern and southern borders on behalf of the United States. This has led to the further criminalization and violent treatment of all migrants, but especially Black migrants. Your government has also agreed to the United States’ “Remain in Mexico” policy, which flagrantly violates international law.
Summit of the Americas
We were heartened when you called for fair representation and recognition of sovereignty of all nations at the 2022 Summit of the Americas. In May, the Black Alliance for Peace called for a boycott of the Summit to protest U.S. power and policy in the hemisphere. The people of our Americas declared their opposition to it, stating clearly that one cannot be a partner and a hegemon at the same time. The United States excluded nations that they claimed were not democratic. Yet, Ariel Henry was invited, even though he was placed in power at the behest of the United States and CORE Group, and without any democratic input from the Haitian people.
In boycotting the Summit of the Americas you, Mr. President, declared:
“I believe in the need to change the policy that has been imposed for centuries, the exclusion, the desire to dominate, the lack of respect for the sovereignty of the countries and the independence of every country.”
We ask, Mr. President, what about respect for the sovereignty and independence of Haiti? Does that country not count? How do you justify your actions towards Haiti and its people, including migrants, that express the opposite?
No to Occupation. Yes to Self-Determination.
The United Nations has not respected the sovereignty of the Haitian people. The Haitian Parliament has never ratified the UN occupations. After multiple failed missions, a renewal of the BINUH mandate represents a direct attack on the Haitian people’s right to self-determination.
We ask that you think with all seriousness about the relationships among nations in our region. All nations should be able to chart their own destiny, not just some. You must know the history of the proud Haitian people whose Revolution changed the course of world history and material aid helped the liberation of the Americas from colonial rule and enslavement. Despite the continued affront to its self-determination, the people of Haiti will continue to fight for its liberation.
Mexico should contribute to the end of the occupation of Haiti, not its extension. The Americas cannot be free and sovereign unless all countries are free and sovereign.
Black Alliance for Peace Haiti/Americas Team
Caribbean Solidarity Network
U.S. Peace Council
Family Action Network Movement (FANM)
Spirit of Mandela
KOMOKODA (Committee to Mobilize Against Dictatorship in Haiti)
Foundation Frantz Fanon
United National Anti-War Coalition
Friends of Latin America
Alliance for Global Justice
Community Movement Builders
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Lowcountry Action Committee
Pan-African Community Action (PACA)
Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice
Socialist Unity Party
Struggle La Lucha newspaper
Workers Voice Socialist Movement
Latin America Solidarity Coalition of Western Massachusetts
Massachusetts Peace Action
Peace Action Wisconsin
Milwaukee Fair Trade Coalition
Seattle Anti-War Coalition
Claudia Jones School for Political Education
Los Angeles Movement for Advancing Socialism
Party of Communists USA
Red Banner Anti-Imperialist Collective
Luqman Nation Media
Plymouth Congregational UCC Board of Social Action
Malcolm X Center for Human Rights & Self Determination
Ujima People's Progress Party
Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
All-African People’s Revolutionary Party
#NoMore Global Movement
Ethio-American Development Council
NY NJ Hope for Ethiopia
Unión del Barrio