The island country of Haiti where African people waged the first successful workers’ revolution that brilliantly defeated the French colonial slave master militarily in 1804 today faces an estimated 100,000 dead, thousands homeless and vast devastation following a massive earthquake on Jan. 12.
The New York Times
wrote on Jan. 13: “Bodies lay in the streets of Haiti’s devastated capital early Wednesday, and untold numbers of people remained trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings and leveled shantytown homes in the wake of an earthquake that ravaged this impoverished nation a day earlier.
“There was still no estimate of how many had been killed in the earthquake, which had an estimated magnitude of 7.0, but as rescue workers struggled to pull survivors, thousands were feared dead.”
The Times continued: “There is a blanket of dust rising from the valley south of the capital…We can hear people calling for help from every corner. The aftershocks are ongoing and making people very nervous.”
As the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere, the already brutalized Africans of Haiti, most of whom live in tin shanties in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, are besieged with fires, collapsed hospitals and electricity failures in the wake of the earthquake.
However, the primary problem facing African people in Haiti—just as for African people on the Continent of Africa, inside the U.S. and everywhere in the world—is that we do not have power over our lives and control over our land our resources.
The outcry from Western countries that have historically bled Haiti dry is the ultimate in hypocrisy. U.S. and European media are blaming the profound impact of the serious quake on the “lack of building standards” in Haiti’s construction.
But the African Socialist International charges that the imperialists are responsible for the devastating impact of this natural disaster. The large numbers of people who died in this earthquake is mass murder because the past 200 years of imperialist control of Haiti has prohibited the development of Haiti’s infrastructure and ability to build sound living structures.
After Jean Jacques Dessalines brilliantly defeated 30,000 French troops sent into to Haiti by Napoleon in 1803 in an attempt to defeat the victory won by formerly enslaved Toussaint L’ouverture, Haiti was revered by African and freedom loving people everywhere.
The victory of Africans in Haiti inspired Denmark Vesey and many courageous African freedom fighters inside the U.S. and in other countries struggling against the system of chattel slavery.
The Haitian revolution sparked fear in the hearts of slave masters everywhere. Haiti was a beacon of freedom and justice and opened its doors to all people fleeing oppression anywhere in the world.
Faced with the inspiring victory of African people, white power in the form of France, Europe and the U.S. has waged a relentless military, economic and political assault on the people of Haiti that continues to this day with Africans in Haiti suffering under a murderous and brutally oppressive colonial occupation by United Nations forces.
Europe and the United States forced Haiti to pay “reparations” to France for lost “property.” It was the first imperialist economic quarantine in the Caribbean.
France’s “property” in Haiti was in fact African people ourselves who had been enslaved and everything we had constructed from land stolen from a decimated indigenous population. So for a hundred years Haiti was made to continue to support France, draining Haiti of its wealth and leaving Africans in a state of desperate poverty.
The United States occupied the island from 1915 to 1934. This U.S. occupation dismantled Haiti’s revolutionary constitutional system that prohibited land being purchased by foreigners.
The U.S. occupation reinstituted the enslavement of African people to build roads, and established the National Guards that ran the country after the marines left. In the process the U.S. looted the entire treasury of Haiti.
This is why Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere today, why Africans are forced to live in shanties, subsist on a diet of mud pies and are regularly shot down by U.N. armed forces! Africans continue to have no control over our resources, our Africa and our lives everywhere.
In Haiti, in New Orleans, in Congo or Somalia, the only solution to all the disasters facing African people is to get rid of the primary disaster, which is U.S. imperialism whose only goal is to suck our blood for the benefit of the white world.
We must defeat this capitalist colonial power that was built on our stolen labor and resources and which continues to brutalize us daily. The time is now to get organized under the African Socialist International to reunite Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class.
The Burning Spear newspaper and Uhuru News expect to have a statement from the African Socialist International and will keep you updated.