Interview – Reject Disinformation About the Situation in Haiti
Below is an interview from TML Daily published on November 16 with Solidarité Québec-Haïti activist, Jennie-Laure Sully. The interview exposes the disinformation being promoted to try and justify a foreign intervention in Haiti by the same colonial forces, Canada included, which have contributed to the instability they now claim they want to address. We are re-publishing it in full for the information of our readers so that they can judge for themselves what is taking place and how to intervene in favour of the truth and justice.
The Marxist-Leninist: Media are reporting that intervention in Haiti would be justified because the big powers would like to bring goods and food, what they call “humanitarian aid” to Haiti, but that would be impossible to do because of the gangs. So they want to intervene to save the Haitian people. Can you tell us about that?
Jennie-Laure Sully: Yes, this is the media discourse, the dominant discourse. That’s what’s being put forward for the Canadian public — saying that there is a humanitarian crisis caused by criminal gangs in Haiti. Of course, there is no historical context provided and there are many facts that are not revealed.
First of all, when they talk about criminal gangs, what they don’t say is that in Haiti, there is no manufacturing of weapons or ammunition. So when they talk about gangs that have weapons and are able to block goods, to block access to fuel, we must ask ourselves the question: where do the weapons that are in the hands of these criminals come from? If the weapons are not made in Haiti, where do they come from? There has been research on this and Haitian journalists have spoken out. They say that these are weapons that come from the United States. These weapons arrive in the country with the consent of rich families, oligarchs, who circulate and distribute these weapons.
We know that within the Haitian police force, there are policemen who have left the police force and joined what are called “gangs.” But the real word that should be used is “mercenary.” These are mercenaries who are in the pay of the local oligarchs in Haiti. This is a way for the oligarchs to prevent demonstrations, popular demands; they want to terrorize the demonstrators for years and make sure that there are divisions within the people. In the poor districts, they want to create rival factions, a kind of chaos, and then these same oligarchs will ally themselves with the illegitimate government and foreign embassies and then declare, “it is chaos, we need military intervention.”
The situation in Haiti has been rotting for a very long time under the eyes of the police, the de facto government and these families. And now, after having allowed mercenaries to sow chaos, they are asking for foreign help to solve a problem that they could have solved at the source by preventing the circulation of weapons. This is bad faith, these are lies that are being spread. And the Western and Canadian media are participating in these lies because Canada is part of the Core Group. The Core Group is a group of foreign ambassadors who, at least since 2004, have been interfering in Haiti’s affairs to defend their own economic interests.
In the case of Canada, the economic interests defended are those of the Canadian mining companies in Haiti who want to collude with the corrupt in power in order to do what they want with the Haitian subsoil. They want exploitation permits without being hindered. They do not want to be asked for royalties on the eventual extraction of mineral resources. So it is to their advantage to have a government that defends their interests rather than the interests of the people. So Canada participates in the Core Group to defend its economic interests and pretends to be interested in the Haitian people, in the women and children who have been raped, etc. But they have never taken any action to protect the people. They have never made any decisions in favour of women and children.
NGOs for example in Haiti are part of the problem, not the solution. What they do is weaken the state. When donations are sent, they are often used to pay for the development workers’ hotels, jeeps, security guards, insurance, and the money eventually comes back to Canada. And the state is weakened because the NGOs that claim to be trying to meet the social needs of the population are not accountable to the Haitian population. They are accountable to their donors in Canada or elsewhere. It is an anti-people, anti-democratic system and this pretext of humanitarianism does the business of Canadian companies, it gives good conscience to some people who say we will make donations and it will help.
When we talk about oligarchs, there are families that have controlled the Haitian economy for centuries. There are some who are more recent, dating back to the first American occupation from 1915 to 1934. When they occupied during this period, these conquerors got rid of the old elite who were descendants of European slavers. The new elite that replaced them were people who came from the Middle East — Syria, among other places, and the Americans preferred to do business with them rather than with the old elite. Some of them have mixed with the old slave-owning elite, but the fact remains that these families are known. They are never named in the media, but we can name the Bigio, Acra, Brandt, Mevs families. These are the families who control the ports in Haiti, for example. So they know what goods are coming in and going out. There is even a port that belongs to only one of these families and that is a private port, privatized.
These families own land, infrastructure, and are in the import-export business. They are what we call compradors in the sense that they often have another nationality, American among others. Many of them travel between Haiti and Miami or Europe and do business, without ever developing the country. This is what we see. To ensure their own security, they will call in mercenaries and increasingly make sure that they have a government that protects them and the foreign interests to which they are linked and want to ensure that popular demands are suppressed in different ways: foreign interventions, mercenaries, gangs on their payroll. There are all kinds of ways to repress the Haitian people.
TML: Can you tell us about the links between the Canadian police and these Haitian mercenaries? Among other things, in the UN resolution adopted on October 18 establishing a sanctions regime for Haiti, Jimmy Cherizier (aka Barbecue) is listed as enemy number 1 (and he is the only enemy mentioned in the resolution), what do you think?
JLS: Barbecue is the nickname of Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, from one of those cohorts trained by the Canadian police. It is in this sense that there are questions to be asked because the Haitian national police, the PNH, was trained by Canadians. There have been several cooperation agreements between Haiti and Canada for police training. We hear that there are many people from the famous gangs who come from this police force, who have all been trained in one way or another by the Canadian police, who have received technical assistance, equipment; there is a lot of Canadian money in this Haitian police force. This has been done on a recurring basis since at least 2010 if not before. When there was the coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, after the Ottawa Initiative for Haiti in 2003, Canada committed itself in three areas: justice, prisons and police. Since 2003, this is the roadmap that Canada has followed. And even when they say today that they are going to invest in feminist policies, it is to bring more women into the police force.
Regarding Jimmy Cherizier, after leaving the police force, if we search in Haitian media sources from 2020, we start hearing about him as a gang leader. And who does he prey on? He’s going after people in the slums. And that’s where I talk about this tactic of wreaking havoc in the poorest neighbourhoods, the very neighbourhoods that are trying to organize against the fact that they don’t have a minimum wage when they work, the fact that people can’t find work, and have all sorts of social and economic demands. We are talking about neighbourhoods like Bel-Air, Cité-Soleil, La Saline. And in these neighbourhoods there are many people who still identify with the Lavalas party of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and we know that there are attempts at popular organizations, or other socialist-type parties. These neighbourhoods are constantly targeted by the oligarchs and the de facto governments because they see that these neighbourhoods are a source of revolt. Maybe the UN talks about him to give him credit in front of the people? We must ask ourselves this question.
From the point of view of Solidarité Québec-Haïti, the information that we have gathered reveals that there is nothing that allows us to say that he is not guilty of a crime. He presents himself as a revolutionary. This seems to us to be a pitch that he is making to try to save his skin. We don’t know if the people who had armed him no longer trust him for all sorts of reasons.
TML: Thank you very much Jennie-Laure for this valuable information so we can form our own opinion in the tide of disinformation justifying foreign intervention in Haiti.