Haitian refugees whipped in Texas

This 21 September 2021 video from the USA is called Border Patrol Use Whips And Horses To Chase Asylum Seekers.

Outrage As Biden Administration Rapidly Deports Haitian Migrants From Texas Border

The Biden administration is rapidly deporting thousands of Haitian migrants who have been camped at a Texas border town seeking entry to the U.S.

More than 14,000 refugees, most of them Haitian, have been camping out for days in squalid conditions under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Some 3,300 people from the camp have already been sent to detention centers or removed on deportation flights by U.S. immigration agents, USA Today reports.

In a release Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said it was expelling most of the migrants using Title 42 ― a Trump-era policy that allows the U.S., during the coronavirus pandemic, to quickly deport people crossing the border, typically without processing them for asylum.

Video and photos showed Border Patrol agents on horseback whipping ropes at Haitian refugees on Sunday. The refugees had reportedly gone into Mexico to buy food, and were seeking to return to the camp on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande.

Immigrant rights groups expressed outrage, urging U.S. Customs and Border Protection to “stop this discrimination” and slamming the Biden administration for choosing to “shut the door” on Haitians seeking safety.

When asked Monday about the violent images of CBP agents on horseback threatening migrants, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that while she didn’t have the “full context” of what was happening in these incidents, “I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”

A DHS spokesperson said in a statement that the footage is “extremely troubling” and an investigation will be “conducted swiftly,” adding that the agency “does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody.” In a subsequent statement to reporters Monday, Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said he believed the agents were “trying to control” their animals but that officials would investigate the incident.

Advocates have condemned the Biden administration for resuming deportations to Haiti, a country mired in turmoil from the assassination of its president in July and an earthquake in August that killed more than 2,000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

Read more here.

U.S. SET TO ADMIT LOWEST NUMBER OF REFUGEES EVER Despite Biden’s pledge to overhaul immigration and welcome refugees to the U.S., 2021 is on pace for a record low in refugee admissions, with 7,637 admissions as of Aug. 31. The refugee cap was set as up to 62,500 after pushback by advocates, but the U.S. is unlikely to meet that number by the Oct. 31 fiscal year deadline. [HuffPost]

Occupation soldiers abuse Haitian women, girls

This 22 December 2019 video says about itself:

UN Soldiers‘ Violence Against Haitian Girls And Women

The info comes from a recent academic study based on interviews with 2500 Haitians which reveals how the power differential between foreign peacekeepers and local populations allows foreigners to exploit local women and girls.

See also here.

Scottish Conservative politician supports Honduras, Haiti dictatorships

Scottish Conservative Andrew Bowie campaigning with British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017

By Conrad Landin in Scotland:

Exclusive: Ruth Davidson called to condemn Scottish Tory MP over links to coup-backing lobby group

Andrew Bowie took sponsorship from International Republican Institute accused of links to coups in Honduras and Haiti

SCOTTISH TORY leader Ruth Davidson is facing calls to condemn one of her MPs, after he met with a US lobby group linked to a series of coups d’etat.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie was sponsored by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on a two-day junket to Paris worth £450, the Morning Star can exclusively reveal.

The Tory politician told parliamentary authorities that the purpose of the January trip was “to discuss from a British perspective the response to populism and the changing political landscape in the West.”

The IRI has been linked to the failed 2002 coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

It has also been accused of playing a role in the successful removal of Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, and of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

Labour’s Holyrood shadow Brexit minister Neil Findlay said: “The Scottish Conservatives have tried to distance themselves from the more extreme elements in the Conservative Party.

“And yet here we see one of their MPs working hand-in-glove with an organisation that is implicated in the undermining of democracy and sovereign states.”

Mr Findlay said Scottish Tory leader Ms Davidson “should condemn and distance herself from the actions of this MP.”

The IRI is one of several organisations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which was established by the US Congress in 1983 after US president Ronald Reagan’s seminal speech at Westminster calling for an international alliance “to foster the infrastructure of democracy.”

It received a US government grant of $339,998 (over £230,000 at the time) for “political party building” in Venezuela prior to the short-lived 2002 coup.

On the day Mr Chavez was temporarily ousted, IRI president George A Folsom said Venezuelans “rose up to defend democracy.”

Stanley Lucas, institute boss in Haiti, was accused by former US ambassador Brian Dean Curran of behaviour which “risked us being accused of attempting to destabilise the government.”

Mr Lucas was an avowed opponent of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and counselled the opposition to refuse to work with the social democrat government in order to cripple it, according to the New York Times.

In 2004 a group of right-wing military chiefs ousted the Aristide government in a coup.

In 2009 Mr Zelaya was ousted as Honduran leader in another military coup.

The IRI said the sham election which followed was “free of violence and overt acts of intimidation” and appeared credible.

SNP MP Chris Stephens told the Star: “This revelation demonstrates that the Scottish Tories, far from being centrist, are hard-line rightwingers, whose views on domestic and international issues continue to alienate the electorate.

“Ruth Davidson should distance herself from Bowie. The extremist views held by the Scottish Tories are the reason they have lost 21 elections in a row in Scotland.”

Nine years on from the coup, we still need to stand up for Honduras: here.

Washington presses Central America to militarize and turn away from China: here.

Mass protests against endemic poverty, government corruption convulse Haiti: here.

Trump helped dictator of Haiti, now calls country ‘shithole’

This video says about itself:

Terror under Jean Claude Duvalier’s dictatorship in Haiti

9 Ovtober 2014

In Haiti, victims of Jean Claude Duvalier’s dictatorship in which 30,000 people disappeared, express their outrage that the tyrant died without having been sentenced.

By Travis Gettys in the USA:

Haitian government claims ousted dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier laundered stolen money through Trump Tower

12 Jan 2018 at 12:32 ET

President Donald Trump insulted Haiti during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers, but he once signed off on a shady real estate deal with the nation’s ousted dictator.

More than a fifth of Trump’s condominiums in the U.S. have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive cash transactions that fit a Treasury Department definition of suspicious transactions, reported Buzzfeed News.

Records show more than 1,300 Trump condos were purchased through shell companies, which allow buyers to shield their finances and identities, and without a mortgage, which protects buyers from lender inquiries.

Those two characteristics raise alarms about possible money laundering, according to statements issued in recent months by the Department of Treasury, which has investigated transactions just like those all over the country.

The agency may even require real estate professionals to adopt new programs to keep illegally obtained funds from being plowed into luxury housing to conceal the money’s origins.

Trump companies reportedly sold $35 million in real estate last year alone — mostly to secretive shell companies that open the president up to possible influence peddling.

According to the Buzzfeed News report, the Haitian government complained in the 1980s that former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier laundered money stolen from the Caribbean nation’s treasury by purchasing an apartment in Trump Tower.

Duvalier, nicknamed “Baby Doc”, was overthrown in 1986, but three years earlier used a Panamanian shell company called Lasa Trade and Finance to buy apartment 54-K in Trump’s Manhattan tower for $446,875 cash.

Trump, the future U.S. president, signed the deed of sale.

Federal prosecutors charged a Russian native in 1984 with laundering the proceeds from a gasoline bootlegging operation through five Trump Tower condos purchased for $4.9 million.

David Bogatin pleaded guilty in 1987 and served eight years in federal prison.

Trump Taj Mahal casino was charged under anti-money laundering regulations 106 times in 1990 and 1991 by failing to identify gamblers who bought or cashed out more than $10,000 in chips.

Those reports are required to help authorities identify gamblers who may be laundering money, and Trump’s casino paid a $477,000 fine to the Treasury Department in 1998 without admitting wrongdoing.

[United States] Neo-Nazis say Donald Trump’s ‘sh**hole countries’ comments show he thinks like them. While most of the world recoils in horror, neo-Nazis celebrate the president’s reported remarks as an indication that ‘he is more or less on the same page as us with regards to race and immigration’: here.

ZURICH (Reuters) – Anti-globalisation demonstrators took to the streets of the Swiss capital on Saturday to protest against a planned visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to the World Economic Forum [in Davos] this month: here.

Trump official resigns after ‘Muslim s***hole’ rant exposed. President’s surrogate calls Islam ‘the ideology of a child molester’: here.

A general strike paralyzed the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince Monday. following three days of violent demonstrations, looting and clashes with security forces triggered by drastic hikes in fuel prices. Taxi and mini-bus drivers shut down operations and businesses and stores closed down, while scattered protests and barricades continued, with demonstrators calling for the ouster of the government of President Jovenel Moïse: here.

Haiti elections, stop imperialist meddling

This video says about itself:

15 September 2016

Haiti Elections 2016 – Danny Glover endorses Maryse Narcisse – she talks about the Lavalas Program for the Diaspora.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Haiti: Campaigners calls for end to foreign meddling in election

Wednesday 16th November 2016

SOLIDARITY campaigners have said next week’s Haitian presidential elections must be free of imperialist interference.

Haiti Action Committee [in the USA] spokesman David Welsh said: “There can be no recovery unless there is a government in place that truly represents the people.”

He warned former colonial power France, along with the US, Canada and the United Nations, to stay out of Haiti’s business and stop financing a “terror campaign by a minority elite” against the poor.

Haiti’s first democratically elected president Bertrand Aristide — twice deposed in US-backed coups — is running the presidential campaign of his Fanmi Lavalas party’s candidate Dr Maryse Narcisse.

Mr Welsh welcomed the prospect of “the first woman elected president of Haiti and the first since president Aristide to be chosen by and speak for the impoverished majority.”

On Monday, the Trump Administration announced that some 60,000 Haitian nationals would not have their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) renewed. Under TPS, Haitians that sought refuge after Haiti’s earthquake in 2010 have been allowed to live and work in the United States. The nationals now have until July 2019 to leave the country or face detention and deportation: here.

Hurricane Matthew, disaster in Haiti, elsewhere

This video says about itself:

Aerial Footage: Haiti Town Destroyed By Hurricane Matthew

6 October 2016

The pilot who took this video, which was provided by the non-profit organization Haitian Health Foundation, said Jeremie is “wiped out. Barely 1 percent of houses are standing. The people are alive … they survived. But soon, they may starve. They’re cut-off.”

Haiti death toll from Hurricane Matthew passes 1,000: here.

TAKING SHELTER IN THE CAVES OF HAITI “For much of the world, Haiti is known more as a crisis than a country. Disaster, whether man-made or natural, has come to define the nation, where progress is often just a prelude to another step back. Dictators, corrupt officials and international meddling have competed with earthquakes and hurricanes to destabilize the country.” [NYT]

Hundreds of preventable deaths caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti: here.

Haiti’s hurricane devastation: A tragedy rooted in capitalist oppression: here.

After killing at least 800 people and displacing some 60,000 in Haiti last week, Hurricane Matthew battered the southeastern US, pelting coastal areas with torrential rains and winds of 120 mph in some areas claiming at least 19 lives: here.

THE FLOODING CONTINUES IN NORTH CAROLINA “The poorest of the poor in North Carolina are the ones who are being hurt the most by these floods,” Gov. Pat McCrory said. [NYT]

The class issues exposed by Hurricane Matthew: here.

HURRICANE MATTHEW COULD COST $10 BILLION IN DAMAGES Insurance companies will be liable for $4-6 billion of that. And the World Health Organization is sending 1 million doses of cholera vaccine doses to Haiti as cases surge, while the United States has paused deportations to the country. [Reuters]

Tens of thousands in the southeast United States continue to be impacted in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which came ashore late last week. Thirty-eight people have died due to circumstances caused by the storm, including record flooding: here.

What Happens To Birds Caught In Hurricanes Like Matthew? Here.

Haiti and South American slavery

This video says about itself:

How Haiti Helped to Free South America’s Slaves

2 June 2016

On June 2, 1816 Simon Bolivar decreed the freedom of slaves across independent South America. But Haiti‘s first president Alexandre Pétion had a lot to do with this commitment.

Stop occupation of Haiti, London demonstration

This video from London, England says about itself:

Are Haiti polls rigged? Protest in front of the US Embassy in London

17 December 2015

Selma James says: “Haitians were the first to revolt against slavery… So, imperialists don’t accept the existence of this country”.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Protesters call on US to get out of Haiti

Thursday 17th December 2015

Rally marks 25 years since first democratic poll

DOZENS of people assembled outside the US embassy in London yesterday to mark the 25th anniversary of the first democratic elections in Haiti.

The event both celebrated the resounding victory of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in December 1990 and told the United States to “get out of Haiti” amid the country’s 2015 elections.

Feminist author Selma James described her meeting with Mr Aristide and his wife on the day of his election, when she happened to be in Haiti.

“Lavalas, their party, means ‘The Flood’,” Ms James told the crowd. “We saw the flood.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people, most of them young people, crowding into the house — before the car arrived, with the car and after the car — and it was an hour or so before he actually could walk from the car to the front door and always with a smile on his face.

“The first thing that Ms Aristide said to me was: ‘This victory — they can’t take it back’.”

The Global Women’s Strike co-ordinator added that the faces of Haitians “bore the stamp of the revolution as if it happened the day before, in fact, as if it was happening on that day.”

She demanded that the US get its hands off Haiti in 2015, where President Michel Martelly now rules after a second coup that deposed Mr Aristide in 2004.

“The debt that we owe to Haiti is an international debt,” Ms James said.

“Defending Haiti, in fighting alongside Haiti, we defend ourselves — we do it for ourselves.”

On the London protest, Global Women’s Strike was accompanied by the All African Women’s Group, the Payday Men’s Network and Caribbean Labour Solidarity (CLS).

“Got to tell the Yankees: Get out of Haiti, get out of the Caribbean, let people have their destiny,” said CLS president Luke Daniels at the rally.

Haiti’s ongoing parliamentary and presidential elections go into the final round on December 27.

But campaigners have labelled the whole process a sham as the US is accused of having funded the elections with a reported budget of $30 million (£20m).

Haiti: What the Clinton e-mails reveal about US election-rigging: here.

Haitians keep fighting against oppression and poverty

Thousands of Haitians are still living in tents after the earthquake of 2010

As this photo shows, thousands of Haitians are still living in tents after the earthquake of 2010.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 27 December 2014


MASS demonstrations continued in Haiti on Xmas eve demanding the resignation of President Michel Martelly and that elections be held.

The Haitian parliament’s mandate runs out on January 12, which will leave Martelly ruling by decree.

There has been a nationwide uprising against the regime of Martelly and his Prime Minister Lamothe over the last month with massive demonstrations in several major cities, including Port-au-Prince, Léogane, Petit Goâve, Cap-Haïtien, Fort-Liberté, Ouanaminthe, and Aux Cayes.

This has resulted in the resignation of Lamothe at midnight on December 13.

Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume was named as Haiti’s interim Prime Minister on the following Sunday.

Guillaume will hold the post for a maximum of 30 days before a permanent choice is presented to Parliament by President Michel Martelly, said Enex Jean-Charles, secretary general of Haiti’s council of ministers.

Martelly was supposed to call elections in 2011. But several opposition senators have used parliamentary procedures to prevent a vote authorising the elections while orchestrating protests to call for the president to resign.

‘Many demonstrators are also calling for the remaining 6,600 soldiers of The United Nations Stabilisation Mission In Haiti (MINUSTAH) to immediately leave Haiti.

An independent commission formed to resolve the crisis had recommended that Lamothe resign, which he did only after days of violent protests.

According to reports from the Haiti Liberté newspaper:

‘Ironically, the “trusted” commission is made up of disgraced and discredited political figures, including Gérard Gourgue, the former “president” of a “parallel government” the opposition to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide concocted in 2001; Evans Paul, the archetypal scheming Haitian politician who was a leader in the 2004 coup; and Réginald Boulos, a leading political strongman championing the interests of Haiti’s tiny bourgeoisie.

‘With typical humour, the Haitian people immediately dubbed Martelly’s proposal the “Baygon Commission,” referring to a popular insecticide in Haiti for killing cockroaches.

‘In early November, Martelly’s Communications Minister, Rudy Hériveaux, a former leader in Aristide’s Lavalas Family party (FL), issued an editorial in which he wrote: “Carried away in a kind of destructive frenzy, these cockroaches are agitated into a disgusting folkloric display in the streets to try to attack the government.” He was referring to the tens of thousands now demonstrating and to the Haitian opposition generally.

‘Such venomous comments and meaningless manoeuvres by government officials have only stoked the flames of “Operation Burkina Faso”, as the movement is called, inspired by the October uprising that unseated President Blaise Compaoré in Ouagadougou. “Here are the cockroaches,” thousands of demonstrators now chant.

‘Following the giant demonstration on November 25, equally large demonstrations swept the capital on November 28 and November 29, two dates with historic symbolism.

‘On November 28, 1980, the Duvalier dictatorship brutally cracked down on its political opponents and the press following the election in the US of right-wing President Ronald Reagan.

‘In the reign of terror that followed, many anti-Duvalierist journalists, politicians, and activists were murdered, imprisoned, tortured, or exiled.

‘Then on November 28, 1985 in Gonaïves, Duvalier’s soldiers and Tonton Macoutes gunned down three students: Mackenson Michel, Daniel Israel, and Jean Robert Cius.

‘Outrage at these killings sparked the nationwide uprising that led to the fall of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier on February 7, 1986.

‘On November 29, 1987, a neo-Duvalierist military junta, composed of Generals Henry Namphy, and Williams Régala, backed by paramilitary chieftains like Claude Raymond, carried out an election day massacre, killing dozens of would-be voters, most bloodily and infamously at the Argentine School on Ruelle Vaillant in the capital.

‘November 29, 1803 is also the day at Fort Dauphin in Haiti’s North that Haiti’s founding fathers first proclaimed independence, declaring at the time that “we have secured our rights, and we swear to yield to no power on earth.”

‘Inspired by their ancestors, on November 29, 2013, thousands of demonstrators had tried to march on the US Embassy in Tabarre, an action which was characterised as “Dessalines visits Uncle Sam.”

But Haitian police brutally dispersed the protest with tear-gas before it reached the embassy.

‘The same thing happened this year. Haitian police met the chanting multitude with tear-gas, batons, and gunfire at the Fleuriot intersection, just a stone’s throw from the home were Aristide remains under virtual house arrest.

‘Meanwhile, in the northeastern cities of Fort Liberté and Ouanaminthe near the border with the Dominican Republic, police wounded about 15 people with tear-gas and gunfire during a week of demonstrations.

‘There were four deaths reported, including a three-month-old infant and a 16-year-old boy. The people of the Northeast department are protesting against blackouts, while they claim that more than 12 megawatts of electricity remains unused at the Caracol Industrial Park, home to assembly factories. The residents of Fort-Liberté and Ouanaminthe want their electrical grids connected to Caracol’s power plant.

‘In Ouanaminthe, demonstrations are demanding the dismissal of customs officials who harass with overcharges and block small merchants crossing over the border’s Massacre River into Dajabon. The demonstrations prevented 10 containers from getting to the Caracol Industrial Park. A contingent of 30 heavily armed policemen from the Brigade of Motorised Intervention (BIM) was dispatched to shepherd the containers in.

‘Earlier this month the townspeople of Cabaret, about 20 miles north of Port-au-Prince, blocked National Highway #1 to demand electricity, drinking water, and a police outpost. Schools, banks, and markets were closed by the protest.

‘An official vehicle, determined to pass through the blockade, apparently fired on the crowd, reportedly killing two: a man known only as “Macintosh” and a woman who sold soda known as “Mabi.

‘As mayhem ensued, the police anti-riot unit, the Company for Intervention and Maintenance of Order (CIMO) arrived to suppress the crowd with tear-gas and water cannons.

‘ “Water is life, electricity is development,” the crowd chanted. “We don’t want to continue to drink dirty water. If the police fire on us, the situation will deteriorate. Down with Martelly!”

‘Christel Thélusma, spokesman for the local organization MADIBA, condemned the government’s repression of peaceful demonstrations for basic needs.

‘ “We do not want street lights, we want electricity in our homes so that our children can study their lessons,’ he said.

‘ “We will not yield to the pressures of the police. Our demands are fair and justified.

‘ “Martelly and Lamothe steal funds intended for development of the country, while we have no electricity, we have no drinking water.

“MINUSTAH’s cholera is killing us. This is our third demonstration, yet the authorities have never come to talk with the people.”

‘Opposition leaders have called for “Operation Burkina Faso” to continue.

‘In the days ahead, the US and Martelly will keep trying to coopt, divide, undermine, and threaten the Haitian opposition, as well as the larger social movement behind it, in an effort to keep Martelly and MINUSTAH in place.

‘The challenge remains for Martelly’s opposition to stay united and for the mass movement to sustain its mobilisation until it has the same momentum as those which drove dictators from power in 1986 and 1990.’

A new report ‘Haiti: Investing in people to fight poverty’ by the National Observatory on Poverty and Social Exclusion (ONPES) and the World Bank suggests the need for more inclusive growth and policies to increase access to basic services.

‘It is clear that the Metropolitan area received more attention in recent years, but we also note that more and more actions are directed to the provinces. If these actions are sustained and integrated into a comprehensive policy to foster development of rural areas, we will undoubtedly have a lower poverty rate,’ said Shirley Augustine Coordinator ONPES.

‘However, poverty remains high and access and quality of basic services remain a major concern, particularly in rural areas. More than 6 million Haitians – almost 60 per cent of the population – live on two dollars a day and the richest 20 per cent of households hold 64 per cent of total income in the country.

‘Incomes have stagnated in rural areas where 80 per cent of the poor are concentrated and about 200,000 children aged 6 to 14 are currently out of school.

‘High cost of access to services is still an obstacle. On average, families spend 10 per cent of their budget on education and 3 per cent on health care.’

Five years have passed since the 2010 Haiti earthquake killed 230,000 people, injured nearly 300,000 more, and left at least 1.5 million—the equivalent of nearly half the nation’s capital—homeless: here.

Raymond Joseph, a former Haitian representative to the Organization of American States and Haiti’s ambassador to the United States at the time of the devastating 2010 earthquake, recently declared on Bloomberg TV’s “Money Makers” program that “we don’t know where the money has gone.” Joseph was referring to the billions of dollars in foreign aid—including $4 billion pledged by the United States—for earthquake relief in Haiti: here.

Haiti: Martelly to rule by decree: here.

On October 9, the cabinet of Haitian prime minister Evans Paul adopted a decree to reestablish the country’s armed forces. The previous Haitian military, which for decades under the Duvalier dictatorships had served as force of internal repression, was disbanded in 1994 by then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide: here.

Haitian president praises dictator Duvalier

This video is called Haiti’s former dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier sued for torture.

By John Marion:

Haiti’s President Martelly eulogizes ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier

9 October 2014

On October 4, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier died of a heart attack. Having returned to Haiti in January 2011 from exile in France to live in luxury outside of Port-au-Prince, Duvalier was never brought to justice for the torture, murders, and disappearances of thousands of people by his government between 1971 and 1986.

Instead, a tweet from Haitian President Michel Martelly proclaimed, “despite our quarrels and differences, let us salute the departure of an authentic son of Haiti.” There has been talk of a state funeral, which would include three days of official mourning. Martelly spokesman Lucien Jura has advocated such an observance.

The “quarrels and differences” shrugged off by Martelly include the murders of tens of thousands of people by Duvalier and his father Francois, who ruled the country from 1957 to 1971. A transcript of a March 2013 conference call conducted by Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti attorney Nicole Phillips gives one chilling example.

In it, Phillips summarizes the 2013 testimony given against Duvalier by former soccer star Bobby Duval, who had been locked up in the infamous Fort Dimanche prison for having spent time abroad: “He was given about one bowl of cornmeal a day which he thinks is about 300 calories, which is how most of them lost pounds quickly and started to die. In the 8 months he was in Fort Dimanche, he counted 180 people die, and that when people died—the prisoners were kept in blocks of cells about 20 feet wide with 40 people per cell, and that when somebody would die they would knock on the door—the iron door of the cell so everyone could hear and the guards would come by and take the body out and throw it into a big hole near the prison.”

Press freedom was another subject of “quarrels” under Baby Doc’s regime. Making use of a 1969 law that declared criticism of the government to be a crime against the state, Duvalier’s government tortured, exiled, and disappeared journalists.

After his return from exile, attempts were made to put Duvalier on trial. However, a trial court ruled in 2012 that he could be charged only for his financial crimes, and that the statute of limitations had passed for all of the murders, arbitrary arrests, and torture carried out by his regime. That decision was later overturned by an appeals court, but no new trial was held before his death. When confronted by former victims in the appeals court—after refusing to attend its first three sittings—he brushed off the accusations by mumbling that “deaths exist in all countries.”

As president, Martelly has employed many former Duvalierists, and he has deep ties to both them and the military figures who took power after “Baby Doc” fled the country in January 1986. Daniel Supplice, the head of Martelly’s 2011 transition team, had been a minister under Duvalier. Martelly actively opposed the first presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and a 2002 Washington Post profile described the musician Martelly as a “favorite of the thugs who worked on behalf of the hated Duvalier family dictatorship before its 1986 collapse.”

Martelly’s predecessor Rene Preval was president when Duvalier returned to Haiti in January 2011. Preval, a close associate of Aristide in the 1990s, did nothing to stop Baby Doc’s return beyond an arrest from which he was quickly released. A May 2010 Miami Herald article described how Preval merely tried to avoid seeing Duvalier in public until being forced to shake his hand at a funeral. Preval meekly told the Herald that “It was not a meeting. We were at a funeral, our paths crossed.”

The same article described Duvalier’s lifestyle in the first few months after his return: “He’s holding court at tony restaurants, hobnobbing with powerful players and greeting guests at his borrowed home high in the pleasant hills above the congested capital.” Upon his death, the New York Times reported a similar lifestyle, which included attending events at Martelly’s invitation. Duvalier died while having breakfast with a retired army colonel who had served under his regime.

Both Duvaliers—father and son—had the backing of US imperialism, which poured massive amounts of aid into the country, most of it going into the pockets of its dictator and his supporters. The Pentagon deployed a Marine training mission there soon after Papa Doc came to power in 1957, and it distributed large quantities of arms to the military and the dictatorship’s feared death squads, the Tontons Macoute.

Washington’s backing increased in the wake of the 1959 Cuban revolution, with Duvalier seen as a bulwark of anticommunism. During the 1971 transition, after the elder Duvalier’s death, US warships were sent to the coast of Haiti. Nonetheless, the New York Times’ obituary for the younger Duvalier tries to paint the US government as the innocent victim of the dictatorship’s machinations: “He [Duvalier] curried favor with the United States, and exploited its Cold War aims to ensure that Haiti did not fall under Cuba’s sway by bargaining for aid.”

Ever the purveyor of cynical hand wringing, the Times quotes a Duvalier friend: “He was a gentle giant…not this tyrant.”

After 16 years of brutal rule, Jean-Claude Duvalier was chased out of Haiti by a genuine popular uprising. Summing up that period, University of Virginia professor Robert Fatton told the Miami Herald this week, “The vast majority of the population fought against his regime and celebrated his departure. It is rather amazing that one needs to remind people that he did not exit power voluntarily. He was forced to leave the country because Haitians resisted his rule and mustered the will and courage to force him to do so.”

However, the mass struggle undertaken by the people of Haiti at the beginning of 1986 for the “uprooting” of Duvalierism remains uncompleted, with the functions of suppressing the Haitian masses and subjecting them to relentless oppression and capitalist exploitation having been assumed by Martelly and his prime minister Laurent Lamothe. The liberating tasks posed by the mass uprisings of 1985 and 1986 can be realized only by the Haitian working class carrying out a revolution to put an end to imperialist oppression and capitalist exploitation in Haiti as part of a global struggle for the socialist transformation of society.

Haitians in the Dominican Republic: here.

Demonstrations continued throughout Haiti Tuesday, following Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s resignation over the weekend. Lamothe’s ouster has not resolved the political crisis among the country’s ruling elites, nor quelled growing street protests that target not only President Michel Martelly but also inflation and the imperialist machinations of the US and UN: here.