PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — Even as U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to inspire a military coup against the elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, evidence is mounting that the U.S. government is enabling American mercenaries to violently quell a popular uprising in Haiti.
MintPress News previously examined the parallels between the uprising in Haiti and the Yellow Vest movement in France: both explicitly take aim at the economic oligarchy and government austerity policies; both have been the subject of violent crackdowns by the police; and the governments of both countries have gotten a free pass from Washington and its sympathetic media.
Five Americans and three others were arrested in Haiti on Sunday after they were discovered transporting a cache of weapons. Haitians have been engaged in an all-out uprising against the government for the past 10 days.
Earlier this month, MintPress News reported on an arms shipment from the United States uncovered by Venezuelan authorities. Later, it was revealed that the plane that transported the weapons was linked to the Central Intelligence Agency.
Now, in Haiti, which has been in an all-out uprising for the past 10 days against corruption and fuel prices, another cache of arms has been discovered with its own links to the U.S. Haitian police reportedly arrested five Americans, one Serb, one Russian, and one Haitian who were heavily armed on Sunday, though conflicting reports indicate that six or seven Americans and one Serb were arrested, however.
Pictures of what are believed to be some of their passports viewed online by MintPress News include multiple American ones and one from the Republic of Serbia. As journalists Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal recently uncovered, Juan Guaidó, the leader of the U.S.-backed coup in Venezuela, was trained in Serbia.
8 hommes lourdement armés- 7 étrangers et un Haïtiens- ont été arrêtés ce dimanche 17 février par la PNH. Leurs armes automatiques, leurs moyens de communication et leurs véhicules ont été saisis. Pour le moment ils sont au Commissariat de Port-au-Prince à appris Le Nouvelliste pic.twitter.com/YKRoqLKPY4
— Frantz Duval (@Frantzduval) February 18, 2019
In total, authorities discovered six assault rifles, six pistols, ammunition, bullet-proof vests, drones, telecommunications equipment and two vehicles, according to the U.S.-funded Voice of America. Video reportedly showing the men to whom the weapons belonged in custody has surfaced online.
Video of 7 US citizens and a Haitian being held at main police station in downtown PAP, #Haiti. They were detained after a cache of automatic weapons, communications equipment and several license plates were found in their vehicles. Why they were stopped is unknown. pic.twitter.com/YvCxaULWIo
— HaitiInfoProject (@HaitiInfoProj) February 18, 2019
For nearly two weeks, Haitians have been taking to the streets, vowing to continue protesting until President Joven Moise vacates his office. Like the Yellow Vests in France, the intense protests seem aimed at neoliberal austerity policies. Similarly, the Venezuelan opposition now headed by Juan Guaidó promises to usher in neoliberal shock remedies.
Here are pics of weapons and gear found in their possession: pic.twitter.com/fN68czxJ8I
— HaitiInfoProject (@HaitiInfoProj) February 18, 2019
According to the Haiti Information Project, a number of Haitians believe the arrested men are “part of a team of mercenaries hired by Joven Moise and working with [The General Security Unit of the National Palace special police unit] to extinguish protests.” According to the online publication Vedeth — which appears, like the majority of Haitians, to be pro-opposition —
President Jovenel Moise has brought home mercenaries to assassinate not only a desperate people who are clamoring for his resignation by demonstrating peacefully but especially his political opponents.”
Haitians have complained about heavily armed foreign mercenaries patrolling in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Is the govt of #Haiti hiring mercenaries to kill its own people? Lots of foreigners with big guns around the capital. Folks are talking about trying grab one to figure this out pic.twitter.com/PuCvM2SgAF
— HaitiInfoProject 📡 (@HaitiInfoProj) November 20, 2018
The country, like its neighbor to the south, Venezuela, is in the throes of a hard-hitting economic crisis. But while the U.S. meddling machine has found a cause for concern in Venezuela, it is perfectly happy with Haiti’s leadership as it puts down unrest in the country with shocking violence.
President Trump’s Venezuela regime-change deputy, John Bolton, issued a condemnatory statement, but it was, unsurprisingly, aimed at the opposition.
I met with Haitian Foreign Minister @BocchitEdmond yesterday to express the United States’ enduring support for and friendship with Haiti. We urge all of Haiti’s political actors to respect and protect their democracy, engage in dialogue, and put an end to the political violence.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) February 16, 2019
A Tale of Two Uprisings: Washington’s astroturfed nation-building from Venezuela to Haiti
In an article entitled “Haiti’s Unfolding Revolution Is Directly Linked to Venezuela’s,” journalist and author Kim Ives, who focuses on Haiti, highlights even more parallels between the nations. Ives examines the history of U.S. involvement with the two countries, revealing political dynamics that inform Washington’s hostility towards Venezuela’s leadership and its open embrace of Haiti’s.
Ives returns to the 1990 election of anti-imperialist Jean-Bertrand Aristide, whose victory followed a period in which Haitians were subjected to “fierce repressesion, massacres, a bogus election, and three coups d’état.”
The U.S. fomented a coup attempt one year after Aristide’s victory, and another in 2004. This Ives compares to the 2002 coup attempt against Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who was elected in 1998.
In a bid to foster stronger alliances against U.S. aggression, Chavez leveraged Venezuela’s unrivaled oil reserves, starting the PetroCaribe Alliance in 2005. The program saw Venezuela offering extremely generous deals on petroleum products to friendly governments.
“Aristide’s successor and ally, René Préval, attempted to take Venezuela up on the deal on his first day in office — to Washington’s consternation. Two years later, Washington made sure to punish him,” Ives wrote. He continued:
Following the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, the Pentagon, State Department, and then-head of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission Bill Clinton, with some flunkies from the Haitian elite, virtually took over the Haitian government.”
It was basically downhill for Haiti from there. The U.S. puppet leaders tanked the government’s PetroCaribe account “which had basically kept Haiti afloat since its creation in 2008.” In the years since, huge sums have completely disappeared or been embezzled.
the connection between uprisings in Haiti and unrest in Venezuela is being severely under-discussed. both are results of US imperialist meddling, and the corruption which Haitians are protesting revolves around embezzlement of Venezuela’s PetroCaribe oil subsidies.
— basura (@HalfAtlanta) February 16, 2019
The post-Préval government that began with the presidency of singer Michel Martelly, who campaigned after the disastrous earthquake in 2010 on a promise to restore the military after it was abolished by Aristide, continues its line of succession through President Moise, whom Martelly endorsed.
Within his first year in office after what was described as an “electoral coup,” Moise ended the Haitian government’s PetroCaribe deal. Accordingly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told him raise gas prices, which he then tried to do. That led to a popular uprising last year, which forced him to reverse the decision.
MintPress News recently uncovered that leaked U.S. military documents list the IMF and World Bank organization as “Financial Instruments and Diplomatic Instruments of U.S. National Power.”
After Haiti voted in early January, at a conference of the Organization of American States, to declare Venezuelan President Maduro “illegitimate,” it was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
The deep solidarities between the people of Venezuela and Haiti, Ives argued, inspired Haitians to rise up and refuse to allow Washington to pit their neighbors against them.
Top Photo | A bullet casing flies from the gun of a National Police officer as security forces fire on protesters demanding the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, near the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 12, 2019. Protesters are angry about skyrocketing inflation and the government’s failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti. Dieu Nalio Chery | AP
Alexander Rubinstein is a staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He reports on police, prisons and protests in the United States and the United States’ policing of the world. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.
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