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APN denounces U.S. military occupations, past and present

In Haiti Progres, This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 16, no. 19, 29 July - 4 August 1998

July 28, 1998 marked the 83rd anniversary of the U.S. Marine invasion of Haiti in 1915, which began a 19 year military occupation. To mark the occasion, the Popular Assembly of the Southeast Department (APDSD), a branch of the National Popular Assembly (APN), issued a statement analyzing the similarity between 1915 and today, where Haiti is beset by crime, anarchy, systematic plundering of natural and human resources, destruction of the environment, and repression of the poor masses.

The APDSD analysis reviewed the economic, cultural, and political effects of the 1915 occupation.

Economically, the U.S. Marines took control of the customs, the National Bank, and gold reserves, and changed the Haitian Constitution to allow foreigners to own land, so that they could steal the land of the peasants without any problems. The statement details how U.S. companies took over large tracts of land to set up sugar, rubber, and sisal plantations, as well as lumber and mining operations.

Meanwhile, the culture of the people was greatly eroded by imposed U.S. culture, the statement said. The U.S. invaders did everything they knew to destroy the culture of the popular masses, which is intertwined with our historical realities. The APDSD denounced how the U.S. and its lackeys during that period promoted defeatist and paternalistic ideas to try to make the people swallow the occupation.

The analysis also details how the first U.S. occupation took more than 60,000 Haitian lives through its repression of the Caco guerilla resistance and mass demonstrations.

After former president Sudre Dartiguanave [the U.S. occupation's first puppet president], who disgraced the nation for the way he helped the Yankee pirates devour every last bit of the land of Dessalines [the father of Haitian independence], many people might have thought that Haiti would never have to experience an event like that again, the statement said. However, the dishonest way that [Haitian president Rene] Preval and the new team of caretakers at the OPL [Organization of People in Struggle] have decided to lay the country out on the table of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank makes us in the APDSD wonder if the country is condemned to watch another parade of traitors who are always ready to sell their conscience for a coin from the foreigners.

The nomination of pro-neoliberal Education Minister Jacques Edward Alexis for the post of prime minister shows that Preval and OPL have definitely chosen to finalize the coup d'etat of Sept. 30, 1991, putting a last knife in the back of the people and of former president [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide, the APDSD said. The organization called on all principled militants, patriots, honest democrats, and Anti-Neoliberal Block deputies to form a truly common front to fight yankee domination and the OPL fifth column mixed with the Macoutes so as to establish a popular government to apply a program for the popular masses.