Haitian officials called in American troops. Some Haitians say: “No, no and no”.
Haitian intellectuals and civil society members were quick to criticize a call by Haitian officials for the United States to send troops, citing earlier interventions by foreign powers and international organizations that have further destabilized Haiti and left a trail of abuses.
“We do not want American troops on Haitian soil”, Monique Clesca, Haitian pro-democracy activist and former United Nations official, said in a post Friday on Twitter. “The de facto Prime Minister Claude Joseph has no legitimacy to make such a request on our behalf. No no no.”
Many in Haiti had argued that President Jovenel Moïse was no longer legitimately in office at the time of his assassination this week. Mr Joseph, who said he was in charge after Mr Moïse was murdered, also came under heavy criticism after taking control of the country on Tuesday.
Yet despite the sudden uncertainty brought by the assassination of Mr. Moïse, some residents and intellectuals argue that the many questions raised by his assassination give them a long-awaited opportunity to reform Haitian institutions.
“We never get the chance to figure out the rules of the game ourselves,” said Melodie Cerin, a resident of Port-au-Prince and co-editor of Woy Magazine, an online publication. “This is what is most frustrating for Haitians. We are pushed aside every time we try to improve.
A senior Biden administration official said on Friday that there are no plans to provide US military assistance at this time – and regardless, Haitians argued they had to find them – even a solution to the instability of the country.
Operations by outside powers like the United States and by international organizations like the United Nations have often added to the instability, they say.
“The solution to the crisis must be Haitian”, mentionned André Michel, human rights lawyer and opposition leader, called for a broader institutional debate that would bring together politicians, Haitian civil society and its diaspora.
Many have also argued that foreign intervention simply won’t work.
“It’s like coming back with a toolbox, but the box has the wrong tools,” Clesca said in a telephone interview. “What needs to be in the toolbox are the voices of Haiti.”
Some criticism has focused on the contested legacy of a United Nations peacekeeping mission that operated in Haiti from 2004 to 2017. Peacekeepers brought cholera to the country, and numerous cases of it. rape and sexual abuse, including of 11-year-old girls, have been documented.
“This is scandalous,” Marlene Daut, professor of American and African diaspora studies at the University of Virginia, said this week in response to a Washington Post editorial calling for a new international peacekeeping force in Haiti. The editorial described the previous UN peacekeeping mission as having brought “a minimum of stability”.
Ms. Clesca said the United Nations now has a disastrous reputation in Haiti. “You have to be consistent, the United Nations nickname is ‘cholera’ or ‘Minustah babies’,” said Clesca, referring to the French acronym for the peacekeeping operation in Haiti.
For others, their opposition is rooted in how Mr. Moïse’s murder echoed events of the past. “The last American occupation was preceded by the assassination of another Haitian president, under the pretext of wanting to restore order, similar to what is happening now,” Woy Magazine wrote in a newsletter this week, alluding to the assassination of Jean Vilbrun Guillaume in 1915. Sam. The United States then occupied Haiti until 1934.
“What followed,” wrote Valérie Jean-Charles of Woy Magazine, “these are years of weakening Haitian institutions and the senseless killings of many Haitians. “