For colonized peoples, there is no just reward for a life lived in service to empire. Haiti’s puppet tyrant, Jovenel Moïse, learned this final lesson this morning.
Throughout his rule, Moïse was a man who would never submit to the will of Haitian people, but would readily bow to the whims of foreign corporations, the local bourgeois elite, and most especially the U.S., U.N., and OAS. He died a faithful and dutiful servant to imperialism, and a staunch enemy of his people. Moïse went to every length to suppress the popular will of the Haitian people, using every avenue made available to him—from the local police, to gangs, to foreign mercenaries—to massacre dissidents and create terror in support of his rule. When Trump’s lazy imperialism neglected to pick out his replacement, Moïse magnanimously served his neo-colonial masters by overstaying his term, ruling by decree and through the most brutal means in order to give Biden ample time to select his successor. In short, he did everything a neo-colonial puppet was supposed to do in his situation. Yet, his servitude could not afford him the protection of his masters, and he was killed with nary a tear shed on their part.
The suggestion within corporate media thus far has been that the assassination is a result of gang violence. These suggestions, of course, neglect to mention who controls the gangs, who funds them, and who arms them. This suggestion is meant to conflate the popular struggle of working people and peasants for a free and democratic Haiti with the gang violence which terrorizes those same populations. If this narrative were to gain traction, anti-gang sentiment could be used as justification for increased suppression against the uprising masses by more “legitimate” forces.
This may, in fact, be the very intention of this narrative. Following the assassination, acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph has closed Haiti’s borders and imposed martial law declaring a “state of siege” over the nation. A “state of siege” grants police and military forces within Haiti free rein to arrest, maim, and slaughter people in Haiti without formal processes. We should expect no less from the remaining supporters of Moïse and bourgeois elites.
As to who actually carried out this assassination, the information we have at the moment is limited. From eyewitnesses we’ve learned that:
- The assailants were noted as speaking Spanish, English, and French
2. During the assault, the assailants were recorded claiming to bystanders that they were DEA
3. None of Jovenel Moïse’s guards were harmed during the assault on his home
Knowing the U.S. has a proclivity for using foreign mercenaries to carry out coups and assassinations in Haiti and throughout Latin America, many conclusions can be drawn from this information. But ultimately, we can be sure that the United States acts to protect its interests, and if it were within the interests of the U.S. for Jovenel Moïse to be alive, he would likely be alive. Regardless of who killed him, the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in indicative of one thing: he has outlived his usefulness.
Undoubtedly, there will be calls for U.S. and U.N. intervention; in fact, they have already begun. Given that the last time a Haitian head of state was assassinated, the U.S.’s 1915 military occupation followed immediately after, there is historical precedent for this pattern. For principled anti-imperialists, we must remain vigilant in dispelling the narratives which would yield credence to the further colonization of Haiti.
And for Haitian people, both within the nation and without, we must become intimately familiar with the counterinsurgency tactics of the imperialists. It is neo-colonialism which has made Haitians poor and Haiti unsafe. Those who would suggest that “the greatest problem we have is we ourselves,” and that further colonization is the solution to a neo-colonial problem are acting in service of imperialism. If you know our history, then you know that Haitians have never and will never submit to colonization—that every time we are faced with subjugation, we will unequivocally rise up against it. It is easy to tire of the violence and instability at home, but if one truly desires peace for Haiti, one must first desire freedom for Haiti, for Haiti will not rest until it is free.