In this time of crisis in both Haiti and Cuba, we in America must constantly reiterate one message: US military intervention, US sanctions and US imperialism will only worsen conditions for Afro-Cubans. and Haitians.
America consistently used its military to intervene in the affairs of Cuba and Haiti throughout the 20th century. This intervention has always been synonymous with disaster for the black populations of Haiti and Cuba. For example, in the Levantamiento Armado de los Independientes de Color, or the “Armed Uprising of Colored Independents” in Cuba in 1912, U.S. Marines were sent to help put down an uprising by Afro-Cubans against racial discrimination. Six thousand Afro-Cubans were killed in the brutal and racist response to the movement, where the US-backed Cuban puppet leader invoked a fight for “civilization against savagery”.
The case is the same in Haiti. American troops actually imposed a form of Jim Crow segregation on the Haitian people during the American military occupation from 1915 to 1934. American political and military elites routinely dismissed Haitians using racial slurs. And American troops participated in massacres, like the Les Cayes massacre in 1929, where U.S. Marines killed 22 Haitians, and the Thomazeau bombing in which the U.S. Air Force bombed an entire village in 1919. and wiped out half of its population.
Today, politicians and protesters are calling for U.S. military intervention, but such action would prove just as disastrous for Haiti and Cuba as it was in the early 1900s. Instead, we can choose a message of peace: America can end its embargo and sanctions against Cuba, pay reparations to Haiti for decades of occupation, and offer selfless and impartial aid to both. It is up to us in America to fight for a US foreign policy in the Caribbean free from exploitation, racism and imperialism.