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Black Agenda Report

The Non-Election for the Non-Government of the Non-Sovereign State of Haiti

Glen Ford

The multitudinous assaults on Haiti's dignity reached a crescendo with this weekend’s elections, imposed by foreigners for the benefit of foreigners against the wishes of the Haitian people and even of most of the candidates. It is as if severely wounded and sick hospital patients – make that prison hospital patients – were ordered to dance and sing for the pleasure of rich visitors. As should have been expected, most Haitians refused to perform like circus animals, on demand.

The Haitian sham elections for president and most of the legislature may go down as the most bizarre and macabre exercise in hypocrisy in the history of U.S. imperialism. Haiti’s most popular political party – no, the ONLY political party with a truly mass following – the Fanmi Lavalas organization of exiled president Jean Bertrand Aristide, was barred from running. By the time Sunday rolled around, 12 of the 19 candidates for president were denouncing the government for perpetrating a “massive fraud” on the citizenry. Turnout was probably not much more than single digits – which is actually the usual for Haitian elections in which Aristide’s party is not allowed to participate – an electoral travesty equivalent to outlawing the Democratic Party in New York City, Boston or Chicago.

With at least 1.5 million Haitians without adequate shelter, the entire population still in shock over the lost of 300,000 in January’s earthquake, an economy in ruins, a non-existent infrastructure and a raging cholera epidemic that international observers say could spread to 200,000 people, Haiti is the last place to stage an election. But the most important question has been: an election to what? There is no Haitian state to speak of, no prize to win. Haiti is no longer a sovereign nation, but has been reduced to a protectorate of the United States, France and Canada, with blue-helmeted United Nations soldiers acting as internal security. French African colonial regimes wielded more authority in the transition to independence than Haiti’s shell of a government exercises, today.

Haiti is an occupied country, the victim of multiple invasions. The U.S. invasion of 2004 and the kidnapping and expulsion of its president opened Haiti to United Nations occupation – proud Haiti, stepped on and ground underfoot by an international cast of foreign armies paid for largely by the United States. Haitians themselves call the country the “Republic of NGOs,” with more foreign “aid” outfits per capita than any place in the world, all of them doing their own thing with no accountability to a single Haitian, including the despised, outgoing president, Rene Preval. Only a fraction of the billions raised for earthquake reconstruction have been spent, and only a small part of that was allocated to the Haitian government.

So, what election, for what government? The exercise only has value for those who paid for it, the Americans, who spent $14 million on this fraud in hopes of disguising the fact that Haiti is a U.S. colony. The U.S. insists on treating Sunday's results as valid, which may mean that a singer named “Sweet Micky” who sometimes wears diapers on stage will become the nominal head of state. And why not? There is no Haitian state. That is something for the Haitian people to build, once they have thrown off the dictatorship of Washington.

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BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

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