More than 10,000 Haitians took to the streets in December 2004 to demand the return of the democratically elected leader Jean Bertrand Aristide.

With a devastating earthquake which killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians last year and destroying an already weak infrastructure in one of the poorest countries in the world the people of Haiti was dealt another blow after a shambolic election was won by US ally Michel Martelly whose policies are favourable to US corporations.

If the devastating earthquake of last year was not enough to rattle Haitians, the election result which granted Michel Martelly, a close US ally as winner would ensure that their hearts would sink deeper.

The election was a shambles. According to Kanya D’Almeida (IPS: “Sweet Mickey” Hitches Haitian Recovery to Washington Bandwagon: April 8 2011) the March 20 elections had a low turn-out of 22 percent. Tens of thousands boycotted the poll refusing to acknowledge another US puppet leader to run their economy in the interests of US corporations.

The new Haitian President Michel Martelly, has a close relationship with the US and has ties to the military and former repressive governments who worked in the interests of US corporations.

Just after his election win the chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, spoke of “new opportunities for U.S. companies seeking to do business in…Haiti as it continues on its path of recovery”.

Martelly said that he would follow the Colombian economic model which would mean opening up the entire Haitian economy to US companies.

Journalist John Pilger said that it was America who ordered the kidnapping of Haiti’s democratically elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and exiled him to South Africa. (Read Western corporate vultures swoop in to profit from Haiti)

Aristide’s political party Fanmi Lavalas were banned from taking part in the elections despite the fact that they were the most popular choice for the overwhelming poor Haitian majority. (Global Research: Runoff Election Campaign Begins in Haiti: Patrick Martin: February 18, 2011)

Under Aristide’s leadership he built more schools in the country than any other government, improved literacy rates drastically, built medical clinics and renovated current health centres and hospitals, as well as universities where doctors were trained with the help of Cuba. (ZNet: Haiti’s Movement From Below Endures: Jeb Sprague: March 29, 2011)

Aristide is back in Haiti now and he condemned the fraudulent elections for barring his party and other parties which stood against US  corporate interests, but his return although welcomed by the people could also be dangerous for his life. According to Sprague, Martelly has allies who belongs to death squads who have made deals with the American Drug Enforcement Agency. No doubt as before political opposition opposed to US corporations will be targeted by these death squads.

For now Aristide remains a beacon of hope for the people, but realistically it will take a global movement to address the crimes of American and other Western governments against Haiti, a country in which slaves defeated the empires of Europe and created the first free slave state for Africans.

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Related article: Corrupt UN legitimises American imperialism in Haiti


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