Mutabaruka Warns Jamaican Gov’t Not To Take Sides With France, United States In Haitian Conflict

Dub poet Mutabaruka is warning the Government of Jamaica not to take sides with France and the United States, in determining how to pacify the political conflict taking place in Haiti.

According to Muta, the United States has been constantly meddling in the affairs of other countries, and, along with France, has had a history of prolonged financial and political interference in Haiti.

“If you look pan wha a gwaan inna di world, America involve in every conflict that is happening in the world today.  Di one weh wi want focus on is Haiti.  Now a lot of you might not know but Haiti is the first Black Republic.  Dem fight for them Freedom against di French and win dat freedom…  and from that time until now Haiti have been going through a lot of serious problems, because of the aggression that is shown to them by France and America,” Muta said in an I Never Knew TV interview.

Mutabaruka similarly derided French and American media references to the Haitian armed groups as gangs, even as he pointed out that Haitian nationals have been unwittingly “rising up against themselves”, due to a lack of understanding of who their real enemies are.

“And this is a serious thing because up to today as we speak France and America is creating lot of problems in Haiti and put it on what you call ‘gangs’.  That is how they term it you know;   It’s either you’re a terrorist or you’re a gang-banger,” the Any Which Way Freedom artist said. 

“Now we understand when conflict start happening inna certain countries, people rise up against them own self too, becaw sometime you don’t even know the enemy.  And what is happening in Haiti now, we see a lot of young people rising up against themselves, not knowing who is the cause of the conflict that them find themselves in,” he explained.

In addressing the Jamaican government frontally, Muta said that the Andrew Holness administration must not forget about France’s role in impoverishing Haiti, after Haitians decimated French forces in the 1803 Battle of Vertieres, and claimed their independence.  

Muta pointed to the fact that in retaliation for the Haitians’ triumph, the French government had imposed a heavy debt on Haiti, an act which has stymied the Caribbean nation’s ability to self-govern and prosper.

“And wi haffi look on it seriously because after the French lose, the Haitian people was ordered to pay reparation money to France and it gwaan for years dozens of years.   Haiti has been paying reparation to France.  Can you imagine that a little country that has gone through so much devastation and so much slavery, they were asked to pay reparation for the loss of the working force of the French in Haiti?” he asked.

“Now, there’s a new conflict was not new, but it is bubbling, where some youth rise up now and decide seh di government that is installed by the French an di Americans, dem don’t want dat government; too much of that now over the years.   The conflict keep going on and on, so dem rising up against not only the government, but also the invaders, which is the French and the Americans,” he explained. 

Muta also rebuked the Jamaican government for what he says has been the subpar treatment meted out to Haitian refugees.

“And we see there’s a lot of things happening now where even Jamaica is getting involved with it where you have people call themselves refugees, who’s coming to Jamaica that is turned back at the borders in St Thomas and Portland, without any due diligence to find out what is them status and all these things.  Because, Jamaica is taking the side of America as usual,” he said.

Insisting that outside intervention into Haiti has always been devastating for the country, Muta pointed to the outbreak of cholera in 2010 which was caused when contaminated sewage from United Nations peacekeepers camp polluted a river, resulting in approximately 10,000 Haitians dying of the disease and more than 800,000 falling ill at the time.

“The youth dem is adamant against all outside forces coming into it to Haiti to claim that they want to do dis, and want to do dat.  Because, remember the last time the French and the UN forces go there, cholera was on the rise.  Cholera was on the rise in Haiti and the people has been no better off since these turmoil taking place,” he said.  

“Di yute dem decide seh ‘no more, we don’t want no more.   We have had enough dictators installed by America and we have had enough intervention installed by America and France so now we reach bubbling point’”.  And we saying to Jamaican government ‘don’t get involved in that yuh nuh, becaw we know say Haiti is the ones that help us to liberate yourself from colonialism and slavery’”, he added.

Continued Muta: “Remember Boukman.  For those of you who don’t know, Boukman is that man who left Jamaica and go to Haiti and help to liberate di people dem from that colonialism that was taking place.  An now we see Haiti need help, and the only help we can give them, is to take side with the colonizers against the Haitian people?  We are standing with Haiti.  We are standing with Haiti.  So I don’t know where you stand,” he said.

Haiti entered a State of Emergency on March 3, after armed groups decided to unite in a bid to oust the then Prime Minister Ariel Henry, the 74-year-old who had held the unelected role since the 2021 assassination of  President Jovenel Moïse.   The embattled Henry announced last week Monday that he would step down as soon as a transitional council was created to replace him.

According to a BBC report, Henry’s resignation “had seemed inevitable as a wave of gang violence swept through the capital, making it impossible for him to return from a trip abroad, but in truth, his troubles predate the latest chapter in his country’s descent into chaos”.

The report said that Henry, on 20 July 2021, had promised to restore order and new presidential elections “as soon as possible”, but, according to the BBC, “that time never came – in his 32 months in power no elections were held”, as Henry had argued that the security situation had deteriorated so much that “free and fair polls were not possible”.

The BBC report said that during this time, Haitians grew increasingly impatient as rising gang violence mixed with political impotence” and on February 7, this year, the day that new presidents traditionally take office in Haiti, “demonstrators took to the streets of the capital to demand Henry’s resignation”.  

“Mr Henry responded by stating he planned to hold elections by August 2025. This only seemed to further infuriate Haitians. The prospect of another year and a half of Mr Henry in power was seen by some analysts as the straw that broke the camel’s back,” the BBC noted.

“Others point to his visit to Kenya as the trigger for the latest wave of violence.  Kenya has agreed to lead a multinational police force to be deployed to Haiti to help fight the gangs which are behind the wave of kidnappings and murders which has blighted the capital.  But the plan hit a snag when the Kenyan High Court blocked it,” the report said.

Henry, the report noted, had travelled to Nairobi at the end of February for talks with Kenyan President William Ruto to try to revive the deployment, which resulted in his opponents in turn, speculating that he could “try to use foreign police officers to protect himself and continue to prop up his own power base”.

“The fact that a wave of co-ordinated gang attacks swept through the capital just as Mr Henry met President Ruto is no coincidence.   The gangs blockaded Toussaint Louverture airport to prevent Mr Henry from returning, and he has been stuck in Puerto Rico ever since.  For 10 days, he did not speak publicly….  He finally reappeared on Monday to announce he would step down ‘immediately after the installation of (a transition) council’”, the BBC noted.

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