FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What the United States Owes Haiti

Photo by Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) | CC BY 2.0

The crass coarseness of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, in matters of civic and formal education cannot justify the daily barbs of this false lunatic turned head of state that, ultimately, goes to the main detriment of the reputation and dignity of US citizens.

Following Trump’s racist pronouncement, which described Haiti and the whole of the countries of Africa as “shithole nations”, Cuban journalist José A. Téllez Villalón published on the Spanish site “Rebelion” a work to remind us that a large part of the arms, ammunition and men with which France contributed to the independence of the then Thirteen Colonies, passed through the then-French colony of Saint-Domingue (today Haiti) which had contributed with the blood of its children to the triumph of the forces in struggle for their independence from the British metropolis.

On March 12, 1779, the French colonizers began the recruitment of a body of volunteers to participate in the American Revolution. “The Volunteer Hunters of Saint-Domingue,” as the contingent was called, was made up of French settlers and between 500 and 800 black and mulatto freedmen.

Between the end of 1780 and the middle of 1781, the troops commanded by General George Washington and those commanded by the French general Jean Batiste de Vimeur, Count of Rochambeau, had been left without resources to land a final blow on the English troops positioned in Yorktown.

George Washington, the leader of the independence movement, reflected it on May 1, 1781 in his diary: “In a word, instead of having everything ready to go to the campaign, we have nothing. Instead of having the perspective of a glorious offensive campaign before us, we have but a confused and defensive situation, unless we receive powerful aid in the form of ships, land troops and money from our generous allies. For now, this is too eventful to be able to count on it. “

French Marshal Rochambeau wrote to French Admiral François Joseph Paul, Count de Grasse: “I must not hide from you, Sir, that the Americans are at the limit of their resources. Washington does not have half the troops it calculates, and in my opinion, although he remains silent about it, he does not have 6,000 men, nor does Mr. de La Fayette gather 1000 regulars in the militia to defend Virginia … “.

Téllez Villalón explains that Rochambeau asked the head of the fleet to recruit troops and bring them with him as reinforcements for General Washington’s Continental Army. The Admiral complied with instructions, recruited 3,000 volunteers from Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien, and placed them under the orders of the young officer Claudius Henry of Saint-Simon who was the founder of French socialism and utopian socialism. The same man who, for Engels, was, together with Hegel, the most encyclopedic mind of his time and in whose work most of the later ideas of socialism are contained.

The multinational reinforcement, consisting of a battalion of ex-slaves, pardos [tri-racial descendants of European, black and indiginous peoples] and mulatos from Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien commanded by Saint-Simon, disembarked in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, and took part, between September 26 and October 19, 1781, in the Siege of Yorktown.

So, says Tellez, the Americans owe a lot to foreign forces -French, Latin American and Haitian- for the achievement of their Independence. It was ratified by the United States Congress on November 15, 1784, after Great Britain capitulated on September 3, 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.

Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the American nation, acknowledged in an editorial published on July 5, 1803 in the New York Evening Post that “to the fatal climate of Saint-Domingue (Haiti), and to the courage and obstinate resistance of its black inhabitants, that we owe the obstacles that delayed the colonization of Louisiana until the favorable moment when a rupture between England and France gave a new turn to the latter’s projects”.

Nevertheless, another American founding father, Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, who was second vice president (1797-1801) and third president (1801-1809) of the United States, showed no gratitude for this assistance. On the contrary, he suspended all trade with Haiti in 1804.

The United States resisted recognizing the newly independent country for many years, joining the European empires in punishing Haiti for its insubordination. It was not until June 5, 1862 that President Abraham Lincoln granted American diplomatic recognition of the generous and heroic Fatherland of Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines.

A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.

More articles by:

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail