More Than 90 Organizations Reject Calls for Military Intervention in Haiti

Today, more than 90 organizations sent a letter to US President Joe Biden expressing “profound concern about the proposed deployment of military force to Haiti.” The signers include faith-based, human rights, diaspora, and other civil society organizations with long-standing ties to Haiti. Prominent members of the peacebuilding community, including Win Without War and the Friends Committee on National Legislation, are also among the signers.*

Noting that many leading civil society organizations in Haiti have opposed calls for military intervention and that thousands of people have taken to the streets to denounce such a plan, the organizations urged the administration to “to reflect on the long history of international interventions in Haiti, and how those actions have served to undermine state institutions, democratic norms, and the rule of law.” The letter also notes that prior interventions had a costly human toll, resulting in rapes, sexual abuse, and extrajudicial killings.

The letter calls on the administration to listen to Haitian civil society, respect the rights of Haitians to shape their own solutions, and “reevaluate” its ongoing support for the de facto prime minister, Ariel Henry. “We are deeply worried that the deployment of a military force now will only perpetuate and strengthen Henry’s grasp on power, while doing little to ameliorate the root causes of today’s crisis.”

Rather than another military intervention, the groups urge the US administration to use “robust diplomacy” and to go beyond sanctions by pursuing criminal investigations into those actors — many of whom have interests in the US — that are stoking the violence in Haiti.

The signers also urged the administration, which had pushed the de facto Haitian authorities to remove fuel subsidies earlier this year, to reverse that decision. The elimination “deprived the most marginalized Haitians of the only concrete support their government had provided.”

“At the heart of the insecurity plaguing Haiti is the continuation of a political and economic system that excludes the vast majority of its citizenry. A long-term solution can only be achieved by addressing these underlying dynamics of inequality and exclusion and by providing for the population as a whole,” the organizations wrote.

To read the full text of the letter and the list of endorsing organizations, click here.

Jake Johnston is a Research Associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC.