alcalloway.jpgIt is a well-documented historical fact that France and western Europe, the Vatican and the United States, used every conceivable means to destroy the new black republic of Haiti after it achieved its independence in 1804.

The devices of this destruction included a global economic embargo, blockades and a demand from France for reparations to compensate for the loss of slaves, its plantation slave system and the wealth produced by the Trans-Atlantic African Slave Trade, which was a holocaust.

In 1802, the French captured revolution leader Toussaint L’Ouverture and some of his troops.  While those who were taken prisoner with L’Ouverture never reached France (possibly butchered and thrown overboard), the revolutionary leader was taken to a cold dungeon in France, where he died. Four years later, on Oct. 17, 1806, another revolutionary named Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who became founder of the independent black republic of Haiti, was assassinated in a roadside ambush, the victim of internal strife.

Henri Christophe, who served as Dessalines’ second in command, controlling the black northern section of Haiti, and Alexandre Pétion, a mulatto and former French soldier on the island who became the revolutionary leader of the mulatto-held south, conspired against Dessalines, whose policies stirred insurrection in the South and West.

Except for agreement on the abolition of slavery, the state and nation were headed in opposite or different directions before the L’Ouverture adherents took over in 1804. The literature on Haiti, from Trinidadian C. L. R. James’ classic book The Black Jacobins, to TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson’s An Unbroken Agony, all tell the awful consequences of the “color curtain” in claustrophobic Haiti.

According to the book Libéte: A Haiti Anthology edited by Charles Arthur and Michael Dash, “A small but powerful minority, mainly mulattoes, who had been free men and property owners before the revolution began, hoped to inherit the power and wealth formerly enjoyed by the defeated French colonists.”

In fact, many of this “class” were themselves slave owners, but did not have what their white fathers possessed, which motivated them to join the revolt that led to independence.

Arthur and Dash go on to tell us, “On the other hand, the majority of the population, the black ex-slaves, bore a deep-seated antipathy towards work in the plantation system, and hoped instead for the opportunity to farm their own land.”

During this early period of independence, “the interplay between these racially and ideologically divided groups determined the economic, social and political foundations of modern-day Haiti.”
After Dessalines’ death, Christophe assumed leadership of Haiti, but the mulatto minority South set up its own republic under Pétion. Christophe committed suicide in 1820 amid an uprising over his forced labor policies. Pétion’s successor, Jean-Pierre Boyer, reformed the two republics into one Haiti. Boyer ruled until his government collapsed in 1843 due to political rivalry. Until 1915, only two of the 21 governments since 1843 were not dismantled by coups d’états or political in-fighting.

“The fight for office to a very great extent became a fight for the spoils that came with it,” Arthur and Dash tell us.

“Once in control, the incumbent and the clique around him, anticipating that it would only be a matter of time before rival groups would conspire to unseat them, moved quickly to plunder the state coffers, and fleece the treasury.”