Eight men with arsenal of weapons and military gear, including U.S. Navy SEALs and military veterans, were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for roaming around with their guns, reportedly on a “government mission.” Yet, seven of them, including five U.S. citizens and two Serbians who are permanent residents of the U.S., were released and allowed to return home in a plane, without charges.
Madame Boukman, an activist with Fanmi Lavalas, former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s social-democratic party, has tweeted about the affair, and the troubling details surrounding the men and their backgrounds, the circumstances concerning their presence in Haiti, and the elephant in the room in the form of U.S. policy towards Haiti. That policy has existed within the context of colonialism, regime change, and support for death squads and dictatorial regimes.
“7 Americans linked to US military and security companies with machine guns, pistols, drones, satellite phones, bullet-proof vests and other cute toys were arrested last night in #Haiti. In other words, mercenaries to terrorize the people to put down the rebellion. #HaitiProtest” Boukman tweeted
Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant called the eight men “mercenaries” and “terrorists” who were intent on destabilizing the government of Haiti and targeting the executive branch. Madame Boukman told Atlanta Black Star that these men came to Haiti with an apparent purpose—to kill the political opposition to the Haitian government.
“They’re seemingly death squads / mercenaries sent to murder protesters and opposition leaders. They had a list of names in their possession and according to what’s being said, certain people were targets – for example, journalists from an anti-government radio station, members,” Boukman said.
Haiti has suffered a great deal after it threw off the shackles of enslavement and colonial rule and became the first Black republic. The recent events with heavily armed white men arrested in Port-au-Prince and returned to America without consequences provide evidence that the U.S. continues to disrupt Haiti in a neocolonial fashion, just as it once occupied the Caribbean country and imposed its will with the violence of military force.