Digital Journal

The Price of Power: America’s Exploitation of Haiti’s Sovereignty


For nearly two decades, Haiti, the first independent nation in Latin America and the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, fell under the shadow of American intervention, coercion, and control. What began as a purported mission to stabilize the nation evolved into a prolonged occupation marked by suppression, manipulation, and disregard for Haitian sovereignty.

In 1915, amidst political turmoil, the United States intervened in Haiti’s affairs under the guise of restoring order and facilitating economic development. However, the reality was far from benevolent. Led by Admiral Caperton, American forces exerted military pressure, seized national revenues, and imposed martial law, all without a declaration of war or consent from the Haitian people.

Under duress, the Haitian government was coerced into signing a treaty that effectively ceded control of its customs and finances to the United States. This treaty, imposed through threats and intimidation, further entrenched American dominance over Haitian affairs. Despite promises of aid and cooperation, the treaty served primarily to benefit American interests, disregarding the aspirations and sovereignty of the Haitian people.

The subsequent years saw the erosion of Haitian institutions, with elections suspended and democratic processes undermined. The Haitian government, propped up by American military presence, became increasingly reliant on external support, further weakening its legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens.

Today, the legacy of American intervention in Haiti looms large, casting a shadow over the nation’s struggle for self-determination and sovereignty. The continued presence of American forces and the imposition of unequal treaties serve as stark reminders of past injustices and ongoing challenges.

It is imperative that the United States confront its history in Haiti and take meaningful steps to rectify past wrongs. This includes acknowledging the harm caused by its intervention, withdrawing military forces, restoring democratic processes, and engaging in genuine dialogue with the Haitian people to forge a new path forward based on mutual respect and cooperation.

As we reflect on this dark chapter in history, let us heed the call to action and work towards a future where the principles of sovereignty, democracy, and justice are upheld for all nations, including Haiti.

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