March 02, 2022
Le Monde diplomatique
In the early hours of 7 July 2021, Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, allegedly by a group of former Colombian army officers. Seven months later, the murder investigation is going nowhere: though more than 40 people are now in jail, there has been little progress in identifying who masterminded the killing.
The last time a Haitian head of state was assassinated, in 1915, US Marines invaded the country within days. They stayed for 19 years. This time, many argued for the same. Former acting prime minister Claude Joseph, who controversially stepped into the presidential role following Moïse’s killing, asked the US for military assistance. The Washington Post called for a new UN peacekeeping force to deploy to Haiti as a matter of urgency, ‘to prevent a meltdown that could have dire consequences’ (7 July 2021).
On 14 August, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake devastated Haiti’s southern Tiburon peninsula. In Afghanistan, the next day, Kabul fell to the Taliban. The two countries have more in common than most people realise, quite apart from lengthy US interventions: Haiti’s early 20th-century occupation has only recently been surpassed by that of Afghanistan as the longest in US history. After the 9/11 attacks, George W Bush and his coterie of neocons and cold warriors saw an opportunity. Launched under the banner of combatting terrorism, the US military forays into Iraq and Afghanistan were classic examples of ‘nation-building’. Those weren’t the only such efforts by the Bush administration, however.
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