Source: Daily Worker, Vol. VI, No. 243, December 17, 1929
Transcription/Markup: Paul Saba
Copyleft: Internet Archive(marxists.org) 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons License.
The effects of the fourteen years of American marine rule in Haiti have brought the downtrodden and starving peasants and workers into a sharp conflict with their masters and their blood-thirsty tool Borno. The events which developed with the spontaneous strike of students followed by the strike of the dock workers at Port-au-Prince in the early part of this month, cannot be regarded as an isolated incident. There is a deep rooted cause that motivated Mr. Hoover to immediately dispatch battleships, guns, airplanes and marine forces on the urgent call of Commissioner Russell who feared that the permanent presence of the 700 marines could not cope with the situation. The revolt spread all over the island and the courageous workers who, deprived of their arms, marched with sticks and knives to demand the end of foreign rule and oppression marks the determination to put an end to the unbearable conditions under which they live.
Since the forcible American occupation of Haiti in 1915, the black masses have been constantly robbed of their land and through Borno’s dictatorship the peasants have been forced to surrender all their products to the American imperialist plunderers. Chattel slavery was reinforced and the masses are compelled to keep on paying the heavy taxes to the National City Bank and the high salaries of the corrupted, tyrant functionaries. The pulse of a general and widespread revolt was felt on the island. Port-au-Prince, Aux Cayes, Jacmel took fire. The workers and peasants marched towards the government buildings demanding the immediate release of their leaders. Whereupon the marines fired, killing five and wounding many. Because of the martial law and the intended silence of the American imperialist press, further massacres have not been reported.
All the enemies of the oppressed of Haiti joined forces to put down the revolt. Mr. Hoover, Borah, Senator King together with the reactionary press, rushed to save the millions of dollars invested from the “illiterate and ignorant Haitians.” The Pan-American Airway puts its airplanes at the disposal of the United States Government. The liberal and socialist press endorse Hoover’s “timely idea” to send a Commission to study the problem. Lest American imperialism loses the control of the island, a united front of all reactionary forces was established to drown in blood the “savages” who dared to challenge the rule of the almighty dollar.
The imperialist propaganda to the effect that the Negroes in Haiti are “savages” is merely the usual irrelevant nonsense to screen the true nature of the oppressions carried on. The Haitians are highly developed people whose present-day cultural shortcomings are largely to be traced to the effect of American imperialist occupation.
The Island of Haiti and Santo Domingo constitutes a military strategic position and enables American imperialism to keep the Panama Canal free from intervention. It also serves as a station from which marines and battleships can be sent in case of an emergency in the island and other islands of the Caribbean Sea, when the slaves rise to obtain their independence.
The shameful treaty imposed on Haiti by the United States Government in 1915 virtually binds the country into an actual colony and reduces it in a state of slavery for the peasants to turn all the riches of the island over to Wall, Street, By Article V the collected customs duties are applied by the general receiver as follows:
1. Payment of salaries and allowances of the general receiver, the financial adviser, and their assistants. 2. To the interests and sinking funds of the public debt. 3. To the maintenance of a native police, force under American officers. 4. The remainder to be turned over to the Haitian Government for its current expenses.
These two and one-half millions of Negro workers and peasants arc bound by the treaty to slave on the coffee plantations which provide 80 per cent of the total Haitian export, all for the rapacious National City Bank. United States supplies 75 per cent of the total import in Haiti.
The Haitian Corporation of America owns the light and power centers of Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitian. The railroad company operates the 55 miles of main lines, an exclusive government concession given over to the American imperialist concern. The Electric Light and Power Company has the concession for the municipal lighting secured by pledge of government revenues. The street car, wharves, warehouses, (docks, railroads, mines, etc., are American owned. The National City Bank controls and finances all commercial undertakings through its branch, the National Bank of Haiti.
All these government concessions were secured through President Borno who has subordinated the very economic and political life of the masses to the Wall Street interests. Dictator Borno has abolished the popular electoral system since 1922 and appointed a National Council which in turn is empowered to elect the president of the “republic,” i.e., Borno. The Garde Nationale was organized under American supervision financed by American capital and paid back in heavy taxes by the workers and peasants. The native language and French patois, are being rapidly eliminated in the schools and English is compulsorily taught. Working class and peasant organizations are rudely persecuted and are almost out of existence in Haiti. Ruler Borno has systematically persecuated and deported the leaders of the movements for the independence of Haiti that sprung sporadically in spite of the regime of terror.
The revolt against the foreign oppressors and their national tools is not only confined to Haiti. The eastern part of the Island known as Santo Domingo is reported in a state of unrest. Santo Domingo is also suffering of the same oppression. The starving masses of both parts of the island try to find refuge in Cuba by emigrating into the land of the sugar kings. The black toilers of the land whose daily diet throughout the year is reduced to bread and water have nursed a profound hatred against their oppressors, against the rulers. The struggle for independence will continue in spite of all repressive measures. The pulse of this revolt is felt by all the oppressed in the colonies of Yankee imperialism. Indians, black and white workers and peasants will unite as in the past, in this period of intensified imperialist exploitation in the colonies in a determined struggle to win their complete independence.
The revolutionary black and white workers of this country must give full support to the revolutions which are shaking the very foundations of imperialism. The same enemy that exploits us here oppresses our brothers in the colonies. A powerful front of the workers in the United States with the workers and peasants in Latin America, black, white and Indians will, under the leadership of the Communist Parties, destroy imperialism.