Albert Moreau

Mr. Hoover’s Commission on Haiti “Reports”

Source: Daily Worker, Vol. VI, No. 359, May 1, 1930
Transcription/Markup: Paul Saba
Copyleft: Internet Archive( 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons License.

Mr. Hoover’s imperialist commission for the study and review of conditions in the Republic of Haiti has now submitted its report to the government of the United States on behalf of the National City Bank and all the plunderers of the Haitian workers and peasants. Before the uprising of the oppressed Haitian workers and peasants in November, 1929, against the military rule of American marines and the national imperialist tools, before the tremendous response of the American workers who demonstrated against the oppressors and in support of the rising revolutionary masses, the whole capitalist press was mobilised for the new “Messiah” announced by Mr. Hoover in the form of a commission that was to recommend the “withdrawal” of the marines from the so-called republic. From Senator King down to the liberals and the socialist party a cry of approver and “Long Live the Savior” was heard.

The commission, headed by Cameron Forbes, after its hard labor to buy off the leaders of the opposition to the Borno regime, brought back a series of recommendations which, in a true imperialist manner, put aside the question of the withdrawal of the marines and laid the basis for an indefinite occupation of Haiti. In order to pave the way for the elaboration of such a report and the turning over of the administration of the Island from one group of politicians to another, it was necessary for, the commission to make use of the “Federated Committee of the Associated Groups of the Opposition” comprising eight organisations controlled by the “elite” among which we find the Parti National Travailliste (National Labor Party).

That the masses were ready to listen to no promises is evidenced by the commission’s report where it is stated that, “After persuading these leaders to issue a note asking the public to be calm and await with patience....” Mr. Forbes and his consort have to admit that a “reception” for them was under way at Port au Prince by a “dangerous mob” in the Champ de Mars. The Haitian Garde used their cocomacacque sticks to break up the crowd. The Haitian peasants were determined in their demand for the liberation of their country. The spectre of banners waved by the crowds accompanied the imperialist missionaries whenever they went.

The report begins with the history of American Intervention in Haiti and finds only praise for the lugubrious General Russell who, we know, revived the corvee law, abolished since 1866, and compelled the Haitian workers and peasants to slave in the building of roads under marine auspices. The resuscitation of this law meant for the Haitian laborers the extortion of free labor for one week to 3 months per year for the construction of roads to give American monopoly coffee owners for the transportation of products from the interior to the ports. The report also finds praise for Dictator Borno’s administration, which for the Haitian people always meant persecution, assassination and deportation.

Mr. Hoover made public a declaration by which the government of the United States approved the commission’s report and the imperialist press hastened with the news that “we shall withdraw the marines and officials.” All the enemies of the Haitian people, including the liberals and Dr. Du Bois, approved of it. What has actually the report to say about the withdrawal?

The Commission is of the opinion that the progressive steps looking toward the withdrawal of the assistance now being given by the American Occupation should be taken on the theory and understanding that the present treaty will remain in force until 1936.”

The Commission is not only satisfied to suggest a status quo until 1936, date of the expiration of the enslavement treaty, but is also makes provisions for an indeterminate period for the American Occupation:

It is too early to suggest in what form the American Occupation should be liquidated upon the expiration of the treaty or in what form such further aid and assistance as the Haitian Government might desire from the United States should be provided. (Emphasis mine)

This brazen imperialist report recommends “further modifications of the existing treaty and agreements providing for less intervention in Haitian affaires and defining the conditions under which the United States would lend its assistance in the restoration of order or maintenance of credit.” (Emphasis mine).

To have hoped that Mr. Hoover’s Commission would be a panacea for the Haitian people, that it would investigate the conditions of the downtrodden peasants toward the end of finding a solution to their misery, was sheer nonsense.

Such a conception is worthy of a liberal who never falls to serve as trumpeteer to the imperialists. The members of the Commission, carefully chosen by the President, could only serve their class, the capitalist class. The Imperialist emissaries highly praised the “financial rehabilitation” of Haiti. Not a word is said about the growing misery and starvation of the masses. The American occupation has steadily lowered the standard of living of the peasants. The purchasing power of the Haitian worker and peasant is the lowest in Latin America with an estimated index of $4.37 per capita per annum as compared with the already low $16.86 for Cuba and even $10.49 for Santo Domingo. The so-called rehabilitation of the economy of the Island conducted under the supervision of American experts resulted in the 81.08 per cent of all Haitian imports from the United States and the control of the exports by the National City Bank.

A profound contempt for the Haitian peasants is expressed in the report In a most vicious manner: “In a country with a low rate of literacy the mob is a form of political expression.” Further “...and revolution, which is the mob inaction... ”

What was the Commission to accomplish in Haiti? Simply to come to an understanding with the treacherous leaders of the Opposition on whom the hope was pinned to subdue the threatening revolutionary attitude of the masses and have them finally accept the new “president” desired by Wall Street and its government. Notwithstanding the rumors spread about the opposition of the unspeakable Borno to the recommendation of the Commission, he shaped his council of State in such a way that the Commission’s choice for the provisional presidency, Eugene Roy was assured of a vote by the Council of State.

What is the attitude of the liberals and their press towards the Commission’s report? In their eagerness to justify the American Occupation which in their opinion can “bring prosperity to the Haitian people without the use of the Marine forces.”

We maintain that the military occupation is an integral part of the imperialist policy in the economic and political domination of the country. When the assurance is obtained of the national bourgeoisie that it will serve at all costs its imperialist masters and that it will use alt means at its disposal to perpetuate the domination of foreign interests in the country, a sort of “Piatt Amendment” is then enforced with a special provision that the United States Government is to interfere whenever the trusts’ interests are in danger.

The attitude of these apologists of American imperialism must be fought against by the anti-imperialist forces which struggle for the complete independence of Haiti as well as of all colonies of Imperialism. With the same vigor we must struggle against the petty-bourgeois leaders of the Opposition in Haiti who in a shameful manner betrayed the aspiration of the masses for the national liberation of the country.

The masses of Haiti will not be fooled by the report of the Commission which was made possible with the active co-operation of the “elite,” and the liberation of Haiti is now being crystalized and has taken form in the organization of a Haitian section of the Anti-Imperialist League.

The workers of this country must give full support to the Anti-Imperialist League of the United States and thru its support the movement in Haiti and all movements which stand for the complete and unconditional independence of Latin-America.