At this time of crisis in both Haiti and Cuba, we in America must reiterate one message consistently: American military intervention, American sanctions, and American imperialism will only worsen conditions for Afro-Cubans and Haitians.
America consistently used its military to intervene in the affairs of Cuba and Haiti over the course of the 20th century. This intervention always spelled disaster for the Black populations of Haiti and Cuba. For example, in the Levantamiento Armado de los Independientes de Color, or the "Armed Uprising of the Independents of Color" in Cuba in 1912, American Marines were sent in to help suppress an uprising of Afro-Cubans against racial discrimination. Six thousand Afro-Cubans were killed in the brutal, racist response to the movement, where the US-backed Cuban puppet leader invoked a fight for “civilization against savagery.”
The case is the same in Haiti. American troops actually imposed a form of Jim Crow segregation on the people of Haiti during the American military occupation from 1915-1934. American political and military elites regularly dismissed Haitians using racial slurs. And American troops participated in massacres, such as the Les Cayes Massacre in 1929, where US Marines killed 22 Haitians, and the Thomazeau bombing in which the American Air Force bombed an entire village in 1919 and wiped out half its population.
Today, politicians and protestors alike clamor for American military intervention, but such action would simply prove as disastrous for Haiti and Cuba as it was in the early 1900’s. Instead, we can choose a message of peace: America can end its embargo and sanctions of Cuba, pay reparations to Haiti for decades of occupation, and offer altruistic, unbiased aid to both. It is up to us in America to fight for an American foreign policy in the Caribbean free of exploitation, racism, and imperialism.