Haiti's Predatory Ruling Families and Jimmy u0022Barbecueu0022 Chérizier - Jafrikayiti part 2/2


In part 2, Jafrikayiti recalls that after Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown, Canada Haiti Action Network asked officials on Parliament Hill in Ottawa as to why free and fair elections weren’t being held in Haiti. The response was that Lavalas, the movement headed by Aristide, “occupied too much space,” and foreign actors wanted to “level the playing field” to ensure that Lavalas wouldn’t regain power. Furthermore, he delves into the myths surrounding former policeman Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier. Chérizier, whose victims have notably not been members of the predatory Haitian oligarchy, has subsequently been armed and granted impunity from arrest. Jafrikayiti calls for genuine solidarity with Haiti from people in the U.S., Canada, and France in order for there to be a paradigm shift in policy.

Part 1: U.S. and Canada Continue Meddling in Haitian Affairs


Talia Baroncelli

Hi, I’m Talia Baroncelli, and you’re watching theAnalysis.news. You’re watching part two of my in-depth conversation with Jafrikayiti on the situation in Haiti. If you’ve been enjoying this content, please go to our website, theAnalysis.news. Hit the donate button at the top right corner of the screen and get on our mailing list. You can also head over to YouTube and type in theAnalysis-news. Hit the like button on all the videos you want to watch, subscribe to the channel, and also hit the bell; that way, you’re notified every time a new episode is published. Feel free to share this video with your friends and your family, and see you in a bit with Jafikayiti.

I wanted to ask you about Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier because he’s received a lot of attention in the media. Some characterize him as a thug. Some would say that he’s more like a revolutionary, like [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide, but who’s armed?

[Laughter]

I’m not going to say what my views are on him, but what’s your take on him? Should we even be paying attention to him, or is he relevant?

Jafrikayiti

Well, of course, we have to pay attention to him, except that we need to realize that these characters are created on a regular basis by the CIA, and they are erased by the same. Another name you could associate with Jimmy Chérizier is Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, who, back after the first coup the United States created as some kind of revolutionary guy who was threatening the Americans when Holland country was going to arrive. The Americans claimed that they did not land because these menacing revolutionaries brandishing cutlasses scared the Marines. This is the cinema. Some people find these things amusing. Haitian misery has been seen as material for voyeurism.

Jimmy Chérizier, who is a former police officer who supposedly has an arrest warrant by the police under his name, since, I believe, January 2020. That’s three years, more than three years ago. There is no one who can be wanted in Haiti by the police for all of these years and can escape. This would mean this guy is more powerful than [Osama] bin Laden and [Manuel Antonio] Noriega put together. That’s not the reality.

The reality is that the puppet regime that the United States have put in power after the coup in 2004 has one mission. We know this mission here in Solidarité Québec-Haiti and Canada Haiti Action Network, with which I worked before.

Back in 2004-2005, when we were making presentations to the Canadian Parliament to inform them that the coup they decided to participate in was a crime against humanity and to show them evidence of people who were being massacred in Haiti, we were on parliament hill, and some of these officials told us that the problem in Haiti is that Lavalas, the movement headed by President Aristide, occupies too much space. They want to level the playing field. That’s what they said. When we told them, “Now that you have control of the country– you overthrew Aristide, you have complete control of the country– why don’t you organize free and fair elections?” That’s when they countered, and they said, “Because this would not solve the problem.” We said, “Well, then why not?” They said, “Because Lavalas would win.”

In order to level the playing field, they took over the country. They denied Lavalas the ability to participate in elections. They did so in 2005, and they did so back in 2010. Now, of course, there’s a limit to how many times you can do that. In 2011, Aristide is back in the country. The excuse they took before was that, well, Lavalas cannot register because Aristide is in exile, and therefore, they do not recognize the folks who wanted to register a candidate for the party. Now Aristide is back. They went around the world saying that “Lavalas is done. The Aristide movement is something of the past. They cannot get 50 people together under a lamppost.”

Meanwhile, they’re doing their own surveys, secret surveys of the CIA that all show that if a fair election is organized today, Lavalas would win. Why? Despite all of the money that they put in the other political parties, no figure emerged in Haiti that has enough credibility to win elections against Lavalas. Now, that doesn’t mean Lavalas did not lose some of its constituencies and popularity. Of course, you have a president who suffered two coups, some people get bought, and all of that. However, the opposition is not well structured. They could not create credible folks. What’s left for them to do is to mess up the electoral card or the landscape because you cannot win an election in Haiti if people who live in the populous areas, especially in the capital city, go out and vote against the American candidate, whoever that is.

It’s not really about Lavalas. It’s losing control of the electoral process in Haiti. In order to do so, they got “Barbecue,” Jimmy Chérizier, within the police. They armed him to the teeth, connected him, and gave him guarantees of impunity. The police are looking for “Barbecue,” and “Barbecue” is taking pictures with the police officers. You can see them on the web.

The American journalists who claim that he is a revolutionary, they go and they’re doing videos with this guy who is wanted by the police. So obviously, this guy was given guarantees. Before, “Barbecue” used to walk around with a U.S. flag on his chest. Someone told him that “Listen, this is not looking good.” So now he replaced the U.S. flag with a Haitian flag and even found a beret, a Che Guevara type of beret. Like, this is going to make him spontaneously revolutionary.

Who are the victims of “Barbecue”? Not a single Haitian oligarch or their interests has been threatened by “Barbecue”. All of his victims are from poor neighborhoods.

In the United States, you’re familiar with the term minstrel show. Unfortunately, they think it’s funny to play around with the lies of black Haitians. They’ve created these characters. Unfortunately, some folks who claim to be liberals or to be on the Left, have these fantasies of going into Haiti, and they’re going to lead a revolution for the Haitian people, whether the people want it or not type of thing. They have these fantasies because, unfortunately, when people talk about racism and white supremacy, it’s been caricatured with associating people to the extreme Right like Jesse Helms or recently with Donald Trump. It was never like that. As Martin Luther King said, “The white liberals, sometimes, were more dangerous to the cause of our freedom because they had the audacity to think that it’s up to them to decide and to tell African leadership how and when and where to lead.” That’s why you have these three white guys walking around saying that “Barbecue” is a revolutionary. This is not an issue in the Haitian community. This is not a controversy. That’s why when you contacted me, I told you, I really don’t want to waste a lot of time talking about this illusion because we’ve seen it before. They’ve created those types of characters time and again in Haitian history. Later on, you find out that Emmanuel “Toto” Constant went on TV on 60 Minutes and explained that the whole time that he was pretending to be fighting the Americans, he was on the CIA payroll. So to us, it’s not that complicated.

Talia Baroncelli

Well, who would you say is a sort of contender as a legitimate politician or figure in Haiti right now that would be able to galvanize the public and to lead some sort of social justice movement?

Jafrikayiti

Well, there are plenty. Unfortunately, I think we always have this desire to find a quick answer to those questions, when there isn’t any quick answer. There are forces in Haiti that are at play. Lavalas is one of them, but not the only one. There are people to the Left. Some of the folks who were involved in the coup in 2004, supported the coup in 2004, and who are leading the Montana Accord movement, they also represent a force on the ground. None of them have the control of violence. The control of violence is squarely in the hands of the traditional forces. That’s why we insist that if something is to emerge in Haiti, we need to have– people might find this funny, but I think we need a ceasefire. The ceasefire is between the Haitian population and the United States government. These are the two parties. Of course, it’s not a real war, because the Haitian people are not attacking the government of the United States. It’s a one-way thing.

What I mean by that, is the creation of “Barbecue” and the gangs, in general, are all about making it impossible to organize elections that would get out of U.S. control. There were demonstrations against Ariel Henry, the current puppet, as there were massive demonstrations against Jovenel Moïse. Then what happened? “Barbecue” took to the streets and started to say that he was also against Ariel Henry. Well, the pro-democracy activists are not stupid. They know their lives are threatened if they’re in the streets at the same time as “Barbecue,” so they went home. They retreated. It’s a strategy. They’re using “Barbecue” to control the streets so that genuine opposition to the puppet regime cannot get mobilized.

Now, they cannot keep this up forever. The people will continue to rise. However, there is a distinction between rising spontaneously and building an organized society. That’s why I’m talking about a ceasefire. As long as the United States is pumping weapons into Haiti under the pretext that they are helping, they’re sending it to the police, when we know the police and the gangs are one of the same, it will be very difficult for genuine leadership in Haiti to have space.

As someone who’s worked in the academic sector, mainly in the university sector in Canada, I understand the importance of education. Haitians do not have any aspiration to threaten the security of the United States of America. That’s why I’m saying we are not really at war with the United States. Therefore, if they leave us alone; that would be the responsibility, especially of our African American brothers and sisters. Some of my ancestors were enslaved in the United States before they found refuge in Haiti. So that’s what we need to understand here.

Let’s take a simple example. President Aristide, his wife, and his family, his two daughters as well, returned to Haiti in 2011. Barack Obama objected to his return. Politicians in Canada, all kinds of people who were part of the coup, did not want President Aristide to return as if it was up to them whether a guy can return to his native land. What happened? While he was in South Africa he said that his ambition is to participate in the educational revolution in Haiti. From the time he returned, he went to the courts to regain access to his university which the U.S. soldiers turned into an army barrack after they took over the country. Take a second to ponder what this means.

An impoverished country like Haiti. There’s one rare good medical school, the U.S. took over the country, and they transformed it into army barracks. He went to court and he regained access to the university. From 2011 to this day, every March, it’s several hundred Haitians, young Haitians, who are graduating as lawyers, doctors, architects, professionals, and dentists, but will Haiti benefit from all of these young professionals graduating? Perhaps, if we manage to stop the war on Haiti, which is being launched by the United States. That’s why we need a ceasefire. If they weren’t attacking Haiti incessantly, it wouldn’t be just Jean-Bertrand Aristide who would be able to achieve this feat between 2011 and today, building a medical school that Danny Glover, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Harry Belafonte, who just left us, all of them used to support. All of these people, they supported UNIFA. We have thousands of Haitian professionals in Africa, in Europe, all around the world who are willing and able to replace that corrupt, predatory class that they’re calling elite in Haiti today. They are not elite and they are not capitalist either, because they don’t believe in competition. They cannot afford competition. That’s why they prefer to invest in a corrupt government regime that allows them access to the import-export business. By having private ports, they import heavy weapons that they distribute to the gangs in order to control their hegemony. This has to stop. We do not need a U.S. military intervention to stop that.

It might sound paradoxical to some folks, but in reality, these gangs, if they’re not receiving regular supplies from the United States for one month, we don’t even ask for much, one month, the population, as we saw with the recent months, what they’re calling Bwa Kale, will run over the guns and liberate their own country.

The United States and Canada don’t want this to happen, because if it’s the people who overthrow the gangs, that will mean they will go after Bigio, Apaid, and Abdallah. The guys that they’re putting on a list to pretend that they’re sanctioning them. They will really deal with them. Liberate the so called private ports, which are supposed to be national property, so that Haitians can have access to their ports, to their airports, and have resources that are coming to the rich island.

The island is not impoverished. The people living in it have been impoverished. It’s a rich island, very rich. One of the small islands of Haiti, Lagonav, is bigger than Barbados. So we know. They keep on talking about Haiti being a rock. There is nothing. Yeah, there is nothing, and then you build the fourth largest US. Embassy in Haiti while there’s nothing in Haiti. We’re not stupid.

What we’re saying is we are asking for genuine solidarity. Not from the governments. We’re not so naive to be thinking that Kamala Harris and others are going to do what they could have done years ago. We’re talking about people in the United States, in Canada, in France, to realize that the world has to shift, a paradigm, for all of these hundreds of years.

I’ll just take that last example to illustrate. I think it’s important because every time people hear the word reparations, they get angsty. It doesn’t matter how educated these people are. You say reparations, they hear retribution. They hear revenge. No, it’s reparations. The root word there is repair. You would have to be totally dishonest to go to Haiti and say that you don’t see that this is a nation in need of repair, physical repair, and spiritual repair. We need to repair ourselves.

Haiti is like this African woman that was painted by a Brazilian artist. You see her breastfeeding a white child while her own baby is sitting in front of her feet, hungry, thirsty, malnourished. That’s what Haiti is. Her children have not benefited from her milk, not because she betrayed her children, not because she doesn’t want to breastfeed her children, but because there is a thief taking away what belongs to her.

The Black Code, which was promulgated by Voltaire during that period of time, clearly said that the child in the womb of the African woman does not belong to the father of the child, but to the owner of the African woman. In other words, they stole our property from the womb. So that image from the Brazilian artist, I think, captures the challenge we are facing today.

That’s why in Solidarité Québec-Haiti we say, “Any genuine effort to permanently solve the crisis in Haiti must be rooted in justice, dignity, and reparations.” There’s no other way about it. Reparations do not mean Haitians are going to take what’s not theirs. It simply means that the resources of Haiti, including the gold that exists in Haiti today, will need to be mobilized for the benefit of Haitians, primarily black Haitians because there have been discriminatory practices against black Haitians within Haiti since the assassination of Haiti’s founder in 1806.

The regime, the false republic that was created by [Alexandre] Pétion and that was supported by the French and the Americans, etc. They did everything to deny Haitians, black Haitians, access to their resources. That’s why today, the richest person in Haiti is white. The second richest, the third richest, and the fourth richest. It’s not because they’re smarter. It’s not because they’re smarter. It certainly is not because they work harder. So we fought apartheid in South Africa. By lack of courage, we allow the criminals like P. W. Botha and Frederik de Klerk, to whom we gave half of Nelson Mandela’s Nobel Peace Prize, because we just cannot get the courage to root our actions in on justice.

Justice means that the owners of the land, the people who work the land, get the benefit of the land. Yes, it means some of the people who’ve benefited from privileges, undue privileges for decades, will need to lose some of it. That’s what it means. I am willing to lose some of the privileges that I have benefited from in Haiti because clearly, some Europeans had raped my African great-grandmothers. Yes, there is colorism in Haiti. The closer you are to whiteness, the more privileges you benefit. This also has to end.

When we talk about reparations in Haiti, it’s not only an internal, external thing from the outside. Within Haitian society, we need to come to terms with some of the abuses that survived the revolution in Haiti, because the revolution was interrupted. The fruit of the Haitian revolution, if we bring it to purity, is so simple that if applied in Haiti, we need to apply it on a global scale. It simply is [inaudible 00:26:48]. Every human being is a human being. That is, you treat human beings as who and what they really are. So no privileges on the basis of race, on the basis of financial means, and really give people fair, equal opportunity. That’s, of course, a utopia. I think we’d be very lazy for not even attempting to implement it and simply throw our hands in the air and say that it’s not possible. No, it’s not that it’s impossible. It’s that we have never given ourselves a chance to implement it.

Cuba has tried. They’re not doing so bad. When there’s an earthquake in Cuba, when there is bad weather in Cuba, I don’t see the number of casualties that we have in Haiti. Why? Because they’ve tried their best to create a society where the state is at the service of the people. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but what I’m saying is that what we are doing here right now, putting puppets in Haiti, that’s not going to help. It has to end.

Talia Baroncelli

Haiti needs a form of autonomy where it would be able to handle its own affairs. Even with reparations, they would have to ensure that foreign powers would not be involved in Haiti. I don’t think that just giving reparations and not actually changing the system, changing the economic system as well as the political system in which Haiti operates and deals with and interacts with other countries on the international scale, if that’s not changed, then that could risk future intervention and future exploitation, and the reparations would just be done in vain.

Jafrikayiti

Absolutely. That’s valid for the other countries in the region. The people of Grenada were on a path in 1983 with Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. The United States intervened and conducted a coup that killed hundreds of people. So we see there are countries such as Barbados that decided to remove itself under the powers of the British crown. Now you know how fragile that is. Yes, we can applaud that our brothers and sisters in Barbados did the right thing. If we, as a global community, accept that a few white people might meet in Ottawa and they decide that they’re going to overthrow the government of Haiti, well, they might do the same in Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia, anytime they wish. That has to stop. We can’t continue on that path. There has to be a group of people on this planet who don’t pay lip service to the idea that people can have their own countries. We have to actually take that seriously. It’s not that okay, yes, they have a vote at the United Nations General Assembly. No, that’s not what makes them a nation.

The people of Guadalupe and Martinique are buying bananas that are more expensive than the people in Paris; that doesn’t make any sense. They’re the ones who produce the banana. So the whole economy that was created tinted by imperialism has to end.

In other words, this means that some of the people who are living above their means in North America and in Europe are going to have to work. It may not be very pleasant news to them, but someday this had to stop. If you want to have competition with China, you have to realize that the Chinese actually worked. They invested in their institution of higher education. So, yeah, you can be jealous of the Chinese, but jealousy is not going to do it. You’re going to have to think of a different way. Instead of basing all of your wellness on the exploitation of the people of Africa, perhaps it’s time to think of a different model. If you want to produce cocoa and chocolate, well, the Ivory Coast is where they produce the cocoa, and you’re going to have to buy it at a fair price.

Talia Baroncelli

Well, hopefully, people will push for a more socially ecological model, but most of all will ask their governments to stop sending weapons to Haiti so that Haiti can have some sort of peaceful uprising, which I think is in the works, but is currently being suppressed because of the gang violence and the poverty and everything else that you’ve speaking about.

Jafrikayiti

Three weeks is all it would take. If the U.S. stopped sending weapons to Haiti within three weeks the gangs would be overrun. That also means Bigio, Brandt, and Apaid would lose their power.

So that’s why when I penned this article in the Black Agenda Report, I said, “To solve the crisis permanently, we need to convince Joe Biden to give up its support for the white warlords.” If they insist on protecting those 15 white mafia families in Haiti, it’s going to have to be a struggle because Haitians will not accept that. This is not what our ancestors fought for and humanity cannot continue on that path. Why would a handful of white people control 14 million people in Haiti? That doesn’t make any sense. Why can’t they work? What’s so wrong with working?

Talia Baroncelli

Well, Jafrikayiti, it was great speaking to you. I hope that next time we could do an episode on the significance and visionary quality of the Haitian Constitution, which was produced out of the Haitian revolution and a different sort of socioeconomic rights framework, which it also created and presented and different conceptions of universalist rights, not just for a specific subset of the population, but for everyone.

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Jafrikayiti is the co-founder of two self-help organizations AKASAN (Ayisyen ki ap soutni Ayisyen nètalkole) and Jaku Konbit which follow the principles popularized by Marcus Garvey. He is also an artist-activist immersed in the Global Peace and Social Justice movement.”

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2 Comments

  1. I wonder if you would consider interviewing someone from Haiti Liberté who could respond to some of the accusations Jafrikayiti is making against them here; accusations which he has also made elsewhere (he’s gone so far as to accuse them of being funded by the CIA). Hitler notwithstanding, I’m always suspicious when virtually everyone of every imaginable persuasion goes out of their way to pile onto a person like Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier. So, he hasn’t always been a revolutionary. He certainly sounds like one now. Reading Black Spartacus, the biography of Toussaint Louverture written by Sudhir Hazareesingh, has given me a new appreciation for the importance of bringing everyone into the fold…even “gang” members.

  2. wow! a superb two part interview and well done. Jafrikayiti is a great advocate for his people, he can thoroughly demolish all stereotypes, and narratives that Haitian people are hopeless, its too complicated a situation, Haitians need to be treated like babies, he can smash all those narratives and explain to people “its imperialism!”. Really enjoyed this conversation, and well done to the interviewer as well, and its blood boiling how Haiti doesn’t have the kind of international solidarity that I believe it deserves. (Indigenous people of the US and Australia, the Roma, and Sami to). Its infuriating to see left leaning governments engage in bullying Haiti, past and present and even Simon Bolivar and we need more international mobilization but anti-imperialist groups need to make Haitian solidarity more urgent in order to breakthrough the racism and imperial blindspots of even those in Latin America, the Caribbeans, and Africans themselves from the continent. So much more I could type, but just wanted to praise Talia for conducting a great two part interview and love Jafrikayiti and Long Live the people’s struggle in Haiti, and may I live to see the day Haiti is free from imperialism, and is given the love and respect it deserves, and let Haiti breathe, power to the Haitian people and death to white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism in all its form.

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