Veterans For Peace (VFP) strongly condemns the racist comments of President Donald Trump at the White House on January 11, 2018 calling Haiti and African nations "shithole countries." This kind of offensive language has no place in the White House and should be condemned by all people of the world. VFP finds the president's comments more than a little ironic considering that 500 Haitian "Free Men of Color" fought in the American Revolution. In fact, in October 2007, a monument was resurrected in Savannah, Georgia to honor these revolutionaries.
What has been the role of the U.S. in Africa and Haiti? The second country in the Americas to throw off colonial rule was Haiti. Not surprisingly, some of the free men of color who fought in the American Revolution were part of the Haitian Revolution, including Haitian President Henri Christophe. The U.S., under the presidency of the slave-holder Thomas Jefferson, became very concerned that a slave revolt might happen in the U.S. He helped former colonial overlord France enforce a blockade to make Haiti pay reparations that lasted about a hundred years. The U.S. occupied Haiti for 19 years from 1915-34. The U.S. supported the brutal regimes of Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier. In 1994-95, the U.S. sent in Rangers and Green Berets to Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. It would be difficult to find a country in the world that has been more oppressed by the U.S. than Haiti.
As for Africa, the 400 year slave trade to the Americas was the beginning of the U.S. interventionism which continues to this day with AFRICOM. U.S. troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises, programs, and engagements per year, an average of nearly 10 missions per day, on the African continent, according to the U.S. military’s top commander for Africa, General Thomas Waldhauser.
It is offensive that the U.S. President would make such disparaging statements, given the long and horrific history of colonialism, exploitation and military actions the U.S. has perpetuated around the globe.
Veterans For Peace is an organization of US and international veterans who have been exposing the true cost of war since 1985.