AS CANADIANS, WE PRIDE OURSELVES ON OUR INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION AS PEACEKEEPERS AND UPHOLDERS OF DEMOCRACY.
But there is a dark side to our foreign policy — a policy that often aligns Canada with the objectives of the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Haiti has a unique history. In 1804, after a slave revolt against France, Haitians established the world’s first independent black country. For decades, Haiti endured an international trade embargo. From 1825 to 1947 Haiti was forced to pay a crippling indemnity to France for loss of slaves and territory, impoverishing the country.
Between 1991 and 2004, against great odds, Haitians elected a succession of democratic governments with broad popular support. These governments improved health, education and the rule of law even as they were under siege by Haiti’s wealthy elite and the US State Department.
Canada, once regarded by Haitians as a constructive partner, joined the United States in blocking international aid to Haiti in the late 1980s. Canadian special forces joined troops from the US and France in coup d’état on February 29, 2004 that installed an unelected regime. This is the first time Canada has played a military and strategic role in removing a democratically elected government.