COMMENTARY: As Haiti’s Crisis Lingers, Urgent Calls for Action Ignored

Credit: US Marine Corps Public Domain

By Ashleigh Fields 

“It is the destiny of the Haitian people to suffer.” 

Words once spoken by former leader Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier find themselves perpetually re-enforced by the world. 

After successfully overturning slavery through a massive revolt in 1803, global entities turned their back on a resilient and self-determined nation plagued with extreme violence and political impropriety.

Gangs have overtaken land in the capital of Port-au-Prince, staging kidnappings for ransom, public burnings and brutal armed rapings of innocent civilians to dominate their territory, a tactic influenced by so-called peacekeepers sent by the UN under the Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Workers were well-known for sexually abusing locals and also infecting them with cholera instead of perpetuating stability.

Natural disasters like the Category 4 hurricane of 2016 and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2021, along with cyclones and flooding up until last year, have only exacerbated the country’s problems. Government systems in the United Kingdom, United States and France claim to care and share such sentiments by donating millions in monetary aid for relief while demonizing those who flee to their sovereign nations. 


Despite Haiti’s main airport closing, the United States resumed deportation flights to Haiti just two weeks ago, separating families and sending individuals to what many have called a “death sentence.” Some asylum seekers reported living in America for over 20 years before being discovered and are returning to a city where they know no one. 

Access to cellular service, food and a basic income are scarce. 

The United Nations reportedly estimates over 360,000 Haitians are internally displaced. Deportation stings like a brazen bullet. America keeps its hand on the trigger as it stands masked behind the gun.   

The Biden Administration declared the issue a top priority. Still, you’ll find no mention of the word Haiti in the daily press briefings where the person presiding thrives as a daughter of its descendants. She did not respond to requests for comment on this matter. 

Ashleigh Fields

Ashleigh Fields

Last year, President Biden promised to build on mechanisms for consultations with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to support locally driven peace and stability efforts but has yet to meet with leaders or officials to date. He has met with President Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic. A nation that has rewritten its constitution multiple times to eliminate birthright citizenship, inherently rendering Haitians born or immigrating to the Dominican Republic stateless. 

The island known as Hispaniola houses both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The latter, which sits to its East, has been known to confine the country’s runaways to Bateyes, large plantations harvesting sugar cane for corporations like Domino Sugar and Hershey off the backs of modern-day Haitian slaves seeking a better life. 

The White House recently released a sorry three-point, four-sentence statement geared towards a 10-year plan for a solution. Kote? (Where?) Kile? (When) Kijan? (How?) The crisis is happening today. 

There is no safe harbor for the Haitian refugee. As the determined individual escapes, they find themselves destitute, impoverished and in a conditional state of detriment that reigns supreme. Those that leave and those that stay can find no solace. 

Black people across the world are watching as the most resilient Black nation crumbles slowly.

We unequivocally resonate with their pain as we have cried the same sorrowful tears. Yet, no one is coming to rescue them, just as no one came to rescue us.

Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer has met with the likes of Al Sharpton, Derrick Johnson, Ron Daniels, Marc Morial and Jocelyn McCalla in addition to a few more to bolster Haitian-driven efforts. He must realize that though they share the same skin color, humans cannot speak from a narrative they do not know. 

I urge the Biden Administration to meet with those parties — those who are surviving, starving and subjugating Haiti — to extend temporary protective status to all refugees and encourage our allies to do the same. 

We must be a proponent of the peace we are hopeful this country will one day achieve.

The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chicago Defender. 


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