Originally published on Black Agenda Report
There exists a numerically-miniscule but economically-powerful set of inbreeding oligarch families in Haiti , who are not descendants of deported and enslaved Africans, like 99% of Haitians. The first ancestors of these “white oligarchs” arrived on the island in the late 1800s, as refugees from Syria, Palestine, Lebanon or later as WWII European refugees of Jewish heritage. Many are of mixed-heritage through strategic marriages with light skin Haitians who, decades after Haiti’s abolitionist revolution, carry visible evidence of having European slavers’ (French, British, Spanish) DNA. The white oligarchs of Haiti are known to collude with elites in the U.S., Canada, Europe, with foreign corporations as well as organized crime, to exploit the resources of the impoverished Caribbean country.
You might rarely, if ever, see their names or pictures on the New-York Times, CBC, CNN or France 24. But they are at the very heart of the bloody mayhem that now engulfs Haiti. They always had and have powerful allies in Washington, Ottawa, and Paris. Many of Haiti’s so-called “invisible elephants,” the white warlords, have been implicated in coups d’état, drug trafficking, mass killings, presidential assassinations, illegal gun importation through their private ports as well as mobilizing deadly gangs of Black youth who specialize in terrorizing poor and middle-class Haitians. On this very matter, I recommend “Confessions of Haitian Kidnapper Arnel Joseph ,” a published interview with Arnel Joseph by an anonymous source first published in French (Arnel Joseph parle comme un rossignol). It describes how the former notorious gangster once described his recruitment by the white warlords of Haiti – a few months before he was gunned down like a dog, in the streets of L’Estère, on February 27, 2021.
For over a century now, with US complicity, ultra-national “white” families routinely pick “Black faces” to front dictatorships in Haiti that do their bidding. There is recurring evidence that, every now and then, the same families, always in coordination with Washington bosses, opt to dispose of a Black-face Haitian puppet “president” which they deem no longer useful to the clan’s interest. Haiti’s top tier oligarchs who are universally perceived as vultures who take much from the impoverished nation but refuse to contribute even regular taxes and custom duties to Haitian society, are known as BAM BAM , phonetically in Creole “Gimme, Gimme.” The acronym stands for the Brandt, Acra, Madsen, Bigio, Apaid and Mevs families.
Due to historical conflict of interest, this ugly and very disturbing racial dimension to the contemporary Haitian story is one you might seldom, if ever, see addressed in mainstream media. Take for instance, a recent piece in the NewYork Times titled “Lesson plan: Investigating Haiti’s History and the Damage Caused by the ‘Double Debt.’ ” While its closing section addresses the connection between the long history of foreigners ransoming Haitians and the current uprisings against a US-backed puppet regime over repression and economic misery amidst outrageous calls for further international intervention, the NYT article makes no mention of Haiti’s strangely invisible white elephants, local white families who control every facet of Haiti’s import-export and banking businesses. The latter have historically been prime benefactors of foreign military interventions in Haiti.
Multiple ransoms collected at gunpoint (gun-boat diplomacy) from the Haitian treasury by the Germans, the Brits, Americans, the Spaniards as well as the French, throughout the 19th century, went directly to compensate local white merchants who claim that the Haitian state failed to protect their affairs during social upheavals. As is suspected to have happened for instance in 1883, these upheavals in question might be instigated and financed by some of the very individuals who end up collecting foreign gun-boat enforced compensation. Indeed, in the midst of popular riots in the capital city of Port-au-Prince in September 1883, diplomatic representatives of France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Holland, Norway and Sweden signed an ultimatum threatening Haitian President Lysius Félicité Salomon Jeune of bombing Haiti’s National Palace with him inside unless he paid millions of dollars in reparations.. (see Haytian law for the settlement of claims arising out of the events at Port-au-Prince in September 1883 )
In recent times, the U.S. army and CIA intervened twice to remove Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a popular, democratically-elected president who raised the minimum wage and pressured members of sweatshops owning BAMBAM families to pay taxes.
This following excerpt is from “an inside look at Haiti’s business elite ”, a 1995 publication by Multinational Monitor:
“You can imagine what kind of pressure that must be when you know that there are six million peasants that basically could rise up and tear your house down some night… I’ve witnessed what they call “dechoukaj” where they just basically firebomb, loot and gut a house. It’s a terrifying thing. This is always in the mind of the elite Haitians… And you’d better believe these rich people have got machine guns. The poorest Haitians cannot rise up. I mean there will not be a revolution in Haiti because you cannot fight these machine guns with sticks and rocks and machetes. There’s only so far you can fight”.
Unlike the situation described by the Multinational Monitor in 1995, today, there are heavily-armed gangs in different parts of Haiti. However, these are not peasants who are organized for revolution. As Arnel Joseph confessed back in 2019, several gangs were created, armed and mobilized by members of the BAMBAM, the illegal Parti Haitien Tèt Kale (PHTK) regime in power since 2011, and its foreign allies/accomplices. Installed PHTK president Martelly would go on to recruit several criminals to join his administration.
In “Confessions of Haitian Kidnapper Arnel Joseph ,” the author states:
“Zuraik, a good friend of (PHTK Senator) Gracia Delva, recommended Arnel to Reynold Deeb who needed someone to monitor the environment at Port-au-Prince customs. He found Arnel at the right time. Indeed, the war was waging between Deeb and Bigio who had launched the gangs of Chancerelles and Bas Delmas. In Arnel, Deeb found his game-changer for the control of Lower Town and, thus, won the war against Bigio. Since then, he has elevated Arnel among his important pawns”.
Haitian people were shocked and in awe when, in her report dated September 25, 2020, Helen Lalime, the current representative of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), heralded the federation of armed gangsthroughout the country a net reducer of violence. Now, said gangs which were federated as “G9”, presumably to facilitate an elusive peaceful disarmament process, under BINUH’s guidance, are serving as pretext for foreign boots returning massively on Haitian soil. Those who point to the obvious logical conclusions are deemed “conspiracy theorists.” Yet, it is plain to see that foreign troops are being mobilized to help secure some of the most ruthless criminals of Haitian society, including BINUH, US, PHTK and white oligarchs-protected mass murderer for hire, G9 federated gang leader Jimmy “Babekyou” Cherizier , who feel threatened by an unarmed but justifiably angry population. As they often say at multiple popular demonstrations, Haitian people seek to uproot “dechouke” the system. Its beneficiaries and guardians are doing everything in their power to safeguard the system.
Under the system, in colonial times, 30,000 white slavers in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) had no chance of survival among 450 000 enslaved Africans, unless they benefited from the unflinching support of the armies of France, Britain, or Spain. This was the slavers’ real source of power and dominance. In neo-colonial Haiti, the system still works whereby “white” oligarch families effectively rule over a lucrative, barbaric, organized disorder thanks in great measure to military, diplomatic, and economic backing they receive from the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Following the racist 2004 coup and invasion of Haiti, UN troops (MINUSTAH) deployed to subdue impoverished angry Haitians were some of the most ruthless forces of repression in the world, including those of Brazil, China, Jordan and the U.S. Is it any surprise that numerous massacres, contagions and sexual exploitation (including pedophile rapes) have exclusively targeted the country’s most impoverished, blackest men, women and children? MINUSTAH’s egregious violations of human rights are well-documented, with some studies published, as early as November 2004 in the Miami School of Law and in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, in 2005.
“Regarding current HNP (Haitian National Police) operations in poor neighborhoods, the police explained that if 10 civilians are killed, on average only four are “targeted individuals” and six are innocent bystanders. Because “targets” are being killed, rather than arrested, the police try to kill all witnesses. The killing of the innocent is “sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident,” they said. Innocent people in the poorest neighborhoods are also arrested “because they tolerate the bad ones.” They admitted that the former soldiers sometimes assist in HNP operations” (Tom Griffin , November 2004)
Thus was described the routine work of a police force receiving Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) training, operating under the aegis of the Canadian-led, U.N.-mandated Civilian Police component of MINUSTAH.
“Shoot them and ask questions later…Right now our country needs security. Unless you clean up the bad people, the gangs, there will be no progress. It will be a massacre, people will die. But let us do it or it will be worse.” Jean Philippe Sassine, Assistant Mayor of Port-au-Prince, appointed illegally by the post-coup foreign-imposed regime as quoted Nov. 30, 2004.
Aside from its own US political bosses, MINUSTAH was under constant pressure from the infamous local “white oligarchs” to conduct massacres against the “unruly black masses of Haiti”.
MINUSTAH’s marching orders became especially clear following the “suicide” of its former military leader, Brazilian General Bacellar, who was found dead on January 7, 2006, following a night of heated exchange with members of Haiti’s business elite who were openly critical of him for being too “soft” with “slum gangs” or “bandits”.
In a January 2022 interview he gave to Brazilian media, former Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim , had this to day about the MINUSTAH occupation mission that his troops once led in Haiti:
“Nevertheless, it’s very likely that some of our troops committed crimes… If you look at what the UN was saying at the time, primarily the US and some countries in Europe, it was that they all wanted us to use more force… If you look at the interviews with him at the time after he (General Heleno – Bacellar’s predecessor) was removed from Haiti, he was saying, ‘what do you guys want me to do? I don’t want to be tried in the International Criminal Court in the Hague.’”
It is evident that Haiti’s very population has been and is treated as a “threat” to the white oligarchs and their foreign allies. Deceptively-baptised “peacekeeping” troops were and are being deployed to contain that black Haitian “threat.”
Haiti’s population has, for far too long, stood alone, unarmed and vilified for its legitimate opposition to a foreign-rooted and foreign-backed criminal minority represented by the likes of PHTK power barons Michel Martelly, Samir Handal, André Apaid, Rodolphe Jaar and Allan Zuraik of the “Haiti Chérie ” club. You will note that several of these men are suspected participants in the brazen July 7, 2021 assassination of former puppet president Jovenel Moïse, once their accomplice.
The case of Marc-Antoine Acra and the Manzanares drug scandal is particularly emblematic of how US government agencies have consistently intervened to shield dangerous criminals from Haiti’s top-tier oligarchs (BAMBAM) and help them escape justice either in Haiti or abroad.
The April 2015 Manzanares scandal implicates the largest drug bust ever in Haitian history with the Haitian National Police seizing at BAMBAM-controlled Varreux Port terminal of Port-au-Prince, “700 to 800 kilos of cocaine and 300 kilos of heroin with an estimated U.S. street value of $100 million”. Several of the families with ties to the CIA are linked to this criminal business venture which turned sour, under Michel Martelly’s “presidency.”
Many observers thought this being such a huge case, involving so many big names, the US justice system would surely not allow itself to be exposed and discredited for the sake of protecting a few Haitian mafioso family members. However, only a low-ranked Haitian operator got jail time. The DEA apparently went out of its way to botch this particular investigation, as the agency stood accused by a US Special Counsel .
This huge scandal was covered by few US mainstream media articles. Whereas Judge Berge O. Surpris and the Haitian justice system indicted Marc-Antoine Acra for drug trafficking, his friend and accomplice “president” Michel Martelly , issued a ridiculously illegal decree, making Acra, the law fugitive, Haitian Ambassador of Goodwill to the Dominican Republic (I kid you not!).
There are other examples of the criminal activities of these “white oligarchs” in Haiti.
Clifford Brandt – from a BAMBAM family, self-avowed 6th ranked in the Gang Galil Kidnapping gang, is a rare Haitian oligarch who has been arrested and put in jail, over the past decades. He committed the crime of kidnapping 2 young people who are also from Haiti’s oligarch families.
André Apaid Jr . – also from a BAMBAM family, is perhaps the most infamous white warlord in Haiti. Like others in the group of BAMBAM, Apaid Jr. was born in the U.S. His father, André Apaid Sr. was reportedly close to US-backed dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. Both men were key leaders of the 1991 and 2004 military coups against President Aristide.
According to reports chronicling the 1991 coup period: “When asked at a business conference in Miami soon after the coup in 1991 what he would do if President Aristide returned to Haiti, André Apaid Sr. replied vehemently, ‘I’d strangle him!‘” At the time, he led the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) PROMINEX business promotion project, a $12.7 million program to encourage U.S. and Canadian firms to move their businesses to Haiti.”
His son, André Apaid Jr., came to Haiti in 1976 as a foreign businessman on a visitor’s visa. Apparently, he never took Haitian citizenship although, it should be noted that, after five years, any foreigner can obtain Haitian nationality by naturalization under the Constitution’s Article 12.
André Apaid Jr., with brother in law Charles Henri Baker and business partner Réginald Boulos, are 3 white warlords who headed the U.S. funded Group 184 which mobilized U.S.-trained and French-funded paramilitary killers in the neighbouring Dominican Republic, in the early 2000s, to topple the legitimate government of Haiti.
If you attempt to follow the digital footprint left by Michel Martelly, Marc-Antoine Acra, Clifford Brandt, and other members of Haiti’s crime syndicate (Gang Galil/PHTK) which was set in power by the US (Hillary Clinton intervened directly to rig the 2010 Haitian elections to put Martelly in power) you will note how some documents seem to have gone missing, lead to broken internet links or are extremely difficult to locate. For instance, I have been searching for the August 8, 2016 audio of Marc-Antoine Acra stating that the drug seized on the Manzanares (2015) belonged to Michel Martelly but, although I can find statements to that effect in print format from several sources, I have yet to locate the audio.
Sending foreign troops on Haitian soil creates or exacerbates problems faced by law-abiding citizens. It is no surprise that corrupt politicians such as former PHTK Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe who, along with former “President” Michel Martelly, stands accused of embezzling millions of dollars from Haiti’s squandered Petro-Caribe funds, quickly welcome the projected US invasion of Haiti.
Over the past decade, brave Haitians, of all ages, from all walks of life, on the island and abroad, have incessantly demanded that corrupt PHTK puppet leaders installed illegally by foreign-occupation forces be brought to justice. The culprits’ cover has consistently come from the US and its subservient followers assembled in the so-called Core Group – this strange neo-colonial club made up of the ambassadors of the US, Canada, France, Brazil, Spain and Germany as well as representatives of the European Union, United Nations and Organization of American States established in Haiti.
People of good will in the United States, Canada, Europe – worldwide – must listen to the Haitian People’s loud and persistent demand that Black Nationhood and Black humanity be finally shown due consideration and respect. For this, we, the people, law-abiding decent tax contributors, must force racist imperialist forces within our nations to cease their program which has for far too long directly or indirectly armed and shielded criminals in Haiti. The US must stop supporting white warlords in Haiti! Force Joe Biden to drop the BAMBAM!
Jafrikayiti, also known as Jean Saint-Vil, is an Ottawa-based author, radio host and social justice activist who publishes in English, Kreyòl and French on his blog http://Jafrikayiti.com . With Solidarité Québec Haiti comrades, Jafrikayiti often tweets #BlackNationhoodMatters. He continually calls on Canada to stop interfering in the governance of his native Haiti.