men with an arsenal of weapons and military gear, including U.S. Navy
SEALs and military veterans, were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
for roaming around with their guns, reportedly on a “government
mission.” Yet, seven of them, including five U.S. citizens and
two Serbians who are permanent residents of the U.S., were released
and allowed to return home in a plane, without charges.
Boukman, an activist with Fanmi Lavalas, former Haitian President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s social-democratic party, has tweeted
about the affair, and the troubling details surrounding the men and
their backgrounds, the circumstances concerning their presence in
Haiti, and the elephant in the room in the form of U.S. policy
towards Haiti. That policy has existed within the context of
colonialism, regime change, and support for death squads and
Americans linked to US military and security companies with machine
guns, pistols, drones, satellite phones, bullet-proof vests and other
cute toys were arrested last night in #Haiti.
In other words, mercenaries to terrorize the people to put down the
it was reported that five Americans, two Serbian nationals with
permanent U.S. residency and a Haitian national were arrested. All
but the Haitian man were released. Three
of the Americans—
Kent Leland Kroeker, Christopher Mark McKinley and Christopher
Michael Osman–are veterans, according to the Miami Herald.
Kroeker, 52, is a 20-year Marine veteran who runs an off-road
engineering company. McKinley, 49, a former Navy SEAL, has been in
trouble with the police in Ohio. Osman, 44, is also a former Marine
and Navy SEAL who fought in Afghanistan following 9/11. He was found
guilty of a road rage attack in 2017.
other two Americans are Dustin Porte, 42, whose electrical
contracting company was once a subcontractor for the Department of
Homeland Security, and Talon Ray Burton, 52, who is the director of a
other men are Vlade Jankvic, 41, and Danilo Bajagic, 37, and Michael
Estera, 39, a Haitian national who goes by the pseudonym “Clifford.”
When stopped by police, the group was riding in two vehicles without
license plates, and refused to provide their identification. Among
the arsenal found were six pistols, six automatic rifles, three
satellite phones, two professional drones and other material
including backpacks, gun vests, a telescope, tapes and documents with
a list of names. According to Port-au-Prince chief of police Joel
Casseus, the men told police “they were on a government
mission” and “they didn’t have to speak to us.”
They did not specify which government for which they were working,
and were released and escorted by U.S. embassy staff to the airport
VIP diplomatic lounge without handcuffs, then boarded their flight.
The men reportedly told U.S. officials they were in the country
providing security for a “government-partnered ‘businessman.’”
Haitian Attorney General Paul Eronce Villard, who along with the U.S.
consul general had visited the detainees, denied he was pressured to
release the men, or that justice minister Pierre-Richard Casimir had
visited them. Villard later said the police received pressure from
the National Palace to release the men.
to VOA, a U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed that U.S. and
Haitian authorities coordinated the return of the men to the U.S.
Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant called the eight men “mercenaries”
and “terrorists” who were intent on destabilizing the
government of Haiti and targeting the executive branch. Madame
Boukman told Atlanta Black Star that these men came to Haiti with an
apparent purpose—to kill the political opposition to the
seemingly death squads / mercenaries sent to murder protesters and
opposition leaders. They had a list of names in their possession and
according to what’s being said, certain people were targets –
for example, journalists from an anti-government radio station,
members,” Boukman said.
November during and after a nationwide demonstration, a bunch of
people were murdered by way of bullets to the head. A baby was
killed, for example, while there were no police or armed person
around. Same for protesters, especially some who were walking home
and out of nowhere one of them would fall to the ground with a bullet
to the head,” she added. “There were snipers all over the
country. They were photographed and other white men with masks on
their faces. The Director of the Haitian National Police said he did
not recognize those men, the vehicles, uniforms or weapons.”
just a mess,” Madame Boukman said of the present situation in
Haiti, noting an opposition leader with whom she is friends said his
name was on the list as well.
backdrop of the arrests and subsequent release of the mercenaries
were two weeks of protests in which Haitians demanded the resignation
of President Jovenel Moise, the U.S.-backed leader, and Prime
Minister Ceant, amid rising inflation and allegations of corruption.
The Toyota Prado and Ford pickup the men drove were traced to people
close to President Moise. These events are not occurring in a vacuum
as the U.S. occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934, and since that time has
been involved in governmental and corporate economic exploitation to
keep Haiti impoverished, meddling in the internal political affairs
of Haiti, and has maintained a racist immigration policy against
Haitians coming to America.
has suffered a great deal after it threw off the shackles of
enslavement and colonial rule and became the first Black republic.
The recent events with heavily armed white men arrested in
Port-au-Prince and returned to America without consequences provide
evidence that the U.S. continues to disrupt Haiti in a neocolonial
fashion, just as it once occupied the Caribbean country and imposed
its will with the violence of military force.
commentary was originally published by AtlantaBlackStar.com