The Forgotten Occupation recounts the 19-year period during which the United States of America subjugated Haiti to a brutal occupation. From 1915 to 1934, the Haitian people found themselves under the rule of a system that was in large part influenced and pushed for by the National City Bank of New York (now Citibank), and that initially found support amongst many Haitians in the country.
The Forgotten Occupation is about Jim Crow, which was imported to Haiti by way of the American marines, whose perceptions of the Haitians they were occupying were rooted in the racist consciousness of the United States South from which most of them came. It is that consciousness that made it easy for the occupiers to kidnap innumerable men, take them away from their homes, and constrain them to forced labor. This process eventually ignited a mass rebellion.
The Forgotten Occupation is about those who resisted and paid for that resistance with their lives. It is about Charlemagne Peralte, the leader of the Cacos (the rebel group formed mainly of Haitian peasants) who, despite being outgunned, outmanned, and having little to no chance of a significant retaliation against the unstoppable force who now claimed their land, fought on as best as they could.
The Forgotten Occupation is about those who were displaced from their land, which was forcibly seized and handed over to corporations, including the Haitian-American Sugar Company and Dole: the American Pineapple Company.
The Forgotten Occupation is also about the rebirth of Haiti. For, due to the rabid racism it suffered under the US presence, Haiti was forced to reevaluate its identity as an extension of French culture and began to develop a deep appreciation for its African roots.
There are a large number of people, including many Haitians, who know nothing of these 19 years. The Forgotten Occupation seeks to shed a light on this significant chapter of Haiti’s history, which has long since faded from the collective mind, but still affects the country to this day.
Director & Writer