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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 32, New Delhi, July 24, 2021

A Call for Solidarity with the People of Haiti, 7/16/21

Friday 23 July 2021

The media and governments are saying that Haiti finds itself at the center of another crisis, this time for the assassination of the ex-president Jovenel Moïse on July 7. In fact, Haiti has been in crisis since Moïse’s inauguration in February, 2017.

The truth is that Moïse was the victim of the chaos and organized crime to which he himself opened the door. Since the commencement of his presidency, he began to systematically dismantle democratic institutions, instead giving more latitude to the national and international mafia. Calling himself “After God,” he never allowed one round of election, at any level, to take place. He himself stayed illegally in his post until his death, even though his constitutional mandate had expired in February, 2021. In the absence of parliamentary elections, all the seats became empty and the institution stopped functioning in January, 2020. Neither did he allow mayoral elections to proceed, instead putting his own representatives in towns around the country. He destroyed the judicial system, as well. He governed exclusively by his own decrees, steadily eradicating the liberties of the citizenry. He reorganized the police so that the force responded only to him, and imported highly armed Colombian mercenaries, ex-soldiers who used repression to enforce his autocratic control.

It was this last element, more than anything, in which Moïse was his own victim. The list of Haitian and foreign actors involved in the plot to kill him is large, but it appears that the Colombian mercenaries, which Moïse used for his own protection, did the deed.

Moïse’s regime represented a new phase in the historic structural crisis of exploitation of the elite and domination by Western powers. The population held a consensus that Moïse was a puppet of the US. The suspension of elections and the illegal continuation of his post were approved by the Biden Administration. Moïse proposed a referendum to change the Haitian constitution – illegally – concentrating all power in the president, in mimicry of former dictators. Many sectors of the population organized and rejected this initiative so strongly that, at the last minute, Biden opposed the plan. 4

We denounce the coup d’état which has followed the assassination, creating illegitimate and violent power. The declaration of a “state of siege” and martial law occurred only hours after the assassination, by an appointed-but-never-confirmed prime minister. The “state of siege” imposes openly dictatorial conditions, such as: the military replacing the police in public security, liberties of the state of law (such as circulation, demonstration, and expression) being strongly restricted, media being controlled, curfew being mandated, civil tribunals being replaced by military ones, and the increase of surveillance of the population. This represents a continuity of the criminalization, by the regime, of social movements and of resource-poor and excluded people. Under Moïse’s administration, for example, thirteen massacres of seven or more people occurred, more than 10,000 people were displaced by violence, and gang rapes and kidnappings were constant.

All this indicates a strategy of domestic manipulation and international intervention which will aggravate poverty, insecurity, and inequality. It will reproduce the absence of power and rights that belong only to a small elite and imposed governments. This is why Haitians have never been won a better future for themselves and their country.

The US, the UN, and other foreign actors who have no governmental authority in Haiti have called for the convening of elections for this year, at a time when armed bands control approximately 60% of the national territory, and security is so fragile that even a president can be easily tortured and murdered in his home. Organizations of civil society insist that elections are impossible within these confusing conditions, with the complete absence of functional and legitimate institutions. Instead, social movements and progressive NGOs call for an open and inclusive Haitian dialogue, with clear, participatory mechanisms, where all who wish can participate in creating accords.

We deplore that the UN has decided whom it recognizes as its Haitian intermediary – a former prime minister whom Moïse fired and who has no authority – with no consultation from the Haitian people. We are highly disturbed that the de facto prime minister asked for an invasion of US armed forces – without a positive response from the US, for now – and that the US has sent in the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. The investigation of the killing by the US has no legal authority and even less credibility, because some of the arrested suspects work as informants for the FBI and DEA and because the US trained some of the former soldiers suspected of killing Moïse.

We salute the heroic Haitian people who struggle to see and construct their path forward. Their strength and courage – in the face of risks and pain that should never be theirs – are exemplary. We deplore this new wave of suffering imposed from on high and from outside their borders. We join Haitian social movements in calling for all conscious people around the world to use their strength to support the Haitian people, so they can have the necessary security and well-being as they resist other plans for controlling their country. We call on global solidarity with the desiderata of the citizens for the reestablishment of democracy, and with the strategies that they want to use toward this end. Most emphatically of all, social movements ask their friends to focus on the policies of their governments vis-à-vis Haiti, so that their nation will not be treated as a protectorate. This is especially important for people in the US.

If you would like to learn more, please join the online discussion on June 21: “Two Weeks Later, What Perspectives on Haiti?” You can register here.

We echo the words of Kettly Alexandre, of the Itinerant University of Resistance in Haiti and the Movement of Peasant Women of Papay: “Only the Haitian people can decide their future, but it is essential that we can count on the solidarity of international social movements and their true friends.”

From the Coordinating Committee of the Itinerant University of Resistance in Haiti:

  • Kettly Alexandre, Movement of Peasant Women of Papay, Haiti
  • Beverly Bell, Institute for Policy Studies (identification purposes only), Mexico
  • Nixon Boumba, Popular Democratic Movement, Haiti
  • Milosten Castin, Action for Reforestation and Defense of the Environment, Haiti
  • Gustavo Castro, Other Worlds Chiapas, Mexico
  • Deborah Etienne, US/Haiti
  • Juan Houghton, Teaching for the Promotion of Political Culture, Colombia
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