(reprinted from IWC Newsletter No. 139 — October 11, 2019)
For two weeks now, the people en masse have been coming out into the streets in Port-au-Prince and the other major towns of Haiti, to demand an end to President Jovenel Moïse’s government, his PHTK party, and his anti-worker and anti-popular policies. The masses — with the workers in the forefront — want an end to the high cost of living and to the austerity measures dictated by the International Monetary Fund to a government that only has been able to remain in place thanks to the occupation by foreign troops.
The people are denouncing the top State dignitaries’ pillaging of the funds of PetroCaribe, the Venezuelan government’s programme that sells cheap oil to Haiti. The MINUSTAH — the UN troops that have been occupying Haiti for 15 years now — are in a state of alert.
In the face of this popular uprising, the regime has unleashed its repression. The worker and anti-imperialist weekly Haïti-Liberté reports:
“Since Friday 23 September, the popular mobilisation to overthrow the PHTK regime has gathered cruising speed. Once again, the people are showing their capacity and their determination to lead an active offensive to change the conditions in which the exploited and abandoned masses are living. Thus, in the aftermath of the various popular demonstrations, many activists have been victims of police repression.” (Sources quoted by Haïti Liberté state that tens of people already have been killed.)
But as repression will not suffice against an entire people, high-level manoeuvres have begun, under the aegis of the major foreign powers. Haïti-Liberté reports:
“A meeting was arranged in Pétion-Ville on Monday 30 September between the government and the opposition, under the umbrella of Core Group, which is made up of the United Nations Secretary General’s special representative; ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the U.S.A., France, and the European Union; and the special representative of the Organization of American States (…). The truth is that as far as the United States government is concerned the Haitian people should not be allowed to decide for themselves the election of the president of their choice, much less demand the resignation of a sitting president.”
“Core Group might decide to let go of Jovenel if the relationship of forces so determines it, but that would only be a semblance of a victory and a false one. It would be an outcome in the interest of the Core Group and not in the interests of the Haitian people, since the policies that will be implemented will be, without a doubt, those of PHTK continuity, albeit without the PHTK — just as the leaders of the country have continued to perpetrate Duvalierism without Duvalier.”
The entire tragedy of Haiti is concentrated here today in these events: it is a country where the revolution against slavery, which began in 1791, proclaimed the First Black Republic in the world in 1804, and which constantly has been repressed and oppressed by the major imperialist powers ever since, yesterday by France and today by the United States.
As Haïti-Liberté reminds us:
“The uprising against ‘president-for-life’ Jean-Claude Duvalier, known as Baby Doc [who led the bloody and pro-imperialist dictatorship in Haiti, in the wake of his father, from 1957 to 1986 — editor’s note] began 33 years ago. On 7 February 1986, Baby Doc left Haiti on a C-130 airplane chartered by the U.S. government, without omitting to also board his collection of luxury automobiles. His departure marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Haiti, where the masses of this neo-colony have been fighting for democracy and sovereignty against the bloody counter-revolution of local and foreign leaders.
“Each electoral victory of the masses (1990, 2000) was crushed by a coup d’Etat followed by foreign military occupation (1991, 2004), up until the Empire finally changed tactics by organising the fraudulent elections of Martelly in 2011, then Jovenel in 2016 (…). This is what is behind the massive demonstrations against Jovenel Moïse that today are demanding his head.”