Editorial by Berthony Dupont
(reprinted from the March 3-9, 2021 issue of the weekly Haiti Liberté newspaper)
In order to better understand the continuing national crisis, it is necessary to examine it in order to draw the necessary lessons.
It’s a crisis that has made it possible to better know the true face of international imperialism, which continues its same methods through its local lackeys. The exploitation and outrageous plundering of the country’s natural resources continues for the benefit of the multinationals, as witnessed with the 8,600 hectares of agricultural land spread over three departments — the communes of Saint-Michel de l’Attalaye (Artibonite), Maïssade (Center), ans Pignon and Saint-Raphaël (North) — which President Jovenel Moïse granted to the multinational Coca-Cola Corp. on February 8.
There is no doubt that the fierce struggle between the government and the traditional opposition around the end of the mandate in 2021 or 2022 illustrates perfectly well the cause of this internal crisis within the ruling classes. Neither faction has the slightest concern to provide any remedy for the problems that beset the underprivileged. The ruling classes have entered a phase of unbridled degeneration.
The entire approach of these two fractions of the Haitian ruling class is marked by their class nature: one claims to reform the State by an alleged “transition of rupture” which will in fact be nothing more than a photocopy of the present; the other claims to continue with the absolutism of the rotten and corrupt regime currently in power.
Both fractions tend towards the same shameful outcome under capitalist hegemony. This is why such a crisis does not seem to have shaken Washington, let alone Paris and Ottawa, since the protagonists in their pay are duly engaged in the same struggle, with the same will to recuperate and stifle the popular movement.
In the face of this deterioration due mainly to the fear within the political class that things could tip over into the arms of their class enemy, in this case the popular classes, it is imperative that the class liberation struggle be accelerated further in order to thwart imperialist maneuvers and contribute to the advancement of the revolutionary struggle.
Anger is already in the streets, a sense of revolt is growing, fueled by the anger of the wretched.
What we really need to get out of this stranglehold is a mass, collective struggle, a kind of convergence of all the oppressed and exploited of the country, that is, of the entire working class, which must rise as one man, one woman and fight against the oppression of the capitalist ruling classes represented by the present actors of the Haitian political class.
The end of the struggle against Jovenel Moses will not be the beginning of a national life full of hope for the oppressed, as some people claim. On the contrary, it will be the beginning of the battle of the popular masses against the reformists of the capitalist transition, another instrument trained in the imperial laboratory.
The only solution is the complete overthrow of capitalism and its dismantling to make way for the notion and practice of popular power; for only the working masses can dare to invent the future.
The Haitian Revolution is under way and the Haitian people will win!
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Facing Ever-Larger Demonstrations, De-Facto President Jovenel Moïse Tries to Hang on to Power
by Marc-Arthur Fils-Aimé
(reprinted from March 3-9, 2021 issue of the weekly Haiti Liberté newspaper)
February 7, 2021 marked the constitutional end of Jovenel Moïse’s presidential mandate. His regime had survived until that date thanks to the support of the so-called “international community,” whose influence is derived from the U.S. government’s imperial “big stick.” The empire’s racism-soaked blindness has finally become indecent, in favor of a regime which will do anything to protect itself.
Moïse has awarded himself the right to rise above the Constitution and all other laws of the Republic because he does not feel he is affected by this same article. Thus, the country has at its head, for over a year, only 11 elected officials, including former President Jovenel Moïse himself and the ten remaining senators. In the meantime, he has issued more than 40 decrees, some more incredible and illegal than others. There is even one that goes beyond any principle of international law, allowing anyone who has been sentenced to a felony but pardoned by the Head of State to run for office. It is clear that, by this decree, he protects himself by protecting his peers.
The political opposition’s different tendencies and the population’s majority are behind the demand for Moïse to withdraw from the National Palace. Influential religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, and the vodou sector, and the trade union federations (except the yellow ones) have recognized the end of Jovenel’s mandate and are demanding respect for the Constitution.
However, we must give special consideration to two authorities which have weighed in on the matter: Haiti’s Bar Federation and the Superior Council of the Judicial Power (CSPJ), the latter, for its part, being co-depositary of national sovereignty. They reached the same conclusion as the sectors mentioned above: the end of Jovenel Moïse’s mandate was on February 7, 2021.
What about U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison and Helen La Lime, head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), as well as the Organization of American states (OAS), European powers, and Canada, which are all supporting Jovenel Moïse as he overstays his mandate and issues illegal decrees. Do they have more legitimacy or authority than the Haitian Bar Federation or the CSPJ? Certainly not.
The Western powers gave a green light to Ms. La Lime, among many others, to brazenly lie to the world about the political reality and setbacks of Jovenel Moïse and his Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK). In addition, these powers are assured of the loyalty of Haiti’s ruling classes, just as when Washington occupied Haiti in July 1915.
Unfortunately, too many sectors of the opposition have taken U.S. President Joe Biden’s baited hook and forgotten that it was the Clintons, two influential Democrats, who gave us President Michel Martelly in 2011. Why has Biden, the empire’s new president, from the first days of his inauguration, targeted as a dictator Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected by one of the world’s most reliable electoral systems, according to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter? Why hasn’t he attacked certain policies of his equally reactionary Republican predecessor (with some nuances, of course), such as the Saudi Arabia dossier, which brings in billions of dollars in sales to the U.S. arms industry, while has he neglected the situation in Haiti?
Jovenel Moïse seeks to maintain power through repression carried out by the National Police of Haiti (PNH), whose director general was appointed without Senate approval, as the Constitution requires. He unilaterally plans to organize elections with a Provisional Electoral Council which the Supreme Court has refused to swear in (because of the illegal way its members were chosen) — and the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Disputes (CSCCA) has refused to approve its expenses. The de-facto president is also seeking to organize a referendum to adjust the Constitution to his tastes.
Moïse has increased his repressive forces with an unconstitutionally assembled so-called military corps that he calls the Protected Areas Security Brigade (BSAP). The force has already revealed its true nature through its brutal actions against the demonstrators who swear to continue the fight until Jovenel Moïse steps down.
The ex-president’s name is mentioned several times in an audit of the PetroCaribe Fund published by the CSCCA. If Moïse is also afraid of being dragged before the Courts for the millions he embezzled from the PetroCaribe Fund prior to his election thanks to his mentor Michel Martelly, his foreign and local consorts are aiming to maintain the status quo so as to shamelessly extract and exploit the wealth that is plentiful in our subsoil, according to some experts and multinationals, and condemn our working masses to virtual cheap-labor slavery.
What will be the outcome of this crisis?
Since July 6, 7 and 8, 2018, Haiti has experienced lean times and fierce struggles against the anti-popular policies of Jovenel Moïse. At one point in 2019, all activities were paralyzed, a time called peyi lòk (a nation locked down), to such an extent that the president was only kept in power by a thin thread of support from his foreign friends. If the first mobilizations were against a dizzying increase in gasoline prices in July 2018, the demand changed as demonstrations intensified. Huge crowds in the ten national departments demanded the early resignation of Jovenel Moïse after the publication of the CSCCA report on the squandering of the Petrocaribe Fund.
Jovenel Moïse, who strutted in a February’s Carnaval celebration, which cost millions of gourds from the public treasury in this time of COVID-19, showed his usual contempt for the majority of the people who are sinking more and more into the filth and employees of various State agencies who demand their unpaid salary. He was largely mistaken in thinking he would regain the popularity he never had with plunging into crowds who love Carnaval. On the contrary, he lost a lot of the 500,000 votes out of about 6 million eligible voters who put him in power thanks to false promises that he has continued to multiply to this day.
The future is in our hands
Only the stepping-up and continuity of the struggle will allow us to succeed in protecting Haiti’s still weak democratic gains, which are now in great danger. The nation awaits a transition which, in addition to preparing for fair sovereign elections, will lay solid stones against corruption and social inequalities.
Everything is playing out dialectically on two fronts: that of popular mobilization and that of full respect for republican institutions. The demonstrations of February 14 and 28, in which thousands and thousands of people took to the streets of Port-au-Prince despite intimidation from retrograde forces in the pay of the PHTK clan, are likely a prelude of even greater marches to come. International solidarity based on respect for the dignity and self-determination of the Haitian people should only come in support of the popular democratic will.
U.S. imperialism and its dependents in the “Core Group,” which includes Canada, Brazil, France, Spain and the European Union, have only tried to put a brake on that popular will.
The time has come for the progressive and revolutionary left to seize this period of turmoil in order to offer the popular masses, in an autonomous way, the only valid alternative. The imminent departure of the usurper president, in the face of mobilizations which are intensifying and bringing out more and more people, will not be the end of the tunnel. Only socialism can help the country to recover its sovereignty and to reconcile the State with the Nation.
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Translated and abridged from the original French version. Marc-Arthur Fils-Aimé is the Secretary General of Haiti’s Rasin Kan Pèp la Party.