Haiti gripped by protests

 

On Oct. 4, a demonstration of many, many thousands marched on the U.N. headquarters in Haiti. Photo: Haïti Liberté

After 15 years of a military occupation of Haiti, the United Nations “peacekeeping” force will close operations on Oct.15. 

Growing protests now gripping Haiti began last year in reaction to the announcement by President Jovenel Moïse’s government of up to 50 percent increases in fuel prices. Protests have shut down businesses, airports and legislative buildings. 

The UN.org website says: “The current U.N. peacekeeping mission closes on 15 October 2019 and will be replaced by a political mission, building on the progress made with the Haitian authorities to reinforce stability, security and governance as well as the rule of law and human rights.”  

According to the publication Dominican Today, the Dominican Republic requested a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Oct. 3 to encourage a continuation of the U.N. presence. Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas stressed his government’s support for Haiti’s “democratically elected” President Jovenel Moïse. “What we see there [in Haiti] these days would seem routine, but it is unacceptable for countries such as those represented in the Security Council, who believe in dialogue, the rule of law and the scrupulous observation of human rights,” Vargas said in a statement.

Both the U.N. statement and Foreign Minister Vargas’ concern for maintaining “the rule of law” run in the face of the killing of hundreds of protesters by the Haitian government and paramilitary forces who were enforcing “the rule of law.” Rules and laws, like everywhere, serve class interests and the representatives of the ruling class in Haiti, who held rigged elections with the assistance of the U.S. and other imperialist supporters of the Moïse government. They use the U.N. to maintain their dictatorial and brutal rein on the Haitian people, especially in the interests of U.S. imperialism.

It’s interesting that on Oct. 4, the day after the special meeting of the Security Council, thousands upon thousands of people protested at the U.N. headquarters in Haiti. According to the publication Haïti Liberté:  “A gargantuan demonstration of many, many thousands marched from the capital’s Nazon/Delmas Roads intersection (the traditional starting point these days) to the U.N. headquarters in Haiti. The demonstrators’ message: no more foreign military occupation, no more foreign meddling, stop supporting the Moïse regime.”

On Oct. 7, Haïti Liberté reported another killing of a protester by government supported thugs. 

In addition to voter fraud, brutality and assassinations, the Moïse government has been saddled with continuing corruption charges where billions of dollars have been pocketed by officials. Four billion dollars in Petrocaribe loans given by Venezuela to Haiti for social service relief programs wound up in the pockets of government officials and members of parliament. 

Both the Nicolás Maduro and Hugo Chávez governments in Venezuela tried to assist the Haitian people with debt forgiveness and continued relief efforts, but met a wall of corruption by a government propped up by the U.S.

In fact, the Moïse government was given a lifeline when it–like other Organization of American States countries that voted last January under pressure from the U.S. — helped pass a resolution no longer recognizing the genuinely elected Maduro government of Venezuela.

Haiti and Venezuela

The imperialist assault on Haiti by the U.S. is linked to its assault on Venezuela, but neither Republicans nor Democrats want that connection to be seen.

In Miami, at a town hall meeting on Oct. 3 hosted by U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and six Haitian panelists, Pelosi made that clear, responding to the Haitian panelists.

As reported by Haïti Liberté: “The meeting began with mostly vapid politician remarks by Pelosi, Wilson, Monestime and Joseph. But then it erupted (much to Pelosi’s discomfort) into a trial of and outcry against U.S. policy in Haiti.”

After indictment upon indictment of the U.S. for supporting weapons and rigged elections and imperialism in general against the Haitian people, Carline Paul, one of the panelists, felt empowered to speak and charged that the Trump administration “is supporting Jovenel Moïse for voting [at the OAS] against [President Nicolás] Maduro in Venezuela.” Washington “didn’t like it, because Venezuela has helped Haiti” and then the Haitian government was “forced to vote against Venezuela.”

“The United States is telling them: Don’t get in contact with China. Don’t get in contact with Venezuela. Don’t get in contact with so and so,” she said, concluding that “Trump, in the background, is supporting Jovenel Moïse; the people of Haiti say no interference … no more support for Jovenel Moïse as president of Haiti.”

Pelosi made a floundering and desperate defense of the policy of Trump and the Democrats in Venezuela, while dismissing the vital aid Venezuela sent to Haiti to save Haitian lives: 

“You’ve been candid, and I’m going to be candid,” Pelosi lied. “Maduro is a thug, so I’m not taking any respect for what Maduro might be doing in Haiti [sic]. I’m glad that there may be some benefit, but I’m not … erasing the injustices, the horror, the killings that he is doing in Venezuela because he is part of spreading a global and certainly a hemispheric exporting corruption and the rest [sic] … Not to get involved in a full-fledged discussion about Maduro, but I can’t leave a meeting where you’re saying … I cannot let my view of Maduro go unspoken in a group of this kind.” According to the article in Haïti Liberté, the room remained stonily silent.

According to the Haiti Action Committee Facebook page reporting on acts of solidarity with the people of Haiti, there were militant protests in San Jose, Calif. “As part of this week of action in solidarity with Haiti that spanned from California to Montreal, South Bay students, teachers, human rights and community activists held a march and rally in downtown San Jose, California, today in solidarity with the uprising of the Haitian people demanding an end to U.S. support for dictatorship and death squads in Haiti. As the rally drew to a close, six Haiti activists blocked the entrance to the Federal Building, representative of the U.S. government, chanting: ‘Stop massacres in Haiti!’ ”

Also last week, as heat from Haiti hits politicians and officials here in the U.S., it’s also hitting other imperialists complicit in the corruption and state violence in Haiti. Reported on the Facebook page of the Haiti Action Committee: “On Monday, 15 Haitian community members and allies occupied Justin Trudeau’s election office for a little over three hours. The Solidarité Québec-Haiti #Petrochallenge 2019 activists called on the PM to withdraw Canada’s backing of a repressive, corrupt and illegitimate president of Haiti. Trudeau’s government has provided financial, policing and diplomatic support to Jovenel Moïse, whose presidency is dependent on Washington, Ottawa and other members of the Core Group.”

What’s needed now here in the U.S. is more pressure on both the Democrats and Republicans, whose policies run counter to the interests of the people of Haiti, Venezuela and the world.