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Haiti: What’s the resistance about?

Photo credit: Dieu Nalio Chery

By BO Staff Writer

Haiti in crisis

Haiti is in a state of economic, social and political crisis that has been intensifying for several years now. Worsening fuel and food shortages; high poverty and unemployment rate; unprecedented high inflation levels; and homelessness are some of the main factors that have caused the Haitian people to resist the US sponsored neoliberal government of President Jovenel Moise. Moreover the government’s inability to respond meaningfully to the effects of the recent natural disasters that befell the country (hurricanes and a terrible drought) have compounded the crisis.

Recent protests

On Friday insurgents destroyed the police headquarters causing the police to abandon it. They also attacked the residence of public servants and politicians. At least four people were killed and several others have been injured in clashes in the past few days.

State offices were burned in Gonaives, Northern Haiti. In Haiti’s capital, Port-Au-Prince, there was armed resistance against the police. Also all government offices were forced to close due to the protests. Insurgents barricaded roads with burning tires and other material from early Friday morning. After those arrested in the last round of protests had been “liberated”, the prison and central court were burned down in Jacmel, Southern Haiti. The court in Petit-Goâve, southwest of Port-au-Prince, was also burnt to the ground.

Further factors fueling resistance

There are strong accusations of corrupt governance by the anti-government resistance initiative. In this regard Haiti’s High Court of Auditors reported that President Moise had driven an “embezzlement scheme” involving the theft of $2 billion from Venezuelan aid that was raised for repairs to roads and other socioeconomic programs in Haiti. The aid funds were generated from the PetroCaribe program of Venezuela that empowered Haiti to purchase on credit petroleum products at relatively cheap prices.

However, due to US imperialist interests that have sponsored the regime of Moise as well as coup attempts to remove the democratically elected President Maduro of Venezuela and replace him with its puppet Juan Guaidó – Venezuela’s PetroCaribe program has been suspended for over 12 months. Consequently fuel shortages and prices have risen considerably.

It must be pointed out that the Trump administration’s offensive attitude towards Haitian-Americans and Haiti, strongly suggests bad faith on its part. This further explains the decision of the US to unjustly terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of about 59,000 Haitians legally living and working in the US since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. This factor too has influenced Haiti’s protests

The Haitian government’s decision to not recognize Nicholas Maduro as the President of Venezuela (in favour of the US backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó), is certainly another critical factor driving the protests.

Beyond Haitian independence

Haiti achieved its independence from France in 1804. France subsequently extorted $21.7 billion (today’s estimated value) over a period 122 years from Haiti – starting from 1825. It took this money as compensation for giving Haiti’s sovereignty and for its loss of property – being the Haitians people themselves.

In 1915 the U.S. invaded Haiti and occupied it for the next 19 years. In this period the U.S. plundered Haiti’s wealth; looted its GDP; and killed the Haitians in their thousands who resisted US occupation .

In the last 30 years the US has sponsored coups and puppet leaders to maintain and perpetuate its interests in Haiti. The Haitian people have consequently lost confidence in the fraudulent US controlled electoral process and are now calling for a complete overall of the neoliberal system.

It is indeed significant that the U.N. has admitted to bringing cholera to Haiti, and thereby killing over 10,000 people. However the countries belonging to the U.N. have in turn only offered negligible funds to deal with this problem. The U.N. is off course an instrument of US imperialism.

Closing

The crisis in Haiti highlights the legitimate fury and resistance of the people against the US backed regime of Moise. The demands of the resistance go beyond the mere stepping down of President Moise from office to ending of the looting with impunity by the ruling class in service of capitalist imperialism.

Sources

1. Haiti on Brink of Revolution to Overthrow US-Backed Regime. See link,
https://www.amwenglish.com/articles/haiti-on-brink-of-revolution-to-overthrow-us-backed-regime/?

2. You Can’t Understand Haiti’s Protests Without Understanding History. See link, https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2019/03/11/haiti-protests-anne-beckett-aaron-richterman

3. What is really behind the crisis in Haiti! See link, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/crisis-haiti-190927092336787.html

4. Haiti: Massive Protests Continue Calling for President Removal. See link, https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Haiti-Massive-Violent-Protests-Call-for-Presidents-Remove-20190929-0012.html

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