The Epic of Haiti’s Great Uprising

Carlos Aznarez on June 17, 2019

For about two weeks now, the Haitian people have been leading a large scale uprising. Yes, two weeks, or we could say two months, two years, or even two centuries. But the world continues to ignore the bravery of these women and men who, in the words of Haitian struggler Henry Boisroli, “have nothing to lose because they have been deprived even of their lives.”

The silence about what is going on in Haiti is overwhelming, it hurts in your conscience and in your soul, precisely because that nation who led the first great anti-slavery revolution with the cry for independence in 1804 is being punished this way. Not only because of consecutive invasions carried out by the United States that made the country a colony again, enslaved and impoverished, but because those who claimed for years that they wanted to “help” alleviate the population’s needs—as in the case of the U.N. troops enrolled in the MINUSTAH and now in MINUJUSTH—also became wardens, serial rapists of children, poisoners of rivers, cause of cholera epidemics, fierce predators who left nothing aside that they did not steal or destroy.

And what can we say about most of Haiti’s presidents, subordinates to the same interests fostered by its invaders: Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave and Louis Borno, simple Washington administrators during the Yankee occupation; François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, the murderer ” president for life,” lord of the cruel Tontons-Macoutes or “Volunteers of the National Security,” who left 30,000 killed; Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who tried to break the chains and ended up unchained himself to the United States desires. And the last of the list: Michel Martelly, buffoon, corrupt and repressive; and the current President, Jovenel Moïse, bigwig who is sticking to a chair that does not belong to him anymore, responsible for the corruption related to the embezzlement of part of the money (over $4.2 billion) generously granted by the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela through the Petrocaribe agreement.

Today Haiti’s economy is broken. The minimum wage of the few who still have a job is $5 per day, while the unemployment rate reaches 70%; besides, the housing deficit due to the earthquake and the open robbery of the aid intended for it has resulted in part of the population sleeping in improvised tents or simply out in the open.

Nevertheless, the elite in government refuses to leave and prevent more pain. Moise and a hand-picked cabinet—not elected given that the latest elections were a fragrantly fraud—are sieged by the insurrection of those who Frantz Fanon called the “wretched of the Earth.” But they are not resigning precisely because the world seems to be not interested in Haiti.

Washington lines up its puppet governments in Latin America and its OAS ministry of colonies to harass and try to strangulate the heroic revolutionary Venezuela the same way hundreds of newspapers, radio and television networks continuously attack its legitimate President Nicolas Maduro, but such a coarse misleading bustle is nothing when it comes time to talk about the tragedy lived by the Haitian people.

For all these reasons, those of us who try through public communication to show the reality should not be silenced or hide or distort the brave deeds that are being carried on in Haiti today by those who are fighting for their freedom.  There, during the last two weeks hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to not leave anymore, marching and marking with fire (literally speaking) seditious institutions of power and luxury hotels that belong to the corrupted.

All the street corners of the large cities smell like burnt tires as a result of barricades. It is all there to be seen in artisanal videos recorded by the same protagonists of the people’s revolt day to day. Humble people helping each other to assist the injured and bury as they can those killed by the government repression, but who despite that are not abandoning any of the space they have conquered.

Masked youth who are trying not to get suffocated by gases, fighting bullets with stones, but also realizing that such peaceful disobedience will have to make a leap if they really want to end the dictatorship that is oppressing them.

All these actions have been backed by a general strike days ago, which put the schools of the country at a standstill again on Monday and which will be accompanied by a similar measure in each of the state-run institutions.

Left wing parties are shouting,”Get out Moise” along with altogether with grass-roots organizations. “Get out corrupt Moise,” backed by Trump and Europe. But but along with this chant  is also a huge “enough” against para-police squads massacring people in different areas of the country and displacing over 2,000 peasants in the Artibonite department alone.

This is the current situation in Haiti. As Haitian social leader Camille Chalmers says, “There is now an absolute ungovernable situation” and the only one who is ignoring it is Jovenel Moise himself.

Haiti, that small and admired heart of Africa in the Caribbean, where a great majority, precisely those who have burst onto the scene to pick up the revolutionary inheritance of liberator Jean Jacques Dessalines, are not willing to accept half-measures, neither shortcuts that end in new frustrations. Take this into account: They are a rebel population and they want to govern.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau