[News] Tens of Thousands March on Haiti

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 29 12:25:00 EST 2016


  Tens of Thousands March on Haiti

by Kim Ives <http://www.counterpunch.org/author/kim-ives/> January 29, 2016

On Friday, January 22, many thousands marched over ten miles up 
Port-au-Prince’s Delmas road to Pétionville then back down the Bourdon 
road to the capital’s central square to demand new elections and 
denounce a government ban on demonstrations that was to begin that midnight.

The marching, chanting multitude scared the daylights out of Haiti’s 
Pétionville elite, loudly pouring into the narrow, tony streets of the 
wealthy mountain enclave while young men scattered large rocks and 
telephone poles across roadways and set aflame cars and columns of tires.

The tumultuous day forced Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), 
six of whose nine members have now resigned in disgrace or disgust, to 
indefinitely cancel the third round of widely denounced elections, which 
had been scheduled for Jan 24.

Armored vehicles of the CIMO squads of Haiti’s national police  shadowed 
the marchers on sidestreets throughout the afternoon, occasionally 
engaging them with shots in the air or teargas, but mostly they put out 
fires with their water canon trucks and made a show of force in front of 
ministries and embassies the marchers passed.

Despite the CEP’s announcement, the Haitian masses have continued 
marching in cities throughout Haiti on every day since last Friday’s 
historic march, emboldened by their victory and calling for the 
immediate departure of President Michel Martelly and the United Nations 
military occupation troops known as MINUSTAH.

Martelly is constitutionally required to step down on Feb. 7. However, 
the regime is now planning to deploy death-squads against the popular 
uprising and opposition leaders, according to a source in the Haitian 
National Police (PNH). The government is also spending tens of thousands 
of dollars in a bid to buy the allegiance of sectors of the population 
during the celebratory days leading up to /Carnaval/, which falls this 
year on Feb 9, two days after Martelly is supposed to resign.

According to a reliable PNH source, on Jan 25, a police officer called 
“Chariot” assigned to the PNH’s Presidential Guard and Security Unit 
(USP) received at the National Palace weapons, four Prado SUVs and money 
to sow trouble in the capital’s largest slum, Cité Soleil, and the 
semi-rural suburb north of the capital, La Plaine.

According to the source, Chariot has the collaboration in the USP of a 
former Lavalas activist named ‘Yabout’, who will be a key actor in the 
planned terror.

Chariot also gave two Galil rifles to a paramilitary thug known as ‘Noé’ 
(Noah) to murder anti-Martelly people in La Plaine and Croix des 
Bouquets, the police source said.

Chariot himself lives in the area of Papo in the capital district of 
Croix des Missions Cross and owns a nightclub called ‘Scandale Disco’ in 
the Anba Mapou area of Croix des Missions.

Among the people to be targeted by Chariot’s assassins are Rony Colin, 
the new mayor of Croix des Bouquets, supposedly elected in the contested 
polling under the banner of the Palmis party, and Caleb Desrameaux, the 
similarly elected deputy of Tabarre, from the Vérité (Truth) party. The 
assassins would try to make it look like the anti-Martelly opposition 
was responsible for the murders, according to the police source.

On the morning of Jan. 26 in Croix des Mission, partisans of Martelly’s 
Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK) blocked the main artery to the Haiti’s 
north, National Highway No. 1, by disabling a tractor-trailer truck in 
front of the Damiens bridge. Until the afternoon, when this report was 
written, the truck was still blocking the road and any northbound traffic.

The PNH reportedly received instructions not to intervene if PHTK 
partisans block roads or demonstrate, our police source said.

According to another anonymous source close to the PNH, the PHTK has 
distributed 300 million gourdes (US$51,000) to mobilize support for the 
Martelly government in a demonstration scheduled for Jan 28. The action 
was originally planned for Jan 26 but was called off at the last minute.

Meanwhile, Guy Philippe, the leader of the paramilitary ‘rebel’ force 
which helped overthrow former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, 
has declared that he and his partisans “will divide the country” and  
“are ready for war” against the “anarchists” who stopped the vote, 
according to Reuters 
A former Haitian cop and soldier, Philippe is today a Senate candidate 
in the now-postponed run-off election and a close Martelly ally. He has 
been holed up in the picturesque south-western seaside town of Pestel 
since 2004. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has made two 
half-hearted attempts to arrest him in the last decade. Each time, the 
accused drug trafficker supposedly could not be found.

As the battle lines in Haiti draw up, the “Group of Eight” opposition 
presidential candidates, who contest the results which put the PHTK’s 
Jovenel Moïse in the lead with 33% of the vote, issued their proposal on 
Jan 24 for the provisional government that would take over when Martelly 
steps down. They proposed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be 
named President (as dictated by the 1987 Constitution) and choose a 
“consensus” prime minister with a cabinet of “no more than 15 ministers” 
chosen from Haiti’s “known political personalities”.

This provisional government would then set in place a five-member 
“independent commission of inquiry” drawn from the leading organizations 
of the media, human rights, women, the university, and national election 
observers. After reviewing the results of the elections’ 
violence-and-fraud-plagued first two rounds on Aug 9 and Oct 25, 2015, 
the commission of inquiry would then “recommend to the provisional 
government of consensus all the measures deemed useful and susceptible 
to reestablish trust.”

The G8 also proposed that the illegally sworn-in parliamentarians 
determined by the independent commission of having won their seats 
fraudulently would be “ejected” and the CEP would be reconstituted.

In light of the bloody repression being prepared by the Martelly regime, 
the G8’s moderate and half-step recommendations are likely to enrage the 
masses, who are chanting “we want revolution” as they march. The last 
proposal will surely be found particularly galling: “To guarantee the 
protection of the members of the Tet Kale (Bald Headed) executive 
against all harassing and wrongful prosecution.”

/Kim Ives is an editor of the weekly print newspaper Haiti Liberté 
<http://haiti-liberte.com/>. The newspaper is published in French and 
Kreyol with a weekly English-language page in Brooklyn and distributed 
throughout Haiti./

*Read also:*
Haiti’s election crisis: How did we get to this point? 
by Nikolas Barry-Shaw, Jan 20, 2016

Haiti cancels presidential election as violence erupts 
by Jacqueline Charles, /Miami Herald/, Jan. 22, 2016

/Full news coverage of Haiti can be read on the website of the Canada 
Haiti Action Network <http://canadahaitiaction.ca/>./

/Kim Ives is an editor of the weekly print newspaper Haiti Liberté 
<http://haiti-liberte.com/>, where this piece was first published. The 
newspaper is published in French and Kreyol with a weekly 
English-language page in Brooklyn and distributed throughout Haiti./

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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