[News] The Assassination of Jovenel Moise: What Next for Haiti?

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Tue Jul 13 11:59:23 EDT 2021


counterpunch.org
<https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/07/13/the-assassination-of-jovenel-moise-what-next-for-haiti/>
The
Assassination of Jovenel Moise: What Next for Haiti? by Seth Donnelly
<https://www.counterpunch.org/author/seth-donnelly/> - July 13, 2021
------------------------------

Recent solidarity protest in San Francisco.

Today, the people of Haiti are facing down the US-backed dictatorship of
the ruling Haitian Tet Kale Party (PHTK) that came to power through the
fraudulent election
<https://cepr.net/documents/publications/haiti-2011-01.pdf> of Michel
Martelly in 2010 and maintained its grip on power through the fraudulent
election
<http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2016/1/for-us-in-haiti-black-votes-dont-matter.html>
of Jovenel Moise in 2016
<https://haitisolidarity.net/in-the-news/electoral-coup/>, what Haitian
activists refer to as electoral coup d’etats. Both elections were held
under UN occupation and sponsored by the US government. As Secretary of
State, Hillary Clinton detoured from her trip to the Middle East at the
height of the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt and personally intervened
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/03/10/hillary-clinton-needs-to-answer-for-her-actions-in-honduras-and-haiti/>
to put Martelly into power. Similarly, the US State Department immediately
heralded the 2016 elections as legitimate and subsequent US
administrations, first Trump then Biden, continued to prop up the Moise
regime diplomatically and financially.

The July 7 assassination of Jovenel Moise by a professional kill squad does
not alter US support for the PHTK regime. Unless there is massive
opposition by the US public and members of Congress, expect the Biden
Administration to continue to support the current PHTK regime led by Prime
Minister Claude Joseph or whoever else emerges within this regime to assume
power during this transition. Expect the Biden Administration to provide
ongoing funding for its brutal security forces. These central points should
not be obscured by escalating media speculation regarding “who did it”,
particularly in the aftermath of arrests
<https://www.npr.org/2021/07/11/1015158517/haitian-arrested-as-alleged-tie-to-assassination-masterminds>
of ex-Colombian soldiers and several Haitians with US ties such as
Christian Emmanuel Sanon.

*What Are the Characteristics that Define the PHTK Regime Under Both
Martelly And Moise?*

The PHTK regime is a puppet dictatorship installed and maintained by the US
government and UN occupation forces, in coordination with members of the
Haitian upper class, operating against the interests of the impoverished
majority of the Haitian people. The following are central characteristics
of the regime:

1. Engaging in pervasive corruption and the massive looting of public funds
<https://www.npr.org/2019/06/11/731640235/protesters-demand-resignation-of-haitian-president-over-corruption-allegations>
.

2. Facilitating land grabs
<https://capiremov.org/en/experience/women-resist-land-grabbing-and-free-zone-in-haiti/>
and the dispossession of Haitian farmers
<https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/haitian-farmers-file-complaint-at-inter-american-development-bank-for-financing-caracol-industrial-park-project-that-caused-displacement/>,
including by Moise himself to enlarge his personal banana republic
<https://landportal.org/news/2016/02/haiti%E2%80%99s-fraudulent-presidential-frontrunner-seizes-land-his-own-banana-republic>,
as well as the plunder of Haiti’s vast natural resources
<https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-the-major-natural-resources-of-haiti.html>
(gold, petroleum, bauxite and more) by domestic oligarchs and foreign
corporations. The “open” investment climate supported by the PHTK regime is
noted in this 2018 US State Department Report on “doing business in Haiti”.
<https://ht.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/100/Haiti_Country-Commercial-Guide.pdf>

3. Waging a war on the poor majority and the popular, grassroots Lavalas
movement through horrific massacres in poor neighborhoods such as Lasalin
<https://www.nlg.org/report-the-lasalin-massacre-and-the-human-rights-crisis-in-haiti/>
and Bel Air <https://www.miamiherald.com/article250400641.html>, violent
gentrification
<https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/21/haiti-where-will-the-poor-go/>,
and targeted assassinations and rapes
<https://sfbayview.com/2020/11/stop-the-massacres-in-haiti-end-us-and-un-support-for-the-criminal-regime-of-jovenel-moise/>
of human rights activists. These gross human rights violations perpetrated
by the regime are also documented by the International Human Rights Clinic
of the Harvard Law School in its April 2021 report Killing with Impunity:
State-Sanctioned Massacres in Haiti
<http://hrp.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Killing_With_Impunity-1.pdf>
*.*

*What Were the Limits of Moise’s Effectiveness as a Puppet Ruler?*

1. Moise proved incapable of containing the massive, grassroots uprising to
establish a truly popular, democratic government. Since Moise took power,
the Haitian people have taken to the streets by the hundreds of thousands,
again and again, facing live ammunition, tear gas, arbitrary arrest,
torture, rape, and extrajudicial killings by the Haitian National Police
(HNP)– trained by UN occupation officials in Haiti and by the US police,
including the NYPD. The HNP have likewise been funded
<https://cepr.net/state-department-awarded-contract-to-politically-connected-security-firm/>
by the US government to the tune of millions of dollars per year, with US
funding increasing under the Trump Administration, a move correlating with
increasing human rights violations by the HNP. The Biden Administration has
likewise continued this support for the police force clearly implicated in
massacres and gross human rights violations. Despite such US training and
funding of the HNP, Moise has been unable to keep “law and order”. Huge
protests continue to erupt. At the same time, regime-backed paramilitaries
(“gangs”) like the G9 death squad, led by former policeman Jimmy “Barbecue”
Cherizier
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/haiti-moise-coronavirus-barbecue/2020/08/14/2554fce4-cf4d-11ea-8c55-61e7fa5e82ab_story.html>,
continue to terrorize the poor people of all ages in Port-au-Prince through
a reign of kidnappings, torture, rape, and killings. G9 and paramilitary
violence have displaced thousands
<https://reliefweb.int/report/haiti/haiti-displacement-port-au-prince-situation-report-no-1-8-june-2021>
of people who have been forced from their neighborhoods after their homes
have been burned down and their relatives and neighbors have been massacred.

2. Moise recently clashed with members of the small, powerful Haitain upper
class, such as Reginald Boulos
<https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/09/haitian-opposition-leader-hired-dc-lobbyist-two-days-before-presidents-assassination-499049>
and other oligarchs. This clash reflected intra-elite squabbles, as Moise
was using his political power to consolidate his hold in ways reminiscent
of the Duvalier dictatorships.

3. There was growing opposition inside of the US Congress to the Biden
Administration’s ongoing support of the Moise regime, as reflected by this
April 26th letter
<https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/_cache/files/8/b/8be30910-b40b-47f7-8eb3-e9d880f7531c/9C6BBC5E33F5B8527436051D2CDEE815.meeks-jeffries-letter-to-secretary-blinken-on-haiti-4.26.21.pdf>
from 68 members of the US House of Representatives to the Biden
Administration, noting that the Moise regime “lacks the credibility and
legitimacy to oversee a constitutional referendum… or to administer
elections that are free and fair.” In the aftermath of this letter,
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced
<https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article251992213.html>,
as reported on June 9, that the US would no longer support the plan by the
Moise regime to augment its power through holding a bogus “referendum” this
summer to weaken the Haitian Constitution. Despite this policy reversal,
the Biden Administration nonetheless continued to support
<https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article251992213.html>
the regime to illegally stay in power and manipulate elections scheduled
for this next September. The US has allocated extensive funding for these
sham elections which will include the referendum, in violation of the
wishes of the Haitian majority. Moreover, the Biden Administration called
for more US funding for the Haitian police, despite the clear record of
gross human rights violations linked to the police. Yet this support by the
Biden Administration for Moise was facing mounting political opposition in
Congress.

*What Drives US Foreign Policy Towards Haiti?*

In his speech “Beyond Vietnam: a Time to Break the Silence” given in the
Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated:
“All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation
and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of
justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of
the land are rising up as never before.” He protested the fact that the US
government stood on the wrong side of this revolution, in Vietnam and
elsewhere. Nowhere is this more graphically illustrated than in Haiti.

US policy towards Haiti, as elsewhere through the “Third World”, has been
remarkably consistent over the 19th, 20th, now 21st centuries, based on
three pillars: 1) a white supremacist opposition to genuine decolonization
and national liberation by Black and colonized peoples; 2) the
Monroe-doctrine mindset of the US as the police officer of the western
hemisphere in particular and the world in general; and 3) the elevation of
US business and local upper class interests above the basic human rights of
the poor majority, along with the elevation of capitalist exploitation over
popular democracy.

In 1804, Haitians waged a successful revolution against one of the most
powerful European empires of the time, emancipating themselves from slavery
and colonialism, becoming the world’s first Black republic and the first
nation to permanently ban slavery. It can be said that the Haitian
Revolution was the most radical assertion
<https://aeon.co/essays/why-haiti-should-be-at-the-centre-of-the-age-of-revolution?fbclid=IwAR2XtHMrQuPUzBm4IYG-P3LXfsD_g3qqqG2mrtfLhlBylvUcrMyPyU45gtY>
of the right to have rights in human history. Fueling hope, resistance and
rebellion among enslaved people throughout the Caribbean and the United
States, the newly independent Haitian government offered asylum and
citizenship to any African who escaped slavery. The independent Haitian
government invited people of African and Indigenous origins who were
fleeing oppression to come and live in Haiti. Freedom fighters such as
Simon Bolívar and liberation movements throughout the Americas were given
material support by the Haitian government on the condition that they
abolish slavery if they came to power. Haiti stands at the very center of
the world struggle to end slavery.

Haiti’s freedom posed a great threat to the system of slavery in the US and
the Americas. The white supremacist leaders of the United States attempted
to strangle the new nation at its birth by instituting a worldwide boycott
against Haiti. France took similar action, forcing Haiti to pay reparations
to French slave owners for the property they lost when slavery ended. This
“property” was the human beings who had been enslaved. The debt was not
paid off until the 1940s, by which time banks in the United States had
taken over the collection process. Over time Haiti paid France $21.7
billion, an extortion that has been aptly called the greatest heist in
history
<https://theconversation.com/when-france-extorted-haiti-the-greatest-heist-in-history-137949>
.

In the 20th century, Haiti became a virtual colony of the United States,
beginning in 1915, when the U.S. Marines were sent by President Woodrow
Wilson to occupy the country. More than 20,000 people were killed by the
marines. During 19 years of occupation Haitians put up fierce and
protracted resistance, and Black activists in the United States were in the
forefront of solidarity with the Haitian struggle. The NAACP denounced the
invasion, as did the Garvey Movement. NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson
detailed the crimes committed by US occupying forces in “The Truth About
Haiti: An NAACP Report”
<https://www.gutenberg.org/files/35025/35025-h/35025-h.htm> (1920)
published in *The Crisis*. The marines finally left Haiti in 1934, leaving
in their place the notorious Haitian Armed Forces to violently protect
foreign corporations and the Haitian elite by smashing all opposition.

>From the 1950s through the 1980s, the US government supported the brutal
dictatorships of “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who tortured and
killed thousands of Haitians. The popular mass movement that came to be
known as Lavalas (The “flash flood” of the people), succeeded in toppling
the Duvalier dictatorship and electing Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President
of Haiti. Twice, the United States supported coups to overthrow the elected
government, in 1991 and 2004. Ever since this last coup, Haiti has been
occupied by the United Nations, as authorized by the UN Security Council,
at the behest primarily of the US, France, and Canada. Under this
occupation, the people of Haiti have been engaged in a fierce struggle
against a series of puppet dictatorships installed by the US. What is
important to recognize now is that the current PHTK regime is the
institutional manifestation of the 2004 coup, an attempt to make the coup
permanent, with or without Jovenel Moise.

*Solidarity Is Needed Now More Than Ever*

Today, the people of Haiti are struggling courageously to establish their
own transition government of Sali Piblik
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzRk6knuNK8&t=4s&ab_channel=KiyoshiTaylor>
(public safety) drawing on dedicated professionals and activists from all
sectors of Haitian society, a government capable of stabilizing society and
attending to people’s most pressing needs, while organizing truly fair and
free elections. In this struggle, Fanmi Lavalas, the party of the Lavalas
movement, remains a vital force, based on speaking to the needs of the poor
majority. The Haitian people have not forgotten what Lavalas could
accomplish during the brief period of real democracy before the US coup of
2004 hurled the country back into misery. During this brief period of real
democracy, more schools were built than in the previous 150 years of
Haitian history, healthcare was expanded, affordable housing was
constructed, cooperatives were formed, the dreaded army was disbanded,
women’s rights were expanded, along with so many more achievements
<http://haitiaction.net/News/WWNF/2_28_5.html>. And all of this was done
with a tiny national budget while the US attempted to economically strangle
Haiti by cutting off aid and loans. In contrast, the PHTK regime has been
fully backed by the US and had a budget 14 times greater, yet it can only
show deepening poverty and misery
<https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/07/americas/haiti-explainer-jovenel-moise-assassination-cmd-intl/index.html>
for the masses of people, including a doubling of acute severe childhood
malnutrition, along with widespread massacres and gross human rights
violations– all made possible by the USA. As Fanmi Lavalas put it in a
statement on March 2nd, 2021:

“Indeed, today’s reality clearly lays bare the truth. If there had not been
a February 29, 2004 kidnapping coup d’etat, today we would not have a
government of kidnappers that causes each and every Haitian citizen to go
about with his or her own coffin. Yes, ever since the 2004 coup d’etat, the
masses have never ceased to experience more and more suffering. Massacres,
repression, misery, starvation, unemployment, bullets, tear gas,
kidnapping… and more. The criminals have not stopped stealing the lands of
the peasants. If we can’t go to school, can’t eat, can’t have decent
housing, if we don’t have potable water to drink, if we don’t have
security, if they are kidnapping us, it is a direct consequence of the 2004
kidnapping coup d’etat.”

All progressive-minded people in the US need to make the struggle of the
Haitian people central to our own struggles
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hm20MgsxGY&ab_channel=KiyoshiTaylor>. We
need to organize solidarity protests everywhere we can and pressure our
members of Congress to do the following:

1. Cut off all US aid for the Haitian police once and for all.

2. Stop the Biden Administration’s support for the PHTK regime regardless
of who the new figurehead becomes.

3. End US support for sham elections and the Constitutional referendum
organized by the PHTK regime.

4. Support the right of the Haitian people to form, through their own
popular movement, their own transition government free from US
interference. No US military intervention in Haiti.

*For more information, go to www.haitisolidarity.net
<http://www.haitisolidarity.net/>*
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