The shameful military occupation of Haiti by the UN troops (MINUSTAH) reveals its true face once again. Michael Martelly’s right wing government finishes its term on February 7th, wrapped in a huge political crisis. The fraud attempt on the past elections unleashed a popular rebellion and prevented the second turn on January 24th from happening, as he intended to. Now, by the end of his mandate and without an elected successor to replace Martelly, the government is maneuvering to stay in office or imposing a successor.
A story to remember
Imperialism and the Latin American bourgeoisie do everything they can to erase Haitian history from the memory of the youth and the working class. The first and only victorious revolution of slaves in history was made in this country. On what was the first anti-colonial revolution of Latin America, in 1804, Toussaint L’Overture’s armies of black people defeated the most important colonial powers of the time, like England, Spain and France (including Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops).
Imperialism did everything possible for these people to pay harshly on their boldness, transforming Haiti into the poorest country of the continent, isolated by barbaric dictatorships and foreign military occupations.
Twelve years ago, North American troops, relying on French support, deposed Aristides government. By request of the former USA president, Bush, Lula [Brazil’s president back then] sent Brazilian troops to Haiti, leading Latin American troops on a military mission to do the dirty work, serving the North American imperialism.
Haiti’s misery turns a profit for multinationals
The apology for such a shameful occupation – “humanitary aid” – resists no independent analysis. The earthquake which stroke the country in 2010 left three hundred thousand deaths and a million and a half unsheltered. Despite the millions of dollars sent to Haiti, there was no ‘reconstruction’ at all. Minustah troops are accused by the population of raping women and children, and cholera was brought back to the country by the Nepalese troops.
Haitian misery is a source of profit for the capitalist firms. The textile sector, with companies like Levis, GAP and Wrangler, produce for the North American market in Haitian free zones, much closer than Chinese factories, and for salaries of 70 dollars a month. Such is the Plan Clinton, still being implemented.
The real goal of the occupation by the Minustah is to guarantee the implementation of this plan, and to keep the country under control of the North American imperialism.
With the country under military occupation, the elections are only a mask to legitimize puppet governments. Still, those positions allow to administrate important funds, so there is a dispute among political parties linked to bourgeois mafia’s groups.
Before Martelly, the country was presided by René Prèval, who attempted to stay in office by imposing a successor (Jude Celestin) by fraud. A huge political crisis, with street riots ended up annulling the results and projecting Martelly as the successor, after his victory on second turn, in 2010.
Martelly used to be a traditional music singer, and presented himself “against all politicians”. Nevertheless, he was a figure of the country’s far right. His government brought Duvalierism back, including Baby Doc as a presidential advisor. Para-military forces, like the tonton-macoutes, were reactivated from the government itself, and a systematic repression generalized over popular neighborhoods.
Martelly’s erosion was accentuated, and now, by the end of his mandate, he tried to impose his successor by fraud, just like Prèval did. Though his candidate won the first ballot, Jude Celestin (his rival, the same from 2010 elections), refused to participate of runoff, on January the 24th.
An ongoing rebellion
A popular rebellion took the streets of Puerto Principe, preventing the fraud from happening. The government had to call off the elections, leaving the country on the verge of a power vacuum. The Minustah troops and the local police repressed the demonstrations harshly, but could not stabilize the situation.
Batay Ouvriye, and other workers’ and popular organizations are denouncing the violent repression to the demonstrations.
The Haitian government appealed to the OAS to send a delegation to initiate, together with the bourgeois parties, a political transition in the country. Martelly did not abandon his idea to impose a successor through fraude, or even more, to stay in power.
It is not clear if either the government or the OAS will be able to re-route the political situation of the country into a new election and a new government or not. There is still a major political crisis in the country.
There will be no freedom for Haiti as long as the foreign troops do not leave the country. Any election in the context will be illegitimate. We demand free elections in Haiti, after the withdrawal of the troops. We make the Latin American governments responsible, specifically Brazil’s, for keeping the country occupied and for the repression to Haitian people.
We call all Unions and political organizations of Latin American workers to stand in solidarity with the Haitian people’s struggle for its independence, and against the occupation by the Minustah.
Out with Martelly!
Minustah troops of Haiti now!
For free elections without occupation troops!
Translation by: Guillermo Zuñiga