Our Position on the Political Situation in Haiti
By Berthony Dupont. Editor, Haiti Liberté
This editorial appeared in the August 11 issue of Haiti Liberté. The translation from the original French was done by CHIP website editors. Haiti Liberté is a weekly newspaper published in Brooklyn, USA and Port au Prince in Kreyol, French and English (one page in English per issue) and distributed in Haiti, North America and elsewhere. You can subscribe online for US$20 per year, or by post (in Canada, for US$125 per year).
To prevent the Haitian people from celebrating the Bicentennial of the country’s 1804 independence, the International Community unleashed a vast media campaign of propaganda against the government of the day. The end result was not only the landing of a group of mercenaries from the neighbouring Dominican Republic, under the control of the CIA, but also a brutal, shameful and bloody coup d’état. Since then, France, the United States and Canada have occupied Haiti under the flag of the United Nations.
The occupation explains a great deal about the uncertainties that weigh over the future of the country. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake we were accorded humanitarian aid from the International Community that proved to be more of a show than a real financial commitment, especially on the part of the United States, the leading imperialist country. That aid, tied to reconstruction promises, remains desperately unfulfilled. In reality, the promises of humanitarian and financial assistance simply serve to reinforce the military occupation. To illustrate the burdensome nature of this assistance, we need only scrutinize the role of Bill Clinton — linked, incredibly, with his buddy George Bush through the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF). The fund was created on President Obama’s advice and we haven’t seen a single dime from it.
Meanwhile, without consulting the Haitian people, the imperialist countries have decided there will be an election. This is not because they really want to get rid of Préval, as some pressure groups in Haiti are counselling. On the contrary, the big countries had previously wanted to keep him. That’s why Préval’s mandate was extended to May 2011 (that’s also when we would find out about the future of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission--its 18-month term expires then.) But since it was necessary to show that they are establishing some kind of democracy in the country, they finally chose November 28, 2010 as the date to hold an election, their election.
Huge sums of money have been freed up for this event, while the victims of the earthquake are still housed under makeshift tents and tarps with little or no protection against heavy rains, not to mention hurricanes. During a recent visit to Jacmel, the situation there so deeply moved the ambassador of Venezuela to Haiti, Mr. Pedro Antonio Camino Gonzalez, that he felt obliged to declare, “It is with great indignation that I observe the inhuman living conditions of the victims living in Parc Pinchinat six months after the earthquake of January 12.”
We at Haiti Liberté are not opposed in principle to the holding of an election. But we cannot help but note that in order to break the resistance of the dominated classes in Haiti, every means of coercion has been brought to bear by the imperialist countries. And the present situation could result in a period of sustained disorder, aggravating the tendencies toward a renewed outbreak of violence now developing under this decomposing regime.
These times do not allow for half measures or undue caution. In the context of an election that is already patently fraudulent, we have chosen to accept our responsibilities and to clarify our position on the present situation by informing the Haitian people that the clique now in office has no legitimacy, still less the moral authority to organize credible elections — especially when honest elections are not possible in a country under occupation by a foreign military force. In reality, it is the will of the occupier that will triumph.
This is the context in which the occupier has chosen to tarnish the country’s image by staging a sham election. Already, the profiles of the candidates who were allowed to register clearly indicate what a sham of an election we have been granted.
Before the election campaigns have even been launched, some shameless candidates are already beginning to use the people’s misery as an electoral slogan, citing in particular the conditions in which the homeless are living. The people need not join in this election carnival; their real demands, and ours too, are not part of this agenda.
This election is a big threat for the country. Only Préval will emerge the winner. If the election is held, Préval ends up as prime minister. If there is no election, he simply remains in office as president. And the dissolution of the Provisional Electoral Council in such conditions would be a bonus.
At this moment, we will not be associated with anyone linked to the 2004 coup d’état and we will not mix with any political party that fails to speak out against the U.S. embassy and its role in deciding the fate of the country. We are referring here to all the weak-kneed who took their complaints to the representatives of the empire — Ambassador Kenneth Merten and Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff — during the meeting in Port au Prince last August 5. These shameless people have no differences with Préval or with each other. They are simply competing to make the occupier think they are each more loyal and sincere than the others.
We repeat, this election will bring no solutions to the atrocious problems that Haiti is enduring. On the contrary, it will only worsen the situation. As a result, we at Haiti Liberté will support no candidate in this sham election, this false election being organized by imperialism for the purpose of further destabilizing the country and salving its own conscience. And we ask that all the members of this newspaper adhere to this position.
We also wish to point out that even though we are opposed to this con-job of an election, we will not participate in any movement of provocation. We are a progressive newspaper waging an ideological battle against the various dominant classes and the imperialist powers.
In our view, the urgent task in Haiti is to give the people peace of mind and material comfort. Then, we will talk about elections.
Our role is to continue to accompany the people in their struggle for liberation and for a total change in society.
Down with the election-selection!
Down with the occupation of the country!
Long live an organized, popular movement!
For a free and independent Haiti!