By: María Torrellas / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn /June 2, 2016
Resumen Latinoamericano interviewed comrade Henry Boisrolin, member of the Haitian Democratic Committee of Argentina.
Henry recently visited his country and informed us on the current situation of Haitian people.
Resumen Latinoamericano: What is your opinion on the current situation in Haiti? Today, June 1st, is the 12th anniversary of the United Nations Stabilization Mission In Haiti (MINUSTAH) —the mission of soldiers from Latin America and the rest of the world who are intervening your country. What are the results of this 12-year-long intervention?
Henry Boisrolin: First of all, I would like to deeply thank Resumen Latinoamericano once again, for always paying attention to the Haitian crisis, which we believe is a form of full and effective solidarity with the struggle of the Haitian people.
It’s been 12 years since June 2004, when UN troops joined the occupation troops of the US, Canada, France and Chile, to abduct and deport the President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
This MINUSTAH is nothing but a guardianship, an occupation disguised as humanitarian aid.
12 years later there is evidence of pathetic and cruel things that the MINUSTAH has made. For example, MINUSTAH soldiers have raped Haitian girls, women and young men.
In these 12 years, several massacres have been perpetrated by the MINUSTAH in poor neighborhoods, along with interventions and repression of the demonstrations that people hold to demand improvements in their living conditions. This is a direct intervention of the MINUSTAH in Haiti’s internal affairs, in our elections, in government decisions, etc. The occupation has brought many consequences for our people. After the 2010 earthquake, a cholera epidemic broke out and it has been scientifically proven by two separate international organizations that this epidemic was due to the presence of the troops, who brought the virus into the country. This meant the death of more than 10,000 Haitians, and the UN still refuses to acknowledge it.
You have to be in Haiti to see the hunger, misery, degradation, the paralysis of the economy, and the inflation that, when Martelly rose to power in 2011, was just over 40% and is now up to 60%.
It’s a situation of crisis and destabilization. The most important thing to note is that the ruling class can no longer dominate as before, and the exploited and suffering people don’t want to continue living as before. So, the clash is inevitable, because this system of dependency that was imposed in 1915 with the first American intervention, has now collapsed in every possible way, because there is no way to put a patch on this.
We are facing the distinct possibility of an insurrection. These are not just empty words, nor an utopia, nor wishful thinking. If we analyze the mobilizations on last January 22, in which hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to stop the imperial decision to hold the second round of presidential elections, there is no doubt that the people deeply reject this presence, this government, this way of living. The people are expressing, through their actions and demonstrations that Haiti needs to regain its sovereignty, its right to self-determination
R.L.: You were just talking about the huge popular mobilization that prevented the presidential runoff elections from being held. The new date set for the elections now is approaching, what will happen then?
H.B.: Until now, we don’t know when the elections will be held because there was a Verification Commission (which was formed as a result of the people’s pressure) and the Commission recommended to start the presidential election again from scratch. This is partly the result of a victory for the January mobilization. A partial victory though, because what we had actually asked for was the total annulment of all elections, not only presidential but also legislative. Now it’s the turn for the new Provisional Electoral Council to decide. Next June 6, they must proclaim the new election timetable [Today, the PEC’s verdict was issued: elections will be held on October 9].
There is another important date: June 14, because according to the agreement signed between Martelly and the National Assembly, elections had to be held in April in order for the new elected president to be inaugurated on May 14. But Privert had a timeframe of 90 to 120 days to make this happen, and the 120-day deadline is on June 14, and it will arrive without a President having been elected. There are two possibilities: either Privert resigns or he makes a new political agreement -—this is what Martelly’s Party and international community want— to further extend the transitional government and to hold the elections in October. But the International Community and the far-right parties will not accept this, so there will be bigger confrontations, which have already started. On Monday, May 16, there was an attack on a barracks in a southern city they are beginning to sow terror in the poor neighborhoods, stealing weapons from police stations, arming themselves, etc., so that there are many disturbances to end Privert’s mandate.
However, the government its own limits because the only way of saving themselves is to comply with the demands of Popular Organizations, and if they can’t do that, they will stand almost alone.The group of 8 candidates of the opposition that denounced fraud in the first round has asked (wisely, in my opinion) for a new, immediate political agreement to replace the agreement signed on February 5th between Martelly and others.
To this we must add the corruption, the fraud, the overspending and what they did with the PetroCaribe funds, which are considered crimes against the nation. And in this situation, speaking of an election date is a daring, without a new political agreement we can’t make further predictions.
R.L.: The resistance, which is made up of many organizations, has been advancing remarkably. In fact, this week there was a great popular mobilization against the MINUSTAH. Which sectors make up this resistance?
H.B.: The repudiation of the MINUSTAH has gained so much ground that there are currently a lot of organizations taking part. We could broadly divide it into three sectors: the sectors linked to the left, who are Marxist-Leninist, the nationalist-democrat and peasant sector and the youth-university sector. Every day, more organizations join the movement. Nobody can claim to be the leader of this movement because it’s a feeling, a national claim, a meeting point. The only division has to do with the strategies that each one proposes to achieve the common goal of expelling the troops: for some, it’s just about making demonstrations, for others, just speeches and sending out letters, for others, the solution is stopping the country and attacking the military barracks. One thing is certain: despite the differences and nuances, today, almost 12 million Haitians are in favor of the withdrawal of the troops..
R.L.: Finally, we would like to know your opinion about the international solidarity with Haiti which will be launched from June 1st to June 15th.
Henry Boisrolin: Everything helps. Whatever amount of publicity we have in the international arena will help a lot to the internal struggle, and that’s where the issue is defined. From 2004 until now, there has been progress in the international understanding of situation in Haiti: the rhetoric of the humanitarian crisis has been dismantled, and many people have joined the claim for the withdrawal of the troops. The deficit is that there is still not a massive turnout, as we fail to put the issue on the political agenda of Latin American countries to demand those Latin American governments that sent troops, to withdraw them.
However, solidarity is growing every year. We deeply appreciate this international campaign of true solidarity with the struggle of the Haitian people, and that has been reflected in many of the speeches of Haitian leaders, who read out some news in Spanish from the Coordination for the Withdrawal of the Troops.
RL: Well, we will continue fighting for this solidarity, and continue reporting what happens in the upcoming days in Haiti. Thank you very much, Henry
H.B.: Thank you once again, Resumen Latinoamericano, for your solidarity.