Latin America needs to look to Haiti to see what could happen to them

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haiti-copia-620x400-1Interview with Henry Boisrolin, from the Haitian Democratic Committee

By: Mario Hernández / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / January 22, 2017

Mario Hernández (MH): January 12, 2010 was a tragic day for your country. Seven years have come and gone since then, and judging by the numbers of Haitian economy last year —in terms of currency depreciation, inflation, and the fact that this is a country where 80% of the economy depends on imports— the situation doesn’t seem to have gotten better.

Henry Boisrolin (HB): Obviously this is the result of a process, the numbers you’re citing have a history. Besides, we must consider something that is much more important than all of those numbers, and that is the extreme poverty that affects the immense majority of the Haitian people. The number of people that fall into indigency is growing. This is a product of a process of neo-colonization that is in a very advanced state in this country. It didn’t begin yesterday—it began a long time ago and has gone through different stages. And it has achieved this despite the resistance and the struggle.

It also explains the fact that Haiti is isolated, and it is especially so from the Latin American scene. Save a few occasions and people, Haitians are outcasts.

We’ve also endured 12 years of occupation by the UN mission known as MINUSTAH (UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti), which is supposed to be a humanitarian mission but has acknowledged responsibility for the cholera epidemic that killed 10,000 and infected 800,000. None of the other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were moved to help solve this issue, save Cuba and Venezuela.

This is terrible, because, even if we let aside accusations of abuses and violations by the UN, we still have a scenario where 10,000 people died and they acknowledge it and yet nothing happens. It’s scandalous.

Therefore, when the issue of the depreciation of the currency is brought up, I say yes, this is a real thing, but we’re not seeing the wood for the trees. We have to see the real causes of this situation.

MH: A new president is about to be inaugurated. Does this give you any sort of hope for a solution to this situation you described?

HB: Once more, I believe that if Jovenel Moïse takes office, it won’t be a product of a democratic, sovereign and honest election. This has been a farce. The Haitian oligarchy and international community have hand picked someone who would carry on their plan to hand out the country’s riches, to have sell-outs in the main seats of public administration, with completely corrupt and weak institutions that continue to give out whatever we have left. Then no, I don’t expect anything from Moïse.

Elections are so devoid of credibility that, during the whole electoral process [which began in August 2015 and ended, with many controversies and resistance, in December 2016], if we believe the official numbers by the PEC, only 21% of Haitians voted. Which means that 79% of the constituents didn’t vote. And the voter register is not even complete, because the Haitian state has no way of knowing how many citizens there are, because there’s no census. So how can there be a voter register? As you know, there was an earthquake 10 years ago that left 300,000 dead. After that, the names of the deceased should have been taken off the register, but that didn’t happen, and they still held the 2010/2011 elections. And recently, there was a hurricane [Hurricane Matthew] that killed 500 and caused several thousands of people to lose their IDs, which they need to be able to vote. The government has acknowledged this. Only 2,000 people made new IDs. Let’s assume that there was no fraud in this election, which there was, but let’s imagine that scenario. Even if the election had been clean, the President still won less than 600,000 votes in a country with 6,200,000 voters. Which would mean that, in democratic terms, this man will have legality but no legitimacy. The day the results were announced, nobody took to the streets to celebrate, like one would expect anyplace else. Perhaps the only voters who celebrated met with their friends in luxury hotels.

These facts are very sad and I try to explain them in the context of neo-colonization, because Latin America should look into the Haitian mirror to see what could happen to others if the Haiti experiment succeeds.

For the time being, we can’t make predictions, because right now things are settling down. Some are ceasing to resist to Moïse’s presidency, but the three biggest candidates after him (from the Pitit Dessaline, LAPEH and Fanmi Lavalas parties) still don’t acknowledge the result. And how could they acknowledge it, after the government chose to not comply with the verification that had been commanded by the electoral decree. That result is unacceptable.

Haiti’s Unit of Financial Control reported in 2012 that Jovenel Moïse had committed the crime of money laundering. Nobody threw any light on this issue. And now it comes up again. Tomorrow, the director of that Unit will hold a press conference, because he presented all necessary documentation for this crime to be investigated. Four Senators of the Republic are demanding for this to be addressed, and they have written an open letter to the President of the Senate, asking for the President-elect to explain everything before the ceremony of inauguration, because things are unclear. What sort of hope can the people have when there are so many doubts?

Moïse is in Dominican Republic since yesterday and the Haitian people have only found out about this through the Dominican press. He didn’t even inform the country he was going there, because he knows well that there are huge and painful issues between Haiti and the Dominican Republic regarding migration, because the Dominican government has passed a Decree (no. 68/13) to expel Haitians. Just two weeks ago, an entire Haitian family was beaten to death in the Dominican Republic. And now Moïse goes to the Dominican Republic.

We can’t really hope for anything when we know that those who supported Moïse’s candidacy are the Haitian oligarchy, the wealthy of the country, US imperialism, the “international community” (France, Canada, and so on)… After Hurricane Matthew, Moïse used an enormous amount of money to send rice and construction materials to people in need, with his picture printed on every package, and he had helicopters at his orders to go to places where nobody else could go. Where did this money come from? Obviously there are powerful people behind him. And he’s going to have to cater to their needs, because they haven’t given him all this money so that he can solve the problems of the poor.

Since the fall of the dictatorship in 1986, the popular movement has tried (with its mistakes, successes and limitations) to fight for more justice and better distribution. Now the bourgeoisie is trying to break the backbone of this movement and trying to create, in Haiti, a sort of far-right front to “win” the elections. But they can’t win, because their leader was chosen by little more than half of the 21% that voted. When Aristide was elected in 1990, he was truly chosen by an enormous amount of people and nobody doubted his victory [in September 1991, a coup ousted him].

Then, I have no hope. I only know that problems are on the rise and the problems of the people won’t be solved, and there’s going to be confrontation. I don’t like to predict the future like a fortune teller, I only try to take it step by step and see clearly, because in a situation as complex, painful and difficult as this one, it would be irresponsible to try to forecast or announce great things. I even have to admit that I thought that the announcement of Moïse’s victory would be met by immediate marches on the streets. But there wasn’t such a response. And we’re studying why. When such protests take place, they are going to be heavily repressed, and that might be one of the reasons, because you can’t go out and fight when you’re being expected. There was also betrayal, and there are many things going on in Haiti that make it more difficult to make a prediction for the future, but the only thing I dare to say is that the people can’t expect a solution to be provided by the government. Days ago they even detained one of their own Senators, who had campaigned with Moïse: Guy Philippe, who was wanted by the DEA. They detained him and humiliated him, and the president-elect didn’t say a word about it. He didn’t even send a letter to the current government or to the US embassy requesting an explanation, nor demanded his ally to be freed. He’s a coward.

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