By: María Torrellas / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / February 10, 2017
In a very lackluster ceremony, with almost no presence of international mandataries save a numerous delegation of US diplomats, Jovenel Moïse was appointed President of Haiti. But no media outlet reported that, at the same time, Haitian streets were boiling with protests in rejection to Moïse and his people. Resumen Latinoamericano talked about this with Henry Boisrolin, member of the Haitian Democratic Committee.
What’s your take on Haiti’s situation after the recent inauguration of Jovenel Moïse as President, with the support of the United States and the International Community?
In the first place, I’d like to renew once again my full solidarity with Resumen Latinoamericano regarding the attack you suffered last December, because I must take this opportunity to condemn this attempt to censor you and express our full solidarity because this mustn’t remain unpunished.
Regarding Haiti, it’s true that the President appointed by the Electoral Council is nothing but a direct representative of the Haitian elite, of the big landowners of Haiti and Dominican Republic, and of the International Community, led by US imperialism. This has to be very clear: Moïse was their candidate, not the people’s.
Now, how exactly did he ‘win’? And I use quotes because according to their official data, this candidate only got 595 thousand, votes over a register of 6,200,000 voters. This means that the current ‘President’ has no legitimacy.
Does the whole opposition think this is an electoral coup?
That’s right. Jovenel Moïse has no legitimacy, he’s a candidate that was imposed through a perverse electoral process.
That’s why right now Haiti is denouncing an electoral coup perpetrated by wealthy sectors of the country, in alliance with the International Community.
Another important element is that the repression that took place before, during and after this process by which Jovenel Moïse was declared winner in the first round. Massacres and repressions, fundamentally in poor neighborhoods, preventing demonstrations of thousands and thousands of Haitian men and women that were against this.
We also have to highlight that only 21% of the voter register voted. That means that almost 80% of the population didn’t participate. Evidently, this is a fragile president, and since he’s presented as a continuer of former-President Martelly’s government, obviously we can’t expect much from this man.
Resumen Latinoamericano has published a video with images of Haiti over the last 20 days: protests, a massacre in Port au Prince —which is own of the most combative neighborhoods—, a massive homage of the population to the deceased. None of this has been published in the media. What do you think of this media silence and censorship of the anger and pain of the people of Haiti?
I believe we have to read this in the context of the indifference that has always been shown towards the people of Haiti. The real history of Haiti has never been talked about, it’s always told from the official point of view that sets the beginning of the Latin American independence process in 1810, when in fact Haiti was the first free country, since 1804, and helped many others to become free.
So, the current silence is a continuation of the manner in which Haitian popular struggles have been treated for centuries. Of course, the historical context is different but there’s a continuity, because the ideology of racism and of destroying the popular movement is still hegemonic. That has also affected the way in which alternative media from other countries look at Haiti: they misinterpret the situation thinking that there’s a failed state and therefore a failed people. So, they see us as poor beggars sitting outside a church waiting for someone to hand us a 20 dollar bill. They don’t see solidarity, they see charity, thinking that nothing at all can be done. That is almost a Christian view on politics. So, the class struggle is blurred, hidden and misinterpreted. We need to understand this level correctly.
The duty of the Haitian popular movement and its leaders is to break that vicious cycle of classism, obliviousness and denial. To end this disdain that hurts the popular movement.
In this sense, we believe that the fact that you have published the video is very important, because this is happening right now and people must see it.
INSERTAR VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et-W2EMoqwQ&feature=youtu.be
What role has the UN’s MINUSTAH played? Is it true that during the inauguration of Moïse they surrounded the Presidential Palace and tried to prevent demonstrations?
Fundamentally, the Haitian police has had a role of preventing the development of the protests, always with the help of the MINUSTAH. That is, the role of the MINUSTAH since day one, since they were imposed on this country in June 2004, has been implanting a plan of neocolonization of the country. They have obviously failed, their results are disastrous. Even former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged the fact that the MINUSTAH was responsible for the introduction of the cholera virus in the country, which has killed over 10 thousand Haitians and infected 800 thousand. The troops have also raped girls and boys, and have massacred people in poor neighborhoods and in protests.
So, the MINUSTAH has played the role of an armed occupation force to enable the appointment of Jovenel Moïse as President. It’s also a political force, because their political leader is a woman from Trinidad and Tobago who’s also a member of the COGRU, an elite group of ambassadors of the European Union, the OAS, Brazil, Canada, the US, France, etc. They’re the ones truly in charge of decisions on the internal politics of the country.
There’s no doubt that Haiti is being colonized and the MINUSTAH has been the tool to enforce this. Now that the central role of the MINUSTAH has been unveiled, what will imperialism do? What will Trump do to replace it? They speak of a gradual withdrawal, of a reformulation of the Haitian army, of a recreation, of a bigger police—different things are being discussed. Even among the Haitian bourgeoisie there are sectors that believe that there must be a gradual and progressive withdrawal of the Minustah. But this is going to depend on what happens in all the streets of the country—not only Port au Prince. This isn’t a homogeneous bloc, there are several power struggles among them about the conformation of the government, particularly about who’s going to become Prime Minister—especially now that the pie isn’t as large, because they won’t receive any more funds from Petrocaribe, so Jovenel Moïse is going to hand out every last bit of the Haitian resources. That’s what’s in sight and another MINUSTAH is going to be necessary for them to carry out the anti-popular project.
Apparently, the three other candidates that ran and didn’t win have joined in a coalition. What chances are there for this coalition to succeed in the struggle against this president? And what may the future hold for Haiti now that Trump is president?
First of all, regarding Trump, many thought that he wouldn’t care about Haiti, but the act of inauguration of Moïse showed that wasn’t true. The US sent a high-ranking delegation, with people that have been influencing the Haitian crisis for a long time. We must also remember that during the electoral campaign, when he visited Florida, he went to the headquarters of Little Haiti because that was a way to attack Hillary Clinton for all the damage the Clinton family caused to Haiti.
So, Haiti is in this man’s agenda. We can’t expect absolutely anything good from him. But for the government this is a bad sign because Trump speaks a lot about protectionism and there’s no hope for Trump to invest money in Moïse’s Haiti.
As for the sector of the opposition that has formed the Reunited Democratic Sector, everything will depend on whether they’re able to maintain their internal unity and cohesion. Pitit Dessalines is the political formation that has suffered the most—it has plain and simply disintegrated, it has even mutated from a platform to a political party given the amount of people that left it, but there’s a sector that remained strong and is very involved in mobilizations. What matters here is that these three parties, which according to electoral results were behind Jovenel Moïse, don’t recognize his triumph, and I believe they won’t recognize it in the future either. One of them has even made a civil legal demand against Moïse for money laundering. So, this sector is apparently going to keep mobilizing, which is going to strengthen the popular movement somewhat.