Category Archives: Jovenel Moïse

Washington Beats the Drum of Regime Change, but Cuba Responds to Its Own Revolutionary Rhythm

Préfète Duffaut (Haiti), Le Générale Canson, 1950.

In 1963, the Trinidadian writer CLR James released a second edition of his classic 1938 study of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. For the new edition, James wrote an appendix with the suggestive title ‘From Toussaint L’Ouverture to Fidel Castro’. In the opening page of the appendix, he located the twin Revolutions of Haiti (1804) and Cuba (1959) in the context of the West Indian islands: ‘The people who made them, the problems and the attempts to solve them, are peculiarly West Indian, the product of a peculiar origin and a peculiar history’. Thrice James uses the word ‘peculiar’, which emerges from the Latin peculiaris for ‘private property’ (pecu is the Latin word for ‘cattle’, the essence of ancient property).

Property is at the heart of the origin and history of the modern West Indies. By the end of the 17th century, the European conquistadors and colonialists had massacred the inhabitants of the West Indies. On St. Kitts in 1626, English and French colonialists massacred between two and four thousand Caribs – including Chief Tegremond – in the Kalinago genocide, which Jean-Baptiste Du Tertre wrote about in 1654. Having annihilated the island’s native people, the Europeans brought in African men and women who had been captured and enslaved. What unites the West Indian islands is not language and culture, but the wretchedness of slavery, rooted in an oppressive plantation economy. Both Haiti and Cuba are products of this ‘peculiarity’, the one being bold enough to break the shackles in 1804 and the other able to follow a century and a half later.

Osmond Watson (Jamaica), City Life, 1968.

Today, crisis is the hour in the Caribbean.

On 7 July, just outside of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince, gunmen broke into the home of President Jovenel Moïse, assassinated him in cold blood, and then fled. The country – already wracked by social upheaval sparked by the late president’s policies – has now plunged even deeper into crisis. Already, Moïse had forcefully extended his presidential mandate beyond his term as the country struggled with the burdens of being dependent on international agencies, trapped by a century-long economic crisis, and struck hard by the pandemic. Protests had become commonplace across Haiti as the prices of everything skyrocketed and as no effective government came to the aid of a population in despair. But Moïse was not killed because of this proximate crisis. More mysterious forces are at work: US-based Haitian religious leaders, narco-traffickers, and Colombian mercenaries. This is a saga that is best written as a fictional thriller.

Four days after Moïse’s assassination, Cuba experienced a set of protests from people expressing their frustration with shortages of goods and a recent spike of COVID-19 infections. Within hours of receiving the news that the protests had emerged, Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel went to the streets of San Antonio de los Baños, south of Havana, to march with the protestors. Díaz-Canel and his government reminded the eleven million Cubans that the country has suffered greatly from the six-decade-long illegal US blockade, that it is in the grip of Trump’s 243 additional ‘coercive measures’, and that it will fight off the twin problems of COVID-19 and a debt crisis with its characteristic resolve.

Nonetheless, a malicious social media campaign attempted to use these protests as a sign that the government of Díaz-Canel and the Cuban Revolution should be overthrown. It was clarified a few days later that this campaign was run from Miami, Florida, in the United States. From Washington, DC, the drums of regime change sounded loudly. But they have not found find much of an echo in Cuba. Cuba has its own revolutionary rhythms.

Eduardo Abela (Cuba), Los Guajiros (1938).

In 1804, the Haitian Revolution – a rebellion of the plantation proletariat who struck against the agricultural factories that produced sugar and profit – sent up a flare of freedom across the colonised world. A century and a half later, the Cubans fired their own flare.

The response to each of these revolutions from the fossilised magnates of Paris and Washington was the same: suffocate the stirrings of freedom by indemnities and blockades. In 1825, the French demanded through force that the Haitians pay 150 million francs for the loss of property (namely human beings). Alone in the Caribbean, the Haitians felt that they had no choice but to pay up, which they did to France (until 1893) and then to the United States (until 1947). The total bill over the 122 years amounts to $21 billion. When Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide tried to recover those billions from France in 2003, he was removed from office by a coup d’état.

After the United States occupied Cuba in 1898, it ran the island like a gangster’s playground. Any attempt by the Cubans to exercise their sovereignty was squashed with terrible force, including invasions by US forces in 1906-1909, 1912, 1917-1922, and 1933. The United States backed General Fulgencio Batista (1940-1944 and 1952-1959) despite all the evidence of his brutality. After all, Batista protected US interests, and US firms owned two-thirds of the country’s sugar industry and almost its entire service sector.

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 stands against this wretched history – a history of slavery and imperial domination. How did the US react? By imposing an economic blockade on the country from 19 October 1960 that lasts to this day, which has targeted everything from access to medical supplies, food, and financing to barring Cuban imports and coercing third-party countries to do the same. It is a vindictive attack against a people who – like the Haitians – are trying to exercise their sovereignty. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez reported that between April 2019 and December 2020, the government lost $9.1 billion due to the blockade ($436 million per month). ‘At current prices’, he said, ‘the accumulated damages in six decades amount to over $147.8 billion, and against the price of gold, it amounts to over $1.3 trillion’.

None of this information would be available without the presence of media outlets such as Peoples Dispatch, which celebrates its three-year anniversary this week. We send our warmest greetings to the team and hope that you will bookmark their page to visit it several times a day for world news rooted in people’s struggles.

Bernadette Persaud (Guyana), Gentlemen Under the Sky (Gulf War), 1991.

On 17 July, tens of thousands of Cubans took to the streets to defend their Revolution and demand an end to the US blockade. President Díaz-Canel said that the Cuba of ‘love, peace, unity, [and] solidarity’ had asserted itself. In solidarity with this unwavering affirmation, we have launched a call for participation in the exhibition Let Cuba Live. The submission deadline is 24 July for the online exhibition launch on 26 July – the anniversary of the revolutionary movement that brought Cuba to Revolution in 1959 – but we encourage ongoing submissions. We are inviting international artists and militants to participate in this flash exhibition as we continue to amplify the campaign #LetCubaLive to end the blockade.

A few weeks before the most recent attack on Cuba and the assassination in Haiti, the United States armed forces conducted a major military exercise in Guyana called Tradewinds 2021 and another exercise in Panama called Panamax 2021. Under the authority of the United States, a set of European militaries (France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) – each with colonies in the region – joined Brazil and Canada to conduct Tradewinds with seven Caribbean countries (The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago). In a show of force, the US demanded that Iran cancel the movement of its ships to Venezuela in June ahead of the US-sponsored military exercise.

The United States is eager to turn the Caribbean into its sea, subordinating the sovereignty of the islands. It was curious that Guyana’s Prime Minister Mark Phillips said that these US-led war games strengthen the ‘Caribbean regional security system’. What they do, as our recent dossier on US and French military bases in Africa shows, is to subordinate the Caribbean states to US interests. The US is using its increased military presence in Colombia and Guyana to increase pressure on Venezuela.

Elsa Gramcko (Venezuela), El ojo de la cerradura (‘The Keyhole’), 1964.

Sovereign regionalism is not alien to the Caribbean, which has made four attempts to build a platform: the West Indian Federation (1958-1962), Caribbean Free Trade Association (1965-1973), Caribbean Community (1973-1989), and CARICOM (1989 to the present). What began as an anti-imperialist union has now devolved into a trade association that attempts to better integrate the region into world trade. The politics of the Caribbean are increasingly being drawn into orbit of the US. In 2010, the US created the Caribbean Basic Security Initiative, whose agenda is shaped by Washington.

In 2011, our old friend Shridath Ramphal, Guyana’s foreign minister from 1972 to 1975, repeated the words of the great Grenadian radical T. A. Marryshow: ‘The West Indies must be West Indian’. In his article ‘Is the West Indies West Indian?’, he insisted that the conscious spelling of ‘The West Indies’ with a capitalised ‘T’ aims to signify the unity of the region. Without unity, the old imperialist pressures will prevail as they often do.

In 1975, the Cuban poet Nancy Morejón published a landmark poem called “Mujer Negra” (“Black Woman”). The poem opens with the terrible trade of human beings by the European colonialists, touches on the war of independence, and then settles on the remarkable Cuban Revolution of 1959:

I came down from the Sierra

to put an end to capital and usurer,
to generals and to the bourgeoisie.
Now I exist: only today do we own, do we create.
Nothing is alien to us.
The land is ours.
Ours are the sea and sky,
the magic and vision.
My fellow people, here I see you dance
around the tree we are planting for communism.
Its prodigal wood already resounds.

The land is ours. Sovereignty is ours too. Our destiny is not to live as the subordinate beings of others. That is the message of Morejón and of the Cuban people who are building their sovereign lives, and it is the message of the Haitian people who want to advance their great Revolution of 1804.

The post Washington Beats the Drum of Regime Change, but Cuba Responds to Its Own Revolutionary Rhythm first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Washington Beats the Drum of Regime Change, but Cuba Responds to Its Own Revolutionary Rhythm

Préfète Duffaut (Haiti), Le Générale Canson, 1950.

In 1963, the Trinidadian writer CLR James released a second edition of his classic 1938 study of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. For the new edition, James wrote an appendix with the suggestive title ‘From Toussaint L’Ouverture to Fidel Castro’. In the opening page of the appendix, he located the twin Revolutions of Haiti (1804) and Cuba (1959) in the context of the West Indian islands: ‘The people who made them, the problems and the attempts to solve them, are peculiarly West Indian, the product of a peculiar origin and a peculiar history’. Thrice James uses the word ‘peculiar’, which emerges from the Latin peculiaris for ‘private property’ (pecu is the Latin word for ‘cattle’, the essence of ancient property).

Property is at the heart of the origin and history of the modern West Indies. By the end of the 17th century, the European conquistadors and colonialists had massacred the inhabitants of the West Indies. On St. Kitts in 1626, English and French colonialists massacred between two and four thousand Caribs – including Chief Tegremond – in the Kalinago genocide, which Jean-Baptiste Du Tertre wrote about in 1654. Having annihilated the island’s native people, the Europeans brought in African men and women who had been captured and enslaved. What unites the West Indian islands is not language and culture, but the wretchedness of slavery, rooted in an oppressive plantation economy. Both Haiti and Cuba are products of this ‘peculiarity’, the one being bold enough to break the shackles in 1804 and the other able to follow a century and a half later.

Osmond Watson (Jamaica), City Life, 1968.

Today, crisis is the hour in the Caribbean.

On 7 July, just outside of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince, gunmen broke into the home of President Jovenel Moïse, assassinated him in cold blood, and then fled. The country – already wracked by social upheaval sparked by the late president’s policies – has now plunged even deeper into crisis. Already, Moïse had forcefully extended his presidential mandate beyond his term as the country struggled with the burdens of being dependent on international agencies, trapped by a century-long economic crisis, and struck hard by the pandemic. Protests had become commonplace across Haiti as the prices of everything skyrocketed and as no effective government came to the aid of a population in despair. But Moïse was not killed because of this proximate crisis. More mysterious forces are at work: US-based Haitian religious leaders, narco-traffickers, and Colombian mercenaries. This is a saga that is best written as a fictional thriller.

Four days after Moïse’s assassination, Cuba experienced a set of protests from people expressing their frustration with shortages of goods and a recent spike of COVID-19 infections. Within hours of receiving the news that the protests had emerged, Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel went to the streets of San Antonio de los Baños, south of Havana, to march with the protestors. Díaz-Canel and his government reminded the eleven million Cubans that the country has suffered greatly from the six-decade-long illegal US blockade, that it is in the grip of Trump’s 243 additional ‘coercive measures’, and that it will fight off the twin problems of COVID-19 and a debt crisis with its characteristic resolve.

Nonetheless, a malicious social media campaign attempted to use these protests as a sign that the government of Díaz-Canel and the Cuban Revolution should be overthrown. It was clarified a few days later that this campaign was run from Miami, Florida, in the United States. From Washington, DC, the drums of regime change sounded loudly. But they have not found find much of an echo in Cuba. Cuba has its own revolutionary rhythms.

Eduardo Abela (Cuba), Los Guajiros (1938).

In 1804, the Haitian Revolution – a rebellion of the plantation proletariat who struck against the agricultural factories that produced sugar and profit – sent up a flare of freedom across the colonised world. A century and a half later, the Cubans fired their own flare.

The response to each of these revolutions from the fossilised magnates of Paris and Washington was the same: suffocate the stirrings of freedom by indemnities and blockades. In 1825, the French demanded through force that the Haitians pay 150 million francs for the loss of property (namely human beings). Alone in the Caribbean, the Haitians felt that they had no choice but to pay up, which they did to France (until 1893) and then to the United States (until 1947). The total bill over the 122 years amounts to $21 billion. When Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide tried to recover those billions from France in 2003, he was removed from office by a coup d’état.

After the United States occupied Cuba in 1898, it ran the island like a gangster’s playground. Any attempt by the Cubans to exercise their sovereignty was squashed with terrible force, including invasions by US forces in 1906-1909, 1912, 1917-1922, and 1933. The United States backed General Fulgencio Batista (1940-1944 and 1952-1959) despite all the evidence of his brutality. After all, Batista protected US interests, and US firms owned two-thirds of the country’s sugar industry and almost its entire service sector.

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 stands against this wretched history – a history of slavery and imperial domination. How did the US react? By imposing an economic blockade on the country from 19 October 1960 that lasts to this day, which has targeted everything from access to medical supplies, food, and financing to barring Cuban imports and coercing third-party countries to do the same. It is a vindictive attack against a people who – like the Haitians – are trying to exercise their sovereignty. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez reported that between April 2019 and December 2020, the government lost $9.1 billion due to the blockade ($436 million per month). ‘At current prices’, he said, ‘the accumulated damages in six decades amount to over $147.8 billion, and against the price of gold, it amounts to over $1.3 trillion’.

None of this information would be available without the presence of media outlets such as Peoples Dispatch, which celebrates its three-year anniversary this week. We send our warmest greetings to the team and hope that you will bookmark their page to visit it several times a day for world news rooted in people’s struggles.

Bernadette Persaud (Guyana), Gentlemen Under the Sky (Gulf War), 1991.

On 17 July, tens of thousands of Cubans took to the streets to defend their Revolution and demand an end to the US blockade. President Díaz-Canel said that the Cuba of ‘love, peace, unity, [and] solidarity’ had asserted itself. In solidarity with this unwavering affirmation, we have launched a call for participation in the exhibition Let Cuba Live. The submission deadline is 24 July for the online exhibition launch on 26 July – the anniversary of the revolutionary movement that brought Cuba to Revolution in 1959 – but we encourage ongoing submissions. We are inviting international artists and militants to participate in this flash exhibition as we continue to amplify the campaign #LetCubaLive to end the blockade.

A few weeks before the most recent attack on Cuba and the assassination in Haiti, the United States armed forces conducted a major military exercise in Guyana called Tradewinds 2021 and another exercise in Panama called Panamax 2021. Under the authority of the United States, a set of European militaries (France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) – each with colonies in the region – joined Brazil and Canada to conduct Tradewinds with seven Caribbean countries (The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago). In a show of force, the US demanded that Iran cancel the movement of its ships to Venezuela in June ahead of the US-sponsored military exercise.

The United States is eager to turn the Caribbean into its sea, subordinating the sovereignty of the islands. It was curious that Guyana’s Prime Minister Mark Phillips said that these US-led war games strengthen the ‘Caribbean regional security system’. What they do, as our recent dossier on US and French military bases in Africa shows, is to subordinate the Caribbean states to US interests. The US is using its increased military presence in Colombia and Guyana to increase pressure on Venezuela.

Elsa Gramcko (Venezuela), El ojo de la cerradura (‘The Keyhole’), 1964.

Sovereign regionalism is not alien to the Caribbean, which has made four attempts to build a platform: the West Indian Federation (1958-1962), Caribbean Free Trade Association (1965-1973), Caribbean Community (1973-1989), and CARICOM (1989 to the present). What began as an anti-imperialist union has now devolved into a trade association that attempts to better integrate the region into world trade. The politics of the Caribbean are increasingly being drawn into orbit of the US. In 2010, the US created the Caribbean Basic Security Initiative, whose agenda is shaped by Washington.

In 2011, our old friend Shridath Ramphal, Guyana’s foreign minister from 1972 to 1975, repeated the words of the great Grenadian radical T. A. Marryshow: ‘The West Indies must be West Indian’. In his article ‘Is the West Indies West Indian?’, he insisted that the conscious spelling of ‘The West Indies’ with a capitalised ‘T’ aims to signify the unity of the region. Without unity, the old imperialist pressures will prevail as they often do.

In 1975, the Cuban poet Nancy Morejón published a landmark poem called “Mujer Negra” (“Black Woman”). The poem opens with the terrible trade of human beings by the European colonialists, touches on the war of independence, and then settles on the remarkable Cuban Revolution of 1959:

I came down from the Sierra

to put an end to capital and usurer,
to generals and to the bourgeoisie.
Now I exist: only today do we own, do we create.
Nothing is alien to us.
The land is ours.
Ours are the sea and sky,
the magic and vision.
My fellow people, here I see you dance
around the tree we are planting for communism.
Its prodigal wood already resounds.

The land is ours. Sovereignty is ours too. Our destiny is not to live as the subordinate beings of others. That is the message of Morejón and of the Cuban people who are building their sovereign lives, and it is the message of the Haitian people who want to advance their great Revolution of 1804.

The post Washington Beats the Drum of Regime Change, but Cuba Responds to Its Own Revolutionary Rhythm first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Why Human Rights in China and Tigray but Not in Haiti, Palestine, or Colombia?

U.S. President Joe Biden and the Democrats have been playing the “Black Lives Matter” tune on their fiddle. Biden even raised the issue of Black Lives Matter during his presidential campaign. But, just days after Biden was sworn into office, his administration lent support for the Haitian dictator, Jovenel Moïse, who stayed in office past his term to the dismay of the Haitian people, who flooded the streets in protest.

Now, Moïse is dead and the United Nations has decided who will be the new president of Haiti. We see the racist irony. The people of Haiti have not been allowed to weigh in. The white rulers have made their decision, as the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) stated in its July 9 press release.

And while the director of Colombia’s National Intelligence Agency and the director of its national police’s Intelligence Division are in Haiti to investigate the role of Colombia in the assassination, those agencies have not launched investigations into police forces and paramilitary elements involved in the recent killings of peaceful protesters in Colombia, a client state of the United States.

Accepting the recommendation from the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti that contested Prime Minister Claude Joseph would be the new president is the ultimate in Western arrogance. The white West is continuing its white-supremacist narrative that the predominately African/Black population of Haiti cannot govern itself. What is really going on is the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination is working through the “Core Group” to ensure Haiti remains subordinate to its interests. The United States remains in the lead of that axis.

That is why we say Biden and Democrats could care less about Black lives.

In fact, Biden was quoted in 1994 as saying, “If Haiti just quietly sunk into the Caribbean or rose up 300 feet, it wouldn’t matter a whole lot in terms of our interest.”

Is this the man and are Democrats the people Africans and other colonized people around the world are supposed to trust with our lives?

No, they are committed to one thing: The perpetuation of the pan-European colonial-capitalist project that has been underway for more than 500 years. That ideological foundation explains why they do not believe in the inherent dignity of all human beings. Hence, the double standard in place: The pretense of democracy and the rule of law for them and colonial fascism for the nations and peoples of the global South.

This is why the white West’s deployment of “humanitarian intervention” because of the “Responsibility to Protect” is so cynical. The West is responsible for the barbaric treatment and conditions colonized peoples have faced for centuries. The U.S. ruling class has shown nothing but contempt for the lives of workers inside its borders and for the millions worldwide who live in abject poverty as a result of the global U.S.-dominated capitalist-imperialist system.

Why the concern about Muslims in China while Biden and Democrats greenlight Israel’s war crimes against predominately Muslim Palestinians?

Whenever the United States raises humanitarian issues—be it in the Horn of Africa or in China—we know it can only mean one thing: The United States has strategic interests that have nothing to do with the humanity of the people they pretend to care about.

That is why BAP will continue to tell the truth, no matter the consequences.

The post Why Human Rights in China and Tigray but Not in Haiti, Palestine, or Colombia? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Over 800 Organizations and Individuals in the United States Demand the Biden Administration End Its Support for the Brutal Moïse Regime in Haiti

Above photo: By Professor Danny Shaw who is currently in Haiti

United States – Today, February 24, 72 organizations and 700 individuals published an open letter calling for the Biden administration to end its illegal and destructive intervention in Haiti. While Joe Biden and the Democrats condemned the Trump forces for not respecting the results of the U.S. election, they are supporting Jovenel Moïse’s refusal to leave office after his term as president ended on February 7, 2021. Moïse has unleashed violent gangs, the police and the military against protesters who are demanding that he respect the Constitution and step down.

“President Biden claims to care about racial equity but his actions in Haiti show the emptiness of that rhetoric,” said Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace. “For centuries now, the United States has employed force to dominate Haiti, the first Black Republic that was established in 1804 after the defeat of French and Spanish colonizers. President Biden has an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to democracy and Black self-determination by ending support for the Moïse regime and denouncing the current violence.”

The past two presidents of Haiti, Michel Martelly and Jovenel Moïse, were hand-picked and forced into office by the United States during the Obama administration against the will of the Haitian people. Moïse is currently ruling by decree after dismissing most of the legislators and refusing to hold elections. With the backing of the Core Group, composed of the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, the European Union and the United Nations, Moïse is trying to push a new constitution through using a referendum in April. The new constitution being written by members of the Core Group and without any real participation of the Haitian people would grant greater power to the executive office.

Since February 7, the rogue Moïse government has launched a brutal crackdown on all dissent resulting in home invasions, arrests, the firing of Supreme Court judges and a police inspector general, attacks on the media and the use of chemical agents and live ammunition to disperse protests, as documented by the U. S. Human Rights Clinics.

“The current situation in Haiti is critical,” stated Marleine Bastien, the Executive Director of the FANM In Action and a leading voice in South Florida’s Haitian community. “The Superior Council of Haiti’s Judiciary, The Haitian Bar Federation, and credible civil society organizations inside Haiti and their diaspora allies agree that President Moise’s term has in fact ended.  It is time for President Biden to keep his promise and respect the democratic rights and  self-determination of the Haitian people.”

Here is the open letter:

On February 7, 2021, Jovenel Moïse’s term as president of Haiti ended – but with the support of the Biden administration he is refusing to leave office. This has created an urgent crisis in the country. A mass movement, reminiscent of the 1986 popular movement that overthrew the brutal U.S.-sponsored dictatorship of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, is demanding Moïse step down. We are alarmed by the abundance of evidence of severe human rights violations by the Moïse regime to quell the protests.

One of the main calls from the mobilizations of hundreds of thousands in the streets of Port-au-Prince and across Haiti has been for the United States, United Nations and the Organization of American States to stop their interference. These bodies, as part of the “Core Group” of imperialist nations and institutions targeting Haiti, are currently pushing their rewrite of the Haitian Constitution through a referendum on April 25.

These organizations have a long history of neocolonial intervention in Haiti and the region. Ever since the democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown for a second time by a U.S.-sponsored coup in 2004, Haiti has been occupied by a United Nations force that, at its height, deployed 14,000 troops and personnel. This occupation has changed form over the years (from MINUSTAH to BINUH), but it is ongoing.

The U.S. government has consistently stood as a barrier to popular democracy in the Americas. The 2009 coup in Honduras; the 2019 coup in Bolivia; and the ongoing blockades of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela are but several examples of the U.S.’s poor record on human rights and lack of respect for sovereignty in the region. By its own admission, the State Department “works closely with the OAS, UN, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and individual countries to advance its policy goals in Haiti.” Under the guise of fighting drug trafficking, the U.S. continues to train and fund the Haitian National Police.

The U.S. establishment spin doctors seemingly live in an alternate universe, claiming, “The remarkable lack of popular response to calls for mass protests in recent weeks indicates that Haitian people are tired of endless lockdowns and squabbling over power.” The reality is quite the opposite: the Haitian people are united in their call for a peaceful transition to democracy.

We express our solidarity with the Haitian people and our support for their rights to democracy and self-determination. We join our voices to the demands of the Haitian people who are calling for the following:

We demand that Jovenel Moïse

  • Immediately step down.

We demand that the Biden Administration:

  • Withdraw financial support for the illegal constitutional referendum and Moïse dictatorship;
  • Respect the will of the vast majority of the people demanding democracy and Haitian self-determination
  • Reaffirm support for the right to peaceful protest;
  • Immediately cease all U.S. financial and military support to Haiti’s security forces
  • Condemn the recent violence against protesters and journalists; and,
  • Demand the immediate dismantlement of all paramilitary forces in Haiti and the disarmament of gangs carrying out wanton violence against the popular movement.

The whole world is watching!

See here for signatories.

*****

Contacts:

Ajamu Baraka – Black Alliance for Peace, 202-643-1136.

Margaret Flowers – Popular Resistance, gro.ecnatsiseRralupoPnull@ofni, 410-591-0892.

The post Over 800 Organizations and Individuals in the United States Demand the Biden Administration End Its Support for the Brutal Moïse Regime in Haiti first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Urgent Solidarity with Haiti is Needed

A long-brewing crisis in Haiti, created through intervention by the United States, United Nations and allied western imperialist countries, has now come to a head. The Biden administration is openly backing a violent, corrupt and fraudulent leader, Jovenel Moïse, and maintaining the policies of previous presidents, including Donald Trump, in Haiti.

Activists in Haiti have reached out to the Haitian diaspora in the United States and to organizations that support respect for self-determination and human rights for their solidarity. Listen to my interview about the situation there with Haitian filmmaker and political activist Wilkenson Bruna on Clearing the FOG this week (available on Monday).

The crisis in Haiti will not end until sufficient pressure is placed on the United States to change its positions. As people living in the United States, that is our responsibility. We need to understand what is happening in Haiti, the roots of the crisis and how to take action. As the Black Alliance for Peace writes:

With the election of U.S. President Joe Biden, folks believed this so-called ‘champion’ of fair elections and the rule of law—who had expressed a commitment that ‘Black Lives Matter’—would rally to the side of Haitians and end U.S. support for the dictatorship. But that did not happen.

Today, there are protests in Haiti calling for Jovenel Moïse to step down. You can follow the protests using the hashtag #NouPapDomi (“We will not sleep.”). Take a photo of yourself holding a sign of solidarity with the people of Haiti and share it on social media to raise awareness of what is happening.

Gray Panthers, San Francisco

It was one week ago today that Jovenel Moïse’s term as president of Haiti ended, a presidency achieved through manipulation of the election in 2015-16 and marked by a usurpation of power. Moïse has refused to cede that power and in response to protests, has unleashed greater state violence, harassment and arrests including attacks on journalists.

Leading up to February 7, there were massive protests in Haiti calling for Moïse to respect the Haitian Constitution and step down so that a provisional government could be put in place and elections could be organized. These protests were led by a broad coalition of social movements, trade unions, and opposition political parties. The Haitian Supreme Court and Bar Association agree that Moïse’s five year term ends this year while Moïse claims he has one more year. The Biden State Department backed Moïse’s claim.

On February 7, Moïse announced that a coup was being conducted against him and ordered arrests of people who oppose him. Police raided the homes of a Supreme Court judge and the Inspector General and jailed them. The next day, Moïse fired three Supreme Court judges and police took control of the courts. He then illegally appointed three new judges. In protest, judges are launching a nationwide unlimited strike on February 15. International bodies, such as the Canadian Lawyers Without Borders, denounced Moïse’s assault on the judiciary.

Violence against people who oppose the Moïse dictatorship has been increasing and severe during his term. The “Group of 9,” basically a group of state-sanctioned gangs, have massacred people in opposition communities. Recently, both the police and the military, trained in repressive techniques by the United States, have attacked and arrested demonstrators and the media, even using live ammunition. Two journalists were shot covering protests on February 8.

On February 12, Supreme Court Judge Joseph Mécène Jean Louis publicly announced that he had been chosen by the opposition as a provisional president. He is one of the three Supreme Court judges fired by Moïse. Mécène plans to set up an interim government and call for elections.

In addition to president, there need to be electi0ns for the Parliament and municipal offices. Moïse refused to hold parliamentary elections when they were due in 2019 and dismissed most members of the legislature. He has been ruling by decree, essentially a dictatorship, since early 2020. He also dismissed mayors across the country and appointed replacements for them.

In another attack on democracy, Moïse is working with what is known as the “Core Group,” which includes the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the US, Brazil, France, Spain and the European Union, to rewrite the Haitian Constitution and grant greater powers to the executive office. Haiti has had 23 Constitutions since 1801.

Protesters marched to the UN headquarters in Port-au-Prince. Ted’Actu

The United States has had a hand in Haitian politics for a long time. In this century, it was in 2004 that the United States and its imperialist allies conducted a successful coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and brought in the United Nations as an occupying force. In the short time that it was in power, the Aristide government built schools and health centers and raised the minimum wage. It also disbanded the military and started investigating accusations of state violence. Life was improving for Haitians.

Under the United Nations occupation, conditions have deteriorated. There have been massacres. UN troops have been involved in human trade and sexual exploitation and they brought cholera to the country, which has killed tens of thousands of people.

The Clintons have also played a destructive role in Haiti, both through the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s interventions as Secretary of State under President Obama. It was the Clintons who succeeded in thwarting the will of the people in the 2010 presidential election by installing the US-backed candidate, Michel Martelly, in what was considered a “silent coup d’etat“. Millions of US dollars poured in to support Martelly’s campaign in an election that occurred after the massive earthquake of 2010 and in which the most popular party, Fanma Lavalas, of former President Aristide was banned. Only about one-fourth of registered voters participated, which is highly unusual.

In the following years, billions of dollars of aid poured into the country but there was little to show for it. Instead, deals were given to businesses owned by Clinton Foundation donors to build factories that are sweatshops. Jake Johnson outlines what followed the earthquake by the numbers. Less than one percent of the money that was pledged went to the Haitian government or to Haitian institutions or businesses. While 105,000 houses were destroyed, the Red Cross, which raised almost $500 million, only  built six houses and USAID, which pledged to build 15,000 houses, only built 900.

Jovenel Moïse, another US-puppet, came to power after Martelly’s term in a fraudulent election in 2015. His presidency was delayed by protests over that election because the people were unwilling to concede another assault on their democracy, but ultimately Moïse prevailed and was seated on February 7, 2017. Protests have continued throughout his term, especially when it was revealed that billions of dollars provided through Venezuela’s PetroCaribe program that were supposed to be used for infrastructure were missing. Now, his term has ended.

Haitian activists and immigrants protest on City Hall Plaza in Boston. 2018. Charles Krupa/AP.

It is no surprise that the Biden administration is carrying on with the US’ bipartisan imperialist project in Haiti but now the situation is dire. Jovenel Moïse has dismantled the democratic institutions of the state and rules unilaterally with the support of the police, military and western allies. Opposition to this is being brutally repressed. We, in the United States, a country largely responsible for the devastation of Haiti, must act in response to the request for our support.

The Haiti Action Committee has an action alert with information about contacting Congress. Click here for that alert. Share the alert with your networks. Haitians are protesting today – follow and share their actions too.

Leaders of peace and Haitian solidarity organizations in the United States are planning actions in support of the self-determination of the Haitian people and in opposition to western imperialism. Demands include ending US support for Jovenel Moïse, ending US interference in Haiti’s elections, and denouncing violence and repression.

President Biden claims to care about racial injustice. He must be pressured to demonstrate that with concrete actions. The United States government must respect the people’s will in our close neighbor, Haiti. Look for more to come on this soon.

The post Urgent Solidarity with Haiti is Needed first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Will any MPs criticize Ottawa’s Support for Dictatorship in Haiti?

The Liberals’ commitment to a neo-Duvalierist dictatorship in Haiti is being tested. Hopefully Black History Month offers opposition parties an opportunity to finally echo growing grassroots criticism of Canadian policy in the hemisphere’s poorest country.

Since Monday a squatter has been occupying the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. On Sunday evening Supreme Court Justice Joseph Mecene Jean-Louis was appointed provisional interim President of Haiti by the opposition parties that say Jovenel Moïse’s mandate is over as the constitution states. But, Moïse has refused to leave, claiming another year on his mandate. He responded by arresting one Supreme Court judge and (unconstitutionally) dismissing three judges as well as sending police to occupy the Supreme Court building.

Moïse has been preparing for this moment for some time. In November he passed a decree criminalizing protests as “terrorism” and another establishing a new intelligence agency while in the summer he instigated a gang alliance to instill fear in the slums. Three months ago Moïse appointed Leon Charles head of the police. The former military man oversaw the police in the 17 months after the 2004 US, France and Canada sponsored coup. At that time Charles publicly referred to a “war” the police waged against the pro-democracy sector. Thousands were killed in political violence after the overthrow of elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Once again Ottawa appears to be backing Charles and a new war on civilians. A few weeks ago (Jan. 18) Canadian ambassador Stuart Savage met Charles to discuss “reinvigorating the police”. A few weeks earlier Savage met Moïse in another sign of the Liberals’ extensive support for the president.

Moïse has also built up the dreaded military revived by his patron, former president Michel Martelly. On Monday the military released a statement backing Moïse in the constitutional dispute and then proceeded to shoot two journalists at a protest, gravely injuring one.

There’s been push back in Canada to Justin Trudeau’s backing of Moïse’s authoritarianism. On Sunday 40 socially distanced demonstrators attended Solidarité Québec-Haïti’s “Rara” musical rally in Montréal against Canadian policy in Haiti and hundreds participated in its nighttime webinar titled “Non au retour du duvaliérisme soutenu par le Canada en Haïti!” Over the past week more than 300 individuals have emailed new Foreign Minister Marc Garneau (and all MPs) to call on Ottawa to “Stop Supporting the Return of Duvalierism in Haiti!”

On the weekend Le Regroupement des Haïtiens de Montréal contre l’Occupation d’Haïti released a statement declaring “No Canadian government support for the dictatorship in Haiti”. Additionally, the Concertation Pour Haïti, which includes Quebec’s major labour unions and a number of government-funded NGOs, demanded Canada “cease all support” for Moïse’s government, “which is increasingly criticized and denounced for its involvement in massacres and violence aimed at establishing a climate of terror, at destroying the opposition and at preventing the emergence of a real alternative.” The Concertation statement added that Ottawa should “cease all forms of support for the illegitimate electoral process and for the constitutional reform project that the authorities want to put in place, a process that does not respect the standards of independence required to establish the legitimacy of a government. The presidency, having failed to organize legislative elections provided for by the Constitution, now governs by decree, holding all the powers on its own.”

In the US, Senior Senator Patrick Leahy and seven congresspeople called on the Biden administration to back a transition government. The congresspeople’s statement last week noted, “we feel it is essential that the United States unambiguously reject any attempt by President Moïse to retain power.”

In December the national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Chris Aylward, sent a strongly worded letter to the PM critical of Canadian support for Moïse while earlier David Suzuki, Roger Waters, Linda McQuaig, George Elliot Clark and 150 others signed an open letter “calling on the Canadian government to stop backing a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president.” These statements followed on from multiple disruptions by Solidarité Québec-Haïti of ministers, including an occupation of Trudeau’s election office, over the government’s support for Moïse.

But, where are the opposition parties whose job it is to question and oppose government policy? With the exception of Bloc Québécois MP Mario Beaulieu – who sponsored a parliamentary petition critical of “the ‘Core Group’ that allegedly brought to power the governments of Martelly and Moïse, who have been accused of corruption and repression” – the silence has been deafening. I couldn’t find any statement from the NDP or Greens. Nor am I aware of left-wing MPs Paul Manly, Leah Gazan, Alexandre Boulerice, Niki Ashton or Matthew Green releasing anything. A number of these MPs have found time to criticize Chinese repression – where Ottawa has little influence – but have stayed silent when Canadian-trained, financed and diplomatically supported police kill Haitian protesters.

Two centuries ago the Haitian Revolution delivered a massive blow to slavery, colonialism and white supremacy. Is it too much to ask that during Black History Month these left-wing MPs (or their staffers) watch Haiti Betrayed or read some of the many articles critical of Canadian policy in Haiti and tweet their opposition to Canada’s role in reviving Duvalierism?

The post Will any MPs criticize Ottawa’s Support for Dictatorship in Haiti? first appeared on Dissident Voice.