Haitians are the world’s most resilient people. For centuries they have endured indescribable pain, suffering and near human annihilation, and survived. Now, not yet recovered from another devastating earthquake, Haitians are again facing high level political corruption and struggling for the right to vote and to determine their own destiny.
The following statement-A Call for Solidarity from the People’s Movement- was written just before postponement of the January 24th presidential runoff election. Sixty-eight grassroots organizations in Haiti issued an urgent call for solidarity with their struggle for free and fair elections, dignity and justice.
The statement was written as tens of thousands of Haitians took to the streets—braving assassination, tear gas, beatings and police torture—demanding the annulment of the fraudulent elections that gave lead positions in the legislative and presidential races to the hand-picked candidates of President Michel Martelly.
The resulting postponement of the presidential election was a dramatic and hard-won victory for the People’s Movement which had insisted that no election take place until it could be free, fair and democratic. The struggle for the right to vote for all Haitians to participate in the political process continues.
“Reflecting on the voting rights struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many other courageous fighters for justice fifty-years ago in the U.S.; on the one person one-vote struggle led by Mandela’s comrades in South Africa; reflecting on struggles everywhere, we came to the conclusion that a people cannot be sovereign if they do not have the right to vote. And no people can retain their dignity if their vote does not count. As clearly stated by President Aristide, “If we don’t protect our dignity, our dignity will escape us.” That is why we struggle and ask that people the world over with a history of struggle, to stand in solidarity with us.
Six years after the earthquake that jolted the country, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, we Haitian organizations, in the context of reflection, take our hats off and humbly say to the people all over the planet who opened their hearts to us, “We have not forgotten your acts of solidarity.” The sharing impulse manifested by people the world over should have helped the Haitian people to rebuild their environment and rebuild their lives. Pity! To this day, the people’s lot has not changed. Adding insult to injury, shameless characters, local slave owners, empowered by various international organizations, hijacked the reconstruction funds.
Right after the earthquake, the internationals took advantage of our monetary state of helplessness to occupy the political space. Today, the Haitian people are engaged in an all-out struggle to reclaim that space and to exercise their right to vote. The very ones who hijacked the reconstruction money want to prevent the people from choosing their government, in a wide scale conspiracy to continue looting the country’s resources. Subsequent to many schemes designed to remove the people from the political equation, local colonialists joined forces with international colonialists to force the people to accept choices that are against their own best interests. Illegitimate officials implemented urban removal plans and land grabs, assaulting the middle class as well as the poorer classes and putting the country on the brink of collapse. The people’s resistance slowed down the “terror apparatus,” preventing it from completing this program. Now they want to put more false officials at the helm of the government to continue their assault.
The blatant violence perpetrated in Ile-a-Vache, the hideous massacres perpetrated on the people of Arcahaie, the continuous massacre of the people of Cite Soleil because they manifest a will to vote, various acts of aggression perpetrated throughout the country, in the context of land-grab or voter suppression, convince the Haitian people that they are in a fight for their very existence. We say, NO, WE WILLNOT OBEY ILLEGITIMATE OFFICIALS. Self-defense is a legitimate, universal law. Civil disobedience is an accepted universal right when a people confront an illegal regime. The right to elect a government is universally accepted as a way for people to protect their existence. Today, confronted by the danger presented by local and international colonialists, the Haitian people have started a RESISTANCE FOR EXIISTENCE movement. They ask for people-to-people solidarity from everywhere on the planet. The local and international colonialists’ plan is not an earthquake, yet it has caused far more damage to the country.
Our experience over the six years since the earthquake is no different than the experience of other small countries with natural and human resources. The internationals loot and have an orgy while the international media turns a blind eye to lies spread by “their” ambassadors in their country’s name. The Haitian army, now being built to oppress the people, is a gift to the Haitian people by the Organization of American States (OAS). The cholera epidemic and the blood-thirsty and corrupt Haitian Police were the United Nations (UN) gifts to the Haitian people. The media is mute as the country nears total collapse. However, we say NO, WE Will Not OBEY. We will not dig our own graves. We’d rather tell the truth and expose the conspiracy.”
For more information, contact the Haiti Action Committee: www.haitisolidarity.net