Haitian Grassroots Organisations Speak Out

This is a translation of a Creole statement by Haitian grass-roots organisations to mark the 92nd anniversary of the first U S occupation of Haiti, which falls on July 28 (1915-1934). These organisations (non Lavalas, my emphasis) were mostly clandestine during the Lavalas years. These organisations also are part of a historic tendency that always worked toward a greater and active unity of the progressive sectors. I take full responsibilities to translate it on the exact date of the anniversary of the death of Father Jean Pierre Louis, a heroic proponent of the Liberation Theology. On August 3rd, 1998, Ti Jean Pierre Louis was assassinated in broad daylight because of the simple fact that he was still preaching to the Haitian masses to defend their gains and interests. Being shot in the mouth, his tongue was cut and left on his side because of his fiery speeches denouncing U S imperialism and its local lackeys. His assassin(s) were never found and punished.

Sadly his funerals were also brutally disrupted by a bunch of mercenary ‘chime’ under the direction of Rene Civil (J.P.P. acronym for Jan- pase-l-pase) that came purposely to disrupt the funerals. They beat and mistreated participants and onlookers while a rowdy musical rara group played on, their band leaders mostly drunk .They had come suspecting that the funerals would turn into an open protest .Earlier in the morning, these pro-Aristide groups had placed a big propaganda banner at the entrance of the Saint Bernadette church proclaiming ‘Vle pa vle Aristide 2001’, which reads that ‘whether one likes it or not, Aristide in 2001’. It was an obvious kick off, starting the campaign of Aristide’s candidacy for the coming election .The following years of the Lavalas regime proved to be a total disaster. 


We, the undersigned members of the M.D.P (Movement for Popular Democracy), Tet Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen (Unity of Poor/Little Haitians Peasants), Chandel (Popular Organisation for Popular Education), Morap (Movement for Reflection and Popular Action, Move (Organised Movement for Efficient Life), SAJ/Veye Yo (Solidarity among the Youth/Vigilance) are making this unity call for general mobilisation, all over the country against the U.N. occupying forces (Minustah) in our territory.

This date of July 28th, 2007 marks exactly ninety-two years since our country was first invaded and occupied by the United States. Since then the country has officially been under total domination by U.S. Imperialism.

In the year 1492 the Spanish colonial power came to this part of the world to amass a vast quantity of our wealth. They killed the first indigenous people, the Indians. After this horrible massacre of the Indians they went out and snatched the Africans to make them slaves. But after long centuries of struggle, the rebellious slaves finally defeated the French and kicked them out of Haiti. In spite of their well-earned victories, the French colonial powers and their allies systematically demanded that the new Haitian authorities pay them a so-called ‘debt of independence.’ The plundering of our natural resources, the paying of that so-called debt, ninety two years of U.S. domination of the country taking all forms; all of that brought about extreme difficulties for the country. All of that constitutes real barriers to have and enjoy real and durable independence.

They also put in jeopardy all attempts by the popular sectors to establish a different kind of society, free from domination and exploitation.

In 1915, U.S. imperialism invaded Haiti to encourage big capitalist enterprises to make the rich richer; they came and seized our gold reserve in the Central Bank. The biggest resistance they faced came from the peasant sectors. Under the direction of Charlemagne Peralte and Benoit Batraville, the peasants were able to organise themselves into the Caco guerillas resistance against the occupation. The U.S. military massacred many hundreds of peasants who were the integral part of that army of the resistance, through treachery and deception. In October 1994, the U.S. military invaded the country a second time to bring about the return of Aristide and at the same time to apply the nefarious neo-liberal plan. After Aristide’s mandate, Preval came to exactly continue the same plan. Under the second occupation, Preval started to liquidate the state enterprises. Meanwhile the Haitian government sold out the Minoterie d’Haiti (National Flour Company) and the Ciment d’Haiti (National Cement Company). Nowadays many other state Enterprises are being threatened and are under way to be sold under the government of President Preval and his Prime Minister Alexis.

In the year 2004, at exactly the time of the 200th Celebration of Haiti’s Independence, U.S., French and Canadian troops invaded our soil. Several months later the Minustah (United Nations) forces took over to continue the occupation.

It is the Minustah that is taking care of police reforms; they are also the ones reforming Haitian justice. They are present in all spheres and important institutions of the State, in order to continue carrying out their plan to push through projects that liquidate the State Holdings or keep it under imperialist domination and the rule of the corrupt bourgeoisie.

In the historical crossroad we are facing today, we the undersigned organisations are making this important historic call to all progressive forces to fight in unity for the defence and autonomy of this country. We essentially ask all popular organisations and progressive forces to come forward and unite in that fight. We do not want an occupied country where foreign diplomats and U.N. soldiers are the arrogant caretakers. We want a free country that exists for those that live in it. We want an autonomous state that exists in the interest of the masses of people.

To come to the realisation of that autonomous state, we ask that the current government in place:

1) Stop renewing the Minustah mandate in Haiti.

2) Stop engaging Haiti in neo-liberal death policies, the ‘free market,’ the privatisation of the state enterprises... These policies only bring more misery, unemployment, and insecurity to the country.

3) Stop paying the I.M.F. and World Bank loans and debts and use the monies to provide health, education, and other services to the population.

4) Immediately address the crisis of the management of the State Enterprises. Get the State Enterprises to function properly and keep them as the property of the country.

Modep, Morap, Saj/Veye Yo, Tet Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen, Chandel.

Down with occupation!

Down with privatisation!

Long live a free and sovereign Haiti!

Long live Haiti’s State Enterprises!

Translated from the Creole by Elyene

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