The President’s Revolt Against “State Terrorism”
Carole Concha Bell reports on anti-corruption protests in Haiti, which have been violently repressed
Haiti is no stranger to violent uprisings and turmoil – it was born out of foreign interference, formidable dictatorships, and the slaughter of political opponents.
However, since the installation of Jovenel Moïse in 2004 as President, supported by the United States, the unrest has been relentless, violence and repression of dissidents having reached a bloody crescendo in recent weeks.
The Caribbean country is the poorer in the Western Hemisphere with around 65% of the population living below the poverty line, with health services reaching only 40-60% of the population, and high Child mortality rate. It is also vulnerable to disasters and historically suffers from high levels of Corruption permeating his Politics, economic and legal institutions.
“Since the bloody kidnapping Rebellion of February 29, 2004, against the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the national and local representatives and the people continuously took to the streets, ”declared Pierre Labossière, founder of the Haiti Action Committee based in California, declared Signing time. “Thousands of people have been killed in a campaign led by right-wing death squads, Haitian police and UN occupation forces to eradicate popular democracy and impose successive far-right governments who implement neoliberal policies.
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“Over the past 17 years, people in cities and rural areas have experienced a rapid increase in miserable living conditions.lavi che” or the high cost of living, poverty wages, the drastic reduction of basic services in education, health care, access to drinking water, electricity and sanitation to quote only those.
The main source of the recent public outcry comes from the hijacking of much of $ 2 billion of the Venezuelan ‘Petro Caribe’ program by Moïse and his predecessor, Michel Martelly. This was originally intended to help Haitians by improving infrastructure, health and education services, but program grants were never transmitted to the general public.
This led to growing anger and protests, during which the protesters were violently suppressed by the United States of Haiti.funded and trained police forces.
Petro Caribe was an oil Alliance overseen by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, involving 18 other Central American and Caribbean states. It was created in 2005 in response to the ravages of extreme neoliberal policies in the region and Haiti was one of the last states to join in 2007.
As part of this program, Venezuela offers oil to member countries who must pay 60% of the invoice within 90 days. The remaining 40% can be financed over 25 years at an interest rate of 1%. This huge energy subsidy was supposed to help indebted and poor states. But six different Haitian governments are accused of embezzling $ 2 billion in oil money instead of spending it on vital infrastructure projects.
The Moïse administration alone is believed to have mismanaged at least $ 1 billion in funds, leaving ordinary Haitians to foot the bill with high taxes and a disproportionate cost of living. The funds that should have been used to rebuild the country’s infrastructure following the devastation of the tropical storm Laura and hurricane Eta, plus the start of Coronavirus, have simply disappeared.
“People are seeing their tax money squandered by government officials get very rich quickly because basic services such as garbage removal are no longer or poorly provided,” Labossière said. “Strikes by sanitation workers, teachers, health workers who have not been paid for months are frequent. Vacant lots stand where a hospital should provide services to residents who die for lack of basic health care… Teachers go unpaid for months, schools lack basic supplies.
“NGOs, government officials and members of Haiti’s ruling elite have been named in the various scandals reported … The recent scandals involve millions of dollars for COVID-19 which are also missing as hospitals and health workers lack PPE and basic supplies.
Human Rfighting under attack
In November, Haitian activists and students took to the streets, furious at widespread corruption and skyrocketing poverty levels. Police responded to the protests with disproportionate force.
One of the students, Grégory Saint-Hilaire, deceased gunshot wounds when Haitian police security forces illegally entered university in Port au Prince, refuel Following riot. Saint-Hilaire was an outspoken pro-democracy activist. Monferrier Dorval, a lawyer and head of the Port-au-Prince Bar, was also gunned down this year, just hours after speaking outside in a live radio show.
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“The demonstrators want the immediate end of Jovenel Moïse’s regime,” added Laboisse. “They want a public security transitional government led by competent and honest citizens who will meet the immediate needs of the population. They want Jovenel Moïse arrested and prosecuted for corruption and crimes against humanity – he is named in official government corruption reports.
“The protesters demand a government that is honest and accountable to the Haitian people. People want an end to state terrorism experienced in police brutality, the killings of peaceful protesters, unannounced house demolitions and land grabbing. “
Despite growing calls for his resignation, the international community repudiation And one escalation Human rights and economic crises, Jovenel Moïse continues to cling desperately in the reins of power.
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