Haiti is once again peering over the edge of a political precipice, as Haitians in the Caribbean and the diaspora breathe in the news of the assassination of former president Jovenel Moise. In these moments of instability, social movements have continually shown the way forward towards human rights and ecological justice for all Haitians.
Grassroots International’s longtime partner, the Haitian Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development (PAPDA), is one such popular coalition. Founded in 1995, PAPDA brings together key constituents such as women, peasants, and workers to build alternative development strategies in Haiti. Under PAPDA’s umbrella, movements create public policies on their own terms – scaling them up and out through training and critical analysis.
PAPDA’s activist leadership emphasizes that the problems facing Haiti are deeply structural. Therefore, events such as the assassination that occurred yesterday cannot be viewed in isolation from racialized capitalism and external intervention – clear connectors of social, economic, and political crises in contemporary Haiti.
As an integral component of its movement building work, PAPDA coordinates Jubilee South Caribbean, a group that has been active in resisting corporate power at the transnational level. PAPDA has provided leadership in Jubilee South Caribbean in diverse thematic areas such as debt abolition, solidarity economy, participatory democracy and decentralization, and international solidarity.
Jubilee South Caribbean released the following statement regarding Moise’s assassination. While condemning that act of violence, the statement also includes careful analysis penned by social movements of the lack of democracy and rule of law that has both underpinned the current administration and been an ongoing feature of it. (The original statement in Spanish is linked here.)
Grassroots International is in ongoing dialogue with PAPDA and other partners in Haiti right now to gather updates and analysis from the front lines and assess how we can best show our solidarity to Haitian movements at this critical moment.
Statement by Jubilee South – Americas/Caribbean Articulation, July 7, 2021:
We condemn the assassination of former president Jovenel Moise. We stress that all the democratic struggles of the Haitian people over recent years have been peaceful struggles.
There is no clear information about the origin and nature of the armed group that killed him. Everything seems to indicate complicity and/or participation on the part of the presidential guard.
When he was assassinated, his constitutional mandate had already ended on February 7th 2021. He was a de facto president, who remained in the post through violent and illegal means.
Jovenel Moise (JM) had betrayed the constitutional legality, destroying the parliament (from January 2020), and attacking the Chamber of Accounts and the Supreme Court. JM even imprisoned a Supreme Court judge, who enjoys complete immunity.
Jovenel Moise governed through violence and state terrorism, using armed gangs. The gangs organized more than 12 massacres against working-class neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, leaving a shocking wake of deaths, burnt houses, and material losses. Recently, more than 10,000 people had to flee the district of Martissant, after being driven out by the violence of these armed groups. Many targeted assassinations were carried out, including that of the university professor, Montferrier Dorval, an important intellectual who chaired the prestigious Port-au-Prince Bar of attorneys, and recently (on June 29, 2021) 2 journalists, and feminist leaders and well-respected politicians.
A wave of thousands of kidnappings has also been organized, creating a climate of fear and chaos in daily life. The connection between the executive and these gangs is well documented, by various United Nations reports and many reports by Haitian human rights organizations.
The gangs receive arms and ammunition from the PHTK, and they enjoy complete impunity. Some heads of gangs use material from the national police.
This unacceptable situation was clearly supported by the United States, Canada, the European Union, the UN, the OAS, and the CORE Group. This means that they are responsible for the worsening of the situation and the heightening of the crisis. At this difficult time, the following points are important to the progressive and grassroots sectors in Haiti:
- Prevent a renewed military occupation. In this respect, it is important to reject the option of occupation by multilateral forces, which have already shown that their presence worsens the crisis in Haiti. Between 2004 and 2015 they committed serious crimes against Haiti and multiple violations of the nation’s basic human rights.
- We call on all organizations that show solidarity with the Haitian cause to pay close attention and, where possible, to apply pressure on the meeting of the UN Security Council planned for 8th July 2021, which will deal with the Haitian crisis, to ensure that they do not decide to deploy a new occupation force.
- To organize a period of transition of at least two years, to enable restoration of the constitutional rule of law, to reorganize the electoral system and respond to widespread poverty and the severe worsening of living condition for the population, which is experiencing a deep crisis of unemployment and hunger (the number of people suffering from hunger doubled during the government of the late ex-president Jovenel Moise), and paralysis of the vast majority of economic and commercial activities.
- To leave neo-liberalism and define a new national development pact.
- We denounce the claims of Claude Joseph, illegal Prime Minister who is attempting to declare himself interim president, in violation of the clear provisions of article 149, which establishes a mechanism for dealing with the institutional vacuum at the level of the Presidency.
- The inability of the constitutional provisions to fill the current vacuum is the result of the process of institutional dismantling carried out by the government of Jovenel Moise, in a bid to reinstall an autocratic system with all powers concentrated in the person of the President of the Republic.
- We denounce the illegal, inappropriate and dangerous decision to declare a state of siege, adopted by the de facto Prime Minister to eliminate all processes for freedom of expression and popular mobilization.
- This period of transition should be the result of a broad consultation process.
- We do not want a transition controlled by imperialism and oligarchy.
- There are well-organized structures that bring together civil society, political parties, social movements, which have demonstrated their effective capacity to make proposals, and which can participate in the design and successful implementation of the transition period.
- The serious situation faced by the Haitian people today demands a radical change in the policy of international agencies regarding Haiti. They must recognize the failure of the policies implemented during recent decades, break with the political alliances that have maintained with the most reactionary forces in Haiti, and start to pay the immense debt accumulated during over 500 years of pillaging of resources in the country.
- This is also the ideal moment to build new forms of concrete solidarity based on the struggles of the Haitian people for true system change.
Long live Haiti! Long live the ongoing struggles for the emancipation of the Haitian People! Haiti deserves reparations now! Down with all forms of imperialist insurgence! We are Haiti! Haiti is here in Latin America and the Caribbean!