Our partners at the Haiti Action Committee  sent us this urgent alert and call to action in solidarity with the people of Haiti:

The people of Haiti need our solidarity in the face of the increasing violence of the fraudulently imposed government of Jovenel Moise.

Last November the government of Jovenel Moise, was essentially imposed on the Haitian people in the second presidential election in a row with widespread fraud and impropriety. Now, Moise’s government is attempting to rebuild the brutal and corrupt Haitian Military, which was disbanded by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1995.

Some of you may remember the 2004 coup against the elected government, carried out by remnants of the old military that led to thousands of murders. Many of those responsible for the killings are members of the current police forces, which is bad enough. Reconstituting the army would make things far worse.

Moise’s interest in reconvening the military takes place at a volatile moment in Haitian society. The Haitian police and other government paramilitary forces, accompanied by UN occupation forces, have carried out violent criminal attacks against protesting teachers, students, factory workers, market women, street vendors and others who are also victims of government extortion, theft of land, money and merchandise.

The list of egregious incidents is long and includes:

  • On July 10 – 12, 2017, there were three days of peaceful protest for an increase in the minimum wage. Despite the protestors’ pacifism, Haitian police attacked the workers from an industrial park in Port-au-Prince with tear gas, batons and cannons shooting a liquid skin irritant.
  • On June 12, 2017, the government-appointed rector of the Haitian State University used his car to hit and run over a protesting university student. The government prosecutor has ignored the complaint filed by the students against the rector and is instead pursuing the victim’s colleagues in a blatant attempt to harass and intimidate them.
  • In May 2017, a food vendor in was killed after he was deliberately hit and run over by a car of the municipal paramilitary forces according to outraged witnesses.
  • On March 20th, 2017, police officers were videotaped shooting at the car carrying President Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse as they returned from court. The police officers were reportedly observed returning to the national palace; there was no condemnation of this blatant assassination attempt by the government.

Adding a newly organized Haitian Army to this mix is a sign that the Haitian government is planning on more repression. The Haitian military’s purpose was to protect Haitian dictatorships and to attack any challenges by the Haitian people. Whether under the Duvalier dictatorships from 1957-1986 or when the military overthrew the democratically elected Aristide government in 1991, leading to the killing of over 5000 people, the military has been a central anti-democratic institution in Haitian society. When then-President Aristide disbanded the narco-trafficking Haitian military in 1995, the Army was eating up 40% of the national budget in a country with fewer than two doctors per 10,000 people.

Now this infamous military is being restored just as the United Nations is said to begin a staged withdrawal of its troops. This is similar to what happened following the U.S. occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934, a period in which 20,000 Haitians were killed. As the U.S. forces withdrew, they left in place a neo-colonial army with Haitian faces to do their bidding and continue the repression of popular discontent.

Haitians are saying NO to the restoration of an additional repressive military force. They are demanding an end to police terror and an end to impunity. Please join us in supporting the resistance by joining the resistance and contacting your member of Congress, the UN Mission in Haiti or the US State Department and telling them to:

  • Say No to the Restoration of the brutal Haitian military!
  • Hold the US and UN occupation accountable for the terror campaign by the Haitian police and security forces they train and supervise!
  • Say No to impunity for police terror in Haiti!

Contact:

  • US State Department: HaitiSpecialCoordinator@state.gov
  • Your Member of Congress: 202-224 3121
  • UN Mission in Haiti: minustah-info@un.org

We think it is very important to be on the side of the people who are fighting for justice during this critical moment of crisis in Haiti, and recognize how hard it can be to ascertain what is happening in the fog of propaganda.

The Haitian government continues to be extremely skilled in working with US based progressive institutions, individuals, and the media to distort the ongoing repression in Haiti.

Global Exchange’s logo was recently featured on the Haitian Embassy website due to a delegation we helped support with a third party who did not recognize the dangers of being associated in any way with the current regime.

When Global Exchange learned of the Haitian embassy involvement in promoting this delegation we acted swiftly to sever our ties with it.

Please continue to support the work of Global Exchange and the Haiti Action Committee.