In Haiti, President Moise refused to leave when his term was over, and hundreds of thousands have protested in the streets demanding his resignation. Canada and the U.S. have supported dictators and coups in Haiti for decades. Joining Paul is Jafrikayiti, an author, radio show host, public speaker, activist, artist; and Yves Engler, a Montreal-based activist, and author.
Hi, I’m Paul Jay. Welcome to the Analysis News. Please don’t forget there’s a donate button at the top of the web page, and if you’re watching on YouTube, you could hit subscribe.
For the second Sunday in a row, hundreds of thousands of Haitians took to the streets of Port-Au-Prince on Sunday, March 7th, to demand the departure of President Giovino Moïse, whose term of office has expired. After decades of the U.S. supported Duvalier dictatorship, a U.S. and Canadian supported coup against the elected president Aristide natural disasters, cholera introduced by U.N. supposed peacekeepers, and now what amounts to a new dictatorship of President Moïse. The Haitian people have suffered mightily and fought valiantly, while U.S. policy in support of the Haitian elites and foreign mining and manufacturing companies has received some attention Canada has played an important role in defending these same interests.
Now joining us to discuss the current situation in Haiti and Canada’s role is Jafrik Ayiti (Jean Saint-VII). He’s an author, a radio show host, a public speaker, activist, artist, Canadian civil servant. He’s also the co-founder of two self-help organizations, AKASAN and Jaku Konbit, which follow the principles popularized by Marcus Garvey. He works with the Canada-Haitian Action Network and Haïti-Québec Solidaire.
Also joining us is Yves Engler, a Montreal-based activist and author and a regular contributor to theAnalysis. He has published 11 books, including his latest House of Mirrors: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy. Thank you both for joining me.
So, Jafri, could you get us going, first of all, talk about what’s happening now about the protests and why people are demanding Moïse resignation and give us some context for all this.
Yes, well, thank you very much for covering this. These demonstrations that have taken place in the last two Sundays really follow a string of demonstrations that have been happening since actually 2004. Now, of course, they intensified during the last couple of years focused on corruption. The particular corruption that the people in Haiti are denouncing is about embezzlement of the Petrocaribe funds, which is $4.2 billion that were injected in the Haitian economy through an arrangement with President Hugo Chavez, former President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, where Haiti bought oil from Venezuela, and it was to be returned to Venezuela in goods or in cash, part of it over twenty-five years.
So the money set aside would be used for investment in infrastructure, things that Haiti badly needed. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and there’s evidence that the funds were embezzled by the regime that is currently in power, with former President Michel Martelly having spent the most time using those funds, but that also has another link to corruption, because it’s also doing the Martelly governance that most of the billions of dollars that upwards to $13 billion that were collected after the earthquake, supposedly for the rebuilding of Haiti, that money just vanished.
In that particular case, it is not only the Haitian players who are involved in the corruption, because, as you might remember, Bill Clinton was assigned a specific role as special envoy of the United Nations, and he co-led the commission that was in charge of the management of those funds, and it so happens that a portion of these funds were also used during the presidency of Michel Martelly. And so people are fighting against a regime that has used a lot of violence against the demonstrators, but it’s also in a backdrop of foreign occupation because what happens is that Haiti had 7000 elected officials in 2004, and all of these were removed, toppled and replaced first by unelected officials that were hand-picked by the foreign occupiers, which include the United States, Canada, and France, but later on, they organized a set of sham elections that Haitians decried to impose leaders that never really managed to gain the respect of the population.
Now, this is after the coup against Aristide?
Yes. So since 2004 to the present time, you basically never had a situation where elected officials, whether it is local officials like mayors all the way to the president, would have been elected and be seen by the population as the duly elected representatives. In most instances, they could identify what powers placed these people in with titles of senators, deputies, et cetera, and some instances, scandals broke about who paid to buy the seats in the Senate, and so you have one such senator who’s scandal broke in the Canadian press because he bought a house in Laval, Quebec, $4.2 million cash.
People in the Haitian community in Montreal understand that we cannot do that. So where does this guy find that money to? And senators are not paid that much money in Haiti to be able to afford that.
Look, just let me ask you about this point. You say many elected officials and others were removed after the coup against Aristide. So this just wasn’t a coup just against Aristide. It was against an entire administration.
Important point that is often missed. It was 7000 elected officials and they were removed. From local officials all the way to the legislature was canceled.
Excuse me, by what authority?
The United States did it, for instance, the Prime Minister of Haiti, according to the Haitian constitution, is someone who must have lived for five consecutive years in the country in order to qualify for the president to name the prime minister, and then the prime minister is supposed to go in front of the legislature. So the Senate and the deputy chambers together to ratify the choice of a prime minister. This did not happen in 2004.
There’s this guy named Gérard Latortue, who was living in Boca Raton, Florida. After the coup he entered Haiti and they named him Prime Minister, and he’s the one who basically ran the country during that first transition period with complete disregard for whatever the Haitian constitution says, but that’s not new. I mean, every time there’s a foreign occupation, this has always happened. Anything that’s inconvenient for the foreign occupiers, they just disregard, and when it becomes too much, they draft a new constitution, which is what they’re trying to do now.
Just remind us, because a lot of our audience are younger or they’re older and don’t remember. What were some of the most important parts of Aristide’s policies that the United States and we’ll get to Canada objected to?
Well, just a couple of hints. OK, so President Aristide when he was first elected in 1990, only lasted seven months and there was a coup against him conducted by the CIA operatives in the country. He spent three years in exile as soon as he returned he basically tried to do the most that he could during the few months that he had because the Haitian constitution does not allow a president to have two consecutive terms. So when he returned, having lost the three years, he could only organize election for someone to replace him because he could not run in those elections.
So what he did on the last month of his time in 1995, he went to Cuba to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba, which Haiti did not have during the whole period of the Duvalier dictatorship we did not have relationships with Cuba, and that allowed a very dynamic South-South collaboration where many Cuban doctors came to Haiti afterwards. Haitian students went to Cuba, and so there was a lot of investment in health care. During Aristide’s government, just before he was overthrown in 2004, 16 percent of the meager national budget was dedicated to health care.
And we’re talking about $400 million here as a national budget. Compared to today these guys in Haiti have upwards of $2.5 billion annually, whereas in Aristide’s time he had 400 million, and that money on top of it, he was being pressured by the IDB to pay arrears on loans that were stolen by the Duvalier dictatorship. So he had to pay those arrears before he gets access to new loans. So it was a completely bankrupt government because it was being harassed by the international financial system, but they invested in some city infrastructures, built a lot of parks, schools, the highest number of high schools built in Haitian history during one short period of time.
President Aristide also doubled the minimum wage, which was very unpopular because there’s a set of 11 multinational families in Haiti. Their businesses is sweatshops and import-export.
And when you say very unpopular, you mean very unpopular with the 11 families.
Exactly, because to them, you know, paying normal wages to the workers is a crime. So he was deposed because of that, but one last point, though, and that speaks to the international dimension of this, is that when President Aristide realized that he wasn’t really finding any sources of revenues because the country was being boycotted by the international players, he issued a very popular demand for the Haitian people, but very unpopular on the international arena of reparations and restitution.
So in the Haitian case, it’s a two-pronged element. You have restitution because friends collected a ransom from the Africans who had liberated themselves. So Haiti paid a ransom to the French state from 1825 to 1947.
For the successful uprising of Haitian slaves.
Yes. So instead of the European powers paying reparations to the liberated Africans for stolen labor, it was the opposite. So Haiti’s breast milk literally was stolen from it because during the industrial revolution, when everybody was building the infrastructure, Haitians were producing coffee, cocoa, all kinds of stuff just to generate funds to send to France.
Just to be clear, make sure everyone’s getting this. This is reparations for the slaves doing this horrible thing of liberating themselves. Clearly, that’s a crime that should be compensated.
Yeah, and Haiti was asked to pay 150 million francs to the French for the loss of property. If you look at the territory of Haiti at the time, they were talking about the whole island, because the whole island is Haiti. Today, it’s occupied by the Dominican Republic and Haiti on the other side, but that territory, the whole island is I think when I did the calculation, it’s at least 22 times smaller than [French Territory of] Louisiana. I think it’s much more than that actually.
Louisiana was sold for 15 million. OK, from Napoleon’s friends to the Americans, and that doubled the size of the United States today. So it’s like more than 10 times the amount for a territory that’s several orders of magnitude smaller. So obviously what they were doing was essentially saying that, OK, these Africans have liberated themselves, but we will make sure that they simmer in poverty for as long as possible, and that was not done only by the French.
This was a coalition effort because the French got help from the Americans. In fact much of that money was collected during the U.S. occupation by Americans who collected the money. The money was transited to U.S. banks and then went to French banks. We can talk about other European powers who participated in the armada that went to Haiti because it was gunboat diplomacy. They were at the Haiti harbor saying you have to give the payments or we will blow up the national palace.
And this happened throughout the 19th century. President Aristide demanded that, you know, we’re in a civilized world now. France needs to recoup its dignity and that involves them returning the money. In 2003, when this demand was made, France had consecutive surpluses in their budgets. So they had the money. They could have paid it, but, of course, it would be a precedent, and as you know, most of the countries that claim to be democracies today built their riches on the backs of Africans who were enslaved.
So this would have created a situation that the British and others would be very nervous about, and so what they did, they organized a meeting here in Canada and they said, well, let’s kidnap this guy, get him out and put Haiti under U.N. tutelage. Less than a year later, they do this.
Yves, have Aristide standing up to the Haitian elites and policies that are progressive in terms of the workers in Haiti, and then you have these various governments that come afterwards that are defending the interests of these elites and foreign mining companies and all this. And now you have Moïse, I’m assuming Canada, because we all know Canada only cares about democracy everywhere. I’m assuming Canada was against all this U.S. policy, right?
Well, unfortunately, no, as Jean pointed out, 13 months before they overthrew the Aristide government and thousands of elected officials, the Canadian government organized a meeting just outside of Ottawa to discuss ousting Aristide, to discuss putting the country under UN trusteeship and recreating the Haitian military. That was all reported in L’actualité, which is a Quebec corporate media outlet, probably a trial trial balloon by the minister that was responsible for the meeting. And then that all happens.
Thirteen months later you have Canadian troops on the ground that secure the airport that Aristide says he was kidnaped from and then dumped in the Central African Republic. All that was reported on the year before the coup and then after the coup transpired, the dominant media in this country went completely silent on the Ottawa initiative on Haiti and have basically not investigated Canada being involved in planning or plotting a coup. That, of course, is just an extreme example of the bias of the dominant media.
But I think another part of this story that should be told, that Jean kind of alluded to it when Aristide increased the minimum wage, one of the biggest sweatshop operators in the country was a much larger company called Gildan Activewear. Their main subcontractor in Haiti was a man by the name of Andrea Ped, who was the head of the Group of 184, the opposition to Aristide. Andrea Ped is a light-skinned Haitian. Looks a lot more like me than he does to Jean. He is part of that small elite of white, mostly white or Arab background of families that run the economy, but that’s the people that Canada is working with, right?
That’s where the Canadian corporate class and Canadian politicians are interlinked with these 11 families that run the economy. And that’s basically been Canadian policy since at least 2003, which is to subvert the will of the majority, to undermine Haitian sovereignty, and you see that right up until today, where you have this dictator since February 7th, an unequivocal dictator since he extended his mandate, contrary to all constitutional authorities.
The only reason Jovenel Moïse is still in power is because he has the backing of Washington and Ottawa. Right. He falls tomorrow if it isn’t for the fact that he has the backing. In fact the regime in place only gets in place because of the intervention of U.S. and Canadian officials after the earthquake in 2010 and early 2011 with the elections, but they have Canadian backing in terms of the police, Canada providing financial and training, support, diplomatic support to the police force as they kill protesters.
You have constant public declarations by Canadian officials backing Moïse, while there are a hundred thousand people in the street calling for him to go. So you really have Canada acting as an imperial bully explicitly in this long history of U.S. led terror against the majority of the population?
Yeah, I think it’s an important point because I think Canadians and probably people outside of Canada, well, not in Haiti, they think Canada is sort of at worst a bystander that doesn’t critique the U.S. as the Americans do these dirty deeds, but in Haiti and other places, too, like Venezuela, Canadians play a very active role, even some time, a leading role in suppressing people’s movements.
In Haiti, for sure, and there is a Venezuela connection to all of this. They were pushing Jovenel Moïse to join the Lima Group, the anti-Venezuela Lima Group, and that’s one element of why the U.S. and Canada are keeping him in place, because they’re doing their work diplomatically in the hemisphere. Yeah, in Haiti, it’s clear that Canada has been the lead player in increasing the size and the repressive nature of the Haitian police over the past 15 years, the lead financier, Canadian RCMP, and Sûreté du Québec have been the lead players, were the lead players in the UN police training mission and continue to be lead players on that front.
So, yeah, the Canadian government is not a passive bystander at this point. Canada is the second imperial player in Haiti after the U.S., more so than France in the last 50 years. Maybe earlier, prior to 2004, that may not have been the case, but in the last 50 years. And it gets almost no attention in the dominant media of this country or for that matter the major political parties.
In recent days there’s been some breakthrough in a few MPs that have criticized Canadian policy in Haiti, but overwhelmingly, it’s just silence from the dominant media and silence from the main opposition party as well.
And this is in spite of the fact that Canada has a lot of economic interest in Haiti, it’s not just this one manufacturer, it’s other textile manufacturers, but also mining companies as well. Is that right?
There was the example of Eurasian minerals which had exploration contracts in northern Haiti. St. Genevieve. A number of Canadian mining companies. Now, this also has a connection to the 11 families because it so happens that it’s the same folks who are also the connectors between the Canadian companies and what’s happening on the ground in Haiti. So, for instance, one of the former ambassadors of Haiti to Canada, he was a former president of the Chamber of Commerce, and when he arrived, that’s one of the questions I asked him.
How are you going to defend the interests of Haiti when you are in the mining sector? And we know the bad reputation that Canadian mining companies have in countries where you have dictatorships and they basically benefit from that climate so that they don’t do any of the environmental protection assessments. Forget about remediation and all of this stuff. They just come and they plunder and leave and left the population with the disaster. In the case of Haiti, the population has been lucky so far that active exploitation has not taken place.
So they’ve done exploration. So, you know, they probably make money in speculation in the market, but the gold is still there, however, what they’re trying to do is to change the Haitian law, because currently the law requires before exploration takes place or exploitation takes place for a company to have their proposal in front of the parliament to be discussed so that all of the aspects of the mining exploitation can be seen and make sure that all of the protections are there.
Now, what they’re trying to do is to get this guy, this unelected, illegal guy who’s extended his mandate to bypass all of that, create a new constitution that will completely remove this requirement. So all of the companies would need to do now is make sure that they bribe one minister and then they get access to the land and do whatever they want. So I think part of the story that’s important also to tell is that Canadians have shown solidarity with Haiti and that is an important story.
And it’s not only after the earthquake, because after the earthquake, we all saw it. The generosity was evident. People from coast to coast collected funds and sent money to the Red Cross and all kinds of organizations in order to help people in Haiti. That has also taken a different form. The Canada-Haiti Action Network that both Yves and I were involved with and now with Solidarité Québec-Haïti, where we find people from different parts of the country who are curious enough to give Haiti more than the usual 15 seconds.
You know, you get the usual clips that talk about black dictator. You know, black people cannot rule themselves, and of course, they put nice language around it and put it on TV, but beyond that, you don’t get coverage or analysis of what’s happening in Haiti, but there are a few Canadians who have been curious enough to go and dig deeper, to understand what’s really happening and to find that this is their story, because you know, a bunch of white men and women met at Meech Lake on January 31st, February 1st, 2003, and very seriously and calmly decide the future of the first black republic in the world.
I have spoken to a lot to people in Canadian government and others who absolutely are clueless about the importance of the date 2004, which was the bicentennial to us Haitians and black people around the world. This is nothing less than white supremacy. That a bunch of white people sit down in Ottawa and they decide that they have to remove the president of Haiti and put Haiti under tutelage. And Michel Martelly put it in his article.
They wanted to do it before January 1st, 2004, which is the bicentennial. Of course, in all of the media of the United States and Canada, there were all kinds of propaganda around 2004 at the end of 2003 telling people don’t go to Haiti, that there was an active boycott of the country. I went there with my family. My son at the time was four years old, and I can tell you the pride that this young boy had to be in a population of black people celebrating black nationhood.
OK, you cannot replace that, and unfortunately, we live in a world where these white people who met at Meech Lake they are so self-sufficient. If someone comes and tell them that this is stupid, you can’t do that. People are going to revolt against that. They’re going to be offended by that. They didn’t care, and as soon as the coup took place, it was evident the Congressional Black Caucus in the U.S., all of them stood against it. The Caribbean nations. The entire African Union issued statements to say that they stand against this coup.
Didn’t you get most of Latin America?
Most of Latin America stood against it because people understood exactly if we allow them to do this in Haiti. Well, it will happen in all of our countries, and in fact, this is what we’ve seen. You know, what do you have in Bolivia? You have finally the native people there managed to get one of theirs elected as President Evo Morales. OK, all of a sudden, the lithium of Bolivia becomes something that is important in the international market and then they decide that they’re not going to pay the price for it.
So they overthrew Evo Morales. So if we continue with this model, how can we seriously say that we left behind the colonial era and we are in a new era? I mean, this looks exactly like what was happening during the colonial times, right?
If I remember, in fact, you guys reminded me when I was executive producer of this debate show, Counter Spin on CBC, we did several shows about the coup, as well as how Canada’s role played in organizing the support for the coup, even organizing the coup, and we would do that show on Counterspell, and the next night on the national news, there’d be like nothing.
The actual news coverage wouldn’t deal with how active Canada was in organizing the coup and such hypocrisy, given Canada’s supposed to be the great standard-bearer of international law, United Nations, and so on and so on, and of course, all of this was violated. I mean, it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last act of hypocrisy on Canada’s part. But what do you make of what’s going on now in terms of Canada and the media?
Is there any real coverage of how Moïse is violating the Haitian constitution?
There’s more certainly than in 2004. There’s starting to be a bit more criticism. There’s a civil society, Canadian Labor Congress, most of the Quebec unions, the biggest NGO group here in Quebec, have all signed statements and put out statements in recent weeks critical of Canada’s role in Haiti and calling on Canada to stop propping up Moïse. The media is still downplaying the issue, but there’s been a few breakthroughs.
But, yeah, in my book, the propaganda system, I look at, go back at coverage of the war in Haiti and two elements that are really extreme in terms of the history of foreign policy, media suppression. One is the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti that we’ve talked about, and I did a Canada newsstand search on that, and I think there was like after the coup between 2004 and 2006, it was four mentions in Canadian English language daily newspapers about the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti.
And I think all of them were mentioned by activists when they had a call, I had one or two in the Ottawa Citizen mentioned briefly by activists, but probably even more startling example of media suppression was after the earthquake, Canada in 2010, the terrible earthquake that left a couple hundred of people dead, Canada decided to send two thousand troops alongside ten thousand fifteen thousand U.S. troops.
They didn’t send heavy urban search and rescue teams that were based in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax. They decided not to send them, and we got or actually the Canadian press got the internal government documents of the decision making for why they sent soldiers instead of heavy urban search and rescue teams, and it was because they were concerned about a power vacuum. That’s the internal government quote “and they were concerned that Aristide, who was then in exile in South Africa, might return to Haiti.” So after the horror of this earthquake, that everyone who has any ounce of human solidarity within them are obviously totally troubled by people being stuck under rubble, getting health care. What not.
The decision-makers in Ottawa were concerned about controlling that. Maintaining political control. Now, a year after the earthquake, the Canadian Press reported on this, these internal government documents. In my committee newsstand search, only one newspaper had the Canadian Press story into their paper. That was the Kamloops Daily News, a small paper in the interior of British Columbia. Now, almost every newspaper has access to the Canadian press wire.
Of course, a few outlets put it on the website. Only one paper, totally marginal paper, put it in the actual paper, and that’s a pretty extreme example of a bias in the dominant media, and things have broken down a bit today because the protest is so big and because more of the intellectual sectors of the Haitian society are critical of Moïse, whereas Aristide, a lot of them sided with the U.S., France, Canada, coup.
So the situation’s changed a little bit today, and also within the Haitian community in Montreal, I think there’s more dissent on the matter, but mostly the dominant media follows the federal government’s perspective, which is backing up the dictatorship.
Before we finish, and I think we’ll have to do another episode on this and probably several as the struggle continues, but talk a bit about the struggle Jafrika. Hundreds of thousands of people, you said it might even be a million, two weeks in a row. That’s a big deal, especially in a country that has a repressive police force and so on. What are the politics going on there in terms of opposition parties, movement organizations, unions? What’s happening?
Well, it’s very telling the number of people who are in the streets. If you just compare it, for instance, with the situation in 2003 when I went to Haiti and I saw these demonstrations because there were demonstrations against Aristide, which were organized by those 11 families and the U.S. embassy, etc., but you would have an anti-Aristide demonstration on Saturday that would have, let’s say, I don’t know, fifty thousand people in the streets.
The next day you’d have two hundred thousand pro-Aristide demonstrators in the streets, and I filmed it. I saw it myself. And so that’s why when Yves was telling you that after the earthquake in 2010, all of these powers and in special cables, you could see that they were all nervous, the United States, France, Canada, watching the population because they knew that the population did not accept the post-coup regimes, that they were unpopular.
Today, you don’t have any pro-government demonstrations in the streets of Port au Prince, OK, because this guy, Jovenel Moïse, was completely unknown when he was hand-picked by Martelly to replace him. They kind of created a personality out of nothing. So the rich families, what they did, they funneled money through his bank accounts, OK, he had, I think, 13 bank accounts when the investigation took place, and so all of a sudden, he becomes this very rich guy and the title of entrepreneur is given to him.
And he supposedly has a banana farm that is producing banana that is so precious that while Haiti is importing banana from the Dominican Republic, these Haitian bananas are going to Germany and they’re so fancy that Haitians cannot eat them. So in reality, this whole thing was fake. There was only one container of bananas that went to Germany and the whole thing collapsed. There was never any real farm. So they created this personality, and of course, some people bought into the idea because he’s a dark-skinned Haitian, because the Haitian they had before, as the first puppet was a light-skinned Haitian, Michel Martelly.
And his entourage was all from the [inaudible]. Guys who are lighter than me, and people started to question what is this government of Haiti that we have that doesn’t look like us? And so they did what this oligarchy has been doing for hundreds of years. Whenever they get caught in the puppet regimes, they go and find someone who is as dark as possible to put in front as president, but the reality is, just like you mentioned, you had under the carpet playing that key role back in 2004.
Well, guess what happened? One day after that, Jovenel Moïse term legally expired he extended his term, and the very next day he issued a decree which is illegal because he’s not supposed to be issuing decrees like that. There’s supposed to be a parliament. But what’s in that decree? He gives eight thousand six hundred hectares of land to who? This white American guy André Apaid and is supposed to be using that land. I mean, this is such a huge territory in Haitian terms because it covers three different departments of the countr, and he’s supposed to be producing something called stevia, which is used in Coca-Cola.
Now, imagine this, and this is land that can produce food, OK? Now, this guy is taking it to do a monoculture which relies, which is completely dependent on one company, OK?
And Jovenel Moïse gives this land to him with the additional gift of $18 million to develop that. So what people are realizing more and more is that the real person who is president of Haiti is André Apaid and Jovenel Moïse is just the puppet that they put in front, and sooner or later he’s going to be deposed. Now, in the last couple of weeks, the reason why you have more gathering of people and it’s not just politicians who are running those demonstrations.
In fact, most of them are not run by politicians. It’s the civil society because there’s a wave of kidnappings that have taken hold of the country, because Haiti, like most of these countries, have urban violence. You know, you have the favelas in Colombia, etc. you have in Rio. Well, we used to have this kind of violence in Port-Au-Prince, but what we’ve observed in the last 10 years is that this has become a phenomenon that affects the whole country.
There are places in the countryside that never had banditry problems. And now you have these young men who are walking around with clothes that don’t look that fancy, but each of them are carrying AK-47s and Uzis and weapons that cost seven thousand dollars apiece, and how does that happen? Haiti is an island. We don’t produce weapons. That’s clear. OK, so the ports have been privatized. And who owns the ports, those same families? OK, and so they’ve been investing in arming gangs of young men and women and they spend a lot of resources on creating a climate of fear in certain strategic areas, including the waterfront in Port au Prince where there are slums right now.
And it has always been a project of these 11 families to displace that population from these areas and some other areas within the country so that they can take it and do their own idea of development. And so there is a climate of fear that has been created with these guns. People were saying, well, it doesn’t make sense. These guys are kidnapers and they’re kidnaping street vendors and they’re asking a million dollars. How does it make sense? I mean, what street vendor has million dollars?
Are the gangs going after the protesters at all?
Yes, that is happening as well, but this has happened with a specific gang, there’s a specific gang that they created in the Delmas area that’s near the national palace, and there’s a former police officer named Jimmy Cherizier. His nickname is Barbecue, and that’s because he kills people and burns them. Now, this guy, you will see if you follow, if you Google his name, you’ll find that all kinds of governments, Canada, U.S., everybody has been asking for his arrest, but he is like the road runner in Bugs Bunny, they can never find him. They say that there is a police warrant after him and he’s doing Facebook lives almost every Sunday, but they cannot find him.
But the reason is and yesterday there was a live message from a Haitian musician who was very close to Michel Martelly, who admitted that this guy and these gangs in particular are armed by Michel Martelly, the former president who was imposed by Hillary Clinton on the Haitians, and so what they’re doing is using those gangs to terrorize the population, the base of support for Lavalas, president Aristide’s party, so that when and if elections are organized, people in the impoverished neighborhoods will not be able to go and vote.
So they can claim another easy victory like the last two elections where they will come and say, oh, well, that’s too bad. There was low voter turnout, but that’s Haiti it cannot be perfect, we’ll accept it. Jovenel Moïse was supposedly elected with an election that involved five hundred thousand votes in a nation of over 12 million people. OK, so obviously this wasn’t a real election. The population has realized that if they allow it to happen, no matter how it happens, they can scream bloody murder as much as they want the core group of the so-called international community, the white powers are going to say sorry it’s good you had an election, this is your president, live with it.
And so that’s why people are in the streets and they’re saying they’re not going to have it. You’ve done this game a couple of times. You’re not going to do it anymore. And people are using a new term now. They’re saying that they’re not calling for one puppet to be removed and replaced by another puppet.
They’re asking for the system to collapse, and so that if these 11 families want to stay in Haiti, they’re going to have to become citizens and behave like citizens, pay their taxes, and behave like normal people in the country, and so people are calling for a transition government that doesn’t involve the political party of Jovenel Moïse and Michel Martelly. For these guys to face justice for the embezzled funds and for real elections to be organized in Haiti.
Yves just finally, what should Canadians and Americans demand of their governments? What should be Canadian and American policy towards Haiti?
Well, I think in the long term, there could be some real transfer reparations and stuff like that, but in the short term, I think we need to stop propping up the repressive dictator, and there’s a petition being presented in the House of Commons on Monday calling for a release of all the documents around the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti and its connection, the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti’s connection to the core group, which Jean mentioned, are the foreign powers, the real power behind Moïse. So that’s looking backwards into what Canada has done in Haiti with the coup in 2004 and subsequent policy
But I think the first thing people should do is inform themselves of a very good film called Haiti Betrayed. It looks at Canada’s role in the 2004 coup and subsequent policy. That’s a nice introduction. And get involved. There’s some Haiti solidarity groups that have been created here in Montreal, in the Maritimes, and a little bit of activity in Toronto.
All right, well, we’ll do this again soon. Thank you both for joining me.
We appreciate it Paul.
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