Selma James in the Guardian: For peace in Haiti, first win the war on hunger
Your article on the Haiti crisis omits mention of the only Haitian government that people voted in by a landslide – twice. Headed by the former liberation theology priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, it uniquely focused on tackling poverty, supporting small farmers, building schools and hospitals, increasing the minimum wage and demanding justice for victims of rape by the military.
Greatly loved by the grassroots, President Aristide was forced into exile by US-backed military coups in 1991 and 2004. Haitians won his return to Haiti, but not to power, in 2011. (I and my colleague Margaret Prescod, who later reported on the 2019 Lasalin massacre, were invited to welcome the Aristides home.) Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas, was repeatedly barred from elections, depriving most voters of their candidates and ensuring results favouring corrupt US puppets like Jovenel Moïse.
Your article mentions the “debt” imposed by France – the imperial power defeated by the Haitian revolution in 1804 – for the loss of its “property”, the slaves who had liberated themselves. But it omits that France backed the coup against Aristide (on the revolution’s bicentennial) because he had dared demand “reparations” from France for the impoverishment their unconscionable debt had caused.
Despite horrific massacres, today’s Black Jacobins will never submit to another foreign military occupation. Fanmi Lavalas, the only political force that has credibility and popular support, calls for an interim government of “public safety” (Sali Piblik) to create a foundation for free and fair elections. Why isn’t this reported?