1 January 2020 — Internationalist 360°
Mass Anti-Government Protests
Mass protests have been taking place in the small Caribbean country of Haiti for several months now. Those protests are so intense that they threaten to bring the country to a complete standstill. The Haitian government’s response to the protests have resulted in dozens of deaths and massive destruction throughout various parts of Haiti, particularly throughout the capitol city of Port-au-Prince. The current protests have been taking place since August of this year. The masses of Africans in Haiti, infuriated by the government’s increases in fuel prices, have been engaging in open revolt against the government. The capitalist media is reporting that the basis of the protests are demands that Haitian President Jovenel Moise resign from office, but the underlining reasons for the unrest go much deeper than that.
In July of 2018, the Haitian government under Moise imposed steep price increases in fuel on the Haitian people. The Haitian people believe, correctly, that the price increases being imposed upon them result from the government attempting to further unfairly burden them with offsetting budget shortages. The people point to the massive amounts of subsidies the Haitian government pays oil companies to incentivize the fossil fuel industry’s operations within the country. They demand that the government shift more of the burden for balancing the budget on those foreign oil companies instead of the Haitian people who are already forced to endure so much suffering.
Oil Subsidies – To Oil Companies
The people’s resistance on this question results from the Haitian government following advice given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to raise oil prices. The masses of African people everywhere on earth know that the IMF is never a friend to oppressed people. Founded in the U.S. in 1944, the intent of the IMF has always been to ensure imperialist interests are protected everywhere on Earth. The U.S. supplies about 45% of the IMF’s annual budget to ensure this international financing entity prioritizes performing that protection. In the case of Haitian oil subsidies, the IMF suggestion is rooted in making sure the oil industries are supported and encouraged, while making record profits, while the Haitian people are forced to sacrifice more and more while receiving nothing in return. This type of anti-people policy making is the legacy of the IMF and the World Bank in Africa and throughout Asia, Central, South America, and the Caribbean.
The Haitian people are clearly tired of this exploitation. Haiti’s anti-people policies project an inflation increase to an alarming 20% by mid 2020. This means prices increasing more than 20% above the value of Haitian currency which means additional suffering for the people there. There is also the issue of continued corruption from the Haitian government. Billions of dollars collected as aide since the 2010 earthquake continues to go unaccounted for along with the 35 gourdes = $376 million USD that has been given to oil companies in the last fiscal year, July 2018 to July 2019. Again, these subsidies are being spent with no accountability to the Haitian masses. The level of oil subsidies spent by Haiti’s government represent almost 5% of the country’s entire annual gross national product. To the masses of people, this money represents resources that could and should be used to eliminate their suffering, not line the pockets of multi-national corporations and neo-colonial government bureaucrats.
Post Liberation, Haiti still under Siege
Of course, the current uprisings go even much deeper than even oil subsidies and government corruption. Haiti in 2019/20 remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It has occupied that position for centuries since the courageous people of Haiti rose up to overthrow French domination in 1804. That revolution made Haiti the first independent African nation in the world, thus influencing the eradication of African enslavement throughout the Western world, including the U.S. The emerging capitalist and imperialist countries had no intention of ever forgiving Haiti for that act of dignity and no later than two mere years after its independence, the U.S. slapped economic sanctions on Haiti in 1806, refusing to trade with them until 1862. In 1825, France, assembled a fleet of warships in the bay of Port-au-Prince in preparation for a military invasion of Haiti. Backed by the U.S., France used the threat of invasion to extort 150 million gold francs (the equivalent of 21 billion USD today) to “compensate” France for colonizing and enslaving Haiti. This is like a burglar, robber, rapist, etc., charging you for their continued terrorist efforts against you. These actions kept Haiti indebted to France until the last payment was made in 1947. Along with ongoing U.S. invasions, embargoes, occupations, and support for oppressive regimes, the Haitian people have been prevented from being able to achieve their full potential as a free and developing nation. All of these examples of historic and present day systemic oppression explain why the people are in the streets today.
Neo-Colonialism, Liberated Zones and African Unity
The best way people around the world, specifically African people, can support the Haitian masses is by organizing themselves to fight to defeat neo-colonialism everywhere. The masses of people in Haiti, who have nothing to lose, but their chains, are once again the tip of the spear, aimed at the heart of neo-colonialism/capitalism. Africans in Haiti need Africans everywhere to support their efforts. More importantly, they need us to take up the fight to confront the enemy-and seize power over our lives. The fight against neo-colonialism is the frontline fight for Pan-Africanism. This is proven true in Cuba, Libya, Venezuela, Ivory Coast, and everywhere that Africans have challenged neo-colonialism (whether the victory was temporary or not).
Haiti is challenging neo-colonialism. They have already transformed the island from a zone under enemy control to a zone that is being hotly contested. The next objective is to liberate Haiti and place the Island-Nation’s affairs in the hands of the Haitian People, who are Africans. The only protection for Haiti is the organization of the masses of African people throughout the world, standing in unwavering support of Revolution and moving towards Pan-Africanism. The Liberation of Haiti transforms a contested zone into another liberated zone in the Caribbean, next to Cuba. This strengthens the African Revolution. The African Revolution is one. It has many fronts and manifests itself on many levels. Today the fight in Haiti stands at the forefront of the African Revolution. Which has neo-colonialism as its’ primary enemy. Once Africa is organized and independent, once neo-colonialism has been destroyed, A Unified Africa can protect Africans in ways that currently don’t exist anywhere on earth.
If you are sincerely tired of seeing this oppression against our people in Haiti (and everywhere else), we ask you to join the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party or any organization working to build revolutionary Pan-Africanist capacity to solve our problems.