Petro steadfastness vs. repression

      In Haiti everyone is anticipating what Sunday November 18 will bring.  With huge demonstrations planned by those seeking justice and recuperation of over three billion dollars stolen from the nation and those seeking the overthrow of President Jovenel Moise many people are concerned about the future of the country and repression is increasing.  In La Saline, a slum in the northern entrance of Port-au-Prince a massacre was carried out by gangsters dressed as police officers with the bodies of victims laid out on garbage piles.  Activists planning the mass demonstrations are saying that this is the work of government para military squads who are trying to intimidate the population and stop the demonstrations.  People were sharing  the pictures of bodies strewn about garbage in La Saline on social networks.  It is a dangerous situation because we have different forces setting up for a clash while the population as a whole just wants answers and justice.  La Saline is a Lavalas stronghold where the party of former President J. B. Aristide has many adherents.  In this neighborhood there were many demonstrations against the election of Jovenel Moise as president back in 2016, as the people there took to the streets daily in an attempt to overturn the election result.  Since the Lavalas party is very involved in the upcoming demonstrations the repression has targeted them as well as others.  Every night sleep is hard to come by in most neighborhood in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas because of gun fire from automatic weapons.

        Jovenel Moise is in a precarious position and his reign as President of Haiti is in great danger.  Activists from a wide range of political groups are calling for his ouster while others demand that he be arrested and tried for financial crimes and repressive excesses.  Demonstrations have been going for months and it seems as if criminal gangs are being pitted against each other as each side is resorting to violence.  Just a few hundred miles from Florida, Haiti is becoming a Somalia like cauldron where gangs are running wide parts of the country.  Terror is used to control people in the slums to force them to stay in their homes and not join the demonstrations.  Elected politicians from the opposition are arming themselves and their supporters in an attempt to counter attacks from gangs affiliated with the government party and para military squads.  The situation is becoming more and more dangerous with average citizens held hostage in their homes.  

        On November 18 thousands are expected in the streets to Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitian and Les Cayes, the three largest towns in the country.  It is expected that at least a million people if not more will hit the pavement in the country.  The government is trying to minimize the event but their attempts at reassuring people are hollow and no one believes them.  The police has the mission to provide security as if 15,000 police officers can control over a million people.  The best hope is that the demonstration will go as planned and end without major damage to stores and public facilities.  Both Prime Minister Ceant and the President have spoken to the nation in an attempt to show concern and tell people that they are working to bring justice and reparations but their message was met with deep skepticism.  This is a time when all institutions in the country from the presidency to the parliament are being called into question.  Their usefulness is being questioned as they are unable to provide relief and well being to an increasingly impoverished population which is watching them spend money on superfluous items while they live in luxury.  The middle class has practically disappeared and poor people are on the brink of starvation.  As people look across the border see what the Dominican Republic was able to accomplish through the same Petro Caribe program with much less money than Haiti frustration grows and we want answers.  There is a growing sentiment that change is needed in Haiti and this feeling is shared by most people in the country and in the diaspora.  Many artists have joined the call for justice and a true investigation of the Petro Caribe theft, and the population as a whole is behind this call for the truth.  November 18 is upon us and the spirit of Vertieres will  lead the people in their just quest for a better life.

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