The Pyramid burned while the crowd watched, some remembering the loved ones gone. In the north of Haiti near Fort Liberte I wandered about the hills talking to farmers suffering from neglect and drought affected crops. An old man watched me from the shade of an avocado tree which was void of fruit in a field that begged for a drop of rain.
” Have you come with a project for us”, he said locking at me placidly – as you know when a stranger comes in his neighborhood it is usually as the representative of some NGO looking to spend some money.
-“What do you mean? I’m just passing through looking for hospitality and pleasant talk.”, I answered earnestly searching for someone to share the moment with.
-“Well you have come to the right place because I need to tell you about the Lougarou of Port-au-Prince. Nowadays he comes at all times, day or night to suck our blood and suck our essence, leaving the village starving and despondent. Our women do not have anything to put in the pot and hunger is our daily companion. So, we look for those bearing projects from the Blan to keep us alive.”
-“I do not work for Blan, I’m here to talk about life and what’s happening these days.”
-“Curious are you my brethren. Take a seat in this small chair and listen to the wind as it carries the sorrows of a people being roasted slowly on the charcoal pits of international economic programs designed by the Blan.”
As President Jovenel Moise clings to power and refuses to resign, the country is sliding into chaos and economic despair, especially for business people in all walks of life. The formal economy is being strangled by insecurity and the cost of just staying in business, while the informal economy is dying because of fires and criminal actions, especially in the markets that are the main source of income for merchants and growers supplying them. Just this past week alone markets in downtown Port-au-Prince became a battleground and a cemetery for panicked merchants who had to flee for their lives. Depots where merchants keep their goods were burned and broken into as the gangs fought each other for control of Croix des Bossales. one of the biggest marketplace in Haiti. People were killed and many went to the hospital with gunshot and stab wounds. As this happens the informal economy is taking a beating because customers stayed away and merchants lost money they can scarcely afford to lose. At this rate everyone is losing money so business people are left facing bankruptcy.
The United Nations is urging Haitians to negotiate with Jovenel Moise to bring the country out of this dead end where the economy is going down the tubes. But the UN did not say anything about the hundreds of people arrested and packing the police stations because they were peacefully demonstrating. Nor did they put any pressure on President Jovenel Moise to explain the many people killed by death squads in La Saline and Tokyo. As people were being burned out of their home and hunted down by thugs wielding machetes and shooting indiscriminately. the headquarters of the traffic and vehicle registration office was open as usual and police officers worked nonchalantly unconcerned by the plethora of shots being fired a couple of blocks away by a death squad led by a former police officer nicknamed BBQ. The inspector in charge showed no inclination to send any police officers to investigate the ongoing criminal activities which resulted in the death of some dozen citizens while displacing hundreds of others. Bodies were burned inside the shacks they had lived in. The UN is actively putting pressure on Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, to stop paramilitary groups loyal to him from terrorizing the opposition and supporters of change. But on the other hand the UN does not say anything about the human rights violations and massacres carried out under the regime of Jovenel Moise save for a report by the local representatives after the massacre in La Saline. The report failed to mention anything about the involvement of people close to the government.
Presently, criminal elements rule the streets in Port-au-Prince and its suburbs. After dark most people hunker down home hoping for daylight. Businesses in provincial towns like St Marc and Jacmel are closing their doors because they cannot function under the constant threat of criminal gangs. Police officers are not exempted from the terror as not a week goes by without one or two police officers getting shot and killed. The head of the President’s security team shot an unarmed protester riding a motorcycle in cold blood. Nothing is being done about this even though many witnesses saw the event. Of course the UN and the Core group of countries “friends” of Haiti did not mention this obvious human rights violation because they are supporting President Moise even though he is under serious accusations of stealing money from the Petro Caribe fund while his wife has been accused of financial impropriety in the Dermalog affair where she is accused of getting a kickback of over a couple of million dollars U.S. Inflation is nearing 20%, an all time high while the Gourde is losing ground every week. At this rate if Jovenel lasts his whole mandate the country will sink in the ocean and the economy will be reduced to charity from our “friends” who would prefer to do that than allow us to fix our problems without interference. By using criminal gangs to stifle demonstrations and terrorize people living in the slums President Moise is mortgaging the future of the country to remain in power. He does not seem to care that conditions in the country are worsening for the population as long as he stays in power and makes is money.
The Kita Nago symbol, a huge log that was transported across the island, was burned down this past week. Some unidentified individuals decided to burn it down as it sat idle gathering dust. A friend who owns a restaurant in Coral Springs, FLA said that it did not really matter to him since it had been sitting gathering dust. So what replied, it was sitting there doing nothing. I remember when the Kita Nago march started. I was somewhat enthusiastic about the whole thing – a march across the island from South to North while carrying this piece of wood as a symbol of how togetherness can bring results. So, as I said I was somewhat enthusiastic until I ran into my friends Reggie. He said that it was a group of unemployed people with nothing to do following a guy leading them on a useless journey. If those people had jobs he said do you think they would waste weeks ferrying this piece of wood for nothing. I thought about this and I must say he had a point. This march showed how idle our young people have become. Recently on the radio, I heard someone say that the Kita Nago wood was a mystical object that would keep Haiti in servitude and despair until it was either burned down or tossed in the sea. According to the speaker when Kita Nago is burned, many places that hold the country hostage will also burn. So I guess this is the beginning of the burning and looting as Bob Marley says in a song that forebears upcoming days. For now we need to wait and see for Kita Nago was burned down and will gather dust no more.