Danse Petro : Vertieres

Once again people will go to the streets and show rejection of Jovenel Moise, his presidency and his plans for remaining in power. Last year there was a massive show of force all over the country, part of a nation wide lock down when major towns in the country demonstrated against the government. What will happen this year? Is it going to be one more day of demonstration where groups of people march, spew out slogans cursing the president, the PHTK and their allies? Another manifestation of the futility of the strategy of the political opposition to the government? While President Moise sits home, or somewhere safe, going about his business, while listening on the radio. Then the next day brings back normal affairs, as people return to the grind in the garbage filled streets of the capital. Or will it be different?

Well, this time there are some factors that need to be looked at which can bring about greater awareness of the need for change. Already today, a day before D day, Port-au-Prince is a hot cauldron, streets are blocked and tires are burning. At Kafou Tifou, in the heart of the capital a car blocked the road, and some guys are laying down on the pavement, further blocking the road, to protest against all the recent crimes plaguing the country. Monferrier Dorval, the well known lawyer, professor at the State University and President of the bar association leads the roll call of recent victims; along with Gana, the militant from Cite Soleil, Gregory Saint-Hilaire, the student killed inside the Law School by a police officer member of the force protecting the president and finally but not the last victim Evelyn Sincere, a young girl in her last year of classical school. They are part of a long list of people killed recently by gangs and police allied to President Moise and the PHTK. The demonstration today is a early start to what is in store on Wednesday to commemorate Vertieres.

What will this November 18 bring in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, St Marc,Gonaives and all the other towns in Haiti? In 1803, the Battle of Vertieres signaled the end for Napoleon’s army, as the Indigenous Army of former slaves led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines defeated the French in a fierce fight that brought independence to the country. Aside from historical accounts, this great military and historical feat is not featured in many books and no movie or television production has been made about it. Compared with all the material that has been produced to talk about other great battles, Vertieres remains known only to students studying Haitian history, usually in Haiti.

This Wednesday many people will demonstrate in 🇭🇹 Haiti to show their rejection of gangs and crime, along with the call for the president to resign. Of course, Jovenel Moise will not budge, but with each show of force the people against him weaken his plans. Jovenel cannot hold elections and change the constitution if too many people are opposed to him. Each time many people take to the streets elections become more difficult to justify. It is a race to see if by February of next year President Moise will be incapable of staying in power. If he cannot hold elections before that it will be very difficult to continue governing. So the more people come out for Vertieres to defy Jovenel and his allies, the more difficult it becomes for them to carry out their plans.

NOU PAP DOMI

Nou Pap Domi recently held a memorial in front of the Office for the Protection of Citizens to display pictures of recent victims of this politically fostered insecurity. The group, which is part of the organizations demanding justice and return of the 4.5 billion dollars stolen from the Petro Caribe project, has been at the forefront of the movement to demand a better Haiti. Nou vle viv, we want to live is the simple slogan they live by, and that says it all. Nou Pap Domi is mainly composed of young people of school age, some attending the University, who realize that the future is now and they need to fight for a better one. The group will certainly take part during Vertieres to tell Jovenel Moise he must go.

This is a key time in the history of Haiti because there are different scenarios in store in the future. If Jovenel Moise and those that have placed him in power are successful the scenario will be grim, with poverty, crime and despair the norm. Perhaps Wednesday November 18, 2020 will be a new day.

Photo courtesy of Le P’ti Club / Jimmy Moise CEO

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