In Haiti 2021 is coming to an end, trying to land on a field full of obstacles. The year has been tumultuous, to say the least, with the social and economic situation going down month after month, and insecurity thriving. I don’t know about you, but having to stay in Port-au-Prince for long periods of time, I watched the city go from hellish to more hellish, all on a backdrop of garbage filled streets. Darkness and insecurity have turned the streets into a dangerous no-man land in many neighborhoods. After 10 PM, all traffic dies in the major streets, and persons barricade themselves inside their homes if they’re able to do it. In the distance, or sometimes too close for comfort, shots ring out for a short while, then the sound of a motorcycle riding fast.
All the while, the transition following the death of former de facto president Jovenel Moise in July remains the same old mess, while life is steadily getting worse for the average person living in Haiti. De facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry is also acting as president of the country, overstepping his job’s mandate, with the blessing of the Core Group of foreign ambassadors who have taken over running the country. Prime Minister Henry is gladly handling two budgets, presidency and prime ministry, keeping money flowing to friends and members of the clan, while following orders from the cabal. Make no mistake about it, the PM is not affiliated with any of the political parties, not even with the PHTK, even though he dutifully assigned all the important ministries to persons associated with the ruling party. Most of former de facto president Jovenel Moise’s people have been pushed out, even in the presidential palace. So, the Prime Minister is following a script drawn by those who are maintaining him in power.
The traditional political opposition has blown up into fragments, each group clinging to a respective accord, of which there are three, if not more, pitting them against each other. Militants who have been at the forefront of demonstrations during the fight against the regimes of Martelly and Moise are realizing that those politicians who spoke the loudest are now working with the system they claimed to fight against, getting per diem and getting jobs for the clan. Now the grass roots organization, along with militants who have always been the ones in the street are reorganizing themselves to mobilize the population, just today a demonstration is filling up the Delmas Highway. Led by former political prisoners like Babas and Kilik, the group is mobilized against the government and the way persons are suffering in the prisons. Those militants and others like them will need to come together and take up the leadership of the struggle because they cannot count on politicians who are ready to switch camp anytime they get a better offer.
In Gonaives, persons are against any ceremony to commemorate Haiti’s Independence on a backdrop of poverty, with piles of garbage everywhere, which have turned the public square where all celebrations take place into a pigsty. Persons there look at the town and feel shame at being made to live like this. The Prime Minister is supposed to put on his fake, illegal president’s suit to make the traditional speech from the Head of State, but militants in the capital of Artibonite may create problems for the officials, while some of the gangs active in the region may demand money to let the delegation pass through their territory. It is a real shame that the government ignores the people of Gonaives all year, with no social services available, only to come on January first to say something foolish, make vague promises, and leave before dark.
Well, this is how 2021 is coming to an end. We really need to #netwayeAyiti2024 / #cleanupHaiti2024.