An international publicity campaign to counteract opposition to a “one-man rule” in Haiti

An international publicity campaign to counteract opposition to a “one-man rule” in Haiti

  • HAPPENNINGS! By Raymond Alcide Joseph

Will the international campaign started on December 10 through the Washington Times, in a story signed by Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, accomplish the desired effect of getting Haiti’s Western allies on board, as he expands his “one-man rule” in Haiti ?

The opinion piece in the junior Washington, D.C., publication, translated in French under the byline of a certain Pierre-Michel Jean/AFP, appeared last Friday, December 18, in the right wing weekly French mag Valeurs Actuelles, and currently is circulating on social media.

Whereas the readers of those publications, whether in the United States or in France, may not be aware of the insidious nature of Mr. Moïse’s narrative, it is important to dissect it, throwing light on some of his statements, for all to know that it is a campaign intended to officialize what he has undertaken since January of this year.

Reportedly, on the second Monday of this past January, when the mandate of all the 118 members of Haiti’s Lower House of Parliament expired, along with that of 10 of the 30-member Senate, President Moïse, singlehandedly, robbed 10 Senators of two years that remained on their mandates, knocking out the Senate which cannot muster a quorum. Whereupon he exulted, “I acknowledge the dysfunction of Parliament!”

Since then, Mr. Moïse has been ruling by decree, piling them up, until two major ones, issued on November 26, clearly disclosed his intention of setting up a Police State. At that point, the howls of denunciation were heard from all quarters in Haiti and from the international community, including from the influential CORE Group of Western ambassadors in Port-au-Prince, stating their opposition to the naked power grab.

The November 26 threatening decrees, the “National Intelligence Agency,” French acronym ANI, and “Reinforcing Public Security” (French acronym (RSP), authorize President Moïse to set up a spying network with agents accountable only to him, to fight terrorism and those causing widespread insecurity in the land. Among those targeted are opponents of the regime who organize demonstrations against the chief, with unusually harsh punishment, even decades of imprisonment. Indeed, this is reminiscent of the in famous Tontons-Macoute bogey men of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s era.

Considering how Papa Doc first started with his goons as irregular enforcers before they were made official, many believe that some gang members, currently causing havoc in Haiti, will be the initial members of ANI an RSP. An alarming situation, as the country is being prepped up to relive the bloody past of the three decade-old dictatorship that was initiated with the 1957 election of a medical doctor who had won acclaim for his work in the use of penicillin to eradicate yaws, that horrible and disfiguring skin disease which plagued Haiti’s peasantry.

And now the “Banana Man,” emulating the “Country Doctor,” is attempting his own coup. But he wants the approbation, even the support, of the bigwigs of the international community who, until recently, had closed their eyes on his dismantling the democratic apparatus in Haiti. That is the main purpose of what I would dare to call the “Manifesto of the Jovenel-style Democracy,” using his own terms. For on December 13, while in Ouanaminthe, in Haiti’s Northeast region, he berated those who fail to understand that “all I do is for the good of the people.” He added, “C’est la démocratie à la Jovenel” (It is democracy according to Jovenel.)

Thus, from the original English piece under his byline, translated into French, we publish some extracts, accompanied by our rebuttals or clarifying statements. To begin with, he presents Haiti as a democracy, not unlike the United States where “this coming January, . . . both will observe democratic milestones. As the U.S inaugurates the 46th president, Haiti will be preparing for a constitutional referendum, the outcome of which will shape the future of our country for generations.”

Had U.S. President Donald Trump succeeded in vassalizing U.S. institutions as he set out to do, even insulting the Justices of the Supreme Court, including three that he had named, as “lacking courage” to do his bidding, the 46th President of the United States would not be inaugurated on January 20. Even now, Mr. Trump threatens to disrupt the event with demonstrations by his cohorts still claiming the election was “rigged” and “stolen” from their man.

But in Haiti, come February 7, 2021 when, constitutionally, Moïse’s term is up, he insists that he must stay in power to oversee the preparation of a new constitution that is being drafted by his own “independent inclusive commission” and to be approved in a public referendum in March, in violation of the current constitution and in defiance of almost all sectors of the society. In fact, he does say that he won’t leave before February 7, 2022.

He asserts that the 1987 Constitution is the root cause of all of Haiti’s problems because, among other things, it whittled away at presidential power with a Prime Minister and an all-powerful Legislature. In fact, if he had not organized elections to renew the mandates of the legislators it is because “Parliament failed to pass legislation to organize elections before their terms expired. The Haitian Constitution states that, if a new congress is not voted in popular elections, presidential governance by executive order will be triggered until new elections can be organized. This is an undesirable scenario for the country, and one I sought to prevent.”

Interestingly, Moïse lets us in on a little secret. He’s been mourning the demise of the strong presidency which was eliminated when the people routed the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986 and set up ramparts against the resurgence of another president as the one who declared himself “President for life” by enacting a new constitution and even, on his deathbed, anointed his teen-age son to continue the dynasty for life, toppled after 15 years. What promise did Jovenel Moïse make to his traveling salesman father, a Papa Doc devotee, who died earlier this year?

The president’s party had the control of both chambers of Parliament, how does he explain that they failed to go along with him on preparing an electoral law? He should be more truthful by admitting that he did not want any Legislature with which to contend as he planned to put in place, by decree, the foundation for his dictatorship. He had betrayed himself when he engineered the “dysfunction” of Parliament last January.

We are not convinced by his crocodile tears regarding “the undesirable scenario for a country and one [he] sought to prevent.” That is the “governing by executive order [once] triggered.” if a new congress has not been popularly elected. And basing that on the Haitian Constitution, to boot. How illogical of him to rush for support to the same constitution he so abhors, while trying to convince a novice audience of his adherence to the fundamental Charter of the land! As if he forgets that this constitution is responsible for “chronic instability, with 25 prime ministers coming and going in the past 33 years. It’s crippled us.” Unfortunately, he failed to provide the article of the Constitution to back his assertion for assuming dictatorial power via decrees. Very simple, it does not exist.

Finally, Mr. Moïse says he will organize elections in August, with runoffs in October, for local, legislative, and presidential elections, in which he will not participate. But it is not definitive. Here is his disclaimer: “Meanwhile, we are working hard with our international partners to lay the groundwork so that we can conduct elections as soon as it is feasible.”

And why wouldn’t they be feasible this time, after they have been held so many times, even the last ones in which he was “elected” by about 500, 000 from an electorate estimated at about six (6) million? Read his explanation: “Holding elections in Haiti, where few have identity documents and records are often non-existent, is a huge undertaking.”

How disingenuous of Jovenel Moïse for withholding from his readers the real reasons for the impossibility of holding fair and democratic elections. France’s envoy to Haiti, Ambassador José Gomez, recently warned that no fair and democratic elections can be held in Haiti with the proliferation of gangs that are used to intimidate potentially anti-government voters. Moreover, he said only two (2) million of new identity cards imposed by the government have been distributed for a population of about 11 million, of which six million are of voting age.

To be noted, the new cards by the Germany-based company Dermalog, allows the Moïse government to organize a vast voter suppression operation. After all, no credible explanation has been furnished as to the reasons for annulling the identity cards of all Haitians, as if in America, all Social Security cards were replaced for the whole population! And the cards are needed for any transaction, including voting.

On that basis alone, the “international partners [helping] to lay the groundwork for elections,” overseen by Jovenel Moïse, will be complicit in a vast fraud which will “shape the future of Haiti for generations.” A word to the wise should be sufficient !

  • RAJ, 23 December 2020
  • P.S.: In our next issue, an analysis about those involved in Jovenel Moïse’s propaganda campaign, for which a contract of $96,000.00 has been signed

Cet article est publié par l’hebdomadaire Haïti-Observateur (New York) VOL. L No. 50, édition du 23 décembre 2020, et se trouve en P. 1, 7 à :