Pro-Democracy Movement in Haiti Swells Despite Lethal Police Violence

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It’s getting hard not to notice that U.S. corporate media is covering pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong far more than pro-democracy forces in the Caribbean. It can be challenging to catch up on significant events in a place that’s a mere two-hour flight from Miami; with a few exceptions, the media is largely failing Haiti right now.

A movement birthed in the shantytowns of Port-au-Prince has now swelled to broad swaths of the populace in all 10 of Haiti’s geographical departments. Friday, October 11, saw a national mobilization of tens of thousands of protesters out in force throughout the country demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise — and 10 of them didn’t make it home alive.

Longtime Haiti observer Kevin Pina, editor of Haiti Information Project, told Truthout that protesters were assaulted on October 11 by police armed with guns, tear gas and water cannons, and that seven protesters were reported to be killed by police in Petion-ville, a wealthy enclave in the hills above Port-au-Prince. Three more were killed in Saint-Marc in the western department of Artibonite. Those killed on October 11 included a 16-year-old boy, bringing the documented death toll (all on the side of the protesters) to more than 20.

Pasha Vorbe, a member of the executive committee of the political party Fanmi Lavalas, told Truthout in a call from Port-au-Prince that Lavalas has counted 28 total protesters killed by police during the current revolt.

“Today, I can tell you, we are living in a humanitarian crisis; it is not just Lavalas, the entire population is against Jovenel Moise and the rigged elections that delivered him to us,” Vorbe said.

Haiti is in revolt against The Core Group, a political entity formed by dint of United Nations Security Council Resolution in 2004, the same year as the U.S.-backed coup toppled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas party from Haiti’s helm. A multi-national supervisory body with the nebulous mission of “steering the electoral process,” its creation was originally proposed as a six-month interim transition support measure, yet it endures to this day.

At issue is the legitimacy of the presidency of Jovenel Moise, who was installed in 2017 to serve a five-year term. Protesters say Haiti cannot wait until 2022 for his departure from office.

Read the article at Truthout.