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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/19/21

Haiti: Canada & U.S. Support Coups and Dictators

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In Haiti, President Moise refused to leave when his term was over, and hundreds of thousands have protested in the streets demanding his resignation. Canada and the U.S. have supported dictators and coups in Haiti for decades. Joining Paul is Jafrik Ayiti, an author, radio show host, public speaker, activist, artist; and Yves Engler, a Montreal-based activist, and author.

Paul Jay

Hi, I'm Paul Jay. Welcome to the Analysis News.

For the second Sunday in a row, hundreds of thousands of Haitians took to the streets of Port-Au-Prince on Sunday, March 7th, to demand the departure of President Giovino Moïse, whose term of office has expired. After decades of the U.S. supported Duvalier dictatorship, a U.S. and Canadian supported coup against the elected president Aristide natural disasters, cholera introduced by U.N. supposed peacekeepers, and now what amounts to a new dictatorship of President Moïse. The Haitian people have suffered mightily and fought valiantly, while U.S. policy in support of the Haitian elites and foreign mining and manufacturing companies has received some attention Canada has played an important role in defending these same interests.

Now joining us to discuss the current situation in Haiti and Canada's role is Jafrik Ayiti (Jean Saint-VII). He's an author, a radio show host, a public speaker, activist, artist, Canadian civil servant. He's also the co-founder of two self-help organizations, AKASAN and Jaku Konbit, which follow the principles popularized by Marcus Garvey. He works with the Canada-Haitian Action Network and Haïti-Que'bec Solidaire.

Also joining us is Yves Engler, a Montreal-based activist and author and a regular contributor to theAnalysis. He has published 11 books, including his latest House of Mirrors: Justin Trudeau's Foreign Policy. Thank you both for joining me.


Thank you.

Yves Engler


Paul Jay

So, Jafri, could you get us going, first of all, talk about what's happening now about the protests and why people are demanding Moïse resignation and give us some context for all this.


Yes, well, thank you very much for covering this. These demonstrations that have taken place in the last two Sundays really follow a string of demonstrations that have been happening since actually 2004. Now, of course, they intensified during the last couple of years focused on corruption. The particular corruption that the people in Haiti are denouncing is about embezzlement of the Petrocaribe funds, which is $4.2 billion that were injected in the Haitian economy through an arrangement with President Hugo Chavez, former President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, where Haiti bought oil from Venezuela, and it was to be returned to Venezuela in goods or in cash, part of it over twenty-five years.

So the money set aside would be used for investment in infrastructure, things that Haiti badly needed. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and there's evidence that the funds were embezzled by the regime that is currently in power, with former President Michel Martelly having spent the most time using those funds, but that also has another link to corruption, because it's also doing the Martelly governance that most of the billions of dollars that upwards to $13 billion that were collected after the earthquake, supposedly for the rebuilding of Haiti, that money just vanished.

In that particular case, it is not only the Haitian players who are involved in the corruption, because, as you might remember, Bill Clinton was assigned a specific role as special envoy of the United Nations, and he co-led the commission that was in charge of the management of those funds, and it so happens that a portion of these funds were also used during the presidency of Michel Martelly. And so people are fighting against a regime that has used a lot of violence against the demonstrators, but it's also in a backdrop of foreign occupation because what happens is that Haiti had 7000 elected officials in 2004, and all of these were removed, toppled and replaced first by unelected officials that were hand-picked by the foreign occupiers, which include the United States, Canada, and France, but later on, they organized a set of sham elections that Haitians decried to impose leaders that never really managed to gain the respect of the population.

Paul Jay

Now, this is after the coup against Aristide?


Yes. So since 2004 to the present time, you basically never had a situation where elected officials, whether it is local officials like mayors all the way to the president, would have been elected and be seen by the population as the duly elected representatives. In most instances, they could identify what powers placed these people in with titles of senators, deputies, et cetera, and some instances, scandals broke about who paid to buy the seats in the Senate, and so you have one such senator who's scandal broke in the Canadian press because he bought a house in Laval, Quebec, $4.2 million cash.

People in the Haitian community in Montreal understand that we cannot do that. So where does this guy find that money to? And senators are not paid that much money in Haiti to be able to afford that.

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