The Haitian people revolt, demonstrators control almost all the country

26 July 2018 by Régine Vinon

Port-au-Prince - Haiti (CC - Flickr - lucianf)

Three people were killed on Friday 13 July 2018 during demonstrations against the Haitian government’s decision to increase fuel prices. Journalists saw the bodies of two protesters who were shot in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince during clashes with the police. It was not clear who shot them.

The third death was of a security guard of a former political candidate who was stopped at a barricade. The guard left his vehicle and shot in the air apparently to try to disperse the crowd. A reporter for Associated Press saw the crowd capture the man and attack him while the vehicle was leaving. Protesters had set fire to tires and mounted barricades to block the main streets of Port-au-Prince and the northern city of Cap-Haïtien.

Our correspondent Henry Boisrolin says:

I tell you in summary that the situation in Haiti is still boiling and that the crisis has deepened very seriously. For some days now, an insurrectional state has existed in almost all the regions of the country. The roads are cut, there are fires, barricades and violent clashes in different places. This situation is the result of an accumulation of conflicts, discontents and clashes of all kinds that have been developing for years, in the face of the anti-popular policies and plundering carried out by the puppet government of the current illegitimate president Jovenel Moïse.

The latest trigger has been the government’s announcement of a brutal increase in the price of fuel (it should be said that the main fuels used by the people to cook are coal and kerosene, because there is no gas supply, except for the well-to-do classes and the dominant elite). This increase had been announced previously, and the popular organizations had warned that if it was carried out, a popular insurrection would be unleashed. This is what is happening now.

The current insurrectional state has surpassed the possibilities of containment on the part of the repressive forces. The magnitude of the explosion is monumental, not even during the fall of Duvalier’s dictatorship was there an uprising of this type.

The National Police has not moved against the protestors and has made this known through a press release. This “rare” decision indicates that President Jovenel does not have control over his main force of repression. There is also no presence of the MINUJUSTH (UN) police in the streets. So far, the government has not issued any official statement.

The fundamental element to understand is that the state of uprising of the masses completely transcends the fuel price increase. This has been the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. The popular outcry expressed in the barricades and in the streets demands the resignation of the president and the fall of the government.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters are in the streets, building barricades, setting fire to service stations, car dealerships, premises, homes and so on and there are calls to occupy the centre of the capital, where the palace of government is located.

There are no means of transport, all markets are closed, the media (radios, channels and so on) are not broadcasting information because journalists cannot get to their production centres, although in some cases the omission of information is intentional. However, popular media communicators are trying to recompose the information chain in some way.

It is important to note that for the moment, no political force is commanding the actions, but rather that they are developing in an uncoordinated way. The organizations are trying to articulate to give this uprising a clearer political direction and avoid the situation ending in generalized uncontrolled violence.

8 July 2018

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano republished by AndNoticias.

Haiti: Revolts against price rises bring down government

On Friday 6 July 2018 the government of Haiti, obeying the IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
’s injunctions, decided to end subsidies for certain products, including fuels. This meant a 38% increase for gasoline, 47% for diesel and 51% for kerosene lamp oil. This when there is no electricity in poor neighbourhoods!

The government announced the measure at the time of the Belgium-Brazil World Cup football match, hoping without doubt that attentions would be mainly occupied in supporting Brazil, a very popular team in Haiti. However, this was not enough: as soon as the decision became known, thousands of residents took to the streets to shout their anger. Protesters attacked the country’s signs of wealth, banks or luxury hotels. The supermarkets were stormed, and demonstrators took away staple products. The city of Port-au-Prince was blockaded, and the explosion also affected provincial towns, in the north, on the central plateau, and in the south. Everywhere, the poor population let its anger explode.

The next day, Saturday, 7 July, the government issued a decree cancelling that of the previous day and also the price increases. This did not prevent the riots from continuing for a few days, until the resignation of the government on Saturday, 14 July.

IMF and bosses manœuvre

The agreement signed on 25 February with the IMF is supposedly a serious attempt to promote economic growth and reduce poverty! In return for financial “help”, the IMF, as usual, requires measures to reduce deficits, and therefore a reduction in subsidies. With the immediate result of increases in the price of transport, as well as food transported from the countryside to the cities.

Haiti is considered one of the poorest countries on the planet. It has 58% of its population living below the poverty line, according to UN figures. Inflation Inflation The cumulated rise of prices as a whole (e.g. a rise in the price of petroleum, eventually leading to a rise in salaries, then to the rise of other prices, etc.). Inflation implies a fall in the value of money since, as time goes by, larger sums are required to purchase particular items. This is the reason why corporate-driven policies seek to keep inflation down. is already rampant, above 13%, and unemployment is massive, which explains these violent reactions.

This is not the first time the population has shown its anger and expressed its demands: in September 2017, the capital was hit by a transport strike following an increase in taxes on several products, including petrol. In the spring of this year, in May and June, thousands of textile workers, working on a cheap subcontract for Western firms, repeatedly demonstrated to claim a minimum wage of 1000 gourdes (15 euros) per day. The minimum wage has been fixed since July 2017 at 350 gourdes (8.50 euros) and does not allow a decent standard of living. “We are paid on Saturday, on Monday we start to go into debt,” said a protester. Despite repeated promises at each social explosion, the government has not raised the minimum wage, encouraged by the Haitian bosses. A government that had already promised a few months ago social benefits in relation to transport, health insurance cards and social housing. Promises which have not been fulfilled.

Régine Vinon

writes for the NPA newspaper “l’Anticapitaliste”.



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