Slogan on T-shirts reads, "We will not obey".
Sixty-eight grassroots groups in Haiti have issued an urgent call for solidarity with their struggle for free and fair elections, dignity and justice. The statement was written right before the postponement of the planned presidential “run-off” elections on January 24.
It was written as tens of thousands of Haitians were in the streets — braving assassination, tear gas, beatings and police torture. They demanded the annulment of the fraudulent elections that gave the lead positions in the legislative and presidential races to the hand-picked candidates of President Michel Martelly.
The postponement of the presidential election was a dramatic and hard-won victory for the people's movement, which had insisted that no election take place until it can be assured to be free, fair and democratic.
The struggle for the right to vote and for all Haitians to participate in the political process continues. The statement is slightly abridged from Haiti Analysis.
A Call for Solidarity from Haiti's Popular Movement
Reflecting on the voting rights struggle led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr and so many other courageous fighters for justice 50 years ago in the US; on the “one person one vote” struggle in South Africa; reflecting on struggles everywhere, we came to the conclusion that a people cannot be sovereign if they do not have the right to vote. No people can retain their dignity if their vote does not count.
As clearly stated by President [Jean-Betrande] Aristide [the left-wing democratically elected president overthrown in a 2004 US-backed coup]: “If we do not protect our dignity, our dignity will escape us!”
That is why we struggle and ask that people the world over with a history of struggle stand in solidarity with us.
Six years after the earthquake that jolted the country, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, we, Haitian groups, in the context of reflection, take our hats off and humbly say to the people all over the planet who opened their hearts to us, “We have not forgotten your acts of solidarity”.
The sharing impulse manifested by people the world over, should have helped the Haitian people to rebuild their environment, rebuild their lives.
Pity! To this day, the people's lot has not changed. Adding insult to injury, shameless characters, local slave owners, empowered by various international organisations, hijacked reconstruction funds.
Right after the earthquake, the internationals took advantage of our momentary state of helplessness to occupy the political space. Today, the Haitian people are engaged in an all out struggle to reclaim that space and to exercise their right to vote.
The very ones who hijacked the reconstruction money want to prevent the people from choosing their government, in a wide scale conspiracy to continue looting the country's resources.
Local colonialists joined forces with international colonialists to force the people to accept choices against their best interests. Illegitimate officials implemented urban removal plans and land grabs, assaulting the middle class as well as the poor, putting the country on the brink of collapse.
The people's resistance slowed down the “terror apparatus”, preventing it from completing this program.
Now they want to put more false officials at the helm of the government to continue their assault.
The blatant violence, ongoing massacres, various acts of aggression throughout the country, in the context of land grabs and voter suppression, convinced the Haitian people that they are in a fight for their very existence.
We say no, we will not obey illegitimate officials. Self-defence is a legitimate universal law. Civil Disobedience is an accepted universal right when a people confronts an illegal regime. The right to elect a government is universally accepted as a way for people to protect its existence.
Today, confronted by the danger presented by local and international colonialists, the Haitian people have started a “resistance for existence” movement. They ask for people-to-people solidarity from everywhere on the planet.
Our experience of the six years since the earthquake is no different than the experience of other small countries with natural and human resources. The internationals loot, have an orgy, while the international media turns a blind eye to lies spread by “their” ambassadors in their country's name.
The Haitian army, now being rebuilt to oppress the people, is a gift to the Haitian people by the Organisation of American States. The cholera epidemic and the blood thirsty and corrupt Haitian police, were United Nations gifts to the Haitian people. The media is mute, as the country nears total collapse.
We say no, we will not obey. We will not dig our own graves. We would rather tell the truth and expose the conspiracy.