Protesters outside a Haitian presidential debate in Miami on Oct. 4 denounce the Aug. 9 “electoral coup.” – Photo: Haiti Information Project

by Haiti Action Committee

On Oct. 25, Haitians are slated to go to the polls to elect a new president and Parliament, after a disastrous first round vote for Parliament on Aug. 9, marred by Martelly government-sponsored voter suppression, violence and corruption. Amid protests and calls from thousands of demonstrators to annul the August elections, it took almost two months to announce the “winners” who will contest this Oct. 25 “run-off.” As expected, the ruling party of Haitian President Michel Martelly and his allies dominated the fraudulent results.

Protesters outside a Haitian presidential debate in Miami on Oct. 4 denounce the Aug. 9 “electoral coup.” – Photo: Haiti Information Project
Protesters outside a Haitian presidential debate in Miami on Oct. 4 denounce the Aug. 9 “electoral coup.” – Photo: Haiti Information Project

Martelly has ruled by decree since January 2015, after refusing to hold elections for local offices or Parliament since 2011. Haitians have demonstrated continuously against the government’s repression and corruption, and for free and fair elections. It is only because of this pressure that any elections in Haiti are even taking place right now.

The United States government, Martelly, and the Haitian elite hope to use this coming round of elections to put in their own handpicked government and declare that “democracy” exists in Haiti.

The Haitian grassroots majority, however, has other ideas. For the first time in 15 years, Fanmi Lavalas, the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and widely acknowledged as the most popular political movement in Haiti, is fielding candidates. Despite intimidation and terror, they are determined to mobilize the vote and fight for a free and fair process.

On Sept. 30, the anniversary of the 1991 coup, President Aristide made his first public speech since his return from forced exile in 2011. Speaking before thousands of people, many of whom had walked miles to be there, he denounced the August elections as an “electoral coup d’état.”

He urged people to continue to mobilize, and to get out the vote for Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the Fanmi Lavalas candidate for president. Standing side by side with Dr. Narcisse, he stressed, “The vote of each and every one must be counted. Period.”

For the first time in 15 years, Fanmi Lavalas, the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and widely acknowledged as the most popular political movement in Haiti, is fielding candidates. Despite intimidation and terror, they are determined to mobilize the vote and fight for a free and fair process.

Lavalas’ presence on the electoral scene is, in and of itself, a remarkable feat. The intent of the two coups against President Aristide in 1991 and 2004 was to destroy Lavalas, the movement that has represented Haiti’s poor since the late 1980s.

While President Aristide was in exile in South Africa from 2004-2011, U.S.-backed Haitian regimes carried out a classic counterinsurgency strategy designed to finish the job that the coup had started. U.N. forces and Haitian police violently attacked the Lavalas popular base in Cité Soleil and other communities, killing many.

Thousands of political prisoners were arrested and held for years with no charges under horrendous conditions. Money was spread to divide and weaken the Lavalas infrastructure. Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, a human rights advocate, Lavalas leader and candidate for Senate, was kidnapped and disappeared in 2007.

Tired of Martelly’s rule by decree, Haitians lined up Aug. 9 to elect 139 legislators in an election memorable for Martelly government-sponsored voter suppression, violence and corruption. Calling it an “electoral coup d’état,” many now want it annulled. – Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery, AP
Tired of Martelly’s rule by decree, Haitians lined up Aug. 9 to elect 139 legislators in an election memorable for Martelly government-sponsored voter suppression, violence and corruption. Calling it an “electoral coup d’état,” many now want it annulled. – Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery, AP

Banned from political participation in the sham elections of 2011, bereft of the resources available to other political parties in Haiti, Lavalas was targeted for marginalization. Yet today it is widely acknowledged that, in a “free and fair election,” the Lavalas candidate, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, would win the presidency.

Dr. Narcisse, a medical doctor and long-time Lavalas militant, was setting up health clinics in rural communities at the time of the 1991 coup. Like many other Aristide supporters, she went into the streets to protest the military and then was forced into hiding.

When President Aristide was reelected in 2000, she joined his administration. Exiled after the 2004 coup, she returned in 2006 to help rebuild Lavalas and serve as Aristide’s spokesperson. If she wins, she would be the first elected woman president in Haiti’s history.

The strength of Fanmi Lavalas, a party rooted in the poor majority of Haitians and their demands for a just society, is precisely the reason it is under such attack in this election. Throughout this campaign, Lavalas supporters have been arrested, threatened, jailed, beaten and killed. Fraud and intimidation prevented many Fanmi Lavalas candidates from running in the Parliamentary races, and strong candidates were denied victories through rigged vote-counting.

Haitians know all the tricks and terror the Martelly regime is using to prevent them from voting, which only gives them more incentive to vote. They have been fighting this exclusion since they protested the imposition of Duvalier in 1957, and long before that. They are determined to exercise their legal rights, enshrined in the popular 1987 constitution, to publicly organize and promote a platform – one more front in the struggle for independence, sovereignty and liberation.

The strength of Fanmi Lavalas, a party rooted in the poor majority of Haitians and their demands for a just society, is precisely the reason it is under such attack in this election. Throughout this campaign, Lavalas supporters have been arrested, threatened, jailed, beaten and killed.

Haiti Action Committee supports the call of the popular movement in Haiti to annul the results of the Aug. 9 election. The fight for the right to vote has been a fundamental part of the civil and human rights struggle here in the United States; in Haiti right now, that right is being trampled upon.

As the Oct. 25 presidential elections approach, we stand with the Lavalas Movement and other democratic forces in Haiti as they demand that the right to vote in Haiti be respected and not attacked with terror and fraud.

Speech by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide delivered on Sept. 30, 2015

Surrounded by thousands of supporters, including many who had walked miles to be there, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide spoke outside his home on Sept. 30 to mark the 24th anniversary of the bloody coup d’état in 1991. It was his first public speech since his return from exile in March 2011. Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the Fanmi Lavalas candidate for president, stood side by side with him as he spoke.

President Aristide’s remarks take place in the context of mass demonstrations calling for the annulment of the Aug. 9 elections, which were characterized by intimidation, violence and fraud carried out by the government of President Michel Martelly and his allies.

President Aristide called for an end to the suppression of voting rights in Haiti, and for full support for Dr. Narcisse in the upcoming presidential elections.

We are honored to present his speech, both in Kreyol and in an unofficial English translation by Haiti Action Committee. We would point out to our readers that the English version does not, in any way, do justice to the nuance, humor and beautiful imagery of President Aristide’s speech in Kreyol, the language of Haiti’s people.

A massive crowd cheered the Sept. 30 speech by former President Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide outside his home, breaking a four year silence. He urged his people not to be bought by the big money trying to defeat Lavalas, saying Haiti means “Do not obey!” and that the issue “is not money, it is dignity.”
A massive crowd cheered the Sept. 30 speech by former President Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide outside his home, breaking a four year silence. He urged his people not to be bought by the big money trying to defeat Lavalas, saying Haiti means “Do not obey!” and that the issue “is not money, it is dignity.”

Sisters and brothers,

You who live here or live abroad, I am happy to greet you in the spirit of One Love. In the shadow of our ancestors, allow me to give each of you a big fraternal accolade and an embrace for the children and the youth of the country, who hold a special place in my heart.

With much respect, I bow in remembrance of all the victims of the Sept. 30, 1991, coup d’état. Their bodies have fallen but they will remain alive in our spirit. The sweat and blood of our heroes should not be shed in vain.

In memory of all Haitians who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Haiti, let us look at the root of the word Haiti. Hai means no, do not. Tii means obey in the Swahili language. Haiti or Haitii means do not obey.

Long ago, slaves were always saying, “Do not obey the colonists.” Today we say, “Do not obey people who have no respect for human rights. Haitii! Do not obey the mentally enslaved involved in electoral coup d’état.

“Do not obey the mentally enslaved who refuse to accept the vote of the people. Every person is a human being. The vote of each person must be counted. Period.”

“Do not obey the mentally enslaved who refuse to accept the vote of the people. Every person is a human being. The vote of each person must be counted. Period.”

My sisters and my brothers, during these three years of silence, I always listened to your voices. When hard times made you feverish, my body ached also. When you thirsted to hear a clear position from me, I felt that too.

Even though since May 19, 2015, Minouche [Mildred Aristide] has already told you the candidate I will choose for the post of president of the country; even though you have walked the streets with her, arm in arm, to demand the annulment of the electoral coup d’état of Aug. 9, I feel that you would like to hear me say it in my own voice.

Thank you for the trust that you have in me; this is exactly why I prayed, I thought a lot before reaching this decision. This decision is not steeped in naïveté because even small minds that have not undergone mental decolonization already see that officials have chosen to conduct a selection, and not an election.

Former President Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse, standing in the bed of a pickup truck, greet a huge crowd waiting at the gates of his home. – Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery, AP
Former President Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse, standing in the bed of a pickup truck, greet a huge crowd waiting at the gates of his home. – Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery, AP

In the hope that this truth will not hurt or offend these officials who are our brothers and sisters too, this is what I continue to observe: Analysis of the electoral coup d’état of Aug. 9, 2015, shows symptoms of an illness called unilateral spatial neglect. This means that patients with this illness see only one side of reality.

For example, when these patients dress themselves, they dress one side of their body without seeing that the other side has no clothes. When they eat from a plate, they eat only half the food that is there, without realizing that have not eaten the other half of the meal. This illness appears strange but that is the way that it manifests itself because the problem is in a part of the brain called the parietal lobe.

Those responsible for the electoral coup d’état of Aug. 9, 2015, act the same way as those patients who see only one side of reality. On one side they see the ballots that assault weapons want to impose but do not see that on the other side is the majority of the Haitian people demanding that their right to vote in free elections be respected.

Every person is a human being. So the vote of each and every one must be counted. Period.

Analysis of the electoral coup d’état of Aug. 9, 2015, shows a second symptom; it shows a symptom exhibited by patients who are anosognosic. This means patients who refuse to accept that they are ill. In this case, the solution is first mobilization – mobilization by all of us who do not want the country to fall into an unparalleled political tornado and earthquake.

Every person is a human being. So the vote of each and every one must be counted. Period.

You who for the past 11 years have been walking an arduous rocky road, victims of insecurity, abuse, hunger, unemployment, forced to find a way in a blackout of misery. We who suffer with all Haitians who are the victims of repatriation, citizens coming from the Dominican Republic, let us come together to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Professionals in all fields lawyers, engineers, agronomists, nurses, doctors, business people, peasants, officials, teachers who have been struggling in the fog of despair for the past 11 years to make ends meet, let us come together to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Young people everywhere in the provinces and cities, in the universities as well as in community organizations and working class neighborhoods, let us mobilize to stop exclusion. We are the majority. Conditions must be good for all of us.

As I told you on May 9, 2013, remember! One jaw by itself cannot chew food. Each one needs the other. Respect to all of you, scholars as well as the illiterate. Illiterate does not mean unintelligent.

Rich as well as poor, we need to come to an understanding. After 11 years, we must re-stitch the flag of unity.

Hand in hand with all Haitians who live abroad and thirst to come back home, let us create the conditions for the participation of all people of honesty, people of principle, all people who are not involved in politics but who understand that if we do not safeguard our dignity, we will lose our dignity.

My sisters, my brothers, our country is gravely ill and to prevent a worsening sad fate, we must mobilize against a coup d’état until we enter the National Palace, democratically, with Dr. Maryse Narcisse as president of the country.

Voting for Dr. Maryse and all the Fanmi Lavalas candidates, Bò Tab la, number 54, is to take up a huge challenge because there is conspiracy that is entwined with a vast amount of money.

My sisters, my brothers, our country is gravely ill and to prevent a worsening sad fate, we must mobilize against a coup d’état until we enter the National Palace, democratically, with Dr. Maryse Narcisse as president of the country.

However! Yes, however! By word of mouth one telling the other, “Conspiracy entwined with the power of money can be undone with the power of our dignity.”

By word of mouth, one telling the other, “It is not money, it is dignity. If we do not safeguard our dignity, we will lose our dignity.”

Thank you.

Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Contact the Haiti Action Committee at www.haitisolidarity.net, on Facebook at Haiti Action Committee, on Twitter @HaitiAction1or by email at action.haiti@gmail.com.

DEKLARASYON PREZIDAN TITID DEVAN PLIS KE YON MILYON MILITAN FANMI LAVALAS ,POUL PREZANTE PEP LA DOKTE MARYSE NARCISSE POU PWOCHEN PREZIDAN PEYI A 7 FEVRIYE 2016!!!

Posted by Evens Legrand Victor on Thursday, October 1, 2015

Declaration du Dr Maryse Narcisse ce mercredi 30 septembre… FANMI LAVALAS, une seule famille.

Posted by Maryse Narcisse on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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