Alone we are weak, together we are strong, all together WE ARE LAVALAS: Lavalas statement on coronavirus

The Haiti Action Committee held this rally in San Francisco on Jan. 25, 2010, in support of Haiti less than two weeks after the country was hit by an unprecedented earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people. Lavalas, the party of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and Aristide had been ousted on Feb. 29, 2004, in a violent coup, and ever since then the country has been exploited by a series of weak, US neoliberal-backed puppets, who left Haiti vulnerable to disasters like the earthquake and now the coronavirus pandemic. – Photo: Kamau Amen-Ra

Introduction: Haiti Action Committee is honored to circulate this statement from Fanmi Lavalas, the people’s party in Haiti. The statement comes at a moment when the coronavirus has made its deadly march into Haiti. Faced with government inaction, repression and corruption, Haitians have turned to each other and to the popular movement to meet the challenge. We urge you to distribute this statement widely.

Fanmi Lavalas sends greetings to Haitians here and abroad during this coronavirus pandemic and takes this opportunity to be in solidarity with all the victims of the coronavirus and their families.

After the earthquake, hurricanes and floods, the coronavirus pandemic has hit the country at a time when misery, hunger, insecurity and unemployment are already disastrous. The Haitian people are left with empty hands by irresponsible authorities already steeped in corruption, and by a government that has shown no capability, competence or willingness to manage this health care crisis embedded within a social and economic crisis. An economic crisis that will worsen if the diaspora finds it difficult to make money transfers because the Haitian communities abroad have been greatly hit by this pandemic.

The people have no confidence in the statements made by the authorities who continue to practice a politics that is based on lies and corruption. At the same time that they are banning gatherings of more than 10 people, closing schools and churches, the authorities open Dermalog* offices with people pressed together in long lines to obtain voting cards made in an attempt to renew their mandate through another electoral coup d’état. The same authorities made the decision to organize people in mass gatherings in order to receive a little bag of bread and rice handed out by unscrupulous candidates.

These authorities have declared a state of emergency during which they continue reaping benefits for themselves when initiatives that should be undertaken to protect the population against the coronavirus have not yet been put in place. Public funds are being disbursed for no-bid contracts without the advice of the “Koudèkont” (Accounting Office). 

When we listen to the officials from the country’s Ministry of Public Works say that they have mass graves to bury 1,000 to 1,500 dead every day, we know they are planning for the dead without even having planned for the living.

Meanwhile, the population has seen no screening tests, no masks that were supposed to have been distributed to everyone, no hospitals that should have been prepared in each department of the country, no health care staff with protective personal equipment while they have to continue providing services to the population.

The same authorities who extended the state of emergency until May 19 have also decided to reopen the factories without any measures to protect the workers. One can see in Port-au-Prince and Karakol the many people pressed together in front of the factories trying to survive despite the peril of coronavirus hanging over their heads.

Human rights and dignity are not respected when we look at the situation of Haitians stranded in foreign countries demanding to return to their homeland; we see the level of requirements that the Haitian government is imposing on them. When we listen to the officials from the country’s Ministry of Public Works say that they have mass graves to bury 1,000 to 1,500 dead every day, we know they are planning for the dead without even having planned for the living. And we ask, what about the rights and dignity of the dead and their families?

With the complicity of the government, gangs are now the law, gunmen are entering people’s residences, kidnapping, burning homes and massacring people in impoverished communities in attempts to break the resistance of the majority population.

It appears clear that this plundering government is a virus that is worse than the coronavirus. Fanmi Lavalas encourages us to continue to be in solidarity with one another in our neighborhoods.

Coronavirus is a grave problem that everyone must take seriously. It must not be an opportunity for irresponsible government officials to engage in corruption and plotting for an electoral coup d’état. It cannot be an occasion used by the government to prevent people from organizing and mobilizing to defend their rights.

It appears clear that this plundering government is a virus that is worse than the coronavirus. While we struggle against the coronavirus by respecting the measures to protect each other and our families, Fanmi Lavalas encourages us to continue to be in solidarity with one another in our neighborhoods and also to denounce actions that are against the interest of the country and the majority population in the on-going struggle for a different type of state.

Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization, always present with our people in the struggle to change the state, continues to stand strong with the population in this difficult period and commits to continue working together with all sectors, organizations and individuals who believe that the time has come for real change in the country.

Alone we are weak, together we are strong, all together WE ARE LAVALAS.

Executive Committee of Fanmi Lavalas

  • Dr. Maryse Narcisse
  • Mr. Joel Vorbe
  • Dr. Jean Myrto Julien
  • Agr. Anthony Dessources

* Dermalog is a German-based company that manufactures voting cards for Haiti.

This is an unofficial English translation by the Haiti Action Committee, which first published it at https://haitisolidarity.net/voices-from-haiti/lavalas-statement-on-coronavirus/.