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New Resistance to U.S. Occupation

By Pat Chin, in Workers World,
30 March 1995

Haitian women, students, workers and peasants are continuing their mobilizations despite the wave of terror that continues to sweep the nation.

On March 1, Faunder Simon, a driver for the Papay Peasant Movement (MPP), was shot twice as he drove home. A member of the MPP since 1989 and the father of three children, he later died in the hospital.

This cowardly murder is a proof that shows clearly that the Macoute forces are not interested in reconciliation. On the contrary, they continue to kill, intimidate, terrorize to block the route to change, to block the route of democracy, declared an MPP news release.

Several days later, on March 8, Haitians marked International Women's Day with protests, concerts, declarations, delegation visits, news releases by political parties, and a program at the National Palace.

Numerous sensitization sessions were held at health clinics, on radio stations, at schools and other institutions. The sessions concern violence--both at home and connected with the coup that overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991. Economic survival and the high cost of living were also discussed.

As part of the official celebration, the newly created Ministry of the Feminine Condition and Women's Rights declared March the Month of the Rights of Women.

At one activity, Minister Lise Marie Dejean led a delegation of about 200 women and some men from popular organizations to the border to meet with delegates from women's groups in the Dominican Republic. (Haiti Info, March 11)

After singing the two national anthems and feminist songs, women spoke about the problems they are facing in their communities.

On March 7 and 8 women vendors protested in front of the ministry. They demanded reparations for lost merchandise and denounced the way the ministry receives people.

A conference organized by FANM ETNO, a new group at the Faculty of Ethnology, focused on the women's movement and the university. But the women's ministry was criticized for failing to address the root causes of oppression and exploitation.

Many women are noting that there is a connection between violence and oppression against women and the exploitation in general in society, reported Haiti Info.

I am happy the day went well, said one Haitian woman. But I still have my problems.

With elections in Haiti now scheduled for June, U.S. agencies and CIA assets have been on the move across that Caribbean country as the U.S. occupation enters its fifth month.

But popular organizations and various individuals have stepped up criticism of the occupation and the elections. On March 4, union representatives of six state-owned enterprises called on the government to halt the process of privatization of state industries. They also demanded a public debate so the people can know the consequences.

The declaration came from a two-day meeting of about 100 representatives who had met to discuss the social, economic and political consequences of privatization plans for Haiti.

The U.S. government and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation dictated the privatization scheme. It will increase the suffering of the Haitian people as super-profits are sucked from the country. That's why the U.S. occupiers aim to dominate the electoral process.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has budgeted $20 million to control the outcome of the elections. That means deciding from the start who will run for the mayoral positions and parliamentary seats that will be up for grabs.

U.S. imperialism wants desperately to prevent a repeat of the 1990 Lavalas landslide that swept the progressive leader Aristide into office with almost 70 percent of the popular vote.

With grants from USAID, agencies like the International Organization for Migration and the National Democratic Institute--linked to the U.S. Democratic Party--have been very busy setting up shop throughout the country. Earlier in the week, it assembled representatives from almost all of the traditional political parties for a two-day meeting where NDI gave lessons in 'democracy.' (Haiti Info)

Denouncing U.S. domination of the upcoming vote and referring to the question of widespread illiteracy and political consciousness in Haiti, the Rev. Daniel Roussiere of Gonaives recently said:

This is one of the rare countries where you can be on top of a mountain and hear a peasant criticizing the American government. The problem is channeling this political consciousness.