Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/427/5008

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2006

Haitian poor rebel at suspected poll-rigging

HAITIANS WENT to the polls on 8 February for the first vote since the populist president Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a US-backed coup, two years ago.

Niall Mulholland

Initial results indicated René Preval, a former ally of Aristide, on 60%, would become president, with Charles Henry Baker, a wealthy garment factory owner, and the candidate of the rich elite, coming third with only 6.1%.

However, on 14 February, electoral officials claimed that Preval only had 48.7% and that a second round run-off was likely on 19 March. This announcement immediately provoked widespread protests by tens of thousands of Preval supporters, who suspect right wing, pro-elite, pro-US forces are behind poll-rigging.

The impoverished protesters paralysed the capital, Port-au-Prince, to which UN 'peace-keepers' responded with gunfire, reportedly killing one young Preval supporter.

The 'interim government' has now blocked publication of the results "until an inquiry into fraud allegations is completed".

Local TV showed hundreds of burnt ballot papers on a city rubbish dump, many marked in favour of René Preval. His supporters again took to the streets to denounce the fraud.

Poverty

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a life expectancy of only 51 years. 65% of the population living below the poverty line and adult literacy rates are at a mere 52%. For decades, the country has been plagued by poverty, joblessness and military dictatorships.

Jean Bertrand Aristide, a popular priest working in the slum areas of Port-au-Prince, was president twice during the 1990 and early 2000s and pledged to tackle poverty and to bring about social justice.

But Aristide's support lessened as he failed to make any real change to poverty conditions. His populist gestures meant little while conditions in shanty towns worsened.

But still the ruling elite could not stomach Aristide's popular base. The reactionary opposition mounted an uprising in 2004, with the Bush administration's support, and overthrew Aristide.

US marines and several thousand United Nations troops, including forces sent by the supposedly 'left' government of Lula, in Brazil, have since occupied the country. They are there primarily to safeguard the interests of the ruling elite, capitalism and US imperialism, while earning the hatred of many of the poor.

Under US/UN control, conditions in Haiti have only worsened. Lawlessness and kidnappings are rife and factories have shut down due to a lack of foreign investment.

The huge social gap between the poor Creole-speaking black majority, that make up 95% of the population, and the French-speaking mulattos, 1% of whom own nearly half the country's wealth, remains unaddressed.

For several years, Haiti has been wracked by violence and gang rule in the slums.

Preval's presidency will not bring the social justice that the poor desperately yearn. Even before taking office, Preval put distance between Aristide and himself. He told the BBC that if elected he would allow Aristide to return from exile in South Africa, but that he "will not tolerate the violent groups that pledge him allegiance".

Although the US ambassador to Haiti, Tim Carney, said before the elections that a Preval victory was not "problematic", the White House will be very wary of a one-time Aristide ally becoming president.

Socialist solution

The wealthy Haitian elite fear Preval's victory even more. If they try to block Preval from becoming president, widespread protests will erupt. Both UN and US troops could be used to shoot down more of the very people they were supposedly sent to Haiti to 'liberate'.

If the US and elite give way and allow Preval to take office, they may later decide he is beyond their control and too pro-poor.

In this situation, the reactionary opposition will try to destabilise and overthrow Preval, replacing him with another brutal, pro-US regime. At the same time, Preval will not satisfy the needs of the poor and working class with mere populism.

Only the masses of Haiti, with the working class playing the leading role, can find a way out of the endless poverty, joblessness, violence, coups and dictatorships.

A mass socialist alternative has to be constructed in opposition to the tiny rich elite that live in mansions on the top of the hill in Port-au-Prince, while the majority - impoverished, jobless, illiterate and hungry - lives in shantytowns at the bottom.

A socialist alternative would fight for real fundamental change, making an appeal to the working class and poor across the Caribbean and the whole Americas.

Lasting democratic rights and rising living standards can only be guaranteed if desperately poor Haiti is part of a regional socialist federation of states.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 16 February 2006:

Troops out of Iraq

Fight for your future

Hands off our schools!

ID cards: 'Creeping compulsion' and grovelling MPs

The real cost of BP mega-profits

Universities and the arms trade

Haitian poor rebel at suspected poll-rigging

Building an alternative to the profit system

New Labour attacks the sick and disabled

Keep fighting New Labour's Education Bill

Labour's pro-business policies are punished

The housing scandal

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month

Striking postal workers build support

Sick of the system

Marching for jobs and services


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 February 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Haiti:

triangleCholera epidemic sparks clashes between Haitians and UN troops

US:

triangleChinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

triangleGoing viral - Socialist comments and letters

triangleTrump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

triangleA new world order - global reconstruction after World War Two

Poverty:

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

triangleFurlough scheme extended - workers need 100% of wages

triangleJD Sports: Shut up shop and give us full pay!

Socialist:

triangleLondon Socialist Party: Workers' safety before bosses' profits

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Role of the community and voluntary sector

International

International

27/5/20

Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

27/5/20

Lebanon

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

20/5/20

US

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

6/5/20

India

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

6/5/20

Trump

Trump puts profit before safety (again)

6/5/20

US

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

29/4/20

May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement

29/4/20

Ireland

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

22/4/20

USA

US private healthcare system in meltdown

14/4/20

Coronavirus

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

8/4/20

CWI

Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide

8/4/20

Amazon

Amazon workers threaten revolution!

18/3/20

France

French local elections: CWI candidate elected

18/3/20

Coronavirus

United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

18/3/20

Coronavirus

'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999