What Kind of Change Will Sweet Micky Bring to Haiti?
Since the beginning of the electoral campaign up until the present day, Mr. Martelly has proclaimed change. Change is a word that means many things to the Haitians who are hearing it, because change is what the country needs.
Unfortunately the level of debate during the electoral campaigning remained low because of the sensational nature of the population, the majority of whom are is easily moved by emotion and don’t yet seem to be ready to reflect before acting. For example, the voters don’t differentiate between electoral debate and political programs. This is extremely serious because this is how it has always been and it ends with leaders being removed through undemocratic means.
The biggest problem in Haiti today was never touched upon during the election process: the redistribution of the country’s land. Many large landowners stole land during the Duvalier dictatorship with false papers. Land was expropriated from the poor who have now been rendered homeless and are living in the streets. Clearly, if Haiti needs change it must begin with this most important problem. If all of the people displaced by the earthquake are left homeless in the streets, it is because they have nowhere else they can stay and their plight must be the priority for those who say they want change.
The question of what change is coming to Haiti must be asked because there are some issues that are important, even fundamental, that Mr. Martelly has not spoken to, or has ignored.
Sovereignty. In all of his campaign speeches, Martelly never spoke of the country’s sovereignty, but there is no country without sovereignty. After he claimed his victory, Martelly declared: “MINUSTAH (the occupation force, or United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) is not a problem for Haiti.” This raises the question: if the MINUSTAH, which has been in the country for more than six years killing people, violating women, taking money for accomplishing nothing and disrespecting Haitians when they want is truly not a problem, what might Mr. Martelly consider a problem?
The creole pigs were the savings account of the peasants, but the bourgeois landowners and the de facto government destroyed them with the support of the United States. This is an important case to illuminate and for the country to seek justice and reparations because there is no agriculture or animal husbandry without the peasants. Up until this moment , Martelly’s political plan doesn’t have these fundamental things within it, even though it is possible to find the same race of pigs in Jamaica and Cuba to repopulate in Haiti.
A system of personal identification and land tenure are important to help combat insecurity so that tourists can begin visiting the country again.
Employment is one of the central points of Martelly’s platform, but he has never been specific about the kinds of employment he would like to create, whether it be cash for work or hanging posters on the walls. It is clear that Mr. Martelly is in agreement with the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) which has promoted building factories throughout the country. The Commission has already approved the construction of five new factories, three for the private sector (the bourgeoisie) and two for the government, so they can continue to exploit the impoverished for $2-3 US each day.
One of these is an industrial park in the north that will be situated of fertile land that should be used to plant food. It will include the first factory to dye fabric in Haiti, however it is possible that a large quantity of water could be contaminated, creating many problems in the area.
Mr. Martelly announced during an interview that his government will look to the Colombian development model to change Haiti.
The first thing to note is that Colombia has the highest number of human rights violations in the Americas. There is a civil war between the FARC and several paramilitary groups including government forces. There are more than four million people who have already been displaced during Colombia’s civil war and the majority of these are unemployed and Afro-descendant. Why would Martelly choose to replicate a situation that is clearly not positive?
More than one quarter of Colombia’s population is unemployed and the majority of these people are Afro-descendants. Colombia is a country with race issues that surpass other countries in Latin America. Discrimination against Afro-descendants and the indigenous population is rampant.
Colombia is the country where the Americans have the most military bases in the Americas (seven bases) that they use to spy on progressive governments like Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba under the pretext of the war on drugs while the U.S. continues to be a champion in the illegal drug market.
It is unclear what Mr. Martelly will change for the better in Haiti, but there has been one issue that he has spoken to at length: education.
Haiti is a country that is colonized pedagogically, and it is the Church that is almost the only voice in this arena. History shows that the Church is representative of colonization and disempowerment for all people who have been victims of slavery.
However in Haiti up until now it is the Church that has published the majority of books for most of the schools. Martelly has said nothing about how he will remove this kind of education that is modeled on Jewish, French and American systems rather than a system for Haitians, or how he will take education out of the hands of the Church to put it responsibly into the hands of the government. He spoke more about technological challenges and the lack of buildings, when what is most is important is the kind of education the children of Haiti will receive.
Haitians could spend their entire lives in school studying geology, and yet never know that Haiti had dangerous seismological faults before January 12th.
Haitian literature is written in a foreign language: French.
Once again it is critical to ask what is the true path Haiti is on and what awaits it in the future. When someone talks about change it is important to dig deeper to find out what are the real objectives of that person.
Each individual should analyze and try to find the conclusion to help them understand what road of change Haiti is on. Is it neoliberal, neocolonial, apartheid, demagogy, or is it to rediscover the Haiti that lives in the dreams of Haitians?