Statement by REHMONCO: Haiti - the need for an organized struggle

By Renel Exentus & Frank W. Joseph, REHMONCO, February 19, 2024

Renel Exentus and Frank W. Joseph, for the Regroupement des Haïtiens de Montréal contre l'Occupation d'Haïti - REHMONCO

For more than three weeks, the working classes have been mobilizing against the order of terror installed in the country since November 16, 2018. On February 7 of this year, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of several cities across the country to demand the departure of de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The date is emblematic because it marks the thirty-eighth anniversary of the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship.

The struggle to overthrow the dictatorship was also aimed at changing the Haitian state, which for over 200 years had reproduced misery, exclusion and oppression. A state which, since 1915, has been totally subjugated to the interests of US imperialism. The state is decomposing. It has been transformed into a voyou-state, led by a regime whose support for criminal gangs is well established. Despite its decay, this state is kept alive by the unconditional support of US imperialism and the oligarchy.

This voyou state is therefore necessary for the continuation of domination and the plundering of the country's resources. That's why repression is essential if US imperialism and the oligarchy are to continue preserving their interests. And it is in this sense that we must understand the role played by gangs today.

The working classes are aware that the rise of these federated criminal gangs is objectively linked to the interests of the oligarchy and imperialism. By facilitating and financing the development of gangs in the country's main urban centers, the oligarchs and the de facto government wish to neutralize any mobilizations against misery, the absence of public services, health, education, etc.

Day by day, gang repression reaches new heights. In 2023, more than 8,000 people were murdered or kidnapped. In the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, gang attacks forced at least 100,000 people to flee their homes. In January 2024 alone, more than 1,800 people were murdered, half of them children (according to UNICEF).

Today, one thing is obvious: the de facto government will remain in power as long as its foreign and oligarchic guardians order it to stay there. It's also clear to us that the proposals put forward by civil society groups to find a "peaceful Haitian solution" to the crisis have reached the objective limits that were part of their approach from the outset. Imperialism has no intention of negotiating with anyone, and no intention of compromising its domination and interests. And, it's important to repeat: the form of imperial domination today excludes all forms of formal representative democracy, of the institutions of a sovereign, democratic state. For imperialism, domination must be total.

But for domination to be total, it must be based on total violence. That's why it's imperative that the working classes organize to build total resistance to this violence. The days of spontaneous mass demonstrations are over.

Now is the time to build an organized struggle for the short, medium and long term!

Renel Exentus and Frank W. Joseph, Montreal, February 18, 2024



Translated by CHIP editors