Commentary: Senator Moise’s Faux Pas

by Thomas Peralte (Haiti Liberte)
Senator Moise Jean-Charles’ declaration this week calling the Venezuelan Ambassador to Haiti “persona non grata” was unfortunate and diplomatically maladroit, to say the least. It handed on a silver platter to Martelly’s cynical team an occasion to call to order their fiercest critic, scoring a point on him and throwing discredit on his many charges of the president’s corruption, most of which remain unproven despite corroborating accounts from other sources, including Nuria Piera’s spectacular and credible revelations of Sen. Felix Bautista funneling about $2.6 million to Martelly & Co.

The Martelly government, whose friendship with Venezuela is based solely on opportunism, can now posture as the revolutionary Bolivarian Republic’s defender, further muddying already muddy political water. There is absolutely no argument that one can make to the Executive’s June 19 statement that “the government reminds that the senator in question has absolutely no right or authority to declare ‘persona non grata’ a diplomat representing the interests of a friendly state, and that such prerogatives lie only with the executive branch, in accordance with the law.” The government is fully justified to “firmly condemn such declarations which aim, without any doubt, to damage the harmony of Haitian-Venezuelan relations, whose positive results for the Haitian people no longer need to be demonstrated.”
While we have often applauded the outspoken senator’s courage in denouncing Martelly’s corruption, repression, and fraud, Sen. Moise apparently does not understand that criticizing a nation’s ambassador is the same as criticizing the state itself.
Although Sen. Moise has told Haiti Liberte that he holds revolutionary Venezuela in the highest esteem and that his denunciation only concerns the ambassador personally, this reveals a terrible lack of understanding of the ABCs of diplomacy.
If Sen. Moise has proof that the Martelly government is taking money from the PetroCaribe funds to finance its demagogic poverty alleviation projects as well as the embryonic proto-Macoute army, and that the ambassador is aware of this illegal siphoning, then he should endeavor to raise the matter directly and discretely with the Venezuelan government.
It is also possible that Sen. Moise has been misinformed, either about the siphoning or the Ambassador’s knowledge of it, in which case his recklessness is even more inexcusable.
Beyond the diplomatic gaffe, this episode reveals once again the burning need to develop a coherent and disciplined “fighting organization,” preferably a party, to defend the people’s rights and interests. Sen. Moise Jean-Charles has been waging his crusades mostly as a lone knight, which is no way to fight a battle.
Sen. Moise should be functioning in concert with or in the framework of an organization of like-minded comrades around him. In such a case, he might have raised the idea of denouncing the Venezuelan ambassador, but more clear-headed colleagues would have pointed out to him the folly of such a course of action.
To be sure, Sen. Moise’s faux pas does not in any way endanger the growing consciousness of Haiti’s masses that Martelly’s promises are based almost entirely on bluff with sprinklings of appeasement: a motorcycle here, a scholarship there.
What we need above all is an organization which can marshal our many forces – activists, lawyers, doctors, students, workers, peasants, and, yes, even journalists – to investigate and discover the truth and proof of corruption and crimes, and then fashion appropriate and effective strategy and tactics to bring political change.
Short of that, we are left with lone rangers, shooting from the hip, where bullets will eventually go astray and hit the wrong target.