National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco
Stands in Solidarity With Haitian Grassroots Movement
For well over a month, tens of thousands of Haitians have been demonstrating daily to protest yet another stolen election and another denial of their right to determine their own destinies. Despite this popular outcry and numerous reports of large-scale fraud and voter suppression the Electoral Council in Haiti, backed by the U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and the United Nations occupying forces (MINUSTAH), has just officially anointed Jovenel Moise as the next president of Haiti. Moise is a protégé of right-wing former President Michel Martelly, whose regime was marked by corruption, wholesale repression of political opposition, and the selling of Haiti’s land and resources to foreign corporations.
As Haitians demonstrate courageously to resist the imposition of an undemocratically selected regime, they have been met with repression from Haitian police and UN soldiers. In one incident, police attacked the community of La Saline, a stronghold of Fanmi Lavalas, for decades the party of the poor majority in Haiti. The police fired round upon round of tear gas and killed three infants. In another instance, police attacked a non-violent march using water hoses, tear gas, and a skin irritant that caused severe burns.
On Dec. 24, police attacked a peaceful Christmas Eve demonstration on Martin Luther King Avenue in Port-au-Prince – beating and shooting journalists and people protesting the stolen election. Police shot up and smashed windows of cars belonging to Fanmi Lavalas parliamentarian Printemps Belizaire and Fanmi Lavalas senatorial candidate Dr. Louis Gerald Gilles. Journalist Thomas Jean Dufait, from Radio-Tele Timoun (a grassroots media outlet) sustained bullet wounds. In recent days, police have used massive force to block demonstrators from even marching.
These tactics are all reminiscent of those used by police forces in the Jim Crow South or in South Africa, who were equally determined to prevent Black people from exercising their right to vote.
We in the San Francisco Lawyers Guild condemn these attacks on Haitian’s right to assemble and their right to speak out and protest. We denounce the blatant subversion of the electoral process in Haiti. We call on the U.S. government, the UN and the OAS to end their support for dictatorial rule in Haiti. And we stand in solidarity with the grassroots movement in Haiti as they continue their steadfast fight for democratic governance and true self-determination.