From the September-October 2021 issue of News & Letters
by Gerry Emmett
The labyrinthine conspiracy surrounding the July 7 assassination of Haiti’s controversial President Jovenel Moise embodies the retrogression and violence of bourgeois democratic politics. Moise was killed—shot multiple times in his home—by a group of 28 foreign mercenaries, including former members of the Colombian armed forces and two Haitian-Americans.
It is alleged the murder was part of a coup, planned by would-be Haitian “leaders” in Florida. Among the odd figures and organizations implicated are a number of former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informants and U.S.-based security companies. The killers were recorded announcing themselves as DEA agents.
It is to be hoped the full truth will come out. What is obvious is that the coup was made more feasible by the total disarray in Haiti’s governance.
A GOVERNMENT IN RUINS
Since Moise assumed office in 2017, political protest and violence had been common. There were widespread protests in February demanding he step down, and he claimed to have foiled a coup attempt at that time. Opposition leaders said his term should have ended then, but the U.S. supported his claim to rule until 2022.
Haiti has been without a functioning parliament since 2019, with Moise ruling by decree. Before his death, he was planning a referendum on a new constitution that many feared would strengthen his grip on government. In his five-year rule he had appointed seven prime ministers.
There is massive discontent in Haiti. Whether done by indigenous coup plotters, or some even more shadowy agency, the Haitian people have once again been denied the right to revolution.
THE EARTHQUAKE AND AFTERMATH
As if this wasn’t enough, on Aug. 14, the country was struck by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. More than 130,000 buildings were wrecked, including hospitals, schools and homes, and over 2,200 people killed. Aftershocks continue as of Aug. 26, with reports of a magnitude 4.5 quake.
The tragedy was worsened by torrential rainfall from tropical storm Grace that created mudslides in the barren, over-exploited hillsides and hindered rescue efforts.