On. Sep. 9, Haiti’s most outspoken
opposition senator and leading popular organizations announced
that they would hold a national conference in Port-au-Prince on
Sep. 29 to forge an alliance and map out a path to forming a
provisional government to replace President Michel Martelly and
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
On Sep. 3, the eight popular
organizations had called on Haiti’s deputies to indict Martelly
and Lamothe for, among other things, personally making threats
on Jul. 11 against a judge investigating government corruption,
thereby inducing his death two days later (see Haïti Liberté,
Vol. 7, No. 8, Sep. 4, 2013).
On Sep. 6, thirteen deputies did formally submit an indictment
in Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies, buttressing two separate
parliamentary Special Commissions of Inquiry which had already
recommended that Martelly and Lamothe be removed from office in
reports issued on Aug. 8 and Aug. 23.
Citing the President’s flagrant
sabotage in a judicial investigation, as well as his “perjury”
and “treason” in the ensuing cover-up, the draft indictment
called for “the impeachment of the President of the Republic and
the dismissal of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice
and Public Security to be carried out by the High Court of
Justice,” constituted by the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Chamber of
Deputies never took up the Special Commissions’ reports or the
draft indictment before it adjourned on Sep. 9 for four months,
not to resume its work until Jan. 14, 2014. At that point,
however, there are many indications that Martelly may try to
dissolve the Parliament and rule by decree.
"We are in a Parliament in
which we cannot exercise our supervisory powers" of the
executive because "there is rampant corruption particularly in
the Chamber of Deputies," explained Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles
during the Sep. 9 press conference.
Sharing the stage with the
senator were human rights lawyer Mario Joseph of the Office of
International Lawyers (BAI), representing the Dessalines
Coordination (KOD), and Oxygène David of the National Movement
for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity of Haitians (MOLEGHAF).
“We call on the people to rise
up,” Joseph said. “We have to prepare to replace the Martelly/Lamothe
government. And we have to finish with the foreign military
occupation of Haiti. We don’t want the MINUSTAH [UN Mission to
Stabilize Haiti]. We can govern ourselves by putting in place a
government of national unity to organize elections which are
free, honest, and above all sovereign.”
Following the Sep. 29 Popular
Forum, which will be held at the Plaza Hotel in Port-au-Prince,
there will be a major march through the capital on Sep. 30 to
commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 1991 coup
d’état against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Oxygène David, who spent over
two months in jail without charges last year after being singled
out for arrest during a regular peaceful protest, recalled that
Sep. 11 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1988 St.
Jean Bosco massacre, during which armed soldiers and thugs
massacred 33 church-goers after a mass held by Aristide, who was
then a Catholic priest. The burned out shell of the church
remains the usual starting point for pro-democracy
demonstrations to this day.
“Every day, Martelly’s regime
shows itself to be more arrogant and lawless,” David said,
pointing out that the current government protects and
incorporates many of the criminals who carried out massacres,
coups, and other human rights violations. “Today we see the
veritable murder of Judge Jean Serge Joseph [who was
investigating government corruption], the arbitrary arrest of
the two brothers Florestal [who brought the original corruption
lawsuit against the government], and the attempted arrest of
lawyers André Michel and Newton Saint-Juste [who represent the
Florestals]. Meanwhile, the international community, through its
local ruling-class lackeys, is trying to impose elections to
disguise their hand-me-down democracy (demokrasi pepe), which
was illegally imposed. We need a general mobilization to hold
all the necessary meetings and take all the necessary steps to
stop Martelly’s dictatorship and establish a provisional
government capable of holding free elections.”
Flanking the speakers were
representatives of other organizations joining the call
including the Heads Together of Popular Organizations, the Great
Space Reflection for Social Integration (GERES), the
Organization of Young Progressives of Pouplar Avenue (OJPAP), the
National Popular Platform (PNP), the Movement for the Survival
of Haitian Society (MOSSOH), and the Awakened Militants for
Another Haiti (MRH).
“No election is possible with
this regime at the head of the country,” said Sen. Moïse
Jean-Charles, who attracted most of the capital’s media to the
press conference just as he does crowds in the street. “It is
charged with involvement in so many criminal and immoral acts
that threaten the future of the Haitian people. It is also
unbelievable that certain sectors of the international community
and the traditional political class, despite all the outrages of
the Martelly regime, continue to call for elections under his
Moïse called the last-minute
electoral bill being voted on that day in Parliament
“demagoguery” and charged that “Martelly has a project to
dissolve parliament and restore a dictatorial regime against the
people of Haiti.”
Other popular organizations in
the capital have called for anti-Martelly demonstrations on Sep.
11 and 12. Sep. 11 also marks the 20th anniversary of
crusading democracy activist Antoine Izméry’s 1993 murder while
organizing a mass during the 1991-1994 coup to commemorate the
St. Jean Bosco massacre.
On Sep. 7, Nippes celebrated the 10th
anniversary of its being named as Haiti’s 10th
geographic department in September 2003 under the government of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Thousands turned out for a
giant ceremony organized by Aristide’s Lavalas Family party, and
Sen. Jean-Charles was one of the speakers. His sharp message
that elections are not possible under Martelly electrified the
crowd, which ended up carrying him away on its shoulders.