Political crisis in Haiti : the latest initiatives of the UN are a major obstacle to the establishment of the State of Law
By Robert Berrouët-Oriol
October 12, 2021
English version of the article published in Haiti, in the newspaper Le National dated October 12, 2021, under the title « De Ricardo Seitenfus à Helen La Lime, l’aveuglante et impériale manufacture du « consentement » politique en Haïti » [«From Ricardo Seitenfus to Helen La Lime, the blinding and imperial manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti ».]
In recent months, the accelerated deterioration of the security and political situation in Haiti has brought to light the macabre interplay of contradictions and common interests of its various protagonists, both national and foreign actors, The latter are grouped within a benevolent and hyperactive international coterie called the « Core Group » (which includes the ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the European Union, Spain, the United States of America, the Special Representative of the Organization of American States and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General). In opposition to the just demands of the population, carried by civil society, the political-mafia cartel known as the PHTK (Haitian Tèt Kale Party, openly neo-Duvalierist) has been crystallizing and organizing for the past ten years, with the unabashed endorsement of the « Core Group », a governance of the country characterized by the squandering of public funds and funds from the PetroCaribe program (3.8 billion dollars), money laundering on a large scale the programmed extinction of citizens’ rights, the decapitation of State institutions, the violent repression of public protests by the instrumentalization of the repressive bodies of the National Police, the tolerance and/or complicity of the Executive in targeted assassinations and massacres in working-class neighborhoods, the trivialization of corruption and nepotism installed at all levels of the social edifice. How has the mafia-political cartel known as PHTK been able to hold on to executive power for the past ten years, despite the fact that it is strongly contested by Haitian civil society? Composed, among others, of an indeterminate number of « big eaters » -according to the popular expression dedicated to this category of politicians of the small and medium bourgeoisie-, among whom Michel Martelly, Laurent Lamothe, Jack Guy Lafontant, Evans Paul/KPlim, Jovenel Moïse, Ariel Henry, etc, The PHTK political-mafia cartel has metastasized and maintained itself in power because it has been able to protect and ensure the continuity of the « business » of the traditional oligarchy and to profit, in addition to the lucrative « state financial rent », from the juicy profits of the nationally capitalized drug and arms trade. Already flourishing during the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier, drug trafficking has become over the years a major social and economic marker in the governance of the country, and it counts among its relays important figures of the traditional oligarchy and leading actors in the criminalization/gangsterization of state power (see Leslie Péan’s article, « Des élections à saveur de cocaïne », AlterPresse, January 27, 2014).
The curious reader can deepen the knowledge of the configuration of the current mechanisms of the gangsterized power of the neo-duvalierist PHTK as well as, more broadly, that of the political situation of the country by reading the excellent studies of Frédéric Thomas, a political scientist and teacher-researcher at CETRI, the Tricontinental Center based at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, in Belgium. He is the author of, among other things, the book « L’échec humanitaire: le cas haïtien » (co-publication Couleur livres and Cetri, 2017) and numerous articles on Haiti, including « Haiti: entre catastrophe humanitaire et farce électorale » (Cetri, October 21, 2015); « Haïti: International Organizations Substitute for the Authorities » (Cetri, October 7, 2016); « Jovenel Moïse’s Election, ‘a Catastrophe’ for Haiti » (Cetri, November 30, 2016); « Haiti: the PetroCaribe Case in Three Words » (Cetri, June 18, 2019); « Haiti: Why is the Country Sinking into Crisis? » (Cetri, February 13, 2019); « The PetroCaribe Audit Draws Another Architecture of Corruption in Haiti » (Cetri, June 13, 2019); « Five Questions for Helen La Lime Meagher, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti » (Cetri, June 24, 2020). Also, the curious reader may wish to consult with profit the quality analytical contributions of Erno Renoncourt, essayist in information systems engineering, published on his blog and elsewhere, among others « Droits humains, cette obscure aubaine de réussite » (Médiapart, March 3, 2021), and « Le rire par-delà le deuil masqué: à qui meurt gagne! » (Le National, August 3, 2021). See also the rigorous analytical contributions of Laënnec Hurbon, among others « Colonial practices and legal banditry in Haiti » (Médiapart, June 28, 2020). In this study, Laënnec Hurbon, sociologist, author of numerous books on Haiti, research director at the CNRS (Paris) and professor at the Faculty of Humanities of the State University of Haiti, states that « Colonial practices are a real « habitus » (in the sense of Bourdieu’s sociology) of the « international community » in Haiti since at least the year of the American occupation in 1915. It is as if the sovereignty acquired on the basis of the heroic sacrifices of the War of Independence (1791-1804) has been gradually eroded to the point where it has been reduced to nothing today.
Is it relevant and useful to interrogate the configuration of the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti? What is the role and what are the objectives of the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti?
We borrow the concept of « consent » from the philosopher Michel Foucauld, author of « Les aveux de la chair » (« Histoire de la sexualité », IV, Bibliothèque des histoires collection, Gallimard, 2018). « Consent » therefore, in the sense that the acceptance of a body of ideas is a given-constructed, at the same time fabricated and manufactured, so that what is consented to is perceived, in the social body, as justified and legitimate –such as Michel Foucauld explores and analyzes by questioning the question of sexual consent in the Fathers of the Church. The « consent » granted to the political-mafia cartel of the neo-Duvalierist PHTK is thus, in the light of this concept, a given-construct that brings into play a local narrative device combined with that of the International: On the one hand, a fossilized verbal « nationalism » frozen in the sterile adoration of Haiti’s glorious past while the State, stripped and bloodless, is dislocating itself by criminalizing itself a little more each day, and on the other hand, a fraudulent plea from the International advocating the country’s entry into « democracy » through a magic recipe that has failed everywhere, namely elections at all costs, « free, honest and transparent »… The blinding and imperial manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti is located and established in the intertwining of the local narrative with that of the international.
The capture/domestication of executive power by the mafia-political cartel known as PHTK (Parti haïtien tèt kale), even though it responds primarily to local imperatives, soon benefited from strong external support, the public support of the U.S. State Department. This support is the continuation of an institutional, geopolitical and strategic logic, that of the American occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934, and it has manifested itself in different ways over the years, notably through the disguised and bargained support of the American administration to the Duvalier dictatorship as well as to the authoritarian drifts of the state power at work and in maneuver since the defeat of the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986. Through and despite the convulsions characteristic of traditional political power struggles in the country, there remains one constant to which the U.S. Administration is committed: support for anti-national actors lacking political and constitutional legitimacy (Namphy, Regala, Avril, Cedras, Martelly, Moïse, Henry…) under the guise of support for the establishment of « democracy » in Haiti, a sort of magic potion that is valid, in its Third Worldist version, for the countries of the South but never implemented in the great democracies of the West. This is the deep meaning of the political maneuvers highlighted by a courageous article in the January 31, 2011 edition of the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, « Haiti: Clinton advocates the OAS solution, » in which it is stated that « Hillary Clinton arrived in Port-au-Prince for discussions with outgoing President René Préval and the main presidential candidates. She explained that Washington wants the Haitian authorities to implement the OAS recommendations that Jude Celestin, a candidate supported by Préval, should be dropped from the second round in favor of Michel Martelly, a popular singer who was credited in controversial preliminary results with only 7,000 fewer votes than Celestin. » (…) « In addition to the United States, the United Nations and major Western donors [donors] such as France, Britain and the European Union, have expressed support for the OAS proposal. » The disastrous and predatory « reign » of PHTK/Michel Martelly thus began under the coercion of the American Administration, which has been omnipresent in the country’s affairs since 1915… Hilary Clinton’s intervention thus marks an important step in the blinding and imperial manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti. It was followed by other initiatives of varying scope and on related and complementary registers, notably the « trial balloon » of the political scientist Ricardo Seitenfus, then the imposition by the Core Group of Dr. Ariel Henry as Prime Minister following the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, and then the pro-PHTK campaign led by Helen La Lime, the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Haiti. These initiatives each took the form of a narrative device in line with the singular but convergent objectives of the Core Group, the OAS and the PHTK political-mafia cartel.
- Ricardo Seitenfus’ narrative device
In a « Tribune » published in Haiti in Le National on May 4, 2021, « Ricardo Seitenfus’ ‘multiple choice referendum’ at the bedside of the PHTK’s neo-Duvalierist ‘Constitution’ project in Haiti », we highlighted the narrative device of Ricardo Seitenfus, former Special Envoy of Brazil to Haiti and, in 2008, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the OAS and head of the OAS office in Haiti. By examining the article he published in Le Nouvelliste on April 30, 2021 under the title « Constitutional Debate, the proposal of Ricardo Seitenfus », we have demonstrated that his pre-ordered « trial balloon » was clearly distressing, devoid of analytical rigor and, all in all, scandalous and offensive to all Haitians concerned about the future of their country. We have demonstrated that Ricardo Seitenfus’ « proposal » was a deliberately biased, if not blinding, look at the « constitutional kadejak » that Jovenel Moïse and the extreme right-wing neo-duvalier party PHTK intended to impose on Haiti with the support of the OAS, the United Nations Office in Haiti, the U.S. Department of State and the Core Group: the adoption by a bogus referendum, sewn in advance, of a new « Constitution » drafted on the sly by the ICC, the so-called « independent » Committee and which, upon observation, turned out to be a coterie of porters sponsored by the PHTK (see our article published on May 25, 2021 in Le National, « Constitutional Coup » in Haiti: the double game of the OAS and the UN in support of the neo-Duvalierist PHTK »). Our analysis of Ricardo Seitenfus’ « proposal » sheds light on the fact that he has taken the opposite view of the legal opinion of a national institution, the Federation of Bar Associations of Haiti, which, in its « Declaration » of February 2, 2021, wisely analyzed the illegal and unconstitutional nature of the PHTK’s scam. In the light of the political « consent » enterprise implemented by the International in the Haitian drama, Ricardo Seitenfus has thus endeavored to ensure the de facto recognition of the pseudo « legality » of the Provisional Electoral Council, puppet of Jovelel Moïse, and of the CCI (the Independent Consultative Committee), two illegal and anti-constitutional bodies: the illegality and unconstitutionality of these two officines of the neo-Duvalierist PHTK have been demonstrated by a number of jurists and several Haitian civil society organizations, which Ricardo Seitenfus has deliberately chosen to ignore (see the excellent analysis by jurist Patrick Pierre-Louis published in Le Nouvelliste under the title « Did you say: ‘Collapse of the existing constitutional order’? » – Communication by Me Patrick Pierre-Louis, member of the Council of the Bar Association of Port-au-Prince, Hotel Montana, April 21, 2021). History has shown that Ricardo Seitenfus served as a « teaser », a sort of transmission belt for the project of the premeditated return of the OAS as a « credible » interlocutor in the Haitian file and that, in order to do so, he had to bring his intellectual and political guarantee to the narrative device consisting of legitimizing the power held by the PHTK by recognizing it as an institutional and state interlocutor, an obligatory passage in the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti. This is the essential reason for the amalgam that Ricardo Seitenfus cleverly instilled in his text, which deliberately confuses constitutional reform with the attempt to radically and fraudulently impose a new « hyper-presidentialist » Constitution inspired by Uncle Makout, against a backdrop of confusion maintained by politicians of various stripes, between the proven non-application of the 1987 Constitution and the need in the future to institute a true national debate aimed at filling the gaps in the 1987 Constitution, which Ricardo Seitenfus, from the height of his pontifical knowledge, qualified as « profoundly anti-democratic », especially « with respect to the process of its adaptation to the times and new challenges ».
- The narrative device of Ariel Henry, de facto Prime Minister teleported by the Core Group
The parachuting of a former Michel Martelly/PHTK minister, Dr. Ariel Henry, into the position of de facto Prime Minister by the Core Group, a few days after the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, marks a new stage in the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti. In the face of the internal struggles still prevalent between different factions of the neo-duvalierist PHTK, and with the objective of keeping in check any initiative of organized civil society to promote a truly democratic transition in the country, the Core Group has chosen an old hand in the Haitian political class capable of both keeping at bay the « uncontrollable » PHTK of which he is nonetheless the faithful servant, and who would apparently be able to « restore order in order to organize the elections demanded by the population [sic] and the international community » (see the article in the Montreal newspaper La Presse dated July 20, 2021, « The new Prime Minister promises order and elections »). Under the leadership of the Core Group, the narrative device of Ariel Henry -now repository of all the prerogatives of a President, a Prime Minister and the Parliament even though he lacks the slightest constitutional legitimacy-, can be summed up in a mantra cleverly learned from his international tutors: « One of my priority tasks will be to reassure the population that we will do everything possible to restore order and security » (…) for he asserts, « The solution to the Haitian crisis must come from the Haitians » (…) Also, « Everything is negotiable, except democracy, elections and the rule of law » (La Presse newspaper, idem). This mantra, hooted by a de facto Prime Minister devoid of any political and constitutional legitimacy, even though he inspires only disdain among the population, was repeated over and over again during his virtual appearance at the 76th UN General Assembly held in September 2021, as well as in the « Political Agreement for a peaceful and effective governance of the interim period ». This « Accord », concocted « anba pay » by Ariel Henry in the company of… 550 political organizations and personalities as numerous as virtual and certainly « zombic » and signed on September 11, 2021, was illegally published in number 46 of the Official Gazette Le Moniteur, a way of making it an official text intended to catch the civil society organizations signatories of the « Montana Accord » (August 30, 2021) off guard. It is through these mantras that the narrative of the manufacture of political « consent » is established, the Ariel Henry/PHTK3 version as the most objective analysts in Haiti say so well, and it is through this narrative under the control of the Core Group that the neo-Duvalierist PHTK (3rd version) intends to give pledges to the traditional Haitian oligarchy, the historical beneficiaries of the « state financial rent », the armed gangs affiliated and/or close to the PHTK and certain pimps of the traditional oligarchy, with, in the background, an interlocutor kept at a distance but to whom it addresses itself since it claims to speak in its name and to promote its well-being: the Haitian population.
The « Political Agreement for Peaceful and Effective Governance in the Interim Period » of September 11, 2021, is a key link in the roadmap imposed by the Core Group on Ariel Henry in the narrative of the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti. Conceived as a concerted response to the political crisis exacerbated by the assassination of a widely reviled, incompetent and illegitimate president, Jovenel Moïse, and hastily stitched together to give maximum credibility and legitimacy to the neo-duvalierist power of the PHTK3, the « Political Agreement for Appeased Governance… », beyond its supposedly unifying and inclusive character, actually has a major strategic function: to block and delegitimize the public citizens’ consultation initiated by the organized sectors of Haitian civil society. Even though Ariel Henry recently professed that « The solution to the Haitian crisis must come from the Haitians », the international sponsors of this de facto Prime Minister and the PHTK3 faction put at his service by certain caïds of this mafia-political cartel have built a strategy of avoidance and blockage in the face of the citizen initiative that resulted in the « Montana Accord » (August 30, 2021), the result of the public work of the « Citizens’ Commission for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis (CCSHC) ». The « Montana Accord » was signed by numerous civil society organizations, including the National Human Rights Defense Network (Rnddh), the Platform of Human Rights Defense Organizations (Pohdh), the United Movement of Haitian Transporters (Muth) the National Confederation of Educators of Haiti (Cneh), the OPL, the Inifos, the Mopod, the Antant pou tranzisyon koupe fache, Patrice Dumont’s Rph, the FPP, the Koumbit, the MTC, the Cadoa, the Ipam, the Conacom of the Renewal, the Collective of Haitian Trade Unions for the Respect of the 1987 Constitution (COSHARCO-1987), etc. (see La Gazette/Haïti News, September 1, 2021, and AlterPresse, September 2, 2021).
In a public statement dated October 2, 2021, the BSA (Bureau de suivi de l’Accord de Montana), following its meeting with a high-level American delegation, recalled the major orientations of this agreement which, according to civil society organizations, is consensual, unifying and methodical. It aims to set up a National Transitional Council, the CNT, and to establish two-headed governance in conjunction with an « executive oversight body called the Transitional Oversight Body (TOC). Title I (Article 1) of this agreement states that « This Agreement aims to create the conditions for national stability with a view to returning to constitutional normalcy and restoring democratic order. It solemnly enshrines the elements of a consensus that is essential for a concerted settlement of the crisis, » while the second article states that « The civil society and political organizations, parties to the Agreement, reiterate their commitment to the following principles 1. respect for the sovereignty of the state as well as its republican form and democratic character; 2. rejection of violence as a means of political expression and recourse to dialogue and consultation for the settlement of disputes; 3. respect for human rights, human dignity, gender equality and fundamental freedoms; 4. fight against corruption and impunity. » In contrast to the narrative of the manufacture of political « consent », version of the Ariel Henry/PHTK Agreement3 , the Montana Agreement records its commitment to the prescriptions of the 1987 Constitution that should guide the action of the transitional government in the following terms: « The Parties agree to contribute to the elaboration of the roadmap of the transition around the following major programmatic axes: – The electoral system – Security – Justice and human rights – Corruption and impunity – Economic emergencies – Health and management of the COVID-19 emergency – The sovereign national conference – Education – Culture – The environment and risk and disaster management – International cooperation and Haitian diplomacy ».
The narrative device of the Montana Accord is therefore qualitatively and programmatically different from that of Ariel Henry/PHTK3, and it is highly significant that it is ignored and marginalized by the Core Group and its subordinates embedded in the mafia-political cartel of Michel Martelly, Laurent Lamothe, Jovenel Moïse and Ariel Henry. For the International, this conglomerate of « powers friendly to Haiti », has elaborated yet another strategy of avoidance to give free rein to a new stage in the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti: the all-out « democratic » crusade of Helen La Lime, de facto proconsul and Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti.
- The narrative device of Helen La Lime, de facto proconsul and Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti
She is omnipresent, courted and listened to with deference by all, and in Haiti she plays a leading role in the imperial conduct of the internal affairs of a country whose sovereignty has become a chimera. An American diplomat who has worked on many issues in various countries where she was posted (Angola, South Africa, Germany, Mozambique, Morocco, Chad), Helen La Lime was appointed Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti on October 14, 2019. In this capacity she holds immense power and has control over the 19 UN agencies, funds and programs in Haiti as well as the UN Integrated Office in Haiti, UNIHRO. The official UN website and the UNIHRO website do not provide any information on the overall budget of the 19 UN agencies and programs in Haiti. However, further research allowed us to track down information on the website of the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations that the 14 Caricom member states supported a pre-budget request on December 16, 2019 in the amount of US$20,395,200 for UNIHRO’s fiscal year 2020.
Described as obsequious for the delicacy of her interpersonal skills, Helen La Lime inherited the complex Haitian file and, particularly following the failure of the OAS’ pro-PHTK maneuvers, she was charged with introducing a new iteration of the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti into the imperial management of the Haitian crisis. She was thus heavily involved in the process of parachuting Ariel Henry into the Haitian Prime Minister’s office to contain the presumed risks of a social explosion in the context of the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, and one of the most important aspects of her mission is, at the local and international level, to re-legitimize the power held by one of the factions of the PHTK by establishing it as the only « credible » executive interlocutor on the grounds that Haiti would be, in fact, outside of « constitutional normality. It is therefore necessary to rebuild this « constitutional normality », including – and especially – with political actors who are reputed to be amenable, docile and servile, even if they are devoid of any constitutional legitimacy (Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry in particular). Thus, Helen La Lime is agitating on all fronts by recycling the old strings of the narrative of the « friendly powers of Haiti » and of the neo-duvalierist PHTK, notably in the promotion of miraculous elections and the need for a new Constitution for Haiti by the middle of the year 2022. Through her extensive promotional crusade on all platforms and in all national and international offices, Helen La Lime is fulfilling her main mission with speed: to cultivate the UN’s voluntary blindness in the Haitian file, to be the most audible, the most relentless and the most compulsive propagandist of the roadmap imposed on the neo-Duvaliérist PHTK by the Core Group and the UN.
In this logic, the sophistication of Helen La Lime’s narrative device gives the appearance of a strategic reorientation of the UN in Haiti by the subtle and concomitant link established between the terms « virtue » and « refoundation » in order to accredit the idea, seductive, that it is time to refound the Haitian nation. To achieve this, only elections and constitutional reform, as planned by the PHTK/Jovenel Moïse, can guarantee the refoundation of Haiti: it is therefore necessary, through a « profound constitutional reform », « (…) « to initiate a virtuous circle by rebuilding solid and lasting foundations (…) to the Haitian nation » (« Constitutional Reform – An Opportunity to Revive the Country », official statement recorded on the website of the United Nations Office in Haiti, UNOHIO, June 15, 2020) Thus, updating the narrative of the implementation of a new stage in the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti, Helen La Lime, at the UN Security Council session on the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), October 4, 2021, argued that « Since taking office on July 20, Prime Minister Ariel Henry has spared no effort to reach a political agreement with the different factions of the Haitian regime. Adopting an inclusive and consensual approach, he has sought to create minimal conditions for the holding of legislative, local and presidential elections, and thus guide a country in the midst of a governance crisis towards the regular functioning of its democratic institutions. » And she ensures the continuity of the International’s narrative in Haiti by opposing the public demands of Haitian civil society when she coolly states that « there is a broad national consensus on the need to reform Haiti’s 1987 constitution, a charter widely seen as contributing to recurrent political and institutional instability. The draft [new] Constitution submitted by the Independent Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister on September 8 should serve as a basis for a more constructive and inclusive debate on how to reshape the Haitian political system. » (Rezonòdwès, October 4, 2021.) One will have noted, objectively, that Helen La Lime believes herself, like Ricardo Seitenfus, invested with the power and mandate to speak in place of the Haitian people by reinscribing Jovenel Moïse’s unconstitutional referendum into the roadmap of her subordinate, Ariel Henry. It is important to note that there is a major absentee in Helen La Lime’s recycled narrative, even when she names it: the Haitian population, whose voice, carried by the institutions of organized civil society, is kept at a great distance by the proconsul of Haiti. Thus, Helen La Lime promotes the « Accord » of September 11, 2021 of Ariel Henry and others while ignoring the « Montana Accord » which chronologically and politically preceded it… This sidelining of Haitian civil society initiatives has not escaped the novelist Lyonel Trouillot, author of a courageous and lucid article published on June 22, 2020 in Le Nouvelliste under the title « Odieuse, tout simplement », a text in which he exposes the narrative device of Helen La Lime in the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti. This has not escaped the attention of political scientist Frédéric Thomas, author of an exemplary and rigorous text published on the Cetri website in Belgium on June 24, 2020, « Five questions to Helen La Lime Meagher, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti ». In this text he challenges the proconsul Helen La Lime in these terms:
« Madam, on June 19, 2020, at the Security Council meeting dedicated to the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (UNIHRO), in New York, you made a statement on your work and the situation in Haiti:
- Can we ask you what « hard-won security and development gains over the past 15 years » in Haiti you are referring to? These are mysterious « gains » that have been missed by reports from Haitian organizations and international actors.
- Are you in your role when you claim that it is becoming « more and more obvious that a reform of the Constitution is necessary »? Have you received a mandate from Haitian actors to position yourself on this issue?
- When you state that « Haiti has for too long relied on convenient agreements to solve political problems, » are you referring to U.S. interference in the country’s affairs?
- Not once is the word « corruption » mentioned in your speech. So is the issue resolved? Or secondary? Unless the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who have taken to the streets for months have risen up against a mirage? It is true that they are only Black people, out of breath, who do not have, as you do, a « toolbox » that you « use wisely » to fight against impunity. And with the success that we know.
- Finally, when you speak of the risk that « an initially internal problem could become a regional problem », should we read into this your indifference or contempt for the situation that Haitians are experiencing? As well as the key to reading the support of the international, in general, and the United States, in particular, to the current government of Jovenel Moïse? »
The narrative device of Helen La Lime, de facto proconsul and Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti, is very much representative of the mortifying « variable geometry democracy » that the UN, like the OAS, reserves for Haiti. Essayist Erno Renoncourt aptly describes it in the following terms: « When Western states and major international institutions, who swear by human rights and democracy, assume that Haiti deserves no better than a democracy controlled by criminals and gangsters, with no real effectiveness and institutional performance, this is de facto racism. And according to the Declaration of Human Rights, this is an affront to human dignity and must be fought. (Erno Renoncourt, « Human Rights, That Obscure Boon of Success, » Médiapart, March 3, 2021.) This sheds some light on the fact that the Core Group, the UN and the OAS have been providing constant support to the neo-Duvalierist PHTK for the past ten years: financial, technical, diplomatic and political support without questioning the nature and mode of governance of the mafia-political cartel that constitutes the PHTK of Michel Martelly, Laurent Lamothe, Jack Guy Lafontant, Evans Paul/KPlim, Jovenel Moïse, Ariel Henry, etc. This also sheds light on the fact that these international bodies have taken the decision to deal with interlocutors who have fraudulently reached the top of the State but who are in reality « political delinquents » indexed before the Haitian justice system (Michel Martelly, Laurent Lamothe, Jovenel Moïse). These privileged interlocutors of the International have made strategic agreements with armed gangs, federated by them, even though these criminal associations are very much involved in kidnappings for ransom and the return of insecurity on a national scale (see « Haiti, République de gangs », La Presse, Montreal, February 1, 2020, and « Le pouvoir des gangs haïtiens », Radio-Canada, July 14, 2021). It is worth recalling here that the open support of the U.S. Department of State for the mafia cartel of the neo-Duvalierist PHTK was recently shaken by the resignation-protest of the Biden Administration’s U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti only two months after his appointment. Daniel Foote, in his letter of resignation dated September 22, 2021, « condemns U.S. interference in Haitian politics and, recently, its renewed support for the current interim Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry. « The arrogance, » writes Daniel Foot, « that we should point to the winner again is impressive. An « international political intervention that has consistently produced catastrophic results ». This is the first time in memory that a senior U.S. official has made such comments on the Haitian issue. » (« Special envoy Daniel Foote resigns to protest U.S. policy in Haiti, » Radio France Internationale, September 23, 2021.)
The imperial logic at work in the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti also means that the « international guardians of Haiti », in defiance of the country’s laws, support national institutions that are subservient to political power and designed to guide and administer the Haitian electoral process despite their illegality and the large-scale scheming that characterizes their partisan action in favor of the ruling power. This is the case of the CEP, the Provisional Electoral Council, a major strategic body in the vision of the International. The cold and cynical interference of « Haiti’s friendly powers » in the Haitian electoral process has been documented with rigor and exemplary courage by Ginette Chérubin. Author of a resounding book in which she scrutinizes, with supporting evidence, the International’s shenanigans in the Haitian electoral process, « Le ventre pourri de la bête » (Éditions de l’Université d’État d’Haïti, 2014, 407 pages), Ginette Chérubin served as Minister of Women’s Affairs in René Préval’s government in 1996. She then served for four years on the Provisional Electoral Council from 2007 to 2011, an institution she left with a bang in April 2011.
The History of Haiti, in its most complex and darkest folds, deserves a constant critical reading in order to understand the torments of the present. Thus, in an exemplary and very enlightening « Tribune » published in the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir on January 16, 2018, « The dehumanization of Haiti, » Joël Des Rosiers, poet, psychiatric physician and essayist, -while examining the virulent and compulsion racism of Donald Trump who stigmatizes and humiliates Haitians who are said to be, all of them, carriers of HIV/AIDS–, exposes a historical reminder that is indispensable to the understanding of the current mechanisms of the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti: « Without accusation or demand for reparation, the moral and political responsibility of Westerners in Haiti’s situation is glaring. After a period of political instability marked by the passage of seven presidents in four years, taking advantage of the weakness of the country’s naval armament, the Americans crossed Haiti’s territorial waters more than twenty times at the beginning of the twentieth century to impose their policies of imperialist domination under the threat of cannon. »
Ultimately, the exemplification of the most important components of the manufacture of political « consent » in Haiti indicates that the UN and the Core Group are unabashedly aligned with the hegemonic imperial positions of the US State Department, the only true « commander » in Haiti. This exemplification, above all, shows that the « powers that be » in Haiti, by recycling their old electoral strings under apparently new clothes, intend once again to impose a democracy on the country that is on the cheap and of variable geometry, the improbable political governance of a failed state, but still capable of being « miraculously democratic », including through a corrupt, kleptocratic, predatory and servile political regime, that of the neo-duvalierist PHTK political-mafia cartel. This is certainly the blinding but imperial path that the « powers that be » have chosen against a consensual and unifying national project such as the one consigned in the Montana Accord, which, far from being perfect, has among other things the merit of having been elaborated in broad daylight on the basis of a citizen’s vision of Haiti’s future as carried by the numerous civil society organizations that have signed it after a very broad public consultation. Against the known demands of the Haitian population, the UN, once again, turns its back on the strong popular demand for social and political justice as well as on the imperative of equity and dignity repeatedly and diversely formulated by the majority of Haitians, including all those who « vote with their feet », at high tide, on the deadly boats of migration.