By: Yves Pierre-Louis & Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte
Demonstrations erupted across Haiti this past week as deep-seated anger against the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is now surging into the streets on a daily basis. Marches, picket lines, a mock tribunal, and a general strike were among the different actions which took place in six out of Haiti’s 10 geographic departments, a new high-water mark for anti-government protests.
Peasants, small merchants, store owners, slum dwellers, teachers, unions, laid off state enterprise employees, and the unemployed were among the different sectors protesting against government indifference, corruption, insecurity, the high cost of living, environmental degradation, and, above all, Martelly’s broken promises.
On Sep. 12, in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien, thousands took to the streets, called out by 20 popular organizations and outspoken opposition Senator Moïse Jean-Charles. The demonstrators marched through the city, stopping in front of different government offices along the way. They accused Martelly of implementing a policy of "mètdam, pike devan" (bluff and headlong programs) based on lies, concocting illegal taxes and shell-game programs to benefit his friends and family, the Haitian oligarchy, and imperialist powers. Marchers accused the president of being in cahoots with several big landowners, called "grandon" in Haiti. Particularly around the northern town of Milot, where Sen. Jean-Charles hails from and was once mayor, the government and "grandon" are trying to evict peasants from land they have occupied for decades.