HAITI The Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse: A Bloody Settling of Accounts Within the Ruling Class

Huge demonstration in Port-au-Prince in February 2021

On the night of July 6 to 7, around one o’clock in the morning, the private residence of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was attacked by an armed commando. A few hours later, the Prime Minister reported that the president had been assassinated. In the days that followed, it was announced that the commando was composed of two U.S. citizens of Haitian origin and 26 Colombian mercenaries. 

Moïse, a banana businessman, had been elec ted president of Haiti in 2016 in an election in which less than 21% of voters participated. He was a close associate of former President Michel Martelly. Like his predecessor, he had been nothing more than a puppet of the big powers, starting with the United States, which for decades had been pulling the strings of political life of the island, especially since its occupation in 2004 by United Nations troops. 

In recent months, the masses have held numerous demonstrations against Moïse’s corrupt regime, which is subservient to the great powers, demanding that he step down from power and protesting against the 50% increase in fuel prices decreed by the government under the orders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These protests peaked on February 6, 2021, the day before the official end of Moïse’s term of office … while the latter claimed, with the support of the U.S. administration, that the end of his term was set for February 7, 2022. 

With the purpose of deflecting the workers’ and people’s growing protest movement, a wing of the Haitian ruling class, represented by the « opposition » parties, tried to co-opt these protests. Their goal was to prepare a palace coup that would change the team in power in Port-auPrince. Their ultimate aim was to better preserve the status quo, which, over the past 17 years, has deprived the Haitian people of their sovereignty and basic rights. 

The least we can say is that Jovenel Moïse was widely rejected by the majority of the working masses and poor people of Haiti. However, his assassination by a commando of mercenaries has nothing to do with the struggle of the masses. It does not serve in any way the cause of the country and the struggles of the Haitian people. It is first and foremost a bloody settling of accounts within the Haitian capitalist class. 

The same people who obviously ordered his assassination have not sought to take power, leaving it up to the representatives of the U.S. admi

nistration to announce that elections will be held next year, with the barely concealed objective of ensuring continuity with the corrupt governments subservient to foreign powers that have presided over the country’s destiny for the past 17 years. 

The editorial of the latest issue of the weekly newspaper Haiti Liberté, which appeared on the day Moïse’s assassination was announced, stated: 

« The country has progressively found itself in a total impasse. There is a climate of terror, insecurity, and in short, a deep political and administrative paralysis. The all-out destructive policy of imperialism has thus borne fruit, to the point of not only plunging Haiti into chronic underdevelopment, but also alienating it from all its industrial and agricultural development possibilities. 

“A kind of regression, if not stagnation, of the standard of living has set in, with the majority of the active population without work as the people sink a little more each day into the violence of misery and arbitrariness. 

“The public finances are in constant deficit, the public servants are more and more irregularly paid. The people are pressed beyond the limits of what is bearable, some of them only managing to survive thanks to the subsidies of their families living in foreign lands. 

“In truth, nothing can get us out of this labyrinth of confusion, against the backdrop of misery and poverty — nothing can remedy the profound discontent without a fundamental change in the capitalist system, which has always viewed us as a country and a people to be exploited and made completely dependent on their neocolonial policy. … 

“In our opinion, progress and change in the country must be the result of the conscious action of the masses, of the popular forces, of the cadres, the peasants, the workers, the labor forces that produce the national wealth, without which we will never be able to rebuild the nation on new and just social basis. … 

“Whatever happens, Haiti Liberté will continue to assume its historical responsibility to promote the overthrow of this system, so that the underprivileged masses can succeed in putting an end to the reign of the watchdogs of the imperialist powers and destroying all the links in the chain of catastrophes and political disasters that have befallen our country. ».  

Written with our correspondents from Haiti Liberté