Haiti elections – the outcome will be decided on the streets

Mass demonstrations have erupted in Haiti over the manipulation of the results of last week's election. René Préval, the front runner, and the choice of the overwhelming majority of the Haitian people, has seen his percentage of the votes fall from as high as 65% to 48%, just under the 50% needed to avoid a run off. The vote tallies are clearly being manipulated and the Haitian people have had enough.

On February 7, after several delays and setbacks Haiti held its first round of elections since the coup d’état that removed Jean Bertrand Aristide from power two years ago. The front-runner in the election was René Préval, a former ally of Aristide who also served as President from 1996 to 2001. The announcement of the election results has been continually delayed. They were first to be released on February 9 or 10. The date was then pushed back to Saturday, February 11 and finally to Sunday, February 12. At the time of writing, no official announcement has been made and the patience of the Haitian people is running out. It is clear that the election results have been tampered with. Far from bringing “stability” as the imperialists claimed, these elections will solve nothing, and will only lead to further instability and conflict, and will ultimately backfire on them.

"Building democracy"

Since the US, Canadian, and French led coup d’état against Aristide two years ago, Haiti has become a part of the Bush administration’s mission to “build democracy”. The imperialists were hoping that these elections would bring stability, and create a favourable atmosphere for their interests. There was only one problem: the Fanmi Lavalas party and the masses who support it. Even the bourgeois press has recognized that the only way any candidate could win the election was with the support of members of Lavalas, the largest political organization in Haiti. Knowing this, the imperialists and the Haitian ruling elite have done all they could to crush the movement. Its leader, Aristide, is in exile. Any other prominent members who could lead the movement are in prison, including Father Jean-Juste, folk singer So Anne, and Yvon Neptune, the Prime Minister before Aristide’s downfall.

ImageOn top of that, the occupying UN force has continually helped the Haitian Police in raiding Cité Soleil and Bel Air, two slums of Port-au-Prince and Lavalas strongholds. No one has any idea how many people have died in these raids, but the total is in the hundreds if not the thousands. Many secondary and rank and file leaders of Lavalas have been killed in this reign of terror. It was clear from the outset, that if the Haitian ruling elite and the imperialists wanted to achieve their goals in Haiti, they would have to physically annihilate Lavalas and the gains that had been won during Aristide’s presidency. To this end a general campaign of terror was launched against Lavalas across the country after the coup against Aristide.

The tactic appeared to have worked. Lavalas was in complete disarray. The movement had fractured and appeared decapitated and leaderless. Some wanted to stand candidates in the election. Others refused, and announced a boycott of the elections claiming that they would only participate when the political violence against the party ended. Some in the movement attempted to get Father Jean-Juste on the ballot as the Lavalas presidential candidate. As he was in jail, he was not allowed to run. Scandalously, as the imperialists were going on about “building democracy” they failed to mention that the country’s largest political movement had been effectively banned, with its leaders languishing in prison.

It was to the dismay of the imperialists and the ruling elite that René Préval announced, just before the deadline, he would run as president. Préval has since explained that he wasn’t planning on running in the election until 1000 peasants came to see him and urged him to vote. This small detail alone shows the level of support Préval has amongst the Haitian people. Lavalas seemed to unite around him and reversed the boycott, announcing that they would vote for Préval. This virtually guaranteed his victory in the election.

Now the Bush administration has been caught with its pants down. They want “democracy” in Haiti so long as they can dictate what that democracy looks like and how it functions. Shortly after the election the US administration praised it as a success, while several candidates, including Préval, and now tens of thousands of people in Cité Soleil and Bel Air, accused the Electoral Council of manipulating the vote.

To the dismay of the imperialists and the local ruling elite, the masses voted overwhelmingly in favour of Préval, something they could not stand. A victory for Préval would mean a massive defeat for imperialism in Haiti, the Latortue government, and the local ruling elite. Something had to be done.

Who is René Préval?

René Préval is a former ally of Aristide who served as Prime Minister during Aristide’s first term in office. This direct connection to Aristide is why the masses have voted overwhelmingly for him, and why the imperialists and the ruling elite fear and hate him. He is seen as a champion of the poor and has promised to create jobs, improve education, and foster social peace by disarming the gangs in the slums.

The imperialists fear that Préval will continue with the same policies as Aristide and that he may even bring Aristide back. They have politely warned him that if he does, it will mean violence and bloodshed, and that he will face the same fate as Aristide. Préval has simply stated that if Aristide wishes to return as a citizen of Haiti, there is nothing preventing him from doing so.

The truth of the matter is that Préval broke with Aristide a long time ago. While this has never been publicly stated, it has been quietly asserted. Préval is no longer a member of Lavalas, and has formed his own party, L’Espwa (Hope). He has publicly distanced himself from Aristide and Lavalas and the so-called armed gangs in Cité Soleil and Bel Air who have publicly backed him. He also believes that the UN occupation force should stay “as long as is necessary”, something Aristide, Lavalas, and the “gangs” in the slums fiercely oppose.

As we explained before, the Bush administration viewed Aristide as a direct threat to their interests. They targeted him along with Chavez and Castro for removal from power. In fact, the tactics used in Haiti to remove Aristide from power are remarkably similar to those attempted in Venezuela to remove Chavez – including coups, bosses’ lockouts, electoral boycotts and the fostering of a “democratic opposition” (not to mention the fact that during the coup in Venezuela in 2002, Chavez was whisked away by airplane, as was Aristide in 2004). Haiti was used by the imperialists as an example to all Latin American countries that get out of line and threaten the interests of US imperialism. However, as Venezuela has shown, the only way to defeat the manoeuvres of imperialism is to mobilize the masses. This is the key reason that explains why Chavez is still in power and Aristide is not.

Aristide promised the imperialists that he would implement “neo-liberal” reforms and the IMF Structural Adjustment Program if he was returned to power in 1994. This included the complete elimination of export duties and import tariffs, and the selling off of Haiti’s state owned industries – including the public utilities – and other austerity measures. Aristide was under massive pressure from the US, the IMF, and the World Bank to initiate these reforms, which he dutifully began upon returning to power.

However, the masses were bitterly opposed to the proposed “reforms”. The elimination of tariffs destroyed the livelihoods of millions of peasants and foreign goods undercut them in the market. The Haitian people were particularly opposed to the program of privatization, which would see the flour and cement factories sold off as well as the state telephone and electrical companies, and the seaports. Under pressure from the masses Aristide only went half-way in implementing this programme. He eliminated tariffs and import controls, but refused the privatization programme, which brought him into a conflict with the imperialists and the Haitian ruling class.

Before this conflict could be fully played out, Aristide’s term was up. He was not allowed to run as president again as the Constitution forbids anyone from holding the presidential office for two consecutive terms. Finally, with one day left before the election to choose his successor, Aristide reluctantly backed Préval (it would seem that the two were already at odds by this point. However, the definite break seems to have come during Préval’s term as president).

Préval came to power (he was president from 1996-2001 and was the only president in Haitian history to complete a full term) and immediately began to implement the other measures of the IMF package, including the slashing of fuel subsidies. He came under enormous pressure from the imperialists to finish the programme – he was called in to do the dirty work. In 1996 Préval invited the Bolivian minister of privatization to Haiti in an effort to step up his propaganda campaign in favour of privatization. This was at the time of a massive mobilization of the Bolivian workers and peasants against privatization – the beginning of the process which led us to last year’s insurrectionary general strike and the recent electoral victory of Evo Morales.

Préval also implemented an agrarian reform package, which eventually ended in failure as the peasants could not survive on the small plots of land they received.

Haiti became increasingly polarized around the question of privatization. The workers and peasants began to mobilize against it. Big demonstrations were held all across the country. The role of imperialism in Haiti is clear for all to see. The imperialists were withholding vital aid packages worth hundreds of millions of dollars unless Haiti agreed to the full IMF programme. Préval’s Prime Minister held a two hour televised press conference explaining that the World Bank, the IMF and the Inter-American Development Bank would hold back some $150 million until Haiti could “fulfill the conditions which [the] structural adjustment demands,” and warned that there would be “dire consequences” if the Haitian people continued to resist privatization and other “neo-liberal” reforms.

This led to a general crisis in Haiti. The Organisation Politique Lavalas (OPL) split – with Aristide forming the Fanmi Lavalas party and the remainder of the OPL, which held the majority in the Senate and National Assembly, renaming itself the Organisation du peuple en lutte. Senate elections were held where only about 5% of the population voted and amidst accusations of fraud. Préval’s administration refused to recognize the results. Eventually he would suspend the Congress and two-thirds of the Senate and rule by decree. Because there was no Congress and no prime minister, the process of privatization was stalled.Image

Eventually Aristide would come back to power, winning a massive majority in the presidential elections in late 2000 (which the opposition had boycotted). In his second term Aristide tried to be all things to all people. He needed to please the imperialists to secure foreign investment and foreign aid packages, without which Haiti does not function.

However, he also came under the pressure of the masses to implement a series of reforms and oppose the imperialist structural adjustment packages. Without the support of the poor masses of Haiti, Aristide was finished. Aristide believed that he could balance between the two irreconcilably opposed forces – something which would prove impossible.

As Aristide continued the process of privatization and opened up the free-trade zones as demanded by the imperialists he also began to sign deals with Chavez and Castro. The Chavez government offered oil at below market prices, and 800 Cuban doctors were sent to Haiti to begin a program of social healthcare for the poor, which also included the renovating and building of clinics and hospitals. Hundreds of new schools were built (more schools were built between 1994-2004 than from 1804-1994). A universal schooling program was initiated which was to give all children access to schools and education. A national literacy campaign was implemented which opened some 20,000 adult literacy centers. 100,000 learned to read and write, and the illiteracy rate was reduced from 85% to 55% between 1996 and 2003. Aristide raised the minimum wage in 1995 and doubled it in 2003. He also began a social housing programme and reform of the legal system. These reforms have now all been reversed under the Latortue regime.

Aristide also began to negotiate with Cuba and Venezuela the building of a regional trade bloc that could oppose the proposed FTAA and US domination of the Caribbean and Latin America. The imperialists had had enough. The world crisis of capitalism meant that the imperialists and the Haitian ruling class could not allow even these reforms and could not tolerate any attempts by these countries to form a bloc against US interests. In a desperate attempt to stem the spread of the left in Latin America the US and other imperialist powers decided that Aristide had to be removed (along with Chavez and Castro).

The masses may have been horrified and angry at the privatization that Aristide introduced and the other measures he adopted at the behest of imperialism, but they could not argue with the definite social gains either. This fact explains the loyalty of the masses to Aristide. Another important factor was the increasingly rabid opposition, made up of sweatshop owners and former death squad leaders. The Haitian masses wanted to prevent them from coming to power at all costs. To the masses, Aristide represented their interests, despite the IMF package. If the opposition came to power, it would be a return of the past.

And when Préval announced his intentions to run for president last year, no matter what he had done in the past, they saw him as the ally of Aristide, they saw him as their candidate, and overwhelmingly came out in support of him. The poor remember that he did try to help them. He did initiate public works and tried to develop infrastructure. The imperialists and Haitian ruling class now fear that they will have a second Aristide on their hands – a man, who under pressure from the masses, can go much further to the left than he intends. They fear that Préval will not implement their “reform” packages, and given the current swing to the left in Latin America and the Caribbean, they fear that he too may threaten their interests.

The question of the so-called gangs

One of the big questions in Haiti is the so-called armed gangs of Cité Soleil and Bel Air. The bourgeois media constantly attempts to explain that Aristide was a corrupt dictator who relied on the support of these armed “gangs”, and how he used them to suppress opposition. The truth of the matter is that the people in the urban “gangs” supported Aristide and Lavalas because of the definite social gains they received. These people knew that if Aristide were overthrown, they would be the next targets. Throughout 2003 and 2004 the Aristide government faced a growing opposition and armed raids by the opposition from the Dominican Republic. The Haitian police force was outmanned and outgunned. Aristide probably did begin to rely on the “gangs” as his last defence against a coup. As the armed paramilitaries and death squads approached Port-au-Prince in February 2004, Aristide supporters in Bel Air and Cité Soleil threw up barricades and prepared to defend the city. They were waiting for the call to arms. In the end however, Aristide failed to mobilize the masses and the so-called gangs and was overthrown, probably believing that the US and its allies would save him as they had in the past (he was also in the process of negotiating a deal when he was left out to dry).

It is probable that these so-called gangs are not exactly as the bourgeois media would like us to believe, as reports from Haiti over the last week show. Many of the so-called gang members and leaders interviewed in the press over the last week describe themselves as community activists. The “gangs” are armed supporters of Lavalas, and armed for self-defence. The people in these slums have lived through years of oppression and terror – the question of self-defence of the poor is a key element in this question. They will not sit idly by and wait for the death squads and Tonton Macoutes to return and slaughter them.

There is more than likely a criminal element involved, including all the petty rivalries and problems this brings along – there have been kidnappings and so on in Haiti since the coup. However there is no evidence that the people carrying out the kidnappings are the same people as in the “gangs” of Lavalas supporters.

At any rate, without these so-called gangs Lavalas would long ago have been crushed by the Latortue government – and the poor in these slums would be living under a nightmare of terror. Immediately after the coup in 2004 the death squads and paramilitaries were unleashed on the slums to kill Lavalas supporters. Many hundreds if not thousands died. These people are actively defending themselves and fighting against the occupation. The UN occupation force of 9,000 troops has been unable to dislodge them (the UN actually announced that the week leading up to the election was calm - because UN troops only fired 700 rounds in Cité Soleil that week as opposed to 4000 the week before! If nothing else does, this tells us about the general situation and the role of the UN troops). The so-called gangs knew that if Aristide was overthrown they would be next – and since the occupation they have been the principle targets of the occupation forces (as opposed to the murderers and death squads who overthrow the democratically elected government – some of whom are now running in the elections!).

Préval has said that he wants to disarm the gangs by providing education and jobs. Charles Baker, a sweat-shop owner and member of the Group of 184 (which helped to organize the coup against Aristide), whose main slogan for the election was “Order, Discipline, Work” and Leslie Magigat, a former president and favourite of the private sector and the imperialists, have both called for tough, armed action against the gangs (let us not forget that Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar, the Brazilian General in charge of the UN mission in Haiti killed himself under pressure to take tough action against the gangs). “Tough action” against the gangs means war on the poor and the slums of Port-au-Prince – it means a wholesale slaughter and the physical annihilation the strongest opponents to imperialism and the occupation. Given the options, it’s quite easy to see whom the “gangs” support.

One resident of Cité Soleil has explained, “We need schools, we need food, but all they do is shoot at us”. Cité Soleil was largely quiet in the week before and after the election so that they could mobilize the vote for Préval. These so-called “gangs” have played a key role in mobilizing the vote for Préval, and in organizing and leading the demonstrations against the manipulation of the election tallies. One newspaper even interviewed a gang leader, who said that the gangs would disarm if Préval won the election:

“Some Cité Soleil gang members said crime was down because they wanted to ensure peaceful voting for Préval, who adamantly denies links to armed groups. Gang leader Nicolas Augudson, a.k.a. General Toutou, even said gangs will turn in their weapons if Préval wins.
‘Préval will bring schools and roads and jobs. He'll make sure the bourgeoisie disarms, too,’ said Toutou, 24, who calls himself a community activist, during an interview in an alleyway plastered with Aristide graffiti and Préval posters.” (see http://www.newsday.com/)

From the above quote it is easy to see what the people of Haiti and what these so-called gangs want – they do not want violence, bloodshed, or crime – but jobs, proper housing, education and a decent living. And quite correctly they say that so long as the bourgeoisie is armed and is attacking them, they will not disarm – they have a right to defend themselves.

The defeat of imperialism and the Latin American Revolution

Préval was long the front-runner in the electoral campaign. In the slums of Cité Soleil and Bel Air, posters of Préval went up where there were once posters of Aristide. Lavalas began to mobilize the poor in the slums to vote for Préval. Although there were 33 candidates in the election, including other former presidents and coup plotters including Guy Philippe, Préval was polling in the high 30s just prior to the election. His two closest rivals, Charles Baker, the sweatshop owner polled at about 10% and Leslie Manigat, the candidate favoured by the imperialists and most of the private sector, polled even lower.

As the election results began to trickle out last week, it was announced that Préval had received around 63% of the vote. Some reports even claimed that he had received as much as 65%. Manigat had received about 11-12% and Baker was at 6-7%. These figures provide a snapshot of the balance of forces in Haiti. Baker and Manigat immediately issued accusations of election fraud. They were demanding investigations into electoral fraud because they claimed, amongst other irregularities, that people had voted multiple times (now that Préval has not won outright, Manigat has publicly said “We cannot let violence guide the process. We must respect the Constitution. We must go to the second round. It's crystal clear.”).

The poor in the slums had already complained that the Electoral Council was making it as difficult as possible for them to vote. As Cité Soleil and other urban slums were declared “too dangerous” for polling stations, some people had to walk for miles to get to polling stations (which were placed as far away from the slums as possible). The election was plagued with problems, such as long queues, not enough election workers – even the location of polling stations had changed on election day. Given the lack of infrastructure, it would be very easy to tamper with the ballots in Haiti. Many of the ballots were being delivered to counting centers via mule across backroads where election monitors were unable to actually monitor the process.

ImageOver the course of the week Préval’s percentage of the vote shrank. It soon dropped to the low 50s, and is now at 48.7%. Yesterday two members of the electoral council publicly claimed that election results were being manipulated. One has been denied access to information about the tabulation process and has now called for an investigation. There are accusations that ballots for Préval are being arbitrarily voided and that many from Préval strongholds have mysteriously vanished. Some 80,000 ballots (about 4% of the total) were blank and should have been voided, but they have been added to the total vote tally, thereby lowering the totals for all candidates (and dropping Préval below the 50% he needs to win). Another member of the electoral council explained on radio that Jacques Bernard, director of the electoral council, was releasing results without consulting the council and nobody knew where he was getting his results from. Despite all this, the UN continues to claim that the elections were “fair”.

Préval won precisely because he garnered the support of Lavalas – the workers and the poor of the Haitian cities. The masses saw a vote for Préval as a vote for Aristide and his social policies. The masses clearly and openly expressed this. They believe that he will bring them roads, jobs, housing, schools, and social peace – they see in him the social gains of the past and a glimmer of hope for the future. The ruling elite of Haiti and the imperialists hate and fear him precisely because of his support amongst the masses. They fear that under pressure of the masses he will go much further to the left than he would actually prefer to go.

A victory for Préval is also a defeat for the imperialists and Haitian ruling elite, who hoped for direct political power after the overthrow of Aristide. This has now failed and they are attempting to manipulate the vote. A vote for Préval is a vote for Aristide, which is a vote against the Latortue government, against the coup, against the UN occupation, and against US imperialism. This will be a major defeat for imperialism, and will only give the masses more confidence to press forward in the struggle. It will also be a major defeat for the Haitian ruling class. Although things can be complicated and unclear in Haiti, some things are not. The Haitian ruling class, the sweatshop owners and the landlords, know exactly where their interests lie. They sell their textiles and other goods to the US market. They rely solely on US imperialism for their power. The Haitian ruling elite will do anything for the patronage and privilege of being the direct representatives of imperialist power in Haiti. "The final arbiter of Haiti's domestic policy is the U.S. ambassador because he has the ability to block international funds."(see http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N10377357.htm and this article in the New York Times (available on Indymedia) which details the role of the US in the coup that overthrew Aristide).

The events unfolding in Haiti cannot be seen in isolation. They must be seen as an integral part of the revolutionary process unfolding throughout the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean. Haiti was to be an example to the whole of the continent. The US outsourced the occupation of Haiti to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile – all three of which now have supposedly left-wing governments – left governments which are actively carrying out the counter-revolution in Haiti. This was designed to restore confidence in the imperialist programme for the continent and to show the leftward moving masses that US imperialism could build “democracy”. It was also a safety net, whereby if things went wrong, the blame would fall on the left governments – discrediting them.

The imperialists and the Haitian ruling elite need time. They could not allow Préval to win on the first ballot, as this would leave them in an extremely weak position. But they cannot come right out and openly rig the election. There is no way that Préval could lose the election. Everyone knows that he is going to win. Everyone knows that the masses of Haiti overwhelmingly voted for Préval. By giving him just under the 50% required to avoid a run-off, the imperialists acknowledge his popularity but are hoping to buy time to stitch up the second round. The second round won’t happen until March 19. Between now and then any number of things can happen. The masses, provoked by the electoral fraud will come out to the streets – this has already happened. The imperialists and the Latortue government could claim “instability” and “violence” as reasons to cancel the run-off vote all together. This will give them the excuse necessary to declare a national emergency and cancel all elections. If the second ballot goes ahead, most of the other candidates have said that they will mobilize their supporters behind whoever stands against Préval. This will accompany a massive propaganda campaign against Préval, in an attempt to discredit him and turn the election in their favour. The next round may also be rigged, or who knows, maybe Préval will have an “unfortunate accident” and be unable to run. The imperialists and the Haitian ruling class will play it as it comes, but will do everything and anything in their power to prevent Préval from winning.

However, the plans of the imperialists will all come to naught. They underestimate the role of the masses. The crisis in Haiti will ultimately be decided by the masses. They have been very patient over the last two years. They suffered the coup and the removal of Aristide, have suffered the UN occupation and the raids, and the Latortue government. They very patiently played by the rules and took part in the electoral process. They will not stand for having their candidate cheated out of victory. As one demonstrator explained, "They told us to come to vote in peace and we did. Now they want to steal the election from us. But we will not let them." (New York Times, Feb. 14, 2006)

By Sunday, when the Electoral Council cancelled its press conference to announce the results of the election, the masses were coming out onto the streets. The more limited demonstrations on Saturday had turned into a generalized mobilization on Sunday. The masses poured out of the slums and marched throughout the city gathering at the headquarters of the Provisional Electoral Council – tearing down posters of other candidates and demanding that Préval be declared the winner.

On Monday, tens of thousands of people were on the streets. Barricades were erected around Port-au-Prince and there were reports that UN troops were firing on demonstrators. There have been reports of several injuries and at least two deaths. Port-au-Prince has been completely shutdown.

The mood of the masses can be clearly understood from some of the quotes in the bourgeois press. These quotes are from workers, the unemployed, and community activists, and clearly demonstrate some of the advanced conclusions that the people are drawing.

“The government is trying to steal the election from the poor!”

“The revolution is starting!"

"There will be no second round. We will paralyze this country."

"We voted peacefully. But if we do not have Préval, the country will explode."

"We are going to put one million people in the streets in the coming hours. The people won't take this.”

"You have seen nothing yet. We are going to show what the people are capable of."

“If they push us too hard, we'll go back to 1804”

"If these elections are not fair and if the person whom the population wants doesn't win, houses will burn and heads will be cut off." (These words recall the battle cry of Haitian army Gen. Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who led the rebellion against French troops and colonists in 1802 with the battle cry: "Cut off their heads and burn their houses.")

The references to the 1804 revolution reveal that the revolutionary traditions of Haiti are vibrant and strong. The future of Haiti will be found in these revolutionary traditions of the past. The Revolution of 1804 still stands as a shining example of a heroic struggle for emancipation to the people of Haiti, and to the people of whole of the world. The people of Haiti must return to these traditions in the fight against capitalism and oppression. The poor slave masses of Haiti fought valiantly against the mighty Spanish, French and British empires and achieved their freedom from imperialism and slavery. The only way forward for the workers, peasants and poor of Haiti is to carry out another revolution – a socialist revolution that will free Haiti from capitalism and imperialist slavery. Haiti cannot do this on its own – with the Latin American revolution on the order of the day, the Haitian people must look to Venezuela, Bolivia and elsewhere and join in a united struggle against imperialist oppression.

The election in Haiti will solve nothing. If Préval wins, the imperialists and ruling class will do everything and anything in their power to bring him down – and the masses will take to the streets to defend him. If the election is rigged and one of the bourgeois candidates wins, the masses will come out and put an end to his presidency. With the masses on the streets, directly challenging the power of imperialism and the ruling class, it is clear that the question of the elections will be decided on the streets. The class struggle is so acute in Haiti, the contradictions so intense, and the polarization so great that there is no middle road. The choice before the people of Haiti is between socialism or barbarism.

Along with its defeats in Venezuela and elsewhere, US Imperialism has suffered another defeat in Haiti – but it is not finished there. The Haitian masses are now on the road to defeating the reactionary coup of two years ago, similar, although drawn out over a longer period of time, to how the masses defeated the coup in Venezuela in 2002. It is possible that the struggle of the Haitian masses will be played out over a long period of time, also similar to Venezuela. But again, the question of the Haitian revolution does not finish there.

The working and poor masses in Haiti cannot rely on anyone but themselves. The masses, once mobilized and on the streets, will have the power. No occupation or paramilitary force will be able to stop them. The ruling class and the imperialists will be rendered powerless. In the face of the mass movement, the forces of the counter-revolution will be toothless. They will attempt all manner of tricks – “parliamentary” and otherwise – to put the breaks on any revolutionary developments and smash the mass movement. The movement triggered by the election fraud must become a generalized struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

However, without a revolutionary organization to guide and lead that struggle, the energy of the masses will dissipate “like steam not enclosed in a piston-box”. The advanced sections and layers of the youth, the working class, the urban poor, and peasants of the movement in Haiti must come together and build a genuine revolutionary Marxist organization – a party capable of intervening in these events and leading the Haitian masses to power.

Revolution is on the order of the day throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The forces of reaction are everywhere in retreat. Workers and peasants are everywhere rising. The masses of Haiti have stood up and are taking their destiny into their own hands and are stamping their will on society. However, the movement cannot stop here on the question of the elections or be satisfied with but one victory over imperialism in the event that Préval is declared the winner. The movement must drive forward, like their revolutionary ancestors – those “heroes of human emancipation” – towards a fundamental transformation of society.


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