Rising with Haiti! Demonstrators Demand Justice, Dignity and Reparations

On Sunday, November 17, nearly 200 people from the Haitian community in Montreal and their many allies walked the streets of Montreal to denounce the interference of foreign powers, including Canada, in Haiti and their support for the corrupt government of Jovenel Moïse. The action, organized by Solidarité Québec-Haiti, was also aimed at highlighting the heroic struggle of the Haitian people for their right to be. The slogans Justice! Dignity! Reparations! resonated throughout the march.

Many interventions were made both at the beginning and at the conclusion of the march, which ended outside of the Haitian consulate. All spoke with one voice to denounce foreign interference in Haiti. The Haitian people are not miserable and enslaved, they pointed out. They are a proud and dignified people and are very capable of leading their country. What prevents them from doing that are corrupt governments imposed by neo-liberal powers. Repeatedly, the slogans and interventions denounced the so-called saviours with their self-serving aid aimed at imposing the enslavement of the Haitian people. "We are here to defend the just cause of the Haitian people. There are countries -- such as the United States, Canada and France -- who say that we have chosen the government in place. That's not true. We did not choose it. The Haitian people have been in the street for over two months. Over 300 people have died. Schools are closed. And here Canada continues to say that we elected them. They are false friends and we do not need friends like that," one of the speakers said.

Another speaker said, "We want to condemn the Canadian government's dirty role in Haiti and its hypocrisy. It financed the election in Haiti with its millions of dollars, totally interfering in the affairs of a country, while during the federal election here, it repeatedly warned about the dangers of foreign interference in the election. In 2004, it was part of the coup, along with the United States and France, against President Aristide. Foreign policy does not belong to us and does not represent us. It's up to us to decide what kind of relationship we want with other countries. We have a responsibility to respond to Canadian foreign policy at a time when the government is interfering against Bolivia, Venezuela and others."

Tribute was paid to the youth, women and workers who have died since the beginning of the uprisings in Haiti, as well as to all those who died under Duvalierism. "Today is the third edition of Duvalierism. We have a responsibility. We cannot remain silent because some people are taking advantage of that silence. We must tell those who represent us here in Canada that when you have influence, show that you are Haitians," said Frantz André, one of the organizers of Solidarité Québec-Haiti. He greeted the Haitian youth of today who are fighting and providing hope.

Several spoke to salute the battle of Vertières, on November 18, 1803, whose 216th anniversary was celebrated the day after the march. That battle, led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines to free the Haitian people from slavery and put an end to the colonial power meant the rout and the defeat of the Napoleonic army. It signified the elimination of slavery and led to the proclamation of Haitian independence and the formation of the first black republic in the world, the Republic of Haiti on January 1, 1804. Today, that battle continues.

Another speaker asked: "Are the Haitian people entitled to health, education and dignity? Yes. This is what we are demanding of those imperialist powers who support the government in Haiti and deny us all forms of humanity, who deny the right to be of human beings, just like all the peoples of the world. As long as the [Haitian] people are deprived of their humanity and their dignity, we must continue the fight. Why is Jovenel Moïse still in Haiti? It's because he supported and continues to support those foreign powers who do not want change in Haiti. The Haitian people have the right to dignity, the right to be masters in their own homes and the right to sovereignty. We have the right to demand it and to demand that foreign governments -- such as the Canadian, French, and American governments -- not interfere in the internal affairs of our country. They interfere and after that they say that we are responsible for the situation in Haiti; that it is we, the Haitian people, who are corrupt. That's what's called "development aid" and behind that whole masquerade are the hands pulling the strings of misery in Haiti. The Haitian people are not responsible. We must continue the fight to the end. Long live the struggle of the Haitian people!"

An activist invited all the protesters to a viewing of Elaine Brière's "Haiti betrayed" on November 24 at 6:00 pm at La Maison d'Haïti. The film deals with the role of the Canadian government in Haiti. It's an opportunity to learn about and continue to discuss and exchange on Canadian foreign policy, which must take a new direction.

(Photos: TML)

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 29 - November 30, 2019

Article Link:
Rising with Haiti! Demonstrators Demand Justice, Dignity and Reparations


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