Haiti Action Committee is honored to share this recent statement from Fanmi Lavalas, the people’s party of Haiti. The statement commemorates the anniversary of Haiti’s first democratic election, on December 16th, 1990, which resulted in the victory of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas movement. Seven months later, President Aristide was overthrown in a U.S.-organized coup d’etat. Reelected overwhelmingly in 2000, Aristide was again ousted by yet another U.S.-sponsored coup in 2004.
(unofficial translation from Kreyol by Haiti Action Committee)
December 16, 1990 will never be erased in the memory of the people of Haiti. It is a symbol of victory, a symbol of hope. The victory of December 16, 1990 was about democracy developing roots in the country, it was about improving the lives of all the people in the country. Fanmi Lavalas presents its warmest greetings to the activists, sympathizers, everyone who understands what December 16, 1990 represents in the political history of Haiti.
After consulting with members of the organization in the 10 departments of the country, Fanmi Lavalas decided to commemorate the day through various Ti Fanmi activities all over the country. In the west department on December 15, we organized a mass meeting at the Dr. Aristide Foundation with hundreds of members of the organization in attendance. We decided to provide healthcare to the population beginning on December 16 in the school “Union College” in Maren. We will be announcing other locations where we will be providing healthcare services.
On December 16, 1990, the population made clear its demands to implement these three pillars of democracy: Justice, Participation and Transparency. With ballots in hand, people voted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into office to move their demands forward: food for all, healthcare for all, schools for all, housing for all, employment for all, justice for all. This was the first free, honest and democratic election that the country had known, where more than 2 million Haitians had chosen President Aristide to govern the country. As the Haitian people started to breathe the air of democracy, seeing the light of justice, the 1991 coup d’etat produced a huge setback to implementing the people’s program.
Since that time, coup d’etat after coup d’etat have caused more misery, more hunger, more exclusion, more insecurity, more banditry, corruption, violence, repression, massacres, and impunity. These are the trademarks of the dreadful foreign “democracy” that the anti-change forces and their international allies want to impose on the country. The will of the people is not respected when it is foreigners who pick individuals to govern the country. As all of us can attest, GNBists* and PHTKists* have condemned the population to be under the table, not at the table.
Today, while the minimum wage has remained unchanged with no respect for the dignity of working men and women, the price of gasoline has skyrocketed on the backs of a population already dealing with unemployment and misery. No consideration is given for the high cost of living that will increase steadily for fathers and mothers who are already struggling to put food on the table.
December 16, 1990 – December 16, 2021: After thirty-one years, the struggle to change the system of corruption has seen many betrayals, but it will not be stopped. Thirty-one years later, even though the de facto authorities are using gangsters to terrorize the population and prevent people from exercising their rights, this righteous struggle must give birth to Justice, Transparency and Participation.
December 16, 2021 is a reminder to all of us that it was conviction and unity that brought about December 16, 1990. These times demand that we again create the unity that brought us to victory.
The Montana Accord that we, Fanmi Lavalas, have signed and support, must lead us to a transition that completely breaks with this system of exploitation, as demanded by the Haitian population. The people hunger for a government of “Sali Piblik” or public safety, and they must have it in order to be on the road to progress and security, with fair and free elections.
Every human being is somebody. Everyone’s vote must be counted. This is the road to liberation and democracy. We did it on December 16, 1990, we must do it again for all to have peace in our minds and peace in our stomachs.
Dr. Maryse Narcisse
M. Joël Edouard Vorbe
Dr. Jean Myrto Julien
Agr. Anthony Dessources
* GNB refers to a right-wing coalition that helped organize the 2004 coup.
* PHTK refers to the ruling dictatorial PHTK party