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Unprecendented mobilizations in Haiti

Sunday 22 December 2019, by Arthur Mahon

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The mobilizations that paralysed a large part of Haiti for two months, from mid-September to mid-November 2019, were exceptional. They were the temporary culmination of a movement that started in the summer of 2018, which resurged several times. The spark came in July 2018 following an increase in the price of petroleum products. Then the denunciation of a huge financial scandal, the Petrocaribe fund affair, took on an unprecedented scale. In September 2019, a general shortage of petrol led to the protests, which until then had mainly affected the big cities, spreading throughout the country.

Despite harsh repression, a large part of the population, in exasperation, rose to demand the departure of President Jovenel Moïse, who since 2017 has been at the head of a mafia government. It is also a general movement of discontent in the face of increasingly unbearable living conditions, glaring inequalities and a corrupt, discredited and repressive political system. In the past year, prices have increased by 20%, mainly due to the fall in the national currency. [1] Beyond the president, a whole system is targeted by the current revolt.

A country at a standstill

Since 1 September, there have been multiple demonstrations, sometimes daily, in Port-au-Prince, as in the provinces, many, but not all, being at the initiative of the political opposition. They have often resulted in strong repression and sometimes destruction and looting. On September 27, a riot police base was assaulted and looted to prevent the demonstration that followed from being suppressed. In Port-au-Prince, one of the most impressive, if not the most important, events was held on October 13 at the call of popular singers and DJs. On October 20, a man claiming to be a prophet and his many followers came to reinforce a second demonstration by the artists. On October 28, unions joined the demonstration that day, with several hundred textile workers. On October 30, the health sector took to the streets and the next day, moto taxi drivers. Lawyers also demonstrated and police took to the streets twice, even asking to be able to form a union.

For two months, from mid-September, Haiti was a peyi lòk, that is to say, a blocked, padlocked country. Barricades blocked the streets of several cities and roads were cut off. For the most part, it was difficult and often dangerous to get around inside Port-au-Prince. The occupants of the rare vehicles daring to drive around were sometimes attacked by those who manned the barricades. A journalist was seriously injured while trying to cross a roadblock in Jacmel. In the provinces, certain roads were cut. The vast majority of schools were closed. Companies and institutions have laid off some or all of their staff.

Dangerous liaisons

In Haiti’s exceptional situation, a decisive factor is the absence of organized popular movements sufficiently established to be able to stimulate self-organization and self-defence of the mobilization. Otherwise, it remains fragile and open to the manipulations of ambitious politicians, populist forces and certain factions of the wealthy classes, who have their own agenda and often rely on armed gangs.

Gang control over part of the working-class neighbourhoods has become an inescapable fact of the situation. Many have been bought by the government, but some want to overthrow Jovenel Moses. Admittedly, all the grassroots groups that have weapons are not necessarily gangs, and certain gangs themselves, which are the product of unemployment and misery, can to some extent express the anger of poor neighbourhoods while subjecting them to their law. But the fact that part of the political opposition was associated with criminal gangs was a serious handicap for the mobilization. It is difficult to make common cause for a long time with those who threaten and ransom you. Especially since, according to Haitian sociologist Alain Gilles, the gangs “pass from the government to the opposition, from one day to the next, without positioning themselves by conviction”.

Since mid-November most activities have resumed. In the provinces, certain areas have returned to calm. However, in recent days, in Port-au-Prince and its outskirts, it was sometimes difficult to circulate, roadblocks could be installed or removed at any time and shootings broke out.

Across the country a large number of schools remain closed. It is true that the school year announced for September 8 had barely started, because many parents could not afford to buy school materials. The two months of paralysis further aggravated their economic situation. Often wages have not been paid and many small traders in the informal sector have lost much of their investment. In addition, prices have skyrocketed due to the virtual halt in transport.

Due to the shortage of food, fuel and medicine, the already appalling prison conditions have worsened since September. In the prison of Gonaïves, this resulted in a mutiny. On this occasion, prisoners broke into the cell door where twelve women were detained and almost all of them were raped.

Coldly executed

Repression has increased in recent weeks. It particularly targets activists in lower-income neighbourhoods that the government has failed to bribe, according to Chavanne Jean-Baptiste, one of the figures of the recently created Patriotic Forum. One of the challenges is to remove the barricades still blocking streets and roads. At the beginning of November, in Port-au-Prince, fifteen people were killed, and several others were wounded by bullets during several attacks against the Bel Air neighbourhood perpetrated by a gang supported by the police. Two weeks later, three other people were killed in the same neighbourhood in identical circumstances.

On June 10, journalist Pétion Rospide was shot and killed in a vehicle bearing the name of his radio station. On 10 October, radio reporter Néhémie Joseph was found dead in his car. On 24 November, a young activist, Sandino Grand Pierre (22), who had participated in all the demonstrations against the squandering of the Petrocaribe fund, was riddled with bullets by men on motorbikes. [2] The repression is the work of the police, which is now very militarized, or of gangs and commandos, which may include the police. Gangs paid for by the government, which has renewed their arsenal, terrorize certain working-class neighbourhoods and prevent them from going to the demonstrations. Commandos have attacked processions with automatic weapons. Presidential security officers, armed with Galil assault rifles, appear to be very active in this area. Finally, foreign mercenaries were seen with guns in hand. One of the key men in the crackdown was himself shot and wounded by one of the gangs he supervised.

Despite the arms embargo, nearly 500,000 illegal firearms are still circulating in Haiti, according to Jean Rebel Dorcena, a member of the Disarmament, Dismantling and Reintegration Commission. That is to say more than double what the National Police estimated four years ago. According to him, there are 96 gangs in Haiti and “these bandits are in the pay of personalities in power, have relations with members of the opposition and receive funds from certain bosses in the private sector”.

How did we get here?

In 2012, after the second presidency of René Préval (2006-2011), Michel Martelly (2011-2016) was imposed as head of the Haitian state by the “international community” after an incredible manipulation operated by an OAS mission, responsible for verifying the results of the first round of the presidential election. The results of the second round were dictated to the Electoral Council responsible for proclaiming them. Martelly left the presidency in February 2016, after a disastrous term and amid scandals, without the election of his successor having been completed. Massive frauds orchestrated by the authorities aroused indignation. They favoured the candidate Jovenel Moïse, a crooked businessman supported by the presidential party, the PHTK. [3]

Under pressure from the demonstrators, the second round was cancelled in extremis by the Electoral Council, which feared for its safety. When his term ended, Martelly was therefore replaced by a provisional president, Jocelerme Privert (2016-2017), responsible for organizing new elections. After many ups and downs, and a very costly campaign, Jovenel Moïse won the presidential election in the first round, with 56% of the votes, on November 29, 2016. But abstention exceeded 80%, particularly in the districts ravaged by unemployment and poverty, where the Fanmi Lavalas party (created by Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the late 1990s) and its split-off Pitit Dessalines have significant support. Their candidates (respectively Maryse Narcisse and Moïse Jean Charles) obtained between them 20% of the votes, the same percentage being attributed to Jude Célestin, supported by René Préval. The election was held just weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit the southeast of the country. Denouncing fraud, several candidates refused to recognize the election of Jovenel Moïse. In fact, since he was under investigation for money laundering, his candidacy should not even have been accepted. He took office on February 7, 2017 and enjoyed the support of the two legislative chambers, riddled as usual with thieves, renegades and drug traffickers.

Textile workers

Jovenel Moïse was quickly confronted with a long mobilization in assembly factories (textiles and clothing), which related to wages. It started in May 2017, lasted several weeks and affected the two free trade zones of Codevi (department of North-East) and Caracol (North) and especially the industrial parks of Port-au-Prince. Already in December 2013, thousands of workers in the industrial zone of Port-au-Prince had gathered in front of Parliament to demand an increase in the minimum wage to meet their needs. The Batay Ouvriyè organization, which runs several unions, recounted the 2017 struggle in Port-au-Prince, which was harshly suppressed by the police and the bosses: “You had to see! The determination, the commitment, the fury almost, of thousands, thousands and thousands of scorned workers, tired workers, because, very often, they are alone in the single-parent household, a common practice in Haiti. Bravely leaving the factories where they were trying to keep them locked up by obsolete bosses, completely overwhelmed. Day after day. Running, shouting, screaming in the streets, at the microphones of television channels or the country’s main radios. Communicating their overwhelming discontent to passers-by, artisans, street vendors, schoolchildren, students, unemployed people they encountered on their way… Flags, banners, signs, distribution of leaflets in these familiar labyrinths bringing guidance, the leadership of the autonomous working class, mobilised.” This renewed fighting spirit among workers in the big assembly workshops foreshadowed what would happen a year later, but it was mainly other layers of society that mobilized then.

Riots

It all started with an increase in the price of petroleum products. After the military dictatorship (1991-1994) which was accompanied by an international embargo, a structural adjustment plan, dictated by the IMF and implemented with a certain zeal by presidents Aristide and Préval, completed the bringing to its knees of several sectors of the Haitian economy. In 2011, an IMF expert visiting Haiti was surprised that tariffs there were so low. It was however under the aegis of the IMF that they had become the lowest in the region. Thus, the tax on imported rice had dropped from 30% to 5%.

After the earthquake of January 12, 2010, the Haitian government decided to freeze prices at the pump, despite price fluctuations on the international market. In July 2010, the IMF signed an agreement with Haiti under the Extended Credit Federation (FEC). At the same time, it cancelled Haiti’s debt to it. But in 2014, under pressure from the IMF, the Haitian authorities reduced fuel subsidies, which weighed heavily on the budget. In 2015 the IMF extended a new loan and began to ask not for the “reduction” but for the “abolition” of fuel subsidies. So this was done. On June 21, 2018, after granting new financing, the IMF announced with pleasure that the Haitian government would eliminate these subsidies. Jovenel Moïse waited for the start of the soccer World Cup and announced in early July a rise in the price of petroleum products of up to 51%.

Marc-Arthur Fils-Aimé, director of the Karl-Lévêque Institute, says: “The people have not been silent. On July 6, 7 and 8, they almost routed the executive and the repressive forces by barricading the country. They demanded not only the withdrawal of the press release relating to this brutal increase, but also the lowering of the cost of living. As protests swelled across the country, demands became radicalized to the point that they took on the appearance of a class struggle. Crowds attacked banks and large businesses and demanded the departure of the president and his then prime minister.” The prime minister resigned and soon after, the increase in petroleum product prices was halted. Mobilization would soon resume because of another problem: the Petrocaribe fund scandal.

Petrochallengers enter the scene

Petrocaribe is a cooperation agreement, initiated in 2005, between Venezuela and eighteen states in the Caribbean and Central America. Pursuant to the agreement signed when President René Préval took office, Haiti bought its petroleum products at market prices in Venezuela (its main supplier for a long time) but paid only part in cash. The other part (about half) was to be paid (or bartered) within 17 years (if the price was low) or 25 years, with two years of grace and a rate of preferential interest (1%). Deliveries began in March 2008 and ended in April 2018. The state sold the oil to local private companies and the profit fed the Haitian state-run Petrocaribe fund. $ 2.4 billion has been paid into this fund over 10 years. Something to arouse avarice! In principle, it was mainly to be used for investments in development projects. But few have been done correctly. A large part of the money disbursed for development projects (1.6 billion) was wasted and diverted, and already in 2013 carnival songs targeted the mismanagement of the fund.

In November 2017, a Senate report pointed out that “it has emerged from the investigation that Petrocaribe has been the subject of a large-scale scam”. Citizens then filed 62 complaints. In August 2018, a woman explained that she had complained because her father died after an accident, whereas he could have survived if a quality hospital had been built with Petrocaribe money. It is true that under Michel Martelly the share devoted to health in the state budget was very small: 4.4% in its last budget against 16.6% in 2004 (7% in the most recent).

In mid-August, the filmmaker Gibert Mirambeau posted a photo on social networks in which he appears blindfolded, with a sign in his hand: “Kote kob Petrocaribe a?” (“Where did the Petrocaribe money go?”) This question went viral on social media and a movement, the “Petrochallengers”, started and developed very quickly, especially among youth. In August 2018, demonstrations were organized outside the premises of the Court of Auditors. The Petrocaribe case became a catalyst for protest, bringing together many sectors of society. On October 17, the Petrochallengers organized a huge demonstration in Port-au-Prince. According to the feminist Pascale Solages, “to be a Petrochallenger is to respect a certain number of ethical principles: not to be corrupt, to believe in social justice, to have a vision of the world and of living together which respects the rights of people, goods and lives... Each group organized independently, in its community and its neighbourhood, with its own signs, slogans and so on. There was no structured organization of these mobilizations. From December 2018, the groups began to coordinate, and a group of young intellectuals formed the Noupapdomi (“We will stay awake”) group, which Pascale Solages coordinates.

The Petrochallengers intended to jealously guard the autonomy of their movement. But it was not to the liking of the heavyweights of Haitian politics who were kept out of it. They would soon take the initiative and ride the wave set in motion by the Petrochallengers. Part of the political opposition therefore took the initiative of a demonstration on November 18 and called on its supporters to paralyze Port-au-Prince for two days. While the Petrochallengers initially concentrated on questions of corruption and justice, this demonstration also demanded the departure of Jovenel Moïse. Among the men who were to take centre stage, we find, for example, Youri Latortue, a former putschist soldier, accused of several political assassinations and a gang sponsor, who chaired the Senate for a year before leaving Jovenel Moïse; Senator Nénel Cassi, elected under the banner of Fanmi Lavalas; Assad Volcy, former “popular leader adored by the underprivileged masses”, according to his writings, and former spokesperson for the presidency under René Préval.

The President pinned down

On January 31, 2019, under pressure from the Petrochallengers, the Superior Commission of Accounts and Administrative Litigation (CSCCA) published a first, very partial audit report on the management of the Petrocaribe fund. Page after page we read the description of multiple deficiencies and irregularities, embezzlement, gross swindles, carried out with the certainly paid complicity of the public authorities. As writer Gary Victor put it, “Of course there was corruption in Haiti. But here we are on an industrial scale”. The icing on the cake, this report revealed that Jovenel Moïse himself had swindled the Petrocaribe fund. “Collusion, favouritism, embezzlement” writes the Court of Auditors about the projects entrusted to the future president.

While the living conditions of the population had suddenly worsened, the report shone the light behind the scenes of certain Haitian companies and multinationals operating in Haiti, and of a political elite and a parasitic higher administration. On February 7, 2019, at the call of leaders of the parliamentary opposition, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital and major cities. Slogans denouncing the cost of living were mixed with those demanding the departure of Jovenel Moïse and prosecutions for the dilapidation of the Petrocaribe fund. From February 7 to 18 the first operation took place to block the country (peyi lòk). Port-au-Prince and other cities were paralyzed by barricades. Warehouses and shops were looted. Gas stations were closed due to the tense climate and multiple demonstrations. But, according to the Organisation des travailleurs révolutionnaires (Organization of Revolutionary Workers - OTR), the situation was far from simple because soon, it explained, “under the leadership of opposition politicians”, social demands “gave way to simple calls for the resignation of the Head of State” while the poor were “forcibly prevented from going to work” and no initiative was taken to allow them to refuel. As Frédéric Thomas writes, underlining the role played by armed gangs in the movement, “we must neither demonize nor idealize the movement” but “not recognizing the limits of the social movement of recent months would be a mistake”. [4]

At the end of its second report, submitted to the Senate on May 31, the Court of Auditors had still examined only 75% of the total amounts voted for development projects. But its content was enough to trigger a new wave of mobilizations, with large demonstrations on June 9 and many actions the following days to demand the departure of Jovenel Moïse and the prosecution of all those involved in the Petrocaribe scandal.

Even though the money from the Petrocaribe fund has been largely squandered, the debt remains. The Haitian state devotes 4.5% of the budget to servicing the external public debt. Venezuela is by far (more than 87%) the main creditor, although it cancelled part of the debt ($400 million) after the earthquake. However, the Haitian government is having difficulty obtaining dollars, which are also necessary to buy petroleum products on the international market – and these products have had to be paid for in cash since the end of the Petrocaribe program. This results in recurring fuel shortages. A particularly serious shortage in September 2019 re-launched the mobilization again.

An uncertain political outcome

Jovenel Moïse, must go, yes. But who should replace him? And to do what? In February 2019, the Noupapdomi collective put online a questionnaire filled out by more than 6,000 people, including more than 3,000 in the first 24 hours. The result is a desire for a new perspective and a new project associating “all the vibrant forces of the nation”. Requirements to guide the transition are formulated around the “4 Rs”:

1. Rupture (with the social injustice of past regimes subjected to the great national and international political and economic forces),
2. Recovery (of public institutions; participatory democracy),
3. Reorientation (of the economy with a view to promoting the creation and redistribution of wealth, facilitating public and private initiatives, local and foreign investments),
4. Rigor (in the management and expenditure of the state.).

The transitional authority would be accompanied by a structure allowing the people to control it. This summer two coalitions were set up, whose concerns partially overlap those of the Noupapdomi collective:

- The Consensual Alternative for the Rebuilding of Haiti, built around opposition senators, includes a series of political forces, some linked to members of the oligarchy despite a progressive veneer. Several former supporters of Jovenel Moïse participate.
- The Papaya Patriotic Forum brings together political organizations from the left (or “centre left”) and organizations from the social movement, including the four peasant organizations that organized the founding meeting (in the town of Papaya). Like the other coalition, it is looking for a minimal solution to end the crisis without Jovenel Moïse. But it insists that the solution must be “native”, that is designed only in Haiti. According to the Haitian agency Alterpresse, it wants to overthrow Jovenel Moïse and his team “while implementing concrete actions for the satisfaction of vital demands for the population and the country”.

Thanks to the mediation of a structure (“la Passerelle”) supported by 107 civil society organizations (including employers’ organizations), these two coalitions, joined by a few other groups, reached an agreement on November 10: the replacement of Jovenel Moïse will be chosen from among the judges of the Court of Cassation; Parliament will be declared obsolete; a commission will define the criteria for the appointment of ministers; a special body will oversee the work of the executive; a national conference will lay the foundation for a new society. However, three weeks later, the commission charged with establishing the criteria for choosing the provisional president and his prime minister had still not released its findings.

It is doubtful that this agreement can satisfy all those in Haiti who dream of a profound upheaval. Those who say “Fòk chodyè a capsize” (“you have to overturn the pot”) do not really want what may appear like reheated soup. The deal only deals with institutional matters, and the names of some signatories can only arouse distrust and even repulsion. How can we not be wary when assassins and members of the oligarchy, having recently broken with Jovenel Moïse (after having financed his election), are parties to the agreement? Accustomed to turning their coats, wouldn’t these individuals be working out a solution with the US embassy?

Speaking on June 8 on the program Top Haiti about the situation post-Jovenel Moïse, James Beltis, a member of the secretariat of Noupapdomi, had already declared that “the architects of the chaos of the last ten years, whether Haitians or foreigners, have no place in this project … We cannot fight such a great combat against impunity and corruption and then put our fate once again in the hands of other corrupt people.”

Repression and demagogy

Jovenel Moïse and his supporters in the PHTK do not intend to let go of power. They would have too much to lose. It is difficult today to quantify the total number of victims of the repression since the movement began in July 2018. In any case, it exceeds 150 dead. In the very poor La Saline district alone, at least 71 people were killed by regime-related gangs on November 13, 2018, just days before a major mobilization. Eleven women were raped, some in the presence of their young children. In July 2019, at least 20 other people were reportedly murdered in the same neighbourhood. The scale of these crimes is reminiscent of another massacre, that perpetrated in July 2006 by UN troops who, to neutralize a gang, attacked a neighbourhood in the big slum of Cité Soleil, firing 22,000 bullets and killing around sixty of its inhabitants.

To improve its image in the United States, the presidency has hired the services of four lobbying companies. It must convince Washington that it has the situation in hand and that there is no alternative. The feeling of insecurity is growing as crime increases. The gangs paid for by the National Palace now believe that they are entirely licensed and go so far as to attack passenger buses in the middle of Port-au-Prince, which they strip of their possessions. This situation allows the president to explain that, if he leaves office, the country will be delivered to gangs and that the chaos will be total.

After being very discreet for several weeks, he has adopted an anti-system discourse denouncing the “heirs of the system” of predation. It is therefore probably no coincidence that the public prosecutor has launched an action against one of the wealthiest families in Haiti, the Vorbe, who are in opposition. Fifteen years ago, some of its members signed a contract with the state for the management of power plants to partially compensate for the shortages of electricity in Haiti, a public enterprise. They are accused of fraud and being responsible for the shortage of electricity. In fact, Jovenel Moïse is suspected of wanting to occupy the niche of private supply of electricity with a company in which his wife has interests. The latter is already accused of having facilitated the signing of a contract ($28 million) between the Haitian state and the German company Dermalog for the production of identity cards. And this despite two unfavourable opinions from the Court of Auditors. One of the men involved in this shady affair was recently appointed head of the Haitian Institute for Statistics. But the employees of this institution refuse to work under the orders of someone so corrupt.

Jovenel Moïse juggles repression and demagoguery. But the difficulties are piling up for him. Haiti has been ruled by a shadow government since March because the Prime Minister-designate has not been ratified by Parliament. The budget could not be voted on in 2018 or 2019. The Catholic bishops are pushing Jovenel Moïse towards the exit while calling on all actors to make “painful concessions”. And several weeks ago, during a meeting between employers, the majority of them had already decided for his departure. Now the action against the Vorbe family raises the indignation of the employers’ unions.

In addition, even if the most recent demonstrations attracted few people in Port-au-Prince, the mobilization can resurge again, or even extend to new sectors. The press does not talk much about what is happening in rural areas. However, there too, things are moving. Thus, in the northeast, peasants who, in 2002, under the presidency of Aristide, had been dispossessed of their lands to build a textile factory, settled on the 520 hectares which had been promised to them in compensation, but for which they had never before received a legal document.

Hello Washington?

The fate of Jovenel Moïse will largely be decided in Washington. So far, the “international community” has given it its support and has repeatedly said that a dialogue with the opposition is needed. It is a provocation to all those who keep proclaiming that the departure of Jovenel Moïse is a prerequisite for any solution. In Haiti, the “international community” is the CORE Group, made up of representatives of the UN, the OAS and the ambassadors of several powers (Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, United States, France, European Union). It’s the same CORE Group that imposed Martelly to succeed René Préval.

In November, after a visit to Haiti, the US ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, stressed “the urgent need to supervise the institutions of the Haitian state” and said that “President Moses and other democratically elected leaders have the responsibility to come together, put aside their disagreements and find an inclusive solution for the well-being of the Haitian people”. The European Union has adopted the same course of action. The European Parliament has just adopted a rather hypocritical resolution, apparently the fruit of some compromises. In a long indictment, it deplored poverty, the situation of women, children and LGBT people, corruption, repression, human rights abuses and impunity, even impugning the wife of Jovenel Moïse. But it does not say a word about the Petrocaribe dossier in which the president is directly involved (as well as European companies!). This allows it to recommend “a frank, open and inclusive inter-Haitian dialogue in order to better meet the basic needs and aspirations of the population and find lasting solutions to the political crisis”.

Dissolved in 1995, the Haitian army has been in the process of reconstitution for several years. But these soldiers do not yet represent a great danger. Experience shows that the same is not true for foreign soldiers who could disembark under the pretext, invented or not, of a humanitarian crisis or of generalized chaos. It was after numerous misdeeds, crimes and repeated scandals that the last UN troops finally left Haiti in 2017, after thirteen years of occupation. Several hundred international police officers under Indian command immediately replaced them until October 2019. The United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), headed by a US diplomat, then set itself up. It should only include a few dozen police officers to “strengthen the capacity of the Haitian National Police”, including training in crowd control. But Florida is very close. And if the situation continues to get tense, it is possible that US troops may be positioned discreetly off the coast of Haiti, ready to intervene. This is what happened less than ten years ago. Because, as the singer and activist Guerchang Bastia, a member of the Collective of Engaged Artists, puts it, “Haiti is US territory, but not officially”. [5].

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Footnotes

[1As a consequence of neoliberal policies, the trade deficit (expressed as a percentage of GDP) has increased greatly since the 1980s, especially since 2003.

[2In the last twenty years, the history of Haiti has been marked by political killings. Thus, under the Martelly presidency, Davidchen Siméon and Romario Dangelo Saint-Jean, two activists in MOLEGHAF, an anti-capitalist organisation, were executed, and there was an attempt on the life of its general secretary, David Oxygène.

[3The Parti haïtien tèt kalé (PHTK), thus called with reference to Martelly’s bald head (“tèt kale”).

[4Frédéric Thomas, Haïti: Le scandale du siècle, published in three parts on www.cetri.be

[5Interview published on medium.com on July 13, 2018. Guerchang Bastia is an activist in the Rasin Kan Pèp la Party