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Letter from Port-Au-Prince The Food Riots in Haiti

The Food Riots in Haiti

by RICHARD MORSE

I’m starting to get funny emails. I haven’t felt threatened in Haiti since 2005 when Apaid and the boys had their man Latortue in office.

The police came into the hotel and arrested some of my musicians in the middle of a show. As if that wasn’t enough Leon Charles’ (police chief) men used to come over during RAM shows, heavily armed, dressed in black with black ski masks on their faces. They’d walk through the dance floor bumping into the guests. I complained to the American Embassy (Ambassador Foley) but they ignored me. I tried to talk to Leon Charles but he wouldn’t see me. So, I wrote an email to the political officer at the US Embassy (former student of my Dad’s) in the Dominican Republic.

I then went to Washington with Lionel Delatour and explained to many (State Department, Pentagon, members of the House and Senate), the political situation in Haiti. Fortunately, I also found time to vent a few of my personal issues (which often reflect Haiti’s national issues). Shortly thereafter, Leon Charles and The American Ambassador were shipped out. I think their departure was a coincidence, but perhaps my complaints highlighted their ineptitude.

The same people that were backing Latortue, including Group 184, Leon Charles, Ambassador Foley, Boulos, Baker, etc. were stunned at President Preval’s victory in 2006. They tried, through various means to manipulate the election and the Electoral Council so as to put one of their own in power but the Haitian people took to the streets and put an end to the charade. This same group of folks (The Commercial Class) has been galvanized by the pressure being put on Mr Boulos for his dual nationality. Boulos went to the DR and threatened to bring down the Haitian government.

The American Embassy has been silent. The mass media has been talking about food riots around the world and saying thats what’s going on in Haiti, but the reality is, though a Coup d’Etat has been avoided, the Alexis government has fallen. The Embassy doesn’t always wish to understand Haiti. Its not their fault. You can’t blame people for being incompetent, you can only blame their bosses for failing to identify their incompetence for whatever personal
political agenda.

There are two newspapers in Haiti, one owned by the Chauvettes and the other owned by Boulos. Thats not where the Haitian people go for their news although it might be where the Embassy goes for its news. The Haitian people go for the news where ever the truth might be available: word of mouth, meetings, the marche, on camoinettes, at work, in taxis, the radio, the tv, rumors.

It was wrong to try and bring down Preval’s government. The US, along with their calls for Democracy and Justice, should have been there, instead of, by their silence, saying that they support the commercial class and there desire to continuously over throw governments.

Every one is here. Every one is watching; the Europeans, the North Americans, the South Americans, along with the Africans. If every one views the United States’ support for Democracy as a world wide hoax, foreign policy is going to become that much more difficult.

From a National Security perspective, the contra band the commercial class is defending, is not in any one’s interest. The taxes that the commercial class don’t want to pay leads to weak infrastructure. Where’s Public Education? The American Embassy has to get in line with their own rhetoric or it will come back to haunt them.

RICHARD MORSE runs the Olafsson Hotel Port-au-Prince Haiti and the leads the Haitian band RAM.