Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2006

Haitian poor rebel at suspected poll-rigging

HAITIANS WENT to the polls on 8 February for the first vote since the populist president Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a US-backed coup, two years ago.

Niall Mulholland

Initial results indicated René Preval, a former ally of Aristide, on 60%, would become president, with Charles Henry Baker, a wealthy garment factory owner, and the candidate of the rich elite, coming third with only 6.1%.

However, on 14 February, electoral officials claimed that Preval only had 48.7% and that a second round run-off was likely on 19 March. This announcement immediately provoked widespread protests by tens of thousands of Preval supporters, who suspect right wing, pro-elite, pro-US forces are behind poll-rigging.

The impoverished protesters paralysed the capital, Port-au-Prince, to which UN 'peace-keepers' responded with gunfire, reportedly killing one young Preval supporter.

The 'interim government' has now blocked publication of the results "until an inquiry into fraud allegations is completed".

Local TV showed hundreds of burnt ballot papers on a city rubbish dump, many marked in favour of René Preval. His supporters again took to the streets to denounce the fraud.


Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a life expectancy of only 51 years. 65% of the population living below the poverty line and adult literacy rates are at a mere 52%. For decades, the country has been plagued by poverty, joblessness and military dictatorships.

Jean Bertrand Aristide, a popular priest working in the slum areas of Port-au-Prince, was president twice during the 1990 and early 2000s and pledged to tackle poverty and to bring about social justice.

But Aristide's support lessened as he failed to make any real change to poverty conditions. His populist gestures meant little while conditions in shanty towns worsened.

But still the ruling elite could not stomach Aristide's popular base. The reactionary opposition mounted an uprising in 2004, with the Bush administration's support, and overthrew Aristide.

US marines and several thousand United Nations troops, including forces sent by the supposedly 'left' government of Lula, in Brazil, have since occupied the country. They are there primarily to safeguard the interests of the ruling elite, capitalism and US imperialism, while earning the hatred of many of the poor.

Under US/UN control, conditions in Haiti have only worsened. Lawlessness and kidnappings are rife and factories have shut down due to a lack of foreign investment.

The huge social gap between the poor Creole-speaking black majority, that make up 95% of the population, and the French-speaking mulattos, 1% of whom own nearly half the country's wealth, remains unaddressed.

For several years, Haiti has been wracked by violence and gang rule in the slums.

Preval's presidency will not bring the social justice that the poor desperately yearn. Even before taking office, Preval put distance between Aristide and himself. He told the BBC that if elected he would allow Aristide to return from exile in South Africa, but that he "will not tolerate the violent groups that pledge him allegiance".

Although the US ambassador to Haiti, Tim Carney, said before the elections that a Preval victory was not "problematic", the White House will be very wary of a one-time Aristide ally becoming president.

Socialist solution

The wealthy Haitian elite fear Preval's victory even more. If they try to block Preval from becoming president, widespread protests will erupt. Both UN and US troops could be used to shoot down more of the very people they were supposedly sent to Haiti to 'liberate'.

If the US and elite give way and allow Preval to take office, they may later decide he is beyond their control and too pro-poor.

In this situation, the reactionary opposition will try to destabilise and overthrow Preval, replacing him with another brutal, pro-US regime. At the same time, Preval will not satisfy the needs of the poor and working class with mere populism.

Only the masses of Haiti, with the working class playing the leading role, can find a way out of the endless poverty, joblessness, violence, coups and dictatorships.

A mass socialist alternative has to be constructed in opposition to the tiny rich elite that live in mansions on the top of the hill in Port-au-Prince, while the majority - impoverished, jobless, illiterate and hungry - lives in shantytowns at the bottom.

A socialist alternative would fight for real fundamental change, making an appeal to the working class and poor across the Caribbean and the whole Americas.

Lasting democratic rights and rising living standards can only be guaranteed if desperately poor Haiti is part of a regional socialist federation of states.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 16 February 2006:

Troops out of Iraq

Fight for your future

Hands off our schools!

ID cards: 'Creeping compulsion' and grovelling MPs

The real cost of BP mega-profits

Universities and the arms trade

Haitian poor rebel at suspected poll-rigging

Building an alternative to the profit system

New Labour attacks the sick and disabled

Keep fighting New Labour's Education Bill

Labour's pro-business policies are punished

The housing scandal

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month

Striking postal workers build support

Sick of the system

Marching for jobs and services


Home   |   The Socialist 16 February 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleCholera epidemic sparks clashes between Haitians and UN troops

triangleHaiti Earthquake - Natural Disaster, Unnatural consequences?

triangleFast News

triangleHaiti: Survivors shackled by huge debt and poverty


triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleYour newspaper fights with you: help fund it with May Day greetings

triangleVietnam War: 50 years since the Tet Offensive

triangleVictory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests


triangleOxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

triangleMajority of kids poor in some areas

triangleThem & Us


triangleUsdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: 100 years of votes for women





France: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people



Big political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed



Brazil: Lula conviction confirmed


South Africa

Cape Town drought



May's silence is a green light for Chinese repression


Tamil Solidarity

Protesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime



Sudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!



Stop the war on the Kurds



Vienna: 50,000 march against racism and austerity



Stop the war on the Kurds



Punishment of Tamimi family awakens wave of international solidarity


Hong Kong

Stop repression in Hong Kong and China



Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity



Movement challenges Iranian regime



Appeal from Iranian independent unions

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018