On January 1, 1804 Haiti became the second independent republic in the western hemisphere, and the first to abolish slavery. Unlike the U.S. war for independence, in Haiti there was a true revolution of social forces. People who had been enslaved in Haiti rose up against the French colonial authority and won their freedom and with it the country’s independence. The only successful rebellion of people enslaved known to history came with the defeat of the military super-power of the time - France under Napoleon Bonaparte.
People are in the street calling for the resignation of their president. The police are using excessive force; in the last three weeks at least 17 people have died in protests. Over the last 15 months of recurring demonstrations, close to 100 people have died. In November 2017, a government-affiliated gang massacred dozens of people in the home town of a leading opposition figure. This is not Nicaragua or Venezuela, but Haiti. The United States government steps up to the mic and says, what?
On Wednesday morning at 2:00 a.m. Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moïse, addressed the country on television - yes, a.m. Moïse is once again under intense pressure to step down. The point of his early morning address was to make clear he was not going to step down and to ask for unity. He said,