Does Martelly intend to use the El Salvadoran tactic of brutal repression?

effete haitian intellectuals and leaders are content to pander to what haitian
activist Ezili Dantò  refers to as Cholera Democracy, a tendency to
jettison any patriotic sense of duty in order to accommodate foreign interests.”

While the haitian community is abuzz with the news of the electrical glitch that occurred during Martelly’s inauguration, to many of his opponents this was just a sign of the kind of incompetence and lack of focus they expect from a ‘Ti Simone’ regime. Others were more pensive, and some were scoping the crowd looking for old familiar faces such as Martelly’s old buddies in FRAPH and the roaming murderous thugs that terrorized the haitian population so much. Would Martelly now carve a role for them in his administration? And if so, what would be the nature of their roles?

One thing seems to be undeniable; Martelly certainly represents an abrupt departure from the sort of paradigmatic pedigrees we have grown accustomed to for our leaders. If he is indeed to play a significant role in the new scheme of things, what kind of long lasting legacy his policies would have? With his presidency tottering on a paltry electorate support of only 17% of the population, how does he intend to woo the more than 80% of the population with skepticism and reservations about his policies? The reign of populism, it seems, has clearly ended, and the future, far from being uncertain, seems to promise a new wave of right wing policies and an even tighter cooperation between the US and Haiti, a problematic relationship that used to primarily rely on the haitian army to enforce Washington’s master plan for Haiti. And this is why Martelly’s pledge to bring back the army and his old affiliations with so many murderous thugs have alarmed so many. According to Ben Dupuy, the haitian army has always been the crucial and indispensable tool, utilized in tandem with other american organizations such as USAID, PIRED, and other special groups, that America has used to atomize Haiti, stifle dissent, and destroy its civil society to make use for a more El Salvadoran-like state where popular insurrection can be easily suppressed.

Today the CIA is beefing up its stations in Haiti, and whether Martelly, like many other Haitians before him such as Cedras, Michel Francois, and many members of FRAPH, is an operative, or occupies an important position in a New World Order, is uncertain. If the El Salvadoran model is indeed the paradigm upon which any plan for Haiti is likely to be based, Haiti should brace itself for the worst. In the late 1970s, El Salvador was one of the first countries in Central America that began to experiment with the use of death squads to eliminate leftist activists and sympathizers and to deter popular support through intimidation. And now after three decades under right wing policies, the rates of poverty and crime had skyrocketed along with gross socioeconomic inequalities while a small oligarchic business elite benefits the most from the economy.

Although Haiti had already been experiencing similar socioeconomic inequalities, the 1986 insurrection along with the ensuing new interest in democracy, the rule of law, political and
economic reforms has ushered in a new era of activism. Will this after all turn out to be the kind of lengthy democratization process akin to the El Salvadoran model with no coherent anti-poverty policies for the foreseeable future? Will Haiti share the same fate as El Salvador?

After all, Martelly could turn out to be, like so many before him, just an ordinary and inept leader/politician. But far from constituting the progressive vestiges of such a proud culture, today’s effete haitian intellectuals and leaders are content to pander to what haitian activist Ezili Dantò refers to as Cholera Democracy, a tendency to jettison any patriotic sense of duty in order to accommodate foreign interests and the racialized oligarchs. So far Martelly seems to be treading that same political model, and if his significance in american geo-political scheme is to be understood from any neo-liberal or Cholera democracy context, his promise to bring back the army provides the perfect contextual background from which to analyze his presidency.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by My Generation 70 on May 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Nice piece. I think this analysis is right on the money..


  2. I really don’t see any link between El Salvador and Haiti based on this piece, except for what seems like your wish for there to be a one. Also, he’s been president for 12 days. Don’t you think it’s a bit premature to be talking about deathsquads? Shouldn’t he at least be given a chance?


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