Jul 23, 2018
Haiti’s prime minister Jack Guy Lafontant agreed to step down on July 14, after four days of rebellion in the streets.
He had proposed price increases of 30 percent for gas, 47 percent for diesel, and 51 percent for the oil poor people use to light their homes because they don’t have electricity. Poor people and workers weren’t having it! They took to the streets to protest.
The movement was so forceful the government thought it best to step back temporarily. But that didn’t calm the anger of the demonstrators. They kept blocking the capital Port-au-Prince, even with barricades.
Faced with a situation threatening to sharpen – and insistent legislators threatening to vote down his administration – the prime minister accepted to take blame and announce he would step down.
Haiti being one of the world’s poorest countries, the only way the population can avoid being strangled by the wealthy and their political servants is to respond massively and violently in the streets.
New administrations will know that proposing the same price increases will provoke violent reactions. So they will have to try to delay. But in the end, big business, the IMF, and the U.S. will demand the poor pay higher prices. Haitian politicians are unable to defy these demands. Current president Jovenel Moise is no different.
The workers and the poor of Haiti have shown they are capable of pushing the government back. They have ways to defend their interests. But they can’t let themselves be misled by the maneuvers of politicians who seek to use mass movements to advance their own careers.