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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The world waits as René Préval attempts to implement his reconciliation and his economic recovery plans

CSMS Magazine Editorial

 The day after he took office, Préval held a press conference where he asked the people of Haiti to be patient. Contrary to his first term when he traveled the country, promoting agrarian reform, this time he seems to bet his entire hope on the international community to come to the rescue to his beleaguered nation. Answering to the journalists, the Haitian president emphasized on the newly accord signed between the Haitian government and Venezuela’s Petro Caribe, a petroleum company. According to the president, Petro Caribe will provide oil to Haiti in which the payment will be done in two folds: 40% will be paid automatically, but 60% will have to be paid in phases at a lower interest rate. The president intends to use profit from this deal to create low-paying jobs to alleviate the “suffering of an hungry population.”       When questioning about doing more to lower the ever-increasing gasoline prices, Préval was blunt. “I believe that those who have the luxury to drive a car are not the most unfortunates.” In this regard, we believe that the president was right. The only thing he did not say, however, was that how he is going to rein in the business community that is using high prices in energy consumption as an acute excuse to justify the tripling of prices for basic commodities.   The other subject that Préval seems to want to make as the cornerstone of his presidency is the issue of reconciliation. At the end of every sentence, the president reminded the people that the urgency is an immediate national consensus between all layers of society as the best and, perhaps, the only way forward. We believe that the attempt to use the media to generate frenzy over reconciliation is nothing but a ploy to camouflage Préval’s conformist position. He knows what he has to say to be allowed to govern “peacefully.”  Historically in Haiti, reconciliation has always been a complete subjugation or subordination of the deprived masses. Reconciliation is a mutual agreement between two parties that were at odds with each other. It is a process that must be done, if it is to hold, under a shared understanding to get rid of whatever obstacles that stood in the way, keeping them from living in perfect harmony. One party will never be able to be sincere for it has some major obstacles that he himself created and that he has to overcome. He MUST first relinquish the vast privilege that he has spent 200 hundred years to amass. He MUST also cease to be a lumpen bourgeoisie at the service of foreign nationals to become a national bourgeoisie and a pivotal force for national development (a historical mission that he shunned 200 years ago.) He does not have such vocation.      In the case of the masses, this aim should not be too hard to achieve. They hold no strategic interests as a large and important party of society. For two centuries, they forbear nothing but a raw exploitation and repression from the other party that has been violently keeping them at bay from participating in any serious process to move Haiti forward. We in CSMS cannot bet our hope on a crocodile wish. Préval knows the step to take if he is serious about uprooting poverty. The corrupt state bureaucracy must be dismantled; the Haitian elite must not be allowed to dictate the course of his government. Already, we are seeing members of the bourgeoisie jumping on the reconciliation bandwagon, as it is the case of Charles Henry Baker, who is now calling his partisans to give the “president a chance.” This is a classic reaction of a shameless bourgeoisie that knows nothing but vacillating between forces, depending on who can guarantee its interest of the day. Préval can launch a billion pleas for peace and reconciliation. It won’t work because what needs to be done is precisely what he has been prevented from undertaking. Does he really have the will? Meanwhile, to keep his liberal and “revolutionary” credentials alive, he will continue to have photo-ops with Fidel.

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