Martelly, a duvalierist, or an heir to the François (Papa Doc) and Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) dictatorships, is now ruling by decree, an unconstitutional situation that harks back to Haiti’s long tradition of violent, authoritarian rule. In mid-December, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe resigned, and on Christmas day, in an attempt to salvage his presidency, Martelly appointed Evans Paul, a well-respected and moderate senior statesman, to be the next prime minister. Evans has since formed a new government, but he cannot be confirmed in the absence of parliament.
Meanwhile, the more radical among the opposition parties took to the streets with almost daily demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and provincial cities. They recently vowed to resume their protests. A number of human rights organizations have alleged that several political factions, such as Fanmi Lavalas and Martelly’s Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale have re-grouped and re-armed the militias that were dismantled in previous years. Further, some politicians—for example, a few senior advisers to the president, some members of parliament who support the president, and leaders of the opposition—continue to use and recruit criminal gangs to intimidate and sometimes violently attack their adversaries. In fact, Oriel Jean, the former security chief of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was shot to death by gang members only three days ago. Some hardline opposition politicians, inspired by Jean Jacques Dessalines, the country’s first ruler after independence, are calling for the violent overthrow of Martelly. They are also advocating for black power—code words for killing mulattos, whites, and moderate blacks—a call to arms that is eerily reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide 21 years ago. Haiti is at risk of returning to a dangerous cycle of coups and conflict unless the country and the international community work together to tackle the root of the instability: bad governance, corruption, widespread poverty, and inept foreign intervention. via | Foreign Affairs