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#1918: FROM CIP: OPL's Political Program (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

>From the Center for International Policy

First Part

Organization of the People in Struggle, OPL

Political program

Let us build together a country for everyone

January 2000

Towards 2004, the rebirth of the state and nation

Introduction 1

Chapter I. Crisis of the society and the necessity for a solution

Chapitre II. Ways and strategic vision of change

Chapitre III. Our program 10


In 2004 our country commemorates the two-hundredth anniversary of its
independence. The result of these two hundred years of existence is
hardly satisfactory. The state to this day has failed to contribute to 
the building of the nation. It is not easy to improve or consolidate
democratic institutions in a country where three-quarters of the
population are suffering great economic and social distress.

The nightmare we are now living through is a structural crisis of the
state and society. It bears grave consequences for the country, the loss 
of considerable opportunities and a worsening of living conditions.

Haiti is one of the lowest-ranked countries in the world from the
economic, social, environmental, and human points of view. We must
overcome all the accumulated shortages and backwardness to create the
material and human wealth needed to improve the population's living
conditions. We must turn the imperative to survive and save the nation 
and state into stimulants of the needed political, social and cultural 
changes. The OPL , consistent with the deepest national sentiments,
wishes to share with all its desire to make this a decisive moment. The 
OPL wants the creation of an authentic state of law, based on a solid
and equitable economic development, democratization of the institutions 
and flourishing of the Haitian culture, all indispensable elements for 
progressive change. The OPL looks for support from all sectors seeking 
well-being, justice and dignity for the solutions of today's problems
and the pursuit of a better tomorrow.



The general crisis that Haiti is undergoing affects the foundations of 
the nation. It calls for political change and the need for a democratic 
foundation able to foster economic development and social progress.

1. The political choice

Haiti faces a choice. The dysfunctional nature of the state and its
institutuions translates into inability to deal with the most basic
problems of public management and daily life. Unable to adapt to the
realities and rigors of representative democracy, the state is unable to 
reform the institutions. Unable to carry out its duties of oversight,
management, accounting, and security, it leads the country into
full-scale anarchy: adminstrative chaos, corruption, non-functioning of 
the judiciary, absence of a state of law. All this has created a
misleading picture of the leadership and the Lavalas sector which has
been vitiated by the split in the democratic and popular movement. Those 
who sought change have become deeply skeptical. They see the refusal to 
enact a transparent budget under the control of Parliament, leading to 
short-term macroeconomic problems. They see the maneuvers of the
power-holders who while talking of agrarian reform and national
production place the country in hostage to the racketeers. In this
situation the passivity of the citizens and the scattered nature of the 
civil-society institutions makes them ill-suited to press for civic and 
patriotic initiatives. Popular participation, so necessary for the
immense tasks of social renewal, trails off. And despite the efforts of 
the international community to support legitimate authority, the return 
to constitutional order in October, 1994 has produced a negative result 
that exacerbates the frustrations of this controversial period. The
hoped-for democratic institutionalization has not occurred. Arbitrary
rule and corruption continue to be felt. An authoritarian presidency
encroaches on all the institutions: the prime minister, the parliament, 
the judiciary including the court of appeals, the comptroller's office, 
the election commission, and the police. Power is exercised from behind 
the scenes in a master-puppet relationship drawn right out of the pages 
of Haitian history. The scheme is to prolong the institutional crisis so 
as to open the way to an autocratic power reigning over a debilitated
country, a receding economy, an exhausted society, and a nation-state
whose very existence is threatened. OPL calls on all Haitians to take
the course of renewal in the new century and to bear witness before
history. We appeal to the most aware and far-seeing elements in the
country to join this noble effort to build a country for all.

2. The compounded crisis

It is incumbent on all to change our old society into advanced one with 
a modern state, with reformed institutions and structures, and with
economic and social development. Such a transformation is necessary to 
put an end to the rule of injustice, poverty and blockages of all sorts 
which Haiti has known for so long.There is a historical and social
crisis of many dimensions, aggravated by: decline of the agrarian
economy as a result of concentration of property since the last century, 
anti-economic forms of tenure and labor, absence of infrastructure
(roads, irrigation), and archaic farming methods. The relations of
production, exchange and distribution constrict the circulation of
capital, impoverish the peasantry, and lead to falls in production. The 
system of commerce and the world economy discourage the formation of
capital, which makes easy profits from exporting and speculation and is 
little inclined toward productive investment. The political system
reflects the distortions and precariousness in the socioeconomic
structure and in the institutions and concentrates power in the hands of 
a class of politicians and military chiefs who appropriate the resources 
of the state. During the last two decades of difficult transition the
inefficiency of superficially technocratic public policies and the
effects of structural adjustment introduced new factors suppressing
local and foreign investment with disastrous results, among them the
decline in exports and the decline of our currency, the gourde. To this 
must be added the devastating effects of the international embargo in
effect from 1991 to 1994 against the military regime. The economic
problems were serious: the influx of investment, aid, and technical
assistance did not bring the expected growth. Weakness of the productive 
centers, lack of a modern agrarian economy, decline in exports, failure 
of local enterprise, absence of basic services; hunger, short lifespans, 
rise of the dollar, all reveal an ever more alarming situation. All
these evils contribute to an unprecedented social crisis, a degradation 
of the human condition and extreme misery. We lag further behind our
neighbors and the rest of the world. The systematic dismantling of the 
economy and the gradual deterioration in the functioning of the state
create multiple conflicts, spread of slums, polarization, and violence. 
Changing this situation will not come from a savior. It will come from 
the determination of the political, economic, and social forces of the 
nation to enter the era of modern development and social justice,
embarking on a national program supported by all, with stability and
cohesion. This will allow building a Haiti for all.



The depth and severity of the national crisis and the potential for
collective mobilization which it implies creates an urgency for common 
action to set the country on the course of light, progress, and justice. 
This is the challenge before us.

Haiti needs clear and uncorrupt leadership, a true team of leaders and 
activists to carry out this task of regeneration on all levels. A
capable, decisive, and honest leadership that can win the confidence of 
the women and men of this country, the small, medium and large
entrepreneurs, the intellectuals, and the professionals all engaged in 
building together a country for all.

It's only with a political leadership of this nature that the citizens, 
the political, social and economic actors can in all conscience make
themselves into a motive force that can overcome the weight of history, 
the present-day obstacles, the ignorance and the passivity. Only this
way can the Haitians direct the national energy at the same goal of
economic and social transformation.

1. OPL, a political force proven over time

L'Organisation du Peuple en Lutte (OPL), a proven political force, calls 
on all to join in this patriotic task.

Since its founding in 1991 it has sought to be a tool in the struggle of 
the Haitian people for substantial political, social, economic, and
cultural reforms. It united experienced activists and leaders of diverse 
backgrounds in the effort to create amidst the democratic and popular
movement a new and modern party that was not the vehicle of one person 
or clan but was at the service of all Haiti.

Consistent with these founding objectives OPL created an organization
with a collective, principled leadership. This initiative was approved 
from the very beginning by the local movements across the whole country. 
Our documents Batistè, Manifeste, Programme et statuts, our journal, 
Tambou Vérité, and our public positions reflect the thinking of all 
those whom we have invited to join our ranks.

This approach, new for our environment, along with our resistance during 
the three years of the military government, enabled our organization to 
spread to the nine departments and win a majority in parliament in 1995. 
We then sought to give the legislative institution its constitutional
meaning and to defend the autonomy of the legislative branch.

En cette phase de la transition, où la consolidation des institutions 
devait garantir le fonctionnement de l'État de droit, nos
parlementaires, en résistant aux manuvres de corruption, de séduction,
de manipulation et d'intimidation du pouvoir, se sont signalés par leur
sens de l'appartenance et leur volonté de défendre la démocratie. 

The discrepancy and the contradictions between the two tendencies came 
to the surface during the first congress of the OPL in January 1997. The 
congress, anticipating the inevitable split from Lavalas, decided to
change the name from Organisation Politique Lavalas to Organization of 
the People in Struggle.

The worsening of relations between the Aristide/Préval power and the 
parliament and prime minister became obvious as OPL questioned the
official elections of April 6, 1997 which made official the split
between the two different lines and programs. The elections demystified 
the power-holders and inaugurated a new basic stage of combat against
the undemocratic regime which reproduced the old traditional practices, 
the lying, incompetence, arbitrariness, favoritism, bluffing, violation 
of the constitution and of individual rights. OPL's divorce from the
Lavalas movement clearly meant the rejectin of such policies.

>From this experience we became convinced of the necessity of forging an 
instrument capable of realizing our reform program. We have shown the
ability and desire of our organization to fight the anti-democratic
regime. We have reiterated our decision to defend democracy and renew
the nation. We have invited all to take part in this work to work as a 
unit together with all the citizens determined to build a country truly 
for all.

Our vision of reality and the future to be built, our fidelity to
principle and our political action has made OPL a pole of attraction for 
all those determined to put Haiti on the route to progress.

(To be continued.)