Global unions decry breakdown of democracy in Haiti


“There is a breakdown of democracy in Haiti.”

This was how the Council of Global Unions (CGU) described the deteriorating political situation in Haiti. 

In a statement, different global unions called on the international community to immediately withdraw any support and assistance to Jovenel Moïse to prevent him from approving a new constitution and holding undemocratic elections in a bid to extend his rule. 

Moise, whose term as the country’s president expired last February, refused to step down from power. As a response, hundreds of thousands of Haitians, including trade unionists, took to the streets to demand his departure. 

The CGU said that Moïse has resorted to violence to suppress any dissent against his rule. 

“He has been using criminal gangs and the police forces to carry out executions of political opponents and activists, crack down on protests, murder journalists and raid on the homes of opposition members, especially at night. Trade unionists are faced with systemic repression, with a wave of dismissals, arbitrary arrests and death threats targeting the few sectors where workers have been able to organise unions such as in education, the public sector and in export processing zones,” CGU said.  

Dolce Ricot Pales, member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of Construction Workers (FENATCO), a BWI-affiliated organization in Haiti, compared Moise’s rule to the Duvalier dictatorship. “Nothing has changed in the country since dictator Duvalier’s period, in terms of political violence and terror unleashed against organized workers. The situation has even worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis.”

BWI Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean Nilton Freitas expressed his support to trade union affiliates that joined the massive protests to remove Moise from power. 

“BWI is closely monitoring the situation in Haiti. We are in full solidarity with our trade union affiliates and the Haitian people in their efforts to defend democracy and the rule of law, as well as human and trade union rights. We will rally the international community to frustrate the rise of a dictatorial regime in Haiti,” Freitas said.