In early 2013, several
veteran and influential leaders from Haiti’s progressive and
popular organizations began meeting as the Dessalines
Coordination or KOD. Alarmed with the void in progressive
leadership to counter the right-wing march of President Michel
Martelly’s government, they began mapping out a game-plan for
Haiti’s anti-imperialist popular movement, which has
historically been the base of the Lavalas Family party (FL),
founded in 1996 by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Additional alarms went off when
the new FL leadership, which contains politicians who supported
the 1991 and 2004 coups against Aristide, expelled outspoken
Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, who has become the champion of the
Haitian masses in denouncing the illegal acts, corruption,
repression, and lies of the Martelly regime over the past almost
three years (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 7, No. 22,
On Sep. 29, 2013, KOD organized
in Port-au-Prince a “popular forum” of about 150 delegates from
scores of popular organizations from around Haiti to outline how
a provisional government could be formed (see Haïti Liberté,
Vol. 7, No. 12, 10/2/2013).
Finally, on Jan. 24, the
Martelly government, in concert with the U.S. Embassy and
Catholic Church, launched a supposed “national dialogue” to
negotiate how elections – over two years overdue – can be held.
All of the political parties attending the “dialogue” were
Martelly allies (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 7, No. 29,
Realizing that they needed a
party which would at least appear to represent Haiti’s other
political pole, the “dialogue” organizers made a special appeal
to the Lavalas Family, and, three days after the start of the
talks, the FL sent a leadership delegation to take part, albeit
KOD, on the other hand,
denounced the “national dialogue” as a “charade,” aimed at
“giving a second lease on life to a criminal regime which had
been completely discredited.”
On Feb. 3, 2014, Oxygène David,
a member of the KOD’s steering committee, held a press
conference at the International Lawyers Office (BAI) in
Port-au-Prince to announce that KOD was launching itself as a
political party “not only to take part in elections, but to
fight for the interests of the Haitian people with discipline
and principles.” He was flanked by other popular organization
leaders who are now a part of KOD, Samuel Saint-Jean, Belly J.
Ronald and Jean Dieufaite Thomas.
But before any elections can be
held, KOD sees two necessary conditions: that the Martelly
government step down and that the UN military occupation force,
MINUSTAH, be completely withdrawn.
Below is the complete text of
the Feb. 3 KOD declaration delivered by Oxygène David.
Brothers and Sisters,
The Dessalines Coordination (KOD) finds
itself forced to take an historic step today because Haiti finds
itself in an extremely dangerous predicament.
Since 1806, Haiti has had
problems. The imperialist countries with their local allies have
never let up in their persecution of the Haitian people. For
almost three years, Haiti has been ruled by a criminal clique
which took power through an electoral coup d’état orchestrated
by Washington. These criminals have trampled state institutions
to establish a neo-Duvalierist regime founded on corruption,
repression, arbitrary power, and subservience to imperialism.
The people are fed up with this
clique and began to rise up across Haiti in September, October,
and November. The people poured out in multiple massive
demonstrations which shook the foundations of the Macouto-bourgeois
state (1). [President Michel] Martelly panicked. The
They asked the Catholic Church
to come to their aid by sponsoring a bogus “national dialogue”
to appease the people and buttress the corrupt regime.
A number of unprincipled
political parties and politicians took part in this charade,
thereby giving a second lease on life to a criminal regime which
had been completely discredited. All the parties which are
taking part in this fake “national dialogue” are, objectively,
allies of the Macouto-bourgeoisie because as the saying goes:
“Those who are similar come together.”
For some time, militants from
several popular organizations, who have been meeting to analyze
the political situation, foresaw this terrible development that
has led us into this dangerous crossroads. For months now, we
have been observing this convergence of traitors taking shape.
We have to prepare ourselves for struggle. We have to establish
a true fighting organization through which we can struggle, a
true popular party, not only to take part in elections, but to
fight for the interests of the Haitian people with discipline
The Dessalines Coordination (KOD)
is a progressive Dessalinien organization for the national
liberation of the Haitian people. KOD declares that the Macouto-bourgeois
dialogue being held at the El Rancho Hotel will not do anything
for the nation. It is simply a new maneuver by the government of
President Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, along
with several opportunist mercenary political parties beholden to
the imperialists in complicity with the Catholic Church, to
throw sand in the people’s eyes and sink the masses even deeper
into exploitation and poverty.
KOD has come to speak to you,
Haitian people, above all our brothers and sisters who are
life-long unemployed; workers who are struggling for 500 gourdes
[$11.35 per day minimum wage]; peasants who get no fertilizer
nor financial assistance from the government, but instead are
robbed by officials; our students who are suffering around the
country who can’t find any support; and teachers’ unions which
are on strike today. KOD salutes all of you, KOD understands
your battles, KOD supports your demands, but we have to all
stand up together to solve the nation’s problems.
In this bogus dialogue, we hear
the participants say that they are defending Haiti’s interests,
the interests of all Haitians. These are lies and demagoguery.
KOD speaks the truth to you,
Haitian people! There are different classes in Haiti with
different interests. The interests of the bourgeoisie are not
the same as those of the workers. The interests of the big
landowners (grandon) are not the same as those of the landless
KOD is not bluffing. We are
defending a single class, the majority class, the working class,
that is peasants and workers, the class of people whom, since
1806, have been politically excluded in our society, who have
never received anything from all the wealth of our country.
That does not mean that KOD is
only made up of people who come from that class. KOD welcomes
anyone who stands with the people, whether they come from the
bourgeoisie, petit bourgeoisie, or the big landowning class.
Where you are born is not important. What is important is where
you stand politically, whose interests you defend.
The parties meeting with
Martelly and Lamothe won’t do anything to improve your life. On
the contrary, they don’t want Martelly and Lamothe to go so they
can continue to feed on the scraps dropped from the table of the
U.S., French, and Canadian Embassies and the United Nations, so
they can continue to find strength to fight against the people.
It is a bunch of parties
looking for a piece of the pie who have made a Macouto-bourgeois
deal at the expense of the people, in order to block the people
in their struggle for change in the country. These groups are
defiling Haiti by acting on behalf of the three imperialist
thieves – the U.S., France and Canada – who never want the
country to advance.
At this time, KOD has two key
1) Martelly and Lamothe must go so that the
people can establish a suitable provisional government. In the
popular forum we organized on Sep. 29, 2013, the proposition was
made for a council of state with 13 members to be drawn from all
social strata of the country.
2) MINUSTAH [the UN Mission to Stabilize
Haiti] must go. We cannot have free, honest, sovereign
elections, as in 1990, if Washington is there putting in and
taking out candidates, as they wish, doing as they like. The
colonists should not be deciding the political future of the
There are some groups which
criticize Martelly, but they don’t condemn MINUSTAH, they don’t
fight against the military occupation. There are others who
condemn MINUSTAH but they are not against Martelly; sometimes
they even defend the regime and call for it to complete its
KOD is not inconsistent like
that! KOD stands firm in its demands. That is what makes us
different from other so-called opponents of Martelly and Lamothe.
We don’t mix with the Macoutes, bourgeois, or imperialists. In
this sense, we present to you the people’s political party: the
Dessalines Coordination. KOD is the political party of the
KOD is a political tool which
is based on the ideals of Father Dessalines, who wanted the
nation’s poor to eat, drink, and sleep well, for the nation’s
wealth to be shared by all, for there to be agrarian reform, for
the speculators to stop stealing from the peasants, and above
all for foreigners not to control what happens in the country.
A small group of traitors
assassinated Father Dessalines in order to stop his political,
economic, and social program which aimed at improving the lot of
all Haitians. And they continue each day to kill Emperor
Dessalines when they keep a military and civilian occupation in
the country to weaken the Haitian people either with repression
or with disease. We, Dessalines’ children, who have Dessalines’
blood in our veins, we cannot forget the battle Dessalines waged
against the French occupation to get us out of slavery.
Look at how today, since 2004
when we celebrated our bicentennial, the colonists have returned
to recolonize us in complicity with some political parties and
The political parties
dialoguing at El Rancho are a bunch of traitors plotting at the
expense of the people. They want to get rid of us the same way
they assassinated Dessalines and Charlemagne Péralte (2). That
is why they never demand reparations for the victims of cholera.
Dessalines said: “Cut heads,
burn houses.” We say: “Use KOD to tie them up.” (3) The only
solution: “Use KOD to tie them up.”
Use KOD to tie up the thieves
in the state apparatus. Use KOD to tie up Martelly and Lamothe.
Use KOD to tie up the drug dealers who are in power. Use KOD to
defend ourselves, to tie up the Duvalierist Macoutes who have
raised their ugly head again in the country.
Walk everywhere with your KOD
to tie up the assassins, the sellers of the nation, the thieves
who have taken over the country.
The Dessalines Coordination is
a Dessalinien political party for Haiti’s liberation which
counts on you to carry forward the struggle. Our problems have
not yet been solved because we are not acting in concert. All
principled popular organizations which are anti-Macoute, anti-Martelly,
anti-imperialist, don’t walk without your KOD. Let’s put our
heads and hands together so that we walk together to rebuild our
The Dessalines Coordination is counting on
Use KOD to tie up Martelly and Lamothe!
Use KOD to tie up the Macoutes!
Use KOD to tie up MINUSTAH!
Use KOD to tie up the imperialists!
Never march without your KOD
For a truly new Haiti!
1) Macouto-bourgeois is a reference to a
merger between Haiti’s traditional bourgeoisie with the
ultra-reactionary big landowning class (grandons) whose armed
expression was the Tonton Macoutes, the paramilitary force
created by dictator François “Papa Doc” Duvalier (1957-1971).
While Duvalier’s Macoutes repressed sectors of the Haitian
bourgeoisie in the 1960s, during the regime of Jean-Claude “Baby
Doc” Duvalier (1971-1986), the big landowning sector
economically and politically merged with the bourgeoisie,
creating what progressive analysts often refer to as the “Macouto-bourgeoisie.”
2) Charlemagne Péralte was the leader of
the Cacos, the Haitian guerilla force which fought against the
U.S. Marine occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). Péralte, 33, was
assassinated on Nov. 1, 1919 by a U.S. Marine who snuck behind
3)The Kreyòl word kòd means rope. Using KOD as kòd
(rope) is a play on words.