Student groups have always been a magnet for anyone hoping to bring about change – for better or for worse. They are one of the few – perhaps only – structured units that can be stirred up and focused.
August 26, 2013: Here we go again!
A great deal of money is being offered to student groups in Cite Soleir, Grande Ravine, Belaire, Carrefour Feuilles and other areas by certain elements of the business community, reminiscent of the Andy Apaid, GNB, Group 184 days when these effectively utilized the student movement as a weapon against Aristide in 2003-2004.
Now, the same concept will be utilized against the Martelly/Lamothe government, using the”Elections”…. “High Cost of Living,” the “Martelly Move Towards Dictatorship,” and “The School Crisis” as rallying cries.
Different areas will focus upon different problems with their efforts finally coalescing as one. For example Cite Soleir will create a big wave over ELECTIONS. This is the most focused area, as others remain ambivalent, because of Martelly’s popularity and their respect for what Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is doing for the Nation.
But, when you are desperately poor, money sometimes, most times overcomes patriotic thoughts.
Today’s challenges are the pressing reality. Tomorrow’s promises are a vague future.
In 2003-2004 the students gave up everything to support the drive to remove Aristide’s murderous, incompetent, corrupt regime. The students forsook everything, their education, their accommodation and, on occasion, their lives. They functioned without food, depending upon a few from the population who supplied places to sleep and some rice and beans.
They were Patriots, prostituted by a greedy business community, a community focused upon maintaining, or bettering their positions at the trough.
The students stepped in this because of promises for a better Haiti, a better chance for an education, a better life for the Haitian people. Unfortunately, the instant Aristide’s departure became a predicable certainty the promises were forgotten, and the students were left with nothing!
The students had to start from ZERO as the business community accelerated to new highs. Gerard Latortue filled the trough with cash and the businessmen gobbled it up.
No one analyzed the situation for what it was. The popular story sees Andy Apaid making a deal with the Devil – his close associate – Jean-Bertrand Aristide – in which he would put up $1,000,000 for the Aristide 2000 presidential campaign in return for a percentage interest in TELECO. Some say this was 25%, while others suggest 33%.
If the deal had been consummated, cynics believe Apaid would probably have remained an Aristide supporter.
Money talks, Integrity and Patriotism walk.
As is so often the case, Aristide immediately forgot the deal, once his game was won. And so we see the real motivation behind creation of Group 184 and the student movement against Aristide.
No matter: In the Aristide case there was real justification for any and all efforts to remove him. However, it was unfortunate that the leaders of Group 184 forgot all of their promises once their goals were reached.
The real elements behind Aristide’s removal could be found in Gonaives, in the Guy Philippe/Jodel Chamblain group that was never bigger than a few dozen, and the thousands of young students. When the balance shifted, firmly against Aristide, Group 184’s leaders no longer talked by phone – ever few minutes – with the leadership of these key elements, as they had in the days leading up to Aristide’s removal.
This is all about money.
The business community wants millions, billions if possible, while the students hope for pennies with which to feed themselves, and their families.
In spite of their desperate situation, today’s student groups are not keen on challenging Michel Martelly and Laurent Lamothe.
After all, these young people are Haiti’s future and they can see the Martelly/Lamothe team is their best hope for a stable and long-term future, in spite of a few errors along the way.
Martelly has heart and the young people see Laurent Lamothe as the coordinator of Martelly’s plan. A good team for Haiti’s short, medium and long-term survival.
The students see the cash offered, by certain businessmen, as a mirror of the past, a past in which earlier student bodies were used like Sacrificial Lambs, then discarded when the goal was reached.
I often quote the inscription found inside of King Tut’s tomb
when it was opened:
I have seen the past.
I know the future.
We hope that Haiti’s young people will remember the humility and insults Haiti’s business community has heaped upon them in the past, after using them to gain some goals of personal greed, then discarding them like a used condom..
The Martelly/Lamothe team is working for the betterment of Haiti, and its people, an action that does not necessarily favor the pocketbooks of certain businessmen. Martelly/Lamothe have made mistakes, and will make more. However, before throwing the baby out with the bath-water we must compare what has been done by the Martelly/Lamothe team with WHAT WASN’T DONE BY ARISTIDE AND PREVAL SINCE 1990.
It is time to think Nation, and work to attain a better future for our children and Haiti. It is time to derail those who make fortunes here, to be deposited offshore, on the backs of 9,000,000 Haitians.