PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) – It was unprecedented on Sunday November 18, on the anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres, for the President of the Republic and Prime Minister of Haiti to be absent from the ceremonies and the country. Instead, the Minister of Finance Marie-Carmelle Jean-Marie presided of the memorial celebration.
President Michel Martelly spent the occasion in Europe, attending the Ibero-American Summit that Haiti is not a member of. The president is on a nine day voyage that the Minister of Communications, Ady Jean Gardy, said was necessary to bring investment to the country but this idea is being challenged by critics who say high ranking government officials make frequent and expensive voyages that never bring any returns to Haiti, furthermore, it was reported that the Ibero-American Summit, held in Cadiz, Spain, was used more as a platform for Spain and Portugal to ask Latin American countries for assistance to overcome their deep financial crises.
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was in Florida, United States to attend a week-long symposium on entrepreneurship at his alma mater, St Thomas University.
President Michel Martelly issued a video discourse on the anniversary and First Lady Sophia Martelly attended the Battle of Vertières ceremony presided by the Minister of Finance but that did not satisfy the vast majority of the Haitian population.
Anti-government protests reigned the day throughout several citis in Haiti with citizens denouncing corruption, bad governance, insecurity, broken promises and of course the absence of the government officials during one of the most cherished days in Haitian history. Protesters said “down with Martelly” and called him the father of a thief and kidnapper, regarding rumors swirling that his son Olivier is a part of the high profile kidnapping network of Clifford Brandt Jr.
The Battle of Vertieres is the final battle in which the Black army defeated the armies of Napolean creating the first free nation in the Western Hemisphere. Many lives were lost in the revolutionary war that lasted two decades to bring real freedom. The Battle of Vertieres impacted the world, it was after this battle that Napolean Bonaparte released France’s hold on the Louisiana Territory allowing the United States to expand westward to the Pacific Ocean.