Haiti marks 220th anniversary of political independence
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, (CMC) – Haiti on Monday marked the 220th anniversary of its political independence from France with the international community expressing support for the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country as it moves to restore peace and security.
In a congratulatory message, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) said Haitians should use the occasion to celebrate the resistance and courage of an entire people.
“The United Nations continues to stand with Haiti for a more stable and prosperous future. [The year] 2024 will be a pivotal year for the stability of Haiti. Let us work together to lay the foundations for a return to security allowing daily life in peace and leading to the restoration of democratic institutions,” BINHU said.
For its part, Canada expressed its continued support for Haiti, which it said “occupies an important place in the great family of the Francophonie of the Americas.
“The building of the centre of the Francophonie of the Americas (Quebec, Canada) will be illuminated in the colours of the Haitian flag throughout the month of January 2024. Other activities are planned to highlight the pride, resilience, and creativity of the Haitian people,” it added.
Nicaragua said that, under the sign of regional solidarity, it is “reaffirming the union between the two peoples. In the name of the people and the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of the Republic of Nicaragua, and on our own behalf, we join the Brotherly People of Haiti and their Government in commemorating the 220th anniversary of this independence.”
Haiti has been plunged into socio-economic chaos since the assassination of its 43rd president, Jovenel Moise, on July 7, 2021, with criminal gangs frequently using rape to terrorise and extort victims, demand money, and control food supplies.
In addition, the Opposition parties have been calling for fresh presidential and legislative elections, staging street protests in support of their demands.
The United Nations Security Council has approved a resolution allowing for a multinational force led by Kenya to restore peace and security in the country at the request of Port-au-Prince.
In a statement, the Haitian National Police Union (SPNH-17) said in 2023 more than 41 police officers had been killed, five disappeared, with 23 police stations looted, vandalised and controlled by thugs.
It said an estimated 2,000 police officers resigned, and cars and other police equipment burnt, and that more police officers had to separate from their families after the bandits attacked their houses.
The Consulate General of Haiti in New York said that the “flame of our pride as a people is constantly rekindled by the symbolism of January 1, 1804, a date which reminds us at all times that we dared to be free through the bravery and the price of the blood of our ancestors who, thanks to the union, were able to generate the force necessary to create a sovereign state”.
It said that 220 years have passed since then, but the urgency still remains to remain united in order to achieve our greatest ideals.
Former acting president of Haiti, Jocelerme Privert said: “This January 1st brings back the commemoration of the 220th anniversary of the Independence of our dear Haiti, this land that our ancestors bequeathed to us as a heritage at the cost of great sacrifices.
“I invite, on this occasion, all my compatriots to surpass themselves, to unity and to commit to the true transformation of Haiti into a democratic, stable, united, prosperous, and competitive country. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Independence Day and a better 2024.”