The Struggle Continues

How Haitians today are mobilizing for justice

Street Demonstration in Haiti

Haitian protesters use incendiary demonstrations to attract national attention and have their voices heard.

Overlooking the Streets of Cap Haitien, Haiti

An overhead photograph depicting close living spaces and stacked housing in Cap Haitien, Haiti.

From the time of indemnity and reparations, Haiti's economy has suffered tremendously. As a result, many Haitians today continue to live in poverty, and they blame past and present events and leaderships from both sides of the Atlantic for doing little to end their squalor. However, this is not to say that attempts have not been made. As cited by Amy Wilentz from The Nation Magazine, in 2003 the former president of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide sent the French government a bill for $21 billion as an indemnity for the 1825 reparations. Although his request was denied, this resonated well with a Haitian people who felt that they and their ancestors had been ruined by the immediate debt that followed their victory against France.

"A country in lockdown"

A march performed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during the national lockdown, Peyi Lock.

Although Aristide was eventually removed from office by a foreign-sanctioned coup, many Haitians now take up his mantle and demonstrate against their historical poverty, the fixing of their democratic elections, and the new corruption in government. For a people whose ancestors once assimilated into French culture and brought with them the foundations of Haitian Creole and the famed practice of voodoo ("vodou" in French), they have tired of their nation's global inferiority and their general lowly situation. Thus, they now take to the streets to demand a change, all the while wondering if and when their voices will be heard.