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I recently attended the first Caribbean Peace Conference in Bridgetown, Barbados, Oct. 6-7, 2017. The theme of the Conference was “Resisting Nuclear and Environmental Disaster: Building Peace in the Caribbean.” Attendees included representatives from Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Venezuela and Barbados. The purpose of this conference was to consolidate a serious Caribbean Peace Movement equipped with a concrete agenda and guiding philosophy.
In 1969 I decided to join the Black Panther Party and commit myself to a lifetime of revolutionary struggle. In the early 1990s I became a supporter and advocate of Fanmi Lavalas. Lavalas means a cleansing flood that would wash away political corruption and Fanmi means family. I saw the similarities in practice of our Panther and Lavalas activists, whose dedication to the liberation of our peoples and provision of essential goods and services were paramount and well worth any risk to our lives.
Democracy has been sorely missing in Haiti ever since the 2004 coup d’état backed by the U.S., France and Canada, which ushered in a two-year reign of terror, followed by the unjust exclusion of Haiti’s largest and most popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas, from participating in any elections until August and October 2015.
The voice of Haiti’s popular movement at this critical period in the country’s history has never been clearer. For the past several months, since the discredited legislative and presidential elections of last August and October, mass, vibrant protests for the right to a free and fair vote and against foreign intervention have been a relentless force, in the face of heavily-armed and well-financed adversaries and mounting repression.
Hooded gangs attacked a large demonstration against election fraud today in the Haitian capital. Haitians, determined to thwart what they see as an ongoing “electoral coup d’état,” have been in the streets almost daily in their tens of thousands since the Oct. 25 first round presidential elections. There were huge demonstrations, punctuated by police firing into the crowd, wounding several, on Nov. 18. On Nov. 1, a big election protest in the Bel Air popular district, led by a Rara band, was attacked and two marchers shot dead; later that day a third protester was ambushed and killed on the way home.
Following Haiti’s controversial presidential and legislative elections held on Sunday, Oct. 25, alarm is growing about irregularities in the counting of the votes at voting centers and in the transportation of votes to the tabulation center. There is widespread mistrust of the process. Most international observers of the election and subsequent press reports have focused on the day of the election but not on the counting and tabulation of the votes.
Five years ago, after the catastrophic Haiti earthquake, the international community – a self-defined “Core Group” under the leadership of former President Bill Clinton – took over Haiti recovery and reconstruction and announced they would “build Haiti back better.” But this was a euphemism for land grabbing, privatization, occupation and imperial plunder. Black lives don’t matter in the United States, much less in Haiti.
Without Haiti’s help, there would not have been any independent country in Latin America. On January 1, 1816, when Simon Bolivar arrived in Haiti, downtrodden and desperate for help to fight the Spanish, the only two republics in the Western Hemisphere were the United States, where slave ownership was in force, and Haiti, which had fought for and earned its independence in what is still the only successful slave rebellion ever in the world.
If Haiti had friends in the U.S. Congress, they would ask the Obama administration to support human rights for the U.N. cholera victims and to put an end to the fictitious elections, ever since the United States started its direct occupation of Haiti by disenfranchising 10 million Haiti voters on Feb. 29, 2004.
The Feb. 29, 2004, kidnapping and coup d’état began a brutal ongoing U.S.-U.N. occupation that aimed to suppress Haiti’s people’s movement and roll back the hard-won democratic gains since the ouster of Baby Doc Duvalier in 1986. Soldiers from other nations, including Ecuador and Brazil, later joined this occupation army, named MINUSTAH, which currently numbers 9,357 uniformed personnel.
In what is clearly a continuation of the Feb. 29, 2004, U.S. instigated coup d’etat against Haiti, former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been called before Martelly’s handpicked government prosecutor Lucmane Delile in what is widely believed to be an attempt by Martelly, the U.S. and France to wage a campaign of political persecution against Aristide, Fanmi Lavalas, and the democratic process and progress in Haiti.
Haitian President Michel Martelly has managed to inspire popular opposition to his regime almost since his election in May 2011. Martelly, who came to office in a grossly unrepresentative process which excluded Lavalas, the country’s most popular party, has been closely linked with figures around former dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
More than 70 percent of Haitians responding to a recent poll said they wanted MINUSTAH to leave within a year. The U.N. can use the money currently wasted on this military force to rid the country of cholera. Then, at least, they will have cleaned up one of their biggest crimes in the country.
During the week of July 15, 2012, Haitian officials ordered a group of residents of La Visite Park to evacuate the area. On Monday, July 23, around noon, 36 commandos arrived in La Visite Park to evict 142 families, who fought back with stones in a battle that lasted four hours. Dozens were injured. Initial reports noted that four children were shot dead along with eight adults.
by Dady Chery, Haiti Chery For several weeks, armed groups of young Black men, presumably Haitian and too young to be veterans of the Haitian...
Portraying community and political activists as violent gang leaders and violent criminals was employed in the run-up to Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s ouster in 2004 and gained momentum in the years afterwards. The continued demonization of militants and activists is exemplified in the defamation campaign against grassroots activist Samba Boukman.
The 1987 Constitution has not only thwarted a return to a dictatorship, but also prevented foreign concerns from buying the country wholesale from officials of the executive branch. One of the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution stated: “From now on, until the municipal elections of 2013, all Haiti’s mayors will be replaced by ‘Municipal Agents’ designated by the central government.”
The “peacekeepers” are the fastest-growing branch of the U.N., with a budget of U.S. $8 billion and over 110,000 troops serving 15 operations. Ten percent of this budget is spent on Haiti – a small country that is not at war – to train foreign troops for future warfare against their own civilians.
It took nearly a year since the start of Haiti’s cholera epidemic for scientists to get conclusive proof that the cholera bacteria in Haiti are identical to bacteria in Nepal. The only reason it took so long to discover that Haiti’s cholera came from Nepal is because scientists had until now not bothered to compare the cholera from Haiti to cholera from Nepal.
As one of his first measures in office, Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim plans to conclude Brazil’s participation in the notorious United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Various sectors of the Brazilian government, including Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agree with Mr. Amorim, who says that the important thing now is to formulate an exit strategy. This story has now been translated into French and Spanish; the translations follow the English version.
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