Posts Tagged ‘MINUSTAH’

Haiti: Adieu MINUSTAH?

Samstag, Juni 1st, 2013

“Continental Conference to End MINUSTAH

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Delegates from around the world will converge on Port-au-Prince May 31 to take part in a two-day Continental Conference aimed at bringing an end to the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH, which marks its ninth anniversary on Jun. 1.

The military occupation force, which now comprises about 9,000 armed soldiers and police officers from some 50 countries and costs some $850 million per year, was deployed by the UN Security Council at the behest of permanent members U.S. and France in 2004 following the Feb. 29, 2004 coup dӎtat (which Washington and Paris fomented) against former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. At the time, the world public was told that the mission would be deployed for only six months, time enough to hold new elections. Instead, MINUSTAH is now entering its 10th year. Its latest one-year mandate ends Oct. 15, 2013.

The Continental Conference, spearheaded by a Brazilian political action committee called ‘To Defend Haiti Is To Defend Ourselves,’ will be attended by activists from the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, France, Spain, the United States, and other countries. Over 150 delegates from all corners of Haiti will also attend the conference, to be held at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince.

The Haitian organizing committee, composed of unions and popular organizations, is also organizing a public rally from 3 to 6 p.m. on May 31 in the Place Dessalines on the Champs de Mars in conjunction with the conference.

On Jun. 1, dozens of Haitians will testify before the Conference about MINUSTAH”s many alleged crimes, including thievery, rape, murder, and massacres.

From Apr. 15 to 24, outspoken Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles conducted a speaking tour in Brazil and Argentina to build support for the conference, where he will be a leading speaker. “It is an outrage that Brazil and Argentina are doing Washington”s dirty work in Haiti,” Moïse said at a large public meeting held at the Legislative Assembly in Sao Paolo on Apr. 18. “Brazilian and Argentinian troops are not helping Haiti. They are merely defending U.S. imperial interests.”

Brazilian soldiers make up MINUSTAH”s largest contingent, about 2,200 soldiers. There are about 600 Argentinian troops in the force.

During the 10 day trip to the two countries, Moïse met with governement officials, parliamentarians, unionists, students, popular organizations, and the general public, in meetings both large and small.

On Apr. 16, for example, Senator Moïse met with the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Deputies in Brasilia. Four deputies, Committee president Nelson Pellegrino and Fernando Ferro, both of the ruling Workers Party (PT), and Luiza Erundina and José Stédile, both of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), held a cordial meeting of over 90 minutes with the senator, who stressed, as he did at other meetings, that the Haitian Senate had unanimously voted a resolution in 2011 calling on MINUSTAH to completely withdraw from Haiti by October 2012. That resolution has been flagrantly ignored by the UN.

Then later that same day, Sen. Moïse met for almost two hours with students at the University of Brasilia, who asked him many questions. “Everybody knows that Brazil is heading up the UN military occupation in Haiti,” he said in response to one question. “But who is making the big money in Haiti? The Americans. Who is giving the orders? The Americans. This game of bluff has to stop.”

Senators, deputies, city councilmen, leaders from large union federations, and prominent activists from Brazil, Argentina, and around Latin America and Europe have pledged to attend the event.

In the build-up to the Continental Conference, meetings have been held in numerous countries. On May 17 in New York, a political and cultural fundraising rally was held at the Riverside Church featuring the renowned musical group Welfare Poets and several other artists. Other speakers included Dr. Fritz Fils-Aimé of the  Haitian American Veterans Association (HAVA), Dr. M. Alexendre Sacha Vington of Humanity Haiti, Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Council, Ralph Pointer, the husband of jailed human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart, and Kim Ives of Haïti Liberté.

“People around the world are standing with the Haitian people in their call for UN troops to get out of Haiti,” said Colia Clark, a veteran civil rights activist who worked alongside Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr., and who organized the May 17 event. “The upcoming Continental Conference in Port-au-Prince will be the first time people and organizations from around the world will sit down together to see how we can assist our Haitian brothers and sisters in their struggle to regain their sovereignty and send MINUSTAH packing.” ‘

 

(Quelle: HaitiAnalysis.)

Siehe auch:

Haiti Chérie – Das Geschäft mit der Hilfe (PDF)

Haiti: Ohne geht’s nicht?

Montag, Juli 2nd, 2012

“Don’t Recreate Haiti’s Army

By W. Alex Sanchez, June 29, 2012

Haitian soldiers

Haitian President Michel Martelly finds himself in an increasingly difficult position on the military question. In mid-May, several former army officers met with Martelly and urged him to uphold his presidential campaign promise that, if elected, he would reintroduce the army.

But this is one pledge the Haitian president should renege on. The Haitian military is notorious for its history of corruption, violence, and disrespect for human rights. If the army is reconstituted — which would be a worst-case scenario for Haiti — Washington should sharply restrict the security assistance it provides Port-au-Prince in the future.

A Brief History of Violence

Any analysis of the historical instability, corruption, and violence in Haiti must touch on the country’s infamous dictator, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who came to power in a 1956 military coup. The Duvalier family depended on the armed forces to remain in power for decades. “Baby Doc” Jean-Claude Duvalier, Francois’ son, became president in 1971 and ruled until 1986, when he fled the country amid protests and under U.S. pressure. A National Council of Government was formed, comprised of military officers, including General Henri Namphy and a number of civilians charged with facilitating the country’s return to democratic rule. 

Haiti’s subsequent experiment with democracy was short-lived. In 1988 General Namphy overthrew the elected president, Leslie Manigat, and installed a civilian government under military control. Government control continued to switch between civilian and military leadership. In 1991, Brigadier General Raoul Cedras overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been elected the previous year. The country then witnessed a period of unrivaled brutality and the dire consequences of military rule. After several years of violence by the ruling junta, the military was pressured to relinquish control in 1994 amid fears of a U.S. military invasion (though the United States was criticized at the time for offering military leaders bribes, or “golden parachutes,” to resign). Ultimately, the Clinton administration deployed up to 20,000 Marines to oversee the return of pseudo-democracy, whereby Aristide was again nominally in control but hardly in a position to lead.

Nevertheless, even after the army was disbanded, former soldiers continued to sow instability, as exemplified by the 2004 violence that toppled President Aristide during his second presidential term. In March of that year, rebel leader Guy Philippe told journalists that he was the new head of Haiti’s military: “I am the chief…the military chief.” A former police chief from 1995 to 2000, Philippe had links to drug trafficking in the country and was allegedly among the masterminds of an attempted uprising in December 2001.

Why an Army?

Calls for the reconstitution of Haiti’s military have escalated considerably since the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake. The 7.2-magnitude quake struck the island just as Haiti was beginning to establish some kind of internal stability after Aristide’s 2004 overthrow and to prepare for congressional elections. Thousands died in the earthquake. The natural disaster exhausted the capabilities of the Haitian government as well as the capabilities of the UN Mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH). The challenges they faced immediately after the quake included dealing with internal security issues like looting, assembling security units to provide aid to civilians and to protect sensitive areas, and apprehending the 5,000 prisoners that had escaped from the national penitentiary, as well as neutralizing gangs and stemming the tide of street crime.

Even before the quake, Haiti suffered from a number of internal security issues, like drug trafficking and rampant corruption within the Haitian police force. It is unclear how widespread the consumption of cocaine and other illegal drugs is in Haiti, but the island of Hispaniola certainly serves as a major transit point for drugs coming from South America to the United States or Europe. In June 2005, Haiti’s former national police commander, Rudy Therassan, pleaded guilty to offering to protect Colombian cocaine shipments in the country. He was sentenced to almost 15 years in prison. Similarly, in early May 2007, the police in Port-de-Paix arrested nine individuals suspected of involvement in illicit drug trafficking, seizing more than 200 kilograms of cocaine. 

The question remains: why should Haiti reinstitute a military force instead of investing in a better police force or a national constabulary? Countries like Panama and Costa Rica have achieved reasonable success in dealing with internal security issues despite their lack of militaries. Furthermore, considering the generally stable relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in recent years, where would an external security threat to Haiti originate? Interstate combat between the two countries remains highly implausible. In fact, after the earthquake struck, the Dominican Republic sent up to 150 troops to join MINUSTAH to help with rescue and relief operations. A February 2010 report in The Wall Street Journal noted that less than 48 hours after the earthquake struck, Dominican President Leonel Fernández met with then-Haitian President Rene Préval in the Haitian capital in a demonstration of solidarity.

To be fair, suggestions about reinstating the armed forces in Haiti have come not only from disgruntled former Haitian soldiers. Shortly after the 2010 earthquake struck, a former U.S. diplomat to Haiti, Ambassador William Jones, argued on CNN that disbanding the army “was a mistake because whenever you have a natural disaster such as this, the first thing we do is to call out the national guard. Well, there is no national guard in Haiti. There is no army. There is no force that can be deployed throughout Port-au-Prince to bring order. And without order it [will] be very, very difficult to coordinate the aid program.” Supporters of restoring the Haitian military also argue that it would help bolster the government’s internal control of the country, enforce the rule of law, provide security in the event of another disaster, and offer a source of employment and discipline to young Haitians.

The Need for Security 

Reinstituting the military would be no easy task. Besides the political issues, there are basic logistical and financial components that must be overcome, something that the Canadian International Development Agency learned a decade ago. At the time, the Canadians were trying to train Haitian security forces at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) facilities in Regina, Saskatchewan. Speaking about the initiative in the mid-1990s, Timothy Donais, a Wilfrid Laurier University professor who has studied police reform in Haiti, explained to the Canadian National Post that you cannot simply provide six months of basic training to police officers, send them out into the street, and expect them to be police officers in the vein of the RCMP. He observed, “It’s easy to teach people the technical skills. It’s much harder to change the culture of a police organization.”

Moreover, if a Haitian military is reconstituted, the nation’s youth will be expected to make up its rank and file, but filling senior officer positions presents a greater challenge. One option may be to reinstate former officers who served until 1995 when the military was disbanded, but this would be an extremely risky move considering the former military’s propensity for coups. 

In addition, Haiti remains a poor country, and unfortunately its economic situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. Hence, the government will have to focus its small budget on providing relief, reconstituting state services, and rebuilding infrastructure. A Haitian military — or a bigger police force, coast guard, or border patrol — could most likely come only from international aid, including the donation of equipment.

Haiti’s internal security issues and the possibility of future natural disasters make it a priority for the country to have well-trained and well-prepared security forces. But there is no logical reason to re-establish an army, as the training and weaponry soldiers require are simply not necessary for Haiti’s security needs. It would be much more advantageous for Haiti to devote its limited budget to improving the judiciary, the police, the coast guard, and special units, including border guards and prison security officials. There is reason to believe that the government is somewhat committed to this path. In late May, Reginald Delva, the secretary of state for public security and Mario Andresol, the director of the National Police, visited two specialized units of the National Police, CIMO and SWAT TEAM. The government officials promised new uniforms and vehicles, as well as the construction of new police stations, though it’s unclear when these promises can be fulfilled.

Armies are not trained for internal security, but rather for inter-state warfare. When they are deployed internally, human rights abuses usually occur. To patrol the streets of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, or Jeremie, Haiti does not need a soldier with a machine gun on every corner, but rather properly trained and equipped police that know the national laws, as well as a detective corps that can carry out investigative work. In addition, Haiti would greatly benefit from a larger coast guard to patrol the country’s territorial waters for drug traffickers and smugglers. 

In addition, these specialized security forces would have the advantage of providing employment to thousands of Haitians, which is particularly important in a country where high unemployment has exacerbated crime levels.

The key challenge to developing an effective security force is not one of training and equipment, but of creating a chain of command that has integrity and is loyal to elected rulers. The last thing Haiti needs is an unreliable security force that could sow future instability and undermine Haiti’s already fragile democratic society.

The U.S. Role

American personnel deployed after the earthquake have long left Haiti and returned to the United States. The question that remains is how MINUSTAH and the Haitian police will work together to keep the country under control in coming years. Ongoing protests near the UN mission after an outbreak of cholera (apparently caused by UN peacekeepers), along with accusations of rape by Uruguayan peacekeepers, have further aggravated popular discontent with MINUSTAH.

It is unclear how long MINUSTAH will remain in Haiti, and there are signs that some donor countries, particularly Brazil, are losing interest in this operation. If MINUSTAH leaves Haiti, it will be up to the government in Port-au-Prince and its security forces to monitor the country, both internally and externally. It is unlikely that Haiti’s police alone can deal with these issues in the near future, which may encourage the Haitian government to yield to the pressure of former soldiers to reconstitute the army. Whatever the country decides, Port-au-Prince will have to rely on international aid.

Haiti is an independent nation and its government can carry out whatever security initiatives it sees fit, free from the intervention of foreign powers. Nevertheless, if the army is reconstituted, Washington should set strict limits on the kind of assistance it is willing to offer Port-au-Prince. For example, instead of military advisors, Washington could offer police advisors or decommissioned cutters and other vessels to improve the capabilities of Haiti’s coast guard. It would then be up to the Haitian government whether to accept or refuse this aid.

The United States has a controversial and problematic history with Haiti. But by limiting the amount of military-related aid it is prepared to give Port-au-Prince for internal stability, Washington would go a long way toward helping avoid future tensions in the troubled Caribbean state.

W. Alejandro Sánchez is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus and a research fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs where he focuses on international security and geopolitical issues. His personal blog can be found by clicking here.” 

 

(Quelle: FPIF.)

Siehe auch:

No Prosecution for Haitian Rape Cases
Haiti’s “Gold Rush” Promises El Dorado – But for Whom?
Haiti’s Military Monster Makes a Creeping Comeback

Haiti: Gedächtnislücken bei UN?

Freitag, Dezember 16th, 2011

“Practice What You Preach

Haiti’s Cholera Victims’ Message to the UN

by FRAN QUIGLEY

RIVYE KANO, HAITI.

Gathered silently in the shade of a mango tree here, dozens of people patiently wait their turn to tell us about the horror that descended on their community a year ago. Shortly after drinking from the local water source, entire families started to get violently ill with diarrhea and vomiting. It was an outbreak of cholera, the vicious waterborne disease that can kill within hours.

Fathers and mothers and children were rushed over the rutted mountain roads to the local hospital, but many did not reach care in time. Saint Claire Vincent’s mother’s body was taken from the hospital in a bag to be thrown into a pit with other kolera victims. Maudena Zalys and her brother survived, but her father did not. “I can’t explain the feeling I got when they announced he had died,” she says.

The community’s leader had to send his regrets for this meeting. He was burying his father today, another victim of cholera, which has claimed over 6,000 Haitian lives and infected almost a half million more people, all in little more than a year.

The folks here at Rivye Kano and some 5,000 other Haitian cholera victims are represented by the partnership of Port-au-Prince-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, who have filed an extraordinary claim against an entity their own petition calls “a unique global leader”–the United Nations.

Overwhelming evidence, including studies by the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control, the Harvard Cholera Group, and an investigation commissioned by the U.N. itself, identifies the source of the cholera outbreak as Nepalese troops participating in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Haiti had not reported a single chase of cholera for over 50 years before the U.N. failed to screen the troops coming from Nepal, a country where cholera is endemic. The U.N. then allowed reckless disposal of the troops’ untreated waste into the Meille River, just a few kilometers from this Rivye Kano village and a tributary of Haiti’s largest river, the Artibonite. The claim asks in part for the U.N. to partner with the Haitian government to establish a much-needed country-wide safe water program.

“This case is important because it calls for the United Nations to uphold the principles they promote, especially the most basic human rights of life, health, and justice,” says Bureau des Avocats Internationaux’s directing attorney Mario Joseph. Joseph himself grew up in the rural Artibonite Valley here, drinking from an irrigation ditch that is now contaminated with cholera.

The U.N. is the world’s chief source of rhetoric about the rule of law, and knows well the importance of accountability in this country plagued by an ongoing history of impunity for the powerful. Will the United Nations, which says it is still investigating the claims, acknowledge its duty to remedy this latest disaster in a country whose people have already suffered so much?

Here in Rivye Kano, Ylianise Oscar, who watched helplessly as her mother died last winter, knows what she thinks the answer should be. “A mother is something special and precious; the most important thing in my life,” she says. “The UN should take responsibility for having brought the kolera into our community and our lives.”

Fran Quigley teaches and directs the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

 

(Quelle: Counterpunch.)

Haiti: Auf ein Neues…

Samstag, November 26th, 2011

“Haiti: Neue Regierung – neue Ära?

von Wooldy Edson Louidor*, Bogota

Samstag, den 26. November 2011

Präsident Martelly / Presidencia de laRepublica del Ecuador / Flickr(Quito, 26. Oktober 2011, alai).- Seitdem der haitianische Premierminister Garry Conille am vergangenen 18. Oktober sein Amt angetreten hat, spricht man auf Haiti von einer “neuen Ära“. Nach fünf langen Monaten der Amtseinsetzung als Präsident ist es Michel Martelly schließlich gelungen, eine Regierung zu bilden und von beiden Parlamentskammern die Zustimmung für den von ihm vorgeschlagenen Premier zu bekommen. Zuvor waren zwei für dieses Amt nominierte Kandidaten von der Legislative abgelehnt worden.

Angesichts der immensen humanitären, sozio-ökonomischen, politischen und internationalen Probleme, denen Haiti ausgeliefert ist, stellt sich die Frage: Was ist von der neuen Regierung unter Präsident Martelly und Ministerpräsident Conille zu erwarten?

Auf politischer Ebene

Clinton in Haiti / Februar 2010 / UN-Photo, FlickrVon Beruf Arzt, war Garry Conille früher für die Vereinten Nationen tätig sowie als Kabinettschef des früheren US-Präsidenten Bill Clinton, der zum UN-Sondergesandten des für Haiti und zum Mitvorsitzenden der Interimskommission für den Wiederaufbau Haitis CIRH (Commission intérimaire pour la reconstruction d’Haïti) ernannt wurde.

Aufgrund seiner “Nähe zur internationalen Gemeinschaft“ und der Rolle, die er in einer so fragwürdigen internationalen Struktur wie der CIRH spielt, wollten einige Abgeordnete Conille anfangs nicht ihre Zustimmung für das Amt des Regierungschefs erteilen. Die CIRH, so die Kritik, würde beim Wiederaufbau Haitis nicht die Interessen des verwüsteten Landes verteidigen, sondern die der Großmächte.

Nach intensiven Verhandlungen zwischen dem haitianischen Präsidenten und den im Parlament vertretenen politischen Kräften, erhielt schließlich der dritte von Michel Martelly vorgeschlagene Premierminister die erforderlichen Ja-Stimmen in beiden Parlamentskammern. Die Zustimmung überrascht immer noch viele AnalystInnen. Den Sieg des haitianischen Präsidenten erklären sie mit dessen Entschluss, eine Koalitionsregierung mit eben jenen politischen Kräften zu bilden.

Hat der Präsident nicht die Mehrheit im Parlament, fordert die geltende haitianische Verfassung den Dialog zwischen dem Präsidenten und den verschiedenen Kräften der Gesetzgebung, um so den Regierungschef zu ernennen. Nach zwei gescheiterten Versuchen, hatte der neue Präsident endlich seine Lektion gelernt. Nun aber stellt sich folgende Herausforderung: Wie funktioniert eine Koalitionsregierung, so dass die Interessen aller ihrer Mitglieder bei der Durchführung eines gemeinsamen Regierungsprogramms zum Zuge kommen?

Aufgrund einer nur schwach ausgeprägten Kultur des Dialogs und der Bündnispolitik innerhalb der politischen Klasse Haitis, schwanken die Meinungen zwischen Skepsis und der Hoffnung, die politischen Akteure würden ihre Mentalität ändern und sich schließlich an die Spielregeln der Demokratie halten.

Wechsel zur Opposition

Einige politische Parteien, die nicht in die neue Regierung aufgenommen wurden, haben bereits ihren Unmut darüber geäußert und kündigten gleichzeitig ihren möglichen Wechsel zur Opposition an. Tatsächlich bezeichnen sich einige Parteivorstände bereits als Oppositionsmitglieder. Ein Beispiel hierfür ist Sauveur Pierre Étienne, der erklärte „Wir sind eine verantwortungsvolle, demokratische und konstruktive Opposition“.

Diesen politischen Akteuren zu Folge, sei die neue Regierung eine Koalition zwischen der Partei INITE (politische Plattform des Ex-Präsidenten René Préval), der Lavalas (Partei des Ex-Präsidenten Jean-Bertrand Aristide) und des Duvalierismus (politische Bewegung des Ex-Diktators Jean-Claude Duvalier). Die Haltung der politischen Gruppen und Parteien könnte als Warnsignal für die neue Regierung gewertet werden.

Auf humanitärer und sozio-ökonomischer Ebene

Neben all diesen großen politischen Herausforderungen, denen sich die neue haitianische Regierung stellen muss, ist die humanitäre und sozio-ökonomische Lage des Landes nicht weniger kompliziert.

Die humanitäre Krise Haitis, die sich nach dem Erdbeben am 12. Januar 2010 noch verschlimmert hat, ist weit von einer Lösung entfernt. Die sich verschlimmernde Ernährungsunsicherheit, von der viereinhalb Millionen HaitianerInnen betroffen sind (fast die Hälfte der Bevölkerung), das Wiederausbrechen der Cholera, die mehr als 6.000 Opfer gefordert hat und die schwierige Situation von 550.560 Menschen ohne Obdach, die derzeit in 802 Notlagern untergebracht sind, diese von verschiedenen haitianischen und internationalen Behörden ermittelten Zahlen zeichnen ein verheerendes Bild.

Lage in den Notlagern verschlimmert sich

Valerie Amos, Untersekretärin für humanitäre Angelegenheiten der UNO, erklärte am vergangenen 29. September während eines zweitägigen Besuchs in Haiti, sie sei „beunruhigt“ über die Situation der Menschen, die ihr Zuhause verloren haben und nun in den Notlagern leben.

Obdachlosensiedlung im August 2011 /docu-cinema, flickr„Die Situation der in den Notlagern untergebrachten Erdbebenopfer verbessert sich nicht, sondern verschlimmert sich“, so Amos und verwies darauf, dass die UNO nur die Hälfte der 382 Millionen US-Dollar erhalten habe, die von der internationalen Organisation zur Durchführung humanitärer Programme in Haiti beantragt worden waren. Der Zugang zu Lebensmitteln, Trinkwasser, Hygiene und anderen fundamentalen Rechten stelle weiterhin ein ernstes Problem für die BewohnerInnen der Notunterkünfte dar, während gleichzeitig die Gewalt gegenüber Frauen in den Lagern weiter zunehme, so die Untersekretärin.

Die internationale Gemeinschaft gesteht ein, dass eben jene Vielschichtigkeit der Krise ¬‒ die Abwanderung aus urbanen Räumen, fehlender Wohnraum und Armut ‒ den Prozess erschwert, die von Wohnungsnot Betroffenen wieder aus den Lagern zu entlassen. Ebenso schwer gestaltet sich die Suche nach dauerhaften und würdigen Lösungen für die Betroffenen und die Gemeinden, in die sie zurückkehren. Die Herausforderung besteht nach Ansicht der internationalen Akteure nun darin, Haiti weiterhin auf der humanitären und der internationalen entwicklungspolitischen Agenda zu halten.

Auf internationaler Ebene

Ganz in diesem Sinne geht die neue Regierung davon aus, dass die CIRH sowohl eine Schlüsselrolle bei der Suche nach internationaler Hilfe spielen wird, als auch dabei, diese Hilfe wirksamer zu gestalten. Bei der Präsentation seines politischen Konzepts empfahl der neue Premierminister Garry Conille die Verlängerung des Mandat der CIRH, das am 21. Oktober abgelaufen war. Demnächst wird die neue Regierung vor dem Parlament einen Gesetzesentwurf für die Verlängerung des Mandats präsentieren müssen. Die Aufgabe jener bilateralen Struktur zwischen Haiti und der internationalen Gemeinschaft wird darin bestehen, den Wiederaufbau Haitis zu koordinieren.

Widerstand gegen UN-Intervention

Eine Gruppe von ParlamentarierInnen widersetzt sich der Erneuerung des Mandats der CIRH, das sie als „einen getarnten Eingriff der internationalen Gemeinschaft“ in die inneren Angelegenheiten des Landes bezeichnet. Die Intervention würde die haitianischen Institutionen aus ihrer Rolle verdrängen und sowohl die Teilhabe der Gesellschaft am Wiederaufbau unterminieren, wie auch die Funktion des Parlaments untergraben, als Kontrolle der Exekutive in diesem Prozess zu fungieren.

Auch verschiedene Gruppen der haitianischen Zivilgesellschaft haben bereits mehrfach ihre Ablehnung gegenüber der Erneuerung des Mandats der CIRH zum Ausdruck gebracht. Die CIRH bezeichnen sie als „ineffizient“ und „entgegen der Interessen des haitianischen Volkes“.

Kritik an multinationaler Stabilisierungsmission

MINUSTAH beim Straßenkampf / mediahacker, flickrEin weiterer Auslöser für Konflikte zwischen der neuen Regierung und des Parlaments ist der andauernde Einsatz der Stabilisierungsmission der Vereinten Nationen in Haiti MINUSTAH (Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti). Wenngleich der Sicherheitsrat der Vereinten Nationen vergangenen 14. Oktober das Mandat der MINUSTAH für ein Jahr verlängerte, ordnete er doch gleichzeitig den Abzug von 2.500 Soldaten und Polizisten der Einsatztruppe an.

Der haitianische Senat verlangt jedoch einstimmig den definitiven Abzug der multinationalen Streitkräfte, sobald diese im kommenden Jahr ihr Mandat beendet haben. Einig sind sich die SenatorInnen auch darüber, eine Entschädigung für die 6.200 Opfer der Cholera-Epidemie zu fordern, die durch den Militäreinsatz verursacht wurde. Ebenso sollten Hunderte Menschen, vor allem Jugendliche, entschädigt werden, die sexuellen Angriffen seitens der Blauhelme ausgesetzt waren.

In diesem Sinne schreibt sich der Senat einen langen Kampf auf die Fahne, der auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene von großen Teilen der Bevölkerung sowie sozialen Bewegungen vorangetrieben wird. Die StudentInnen- und ArbeiterInnenbewegungen, die Bewegung der haitianischen Bauern und Bäuerinnen u.a. haben in den letzten Monaten ihre Proteste gegen die Blauhelme verstärkt. Gleichzeitig adressierten Hunderte von Organisationen und Privatpersonen ein Schreiben an den Generalsekretär der UNO, in dem sie den sofortigen Abzug der Truppen aus Haiti forderten.

Wiederaufbau der Streitkräfte Haitis

Der Präsident Haitis stimmt mit der UNO darin überein, dass die Verlängerung des Mandats der MINUSTAH notwendig sei. Allerdings soll der militärisch-polizeiliche Einsatz verringert werden. Der Chilene Mariano Fernández, Sonderrepräsentant des Generalsekretärs der UNO für Haiti, erklärt dies damit, dass „die Situation in Haiti ruhig, aber weiterhin instabil ist“. Der haitianische Staatschef hält es allerdings für nötig, die Streitkräfte Haitis wieder aufzubauen. Diese hatte Präsident Aristide 1994 abgeschafft, nachdem er zuvor mit Hilfe der internationalen Gemeinschaft wieder an die Macht gelangt war.

Die neue Regierung hatte bereits vor dem 18. November die Veröffentlichung eines Präsidentenerlasses angekündigt, mit dem die Armee Haitis wiederhergestellt werden soll. Diese Ankündigung hat bei vielen ParlamentarierInnen und in weiten Teilen der Gesellschaft Anstoß erregt. Sie widersetzen sich der Rückkehr der Streitmächte, die sie als „Putschisten“ und „Menschenrechtsverbrecher“ bezeichnen. Der Senat verlangte denn auch von der Regierung, die Fragen von ParlamentarierInnen nach der Wiederherstellung der Streitkräfte zu antworten.

Das haitianische Volk kann nicht mehr länger warten

Viele sitzen immer noch buchstäblich auf der Straße, so wie hier im Februar 2010, unmittelbar nach dem Beben / UNO, FlickrDie Zukunft der neuen Regierung Martelly-Conille hängt zum großen Teil von deren Dialogfähigkeit ab. GesprächspartnerInnen sind die ungleichartigen politischen Kräfte aus denen sich die Koalitionsregierung zusammensetzt wie auch alle anderen Mächte: die Oppositionsgruppen, die sozialen Bewegungen und die Instanzen der Internationalen Gemeinschaft.

Die Probleme Haitis sind immens, und zwar auf allen Ebenen: sowohl politisch und humanitär wie auch sozio-ökonomisch und international. Die Herausforderungen für die neuen Regierung sind enorm. Sollte man tatsächlich von einer neuen Ära sprechen können, dann handelt es sich um die Ära der großen Entscheidungen. Und diese betreffen nicht nur die neue Regierung, sondern auch andere haitianische und internationale Akteure. Das haitianische Volk kann nicht mehr länger warten: Es ist an der Grenze der Geduld, des Leidens und alledem angelangt, was die Menschenwürde ertragen kann.

* Der Autor Woody Edson Louidor arbeitet für die Jesuitenflüchtlingsdienstes für Lateinamerika und die Karibik SJR-LAC (Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados-Latinoamérica y Caribe)”

 

(Quelle: poonal.)

Haiti: UN go home!

Donnerstag, November 24th, 2011

“Haitians to U.N.: Please Leave

Amid allegations of serious abuses, a growing number of Haitians want peacekeeping forces out of their country.

BY Rebecca Burns

Haitians demonstrate against the U.N. in Haiti on September 23, in Port-au-Prince. (Photo by Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images)

Haitians demonstrate against the U.N. in Haiti on September 23, in Port-au-Prince.
(Photo by Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images)

On October 14, the U.N. Security Council voted to renew the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), paving the way for the peacekeeping force’s eighth year of operations in the Caribbean nation. The unanimous decision was made with little discussion of allegations that peacekeepers in Haiti have committed serious abuses, including sexual assault, killing protestors and complicity in forced evictions. Amid widespread distrust of MINUSTAH, which is backed and financed in large part by the U.S. government, a growing number of Haitian and international organizations are calling for the withdrawal of the U.N. force and an end to the militarization of Haiti’s reconstruction.

While the Security Council also authorized a reduction in the force’s size from 13,000 troops and police to about 10,500, Beverly Keene of Jubilee South (a global network of anti-debt movements) told In These Times that the decision “does not respond in any way to the need to confront the reality of an occupying force.” Haiti is the only country in the world where a peacekeeping mission operates under a U.N. Chapter VII mandate—permitting it to use force—absent an active conflict or an enforceable peace agreement. Critics argue that MINUSTAH, which began in 2004 following the U.S.-backed overthrow of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, violates Haitian sovereignty.

Jubilee South is currently calling for the force’s withdrawal as part of its “Haiti No MINUSTAH” campaign, which has been endorsed by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Perez Esquivel, Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Betty Williams, as well as School of the Americas Watch and hundreds of organizations in the troop-contributing countries of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, among others.

In a recent survey of perspectives on MINUSTAH in Port-au-Prince, 65 percent of respondents wanted the force to leave immediately or within the next year. A large majority was also skeptical of the force’s accountability, a likely testament to incidents that have occurred since the mission’s arrival in 2004.

In 2005, MINUSTAH raids into the impoverished community of Cite Soleil led to the deaths of between 25 and 30 civilians, according to human rights observers on the ground (the U.N. disputes the number of dead and claims victims were gang members). In several incidents, peacekeepers’ use of tear gas, rubber bullets and firearms to break up anti-U.N. demonstrations led to the death and injury of protesters. The apparent rape of an 18-year-old man by Uruguayan peacekeepers—caught on video and circulated widely in September—sparked fresh outrage.

While this latest incident has become the subject of internal investigation, U.N. peacekeepers are typically granted broad immunity from criminal prosecution in the country where they operate. In Haiti, the issue of U.N. accountability is particularly contentious given evidence that the country’s cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 6,000 Haitians since October 2010, originated with U.N. peacekeepers who dumped sewage into the Artibonite river. Haitian organizations have called for reparations to victims and a redirection of MINUSTAH’s nearly $800 million annual budget toward funding for cholera prevention.

Responding to calls for withdrawal, MINUSTAH spokesperson Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg told In These Times that in order for Haiti to become a fully functioning democratic state, MINUSTAH needs to continue building the country’s institutions. But a recent report from the group Harvard HealthRoots charges that MINUSTAH failed in its mandate to support the democratic process when, despite being charged with monitoring the 2010 national elections, it raised no objections to the exclusion of the country’s most popular political party.

The United States was instrumental in backing and financing these elections. A series of diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal MINUSTAH’s role in advancing U.S. interests within Haiti and the region. MINUSTAH is described in a 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince as a way to develop “habits of security cooperation in the hemisphere that will serve our interests for years to come.” Keene explains that the “Haiti No MINUSTAH” campaign seeks to oppose Haiti “being used as a laboratory for new forms of intervention and control” in Latin America, noting that Brazilian soldiers returning from Haiti are already being used for pacification programs in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.

“The biggest forms of violence that people are experiencing in Haiti are structural,” argues Daniel Beeton, a policy analyst at the Center for Economic and Policy Research who recently returned from a human rights delegation to Haiti. “That’s how MINUSTAH could help—if instead of having an armed force, the U.N. were to take that money and invest it in ways to help Haiti recover.”


ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Rebecca Burns holds an M.A. from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, where her research focused on global land and housing rights. She currently serves as a research assistant for a project examining violence against humanitarian aid workers, and is an In These Times editorial intern.

More information about Rebecca Burns”

 

(Quelle: In These Times.)

Haiti: Weiter wie gehabt

Freitag, Mai 20th, 2011

“Haiti: Reparations and reconstruction

By Horace Campbell

The process that brought Michel ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly to Haiti’s ‘presidency was a farce that will 'force popular forces to distinguish between processes of democratisation and pseudo-elections without democratic participation’, writes Horace Campell, in an article on the people of Haiti’s two-hundred year struggle to reconstruct their society.

For two hundred years the peoples of Haiti have been struggling to reconstruct their society. Before the Haitian revolution of 1791-1804 could be consolidated, the French and other imperial powers worked to isolate the revolution for fear that the ideas of freedom would be contagious and spread. But they could not turn the tide of freedom. Failing to stem the idea that the African enslaved wanted freedom, the government and political leaders of France demanded reparations from Haiti, thus distorting the essence and meaning of reparative justice for 100 years. Despite this, the fears of the imperial west that the Haitian Revolution would inspire other slaves in Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States came to fruition. Haiti played its role of supporting freedom and independence throughout the region. Simon Bolivar and other revolutionaries from Latin America flocked to seek assistance from Haiti. Every act of freedom by Haiti scared the imperial powers; these powers slowly consolidated the ideas of capitalist exploitation and white supremacy so that these racist ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries began to take root in Europe and North America.

United States revolutionaries, such as Thomas Jefferson, who internalised chauvinistic ideas about European and male superiority opposed the reconstruction of Haiti and refused to recognise the independence of Haiti. It was only after the bloody US Civil War (1861-1865), when the enslaved in the United States won their freedom that the US government recognised Haiti. This diplomatic recognition was followed by the destruction of the capacity for the Haitians to reconstruct their society. Western bankers, financiers and merchants and Jim Crow architects worked with a small clique inside of Haiti to frustrate efforts for reconstruction. To guarantee that reconstruction did not take place the bankers, financiers and the militarists organised a military occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). This occupation by the US, supported by France and Canada, laid the foundations for brutal militarism to contain the spirit of the people of Haiti. In the book, ‘Haiti: The Breached Citadel’, author Patrick Bellgrade Smith brings to life the epic struggles of the Haitians to be independent and how the forms of peasant agriculture gave them social solidarity outside of the urban centres where the évolué aped France.

Genocide and genocidal violence from the government of the Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo, sent a message to Haitians that their lives were meaningless and that the place of Haitians in the Americas was to provide cheap labour for others. Yet, the Haitians struggled for dignity. It is the novelist Edwidge Danticat who has brought us this history in her book, ‘The Farming the Bones’, which is set in the Dominican Republic of the 1930s.

Militarism and genocidal violence was then reinforced by a crude form of chauvinism that manipulated the religious and spiritual values of the people. Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, who ruled Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971, perfected a form of brutal repression with thugs and death squads called the Militia of National Security Advisers. This militia was renamed the Tonton Macoutes by the Haitian people after a mythical Haitian bogeyman who kidnapped children and ate them. Armed with machetes and guns, the Tonton Macoutes rained terror on the Haitian people. Francois Duvalier expired and the external forces propped up his son, Baby Doc, until the people revolted in 1986. From 1915-1986, there was no possibility for reconstruction on Haiti, The people of Haiti revolted and brought a new movement to lay the basis for reconstruction.

The government of the United States organised not one, but two violent interventions to curtail possibilities of reconstruction by removing the first democratically elected president in Haiti, Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was placed at the front of a grassroots movement that gave itself the name ‘Fanmi Lavalas’. The Fanmi Lavalas movement was seeking to work through the inherited contradictions to lay a new foundation. This movement believed that the reconstruction of Haiti could only take place in the context of the reconstruction of the lives of the Haitian people based on the revolutionary history of Haiti. Together with other African descendants from across the world, the people of Haiti supported the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in September 2001, seeking to implant on the world a new spirit or reparations so that humanity could heal from the crimes against itself committed during the period of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and thereafter.

But this national and international effort was nipped in the bud.

A global ‘war on terror’ imposed a different agenda on the world while real terrorism against the peoples of Haiti was supported by the west. Thugs, death squads, drug runners and anti-social elements permeating Haiti were supported by France and the United States. Bertrand Aristide was removed in 2004 just at the moment when the world was being reminded of the 200th anniversary of the Haitian Revolution. The United Nations was brought in to give legitimacy to the erosion of the popular sovereignty of Haiti in the form of an allegedly peacekeeping force called, the United Nations Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Money launderers, Drug runners and gangsters flourished in this scheme of recolonisation. In this moment of external domination, the imperial forces had suborned the Organization of American States to support imperial occupation of Haiti. What was baffling was how governments in Brazil and Venezuela that presented themselves as progressives could be part of the OAS front for oppressing the Haitian peoples. Indeed the Wikileaks cables reveal the desire of the United States to keep Aristide out of Haiti and suppressing the Haitian people by pressuring Brazil, which led the MINUSTAH at the time. In 2005, Brazil led MINUSTAH in a deadly assault to suppress the coup and occupation of Cite Soleil, one of Haiti’s poorest communities.

On 12 January 2010 there was a massive earthquake in Haiti. Millions of people were displaced in the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas killing hundreds of thousands. Billions of dollars were pledged for reconstruction. For a brief moment, the popular and democratic forces in Haiti looked to the progressive world to intervene solidly so that all of the international attention on Haiti after the earthquake would support the democratic forces inside Haiti.

Again, reconstruction was opposed by the imperial forces in France and the United States. Cynically, the military and humanitarian occupation of MINUSTAH, by appointing former President William Jefferson Clinton as UN Special Envoy to Haiti to utilise Clinton’s networks that had been in support of the anti-social forces of the nineties. To add to the ruble and distress in the society, an outbreak of cholera served to intensify the pressures on the people of Haiti to keep them down. Progressive Haitians now looked to the Caribbean, Latin America and the new rising forces to become an antidote to humanitarian imperialism.

To block the energetic measures of the people of Haiti, the imperial forces of the US imposed a new president who was clearly enamored by the militarist traditions of the Duvalierists. The inauguration of Michel ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly as President of Haiti on 14 May 2011, was an affront to the peoples of Haiti and the world. The sham elections of 28 November 2010 that excluded the largest party in Haiti, Fanmi Lavalas, dictated that the people of Haiti would have to find new ways to organise for reconstruction. This reconstruction in Haiti will demand political changes in all parts of the Americas. The struggles for reparative justice is transnational and the lessons of imperial destruction in Haiti dictate that the progressive forces in all parts of the Americas will have to see how the struggles for peace, democracy and reparations are inseparable from the struggles in other parts of the Americas,

THE EARTHQUAKE OF JANUARY 12, 2010

When the massive earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, it was estimated that over the estimated 222,000 Haitians perished. Close to two million persons were displaced. Hundreds of thousands were homeless. In the midst of the rubble, the United States sent troops, ostensibly to prevent looting. Such was the mindset of international capitalists that in a moment when quarter of a million persons lost their lives, protection of property and material goods came before the lives of the peoples of Haiti.

International non-governmental organisations of all stripes descended on Haiti. Many of these international NGO’s demanded military protection from the people whom they were in Haiti to purportedly serve. Haiti presented a textbook case of disaster capitalism. Together with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, these NGOs created a new layer of oppressive governance to isolate the democratic aspirations of the people. International goodwill for the people of Haiti brought promises of support of all forms from all over the world. Bill Clinton and the neoliberal faction of US capitalism established themselves at the head of this wave of popular support for reconstruction. Where clear planning was needed, these forces continued to push the failed reform plans of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to create a layer of servile imperial allies inside Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians in the diaspora rallied to form international teams to rebuild the country.

Instead of international brigades going into Haiti to assist the rebuilding and working with the people, Bill Clinton was named Special Envoy to Haiti. Later, Paul Farmer, the renowned physician and anthropologist and founder of Partners in Health, was named Deputy Special Envoy. This ruse was to exploit the good image of Partners in Health, which provided medical services to the poor, in the service of imperial machinations.

Reconstruction after the earthquake required honest government, a solid partnership with those who wanted to see homes, schools, hospitals, public facilities, roads and other infrastructure rebuilt for the people. These were not forthcoming. In the absence of clear support for reconstruction in spite of billions of dollars pledged, there were some section of the people of Haiti and their allies who began to believe that the earthquake was not a natural disaster. Web surfers began to read blogs claiming that a ‘tectonic weapon’ had been unleashed to induce the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country. The US military Project called HAARP was named as the tectonic weapon. HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is a Pentagon operation in Alaska directed at the occasional reconfiguration of the properties of the Earth’s ionosphere to improve satellite communications. Many writers on this program associate this military capability with the ability to generate ‘violent and unexpected changes in climate.’

Whether such capabilities exist could only be clarified in a context of full disclosure of the role of the drilling of the oil companies in the Caribbean and the by-products of deep drilling below the ocean floor in the Caribbean. The full role of the US military and intelligence services in Haiti over the previous one hundred years ensured that the US military forces did not inspire confidence in the people of Haiti when the Obama administration deployed 13,000 marines in the aftermath of the earthquake.

RACISM AND MIND GAMES AGAINST HAITI

Whether the earthquake was a natural disaster or not, the conservative and racist forces invoked God against the people of Haiti. The racist media had a field day reproducing images of sloth, poverty and hopelessness in Haiti. The media repeated the formulation that Haiti was ‘the poorest country in the western hemisphere.’ Racists and imperialists sought to outdo each other in mobilising stereotypes of Haiti. Kidnappers and child traffickers used the disaster as cover for their trade. Pat Robertson claimed that the Haiti was God’s revenge because Haiti had made a pact with the evil. Robertson said on national TV in the United States that,

‘Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon the Third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, “We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.” True story. And so the devil said, “O.K., it's a deal.” ‘

Inside the United States and in the Caribbean fundamentalist and born again forces reproduced this tale so that even among some sections of the poor in Haiti, there was a view that the suffering was payback from divine forces. According to this rendition of the revolution in Haiti, the struggles against France and slavery were struggles against Christianity and civilization, because the enslaved were being Christianised by the French. The evil voodoo priests of Haiti had made a pact with the devil in order to in order to secure Satan's aid in expelling the French occupation.

The ranting of Pat Robertson was a new variation of the kind of racism that had developed in the West to oppose black dignity and self-assertiveness. Michael West in the book, ‘From Toussaint to Tupac’ captured the birth and support of the racist ideas of Count Gobineau in France and how these ideas became part of the international arsenal to hold back Haiti and black people.

‘If the Haitian Revolution could not be rolled back, it would certainly be contained. Having won the war, the Haitians would be denied the fruits of victory: they would be made to lose the peace. The cost of throwing off the shackles of colonialism, slavery and white supremacy would be very high, even crippling. European powers and white-run states variously isolated Haiti, embargoed its goods, demanded reparations, and barred from their shores its dangerous achievements and citizens … scientific racism as a mode of securing post abolition global racial hierarchies flourished, initially, and not accidentally, in post-Napoleonic France, most notably in the writings of Count Gobineau, “the father of racist ideology”.’

The crippling of the revolution and the attempt to systematically destroy the Haitian revolution by military occupation and by thugs and drug dealers ensured that the task of reconstructing Haiti would require new political forces, nationally, regionally and internationally. Such forces had begun to coalesce during the presidency of Bertrand Aristide and the international efforts to support the World Conference against Racism.

REPARATIONS AND RECONSTRUCTION

In the first years after the revolution in Haiti, the people were desperate to end diplomatic isolation. The history books tell us that the ‘French government sent a team of accountants and actuaries into Haiti in order to place a value on all lands, all physical, assets, the 500,000 citizens who were formerly enslaved, animals, and all other commercial properties and services. The sums amounted to 150 million gold francs. Haiti was told to pay this reparation to France in return for national recognition. The Haitian government agreed; payments began immediately. Members of the Cabinet were also valued because they had been enslaved persons before Independence.’

Numerous writers have been chronicling how France had worked to systematically destroy the Republic of Haiti. Professor Hilary Beckles, principal of the University of the West Indies, was among the many who added his voice to the exposure of France and the US in the destruction of Haiti. He argued that France had carried out a merciless exploitation, ‘that was designed and guaranteed to collapse the Haitian economy and society.’ Haiti was forced to pay the sum of 150 million francs until 1922 when the last installment was made.

France had used then international balance of power in the 19th century to turn the idea of reparations on its head.

At the end of the twentieth century, the international balance of forces were shifting and in this shift the anti-globalisation forces, the forces of peace, the environmental justice movement and the anti-racist movements had coalesced and came together under the framework of the World Conference Against Racism. Coming together in differing regions of the world over a ten-year period, this WCAR met in Durban South Africa in September 2001. It was in the general international mobilisation to name the slavery and slave trade as crimes against humanity where the peoples of Haiti called on the peoples of France to repay the forced reparative claims of French imperialists of the 19th century.

During the 2001 UN Conference on Race in Durban, South Africa, there were strong representations that reparations were due to the black peoples of the world emanating from the years of enslavement. Additionally, it was in agreed the Durban conference that the government of France had to repay the 150 million francs. ‘The value of this amount was estimated by financial actuaries as US$21 billion.’

Here was a firm basis for reparations and reconstruction.

Neither France nor the United States took these deliberations lightly. It was a historical coincidence that the attack on the US, 11 September 2011, took place two days after the end of the WCAR in Durban. Since that time the resolutions of the meeting were squashed as the world was diverted to the global war on terror. Inside Haiti, the forces of destruction unleashed terror against the peoples of Haiti. When the US invaded Iraq in March 2003, France and the US were at loggerheads. However, when it came to the destabilisation of Haiti, they were in agreement. The president, Aristide was removed from power and another form of occupation took place. Only this time, the French and the USA sought the cover of the United Nations with the installation of MINUSTAH. This devise of hiding behind the United Nations necessitated clarity on the part of the forces opposed to imperial domination. The Caribbean societies and the South Africans rejected the propaganda war against Haiti. Brazil and Venezuela gestured towards the progressive camp but allowed their troops to be caught to in the UN and NGO occupation.

Whatever the conditions of Haiti before the major event of January 2010, there was need for clarity; forces such as Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the Democratic National Committee, who served as director of the Office of Political Affairs for the Obama administration from January 2009 to 2011, and Paul Farmer, world-renowned doctor, had to emerge from the shadows to join the required fight back against the recolonisation and remilitarisation of Haiti.

SHAM ELECTIONS 2010 AND THE CHALLENGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL LEFT

International divisions over the future paths of Haiti simmered as disaster and rubble were reinforced by a massive cholera outbreak. The strain of this cholera was foreign to the Caribbean and instead of seriously investigating, the UN mobilised the international media to demonise the people of Haiti. It was in the midst of these multiple catastrophes that the US form of democracy without elections was imposed on the people of Haiti. The elections were held in November 2010 after the US disenfranchised the majority of Haitians by denying the participation of the Lavalas in the elections. Two candidates who between them received 11 per cent of the vote were nominated for the second round of the elections in March 2011.

The Clintons worked overtime to ensure that there was media support for this illegitimate process. Hilary Clinton, the US secretary of state left dealing with the smouldering revolution in Egypt to fly to Haiti to bully the government to accept a fraudulent process. President René Préval of Haiti was promised the same treatment of ouster like that which deposed Aristide if he did not accept the pressure to sanction the illegitimate procedure. In the midst of this farce of preparing for the runoff, the exiled Baby Doc Duvalier returned to Haiti. In a democratic society, Duvalier would have been arrested for the criminal actions and it was significant that there were no drumbeats for his arrest from the western media. Baby Doc is a criminal and pressures must be intensified so that he is brought to trial in Haiti.

Pressures on the people of Haiti did not deter them and they continued to organise. It was this grassroots organisation and pressure that enabled Bertrand Aristide to return. Reports coming out from the grassroots organisation in the country showed that the people were not cowed. Norman Girvan, professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, who attended and participated in one such meeting in Haiti, reported on the vibrancy of the grassroots social movements inside Haiti and their call for international solidarity. Girvan reported that approximately one hundred representatives of social organisations from throughout the country – including farmers, women, labour, students, human rights, and professionals – concluded three days of intense debate about the kind of Haiti they want to see, the obstacles they face, and the nature of the financing they need. According to Norman Girvan,

‘Among other conclusions, they agreed on an agenda for collective action that includes creating a permanent Assembly of Social Movements, campaigning for the non-renewal of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti – a veritable parallel government set up a year ago under the tutelage of the U.S., World Bank, IDB and other so-called “international donors”, and reinforcing a regional campaign for the withdrawal of the MINUSTAH military occupation.’
I am in support of the calls from within Haiti for a new path to reconstruction that begins with the people of Haiti.

The installation of Michel Martelly as president of Haiti on May 14 demanded that the left and progressive forces internationally organise to expose and oppose the forces of violence and destruction inside Haiti. The process that brought Martelly to the presidency was a sham, and this farce will force popular forces to distinguish between processes of democratisation and pseudo-elections without democratic participation.

The constellation of class and military forces fighting to oppose reparations and reconstruction in Haiti are the same constellation of forces that hid behind the view that Haiti is cursed. The majesty of the Haitian revolution continues to inspire new forces as we enter a new revolutionary moment. The events of the current revolutionary moment in world politics demand that Haitians and all those in solidarity with Haiti cannot give up on Haiti. I am in agreement with C.L.R James that the people of Haiti and the people of the Caribbean will move again and when they move they will shock the world.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Horace Campbell is professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University. He is the author of ‘Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in the USA’. See www.horacecampbell.net.
* Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at Pambazuka News.”

 

(Quelle: Pambazuka News.)