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Cynthia McKinney: More News from Mexico City Encuentro

from Cynthia McKinney

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Cynthia McKinneyThank you for the wonderful feedback on my reports from Mexico City and the Second Continental Workers’ Conference. As I mentioned, eight countries were represented and a united front now exists in Mexico against the NAFTA-inspired privatizations that will result in the theft of Mexico’s patrimony in natural resources. The Mexican Congress, due to adjourn on April 30, is all but shut down by the real opposition that they have in Mexico. Bush even looked impotent as he stood in New Orleans with Cardenas (el spurio), Mexico’s “President” who didn’t deliver. The PEMEX Privatization bill was supposed to have passed by now. Mexico’s Congress will adjourn without passing it. Score one for the people. When the people stand up, the people can win. But when we fail or fear to stand up, we are assured of losing.

In Mexico City, my dear friend, David Josué, stood up, and in so doing, won a victory for those of us who identify with the struggle of the Haitian people. David simply wrote and read a letter to Lula, who has agreed to occupy Haiti for what some speculate might be a chance to get a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations. David’s letter was so moving that the Brazilian delegation and the entire Encuentro had to respond. The letter was moving because it was true. And everyone in that room, so full of suffering as they were, knew that no suffering at the Encuentro was any greater than that of the Haitian people–to whom many in the Americas owe their cloak of freedom.

The letter was read at the Encuentro. And then, the letter was read directly to Lula by one of the Brazilian Parliament members who is a member of Lula’s Party. And now, Lula is planning a visit to Haiti. Sadly, according to Lula’s statement in the press, Lula’s visit has nothing to do with the murders and atrocities the Brazilians have committed while occupying Haiti, but instead, he is going there because of “Haitian poverty.” We have all seen the images of the Haitians desperate for food, but Lula was one of the first leaders to endorse ethanol–which displaces land used to grow food for land exploited for guzzling energy.

Even Fidel Castro castigated Lula publicly for that decision. Here’s what Castro said:“You now have the two things: safe supplies of fuel, raw food materials and manufactured food products. The end of cheap food has already been announced. I ask him, What do you think will do the dozens of countries with many hundreds of millions of inhabitants who have neither the one nor the other? . . . Meanwhile, we [Cubans] have been creating and we should keep on creating reserves of foods and fuel. . . . ” And finally, Castro describes as macabre the “idea of turning foodstuffs into fuels for leisure and luxury.”

Last month, Breitbart reported that Bill Clinton and other “high-profile financial players” are at the center of a brewing scandal in Brazil over the “‘degrading’ living conditions for 133 sugarcane workers employed by an ethanol company whose investors include former President Clinton.”

I hope Lula’s visit to Haiti will also focus on the conduct of his troops who are responsible for more death and mayhem than is described in David’s letter. I’d like to hear Lula forthrightly say something about the deaths caused by his soldiers and his decision to occupy Haiti as he intones his concern for Haiti’s poverty. I hope he’s concerned about both. Brazil, under Lula’s leadership, is supposed to be Haiti’s friend; Lula can personally keep it that way–or he can let the killings continue. The choice is his.

At any rate, here’s the letter in English and then the Parliamentary debate in Portuguese. The Encuentro passed a resolution to directly address the occupation of Haiti and the treatment of Haitians by the Brazilian-led UN forces.

The letter in English:

David Josue

Segundo Encuentro
Mexico City
April 5, 2008

I want to thank the organizers of this important Segundo Encuentro for providing me an opportunity to address this body and to put the issue of Brazilian conduct in Haiti on the table for discussion.

My comments are directed at President de Silva and I ask the delegates here from Brazil to please relay my concerns to the government in Brasilia.

President Lula da Silva:

Something untoward is going on with your soldiers in Haiti. Brazilian soldiers are conducting terrifying raids on residents of poor and defenseless communities throughout Haiti, leaving in their wake a trail of blood, tears, and death. The buck stops with you, President da Silva. You are their commander in chief.

What your soldiers are doing to the innocent people of Haiti is worse than what the armed forces of Haiti were accused of doing.

No one will attempt to mitigate the utmost importance of living in a state of law. No one objects to getting a proper warrant before the proper court seeks an arrest of the accused and brings him or her to justice. But a collective warrant that declares an entire community criminal is, in itself, criminal.

President Lula da Silva, what would you say to Fredi Romelus for his terrible loss? His one-year old son, Nelson Romelus. What was his crime? Why was he executed by your soldiers? His four year-old brother Stanley, who died of a high-powered gunshot wound to the head, what was his crime? Their mother, Sonia Romelus, who died while clutching her baby, Nelson, what was her crime?

Lelene Mertina, 24-years old, was six months pregnant when a bullet ripped through her abdomen, instantly killing her unborn fetus. What was she guilty of to deserve this? President da Silva, according to a U.N. after-action report, your soldiers spent seven hours shooting at an unarmed population. They expended over 22,000 rounds of ammunition, knowing they were striking unintended targets. This cannot possibly be the best that the Brazilian people have to offer. How can this happen when you are the President of Brazil?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. Will you and your Administration remain silent on these atrocities?

Portuguese Parliamentary Record:

Ferro brought David’s letter directly to Lula at the National Congress of Brazil.

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