July 5th in NYC: Leaders of Haiti Movement and Guadelope Movement

The Brecht Forum is hosting Elie Domota and Fignole Saint-Cyr on Sunday July 5, 2009 from 2:00pm-6:00pm. The Brecht Forum is at: 451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets) New York, NY 10014. Please alert everyone to come and bring guests.

A message from our colleague Colia Clark:

The crisis in Haiti and the war on the leaders of the successful Guadeloupe strike against France is far too urgent for us to treated lightly . We, who are part of Left movements and progressive forces must join in solidarity and full support of these movements of African people right next door in the Caribbean Islands. They are fighting American, French and Canadian and other forms of European imperialism with every breath of energy and they need our help now! Please come.

Colia L. Clark

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Brother Fignolé Saint Cyr, and the union federation that he heads, the Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers (CATH), have spearheaded over the past year a series of broad-based initiatives to demand an end to UN occupation of Haiti.

The CATH was one of the initiators of the Open Letter to Barack Obama, which sent last September by dozens of union and grassroots organizations in Haiti. The CATH was also a co-convener of an international conference, in December 2008, held under the banner, “To Defend Haiti Is to Defend Ourselves!”

You will find below a report on this conference by Sister Colia Clark, as well as the final Conference Declaration, a report in the Brazilian press, and the contribution to the conference by Dr. Ahati N.N. Toure, Assistant Professor of Africana History and Black Studies at Delaware State University in the United States.

You will also find below an interview published with Fignolé Saint Cyr, in French, on the website of the UGTG trade union federation in Guadeloupe, and a text in Spanish.

Brother Fignolé is preparing a specific dossier on the history and struggle of the CATH in Haiti. We will receive it in the next few days and will translate it into English for the tour organizers.

In solidarity,

Alan Benjamin



Pan African Voices for Freedom and Justice

Pambazuka News (News from the Diaspora)

September 2008

Haiti: Open Letter to Barack Obama – pre-election

From Unions, Political and Grassroots Organizations in Haiti

Dear Mr. Obama,

We — citizens of Haiti, political militants and unionists of the grassroots movement for democracy in our country — solemnly address ourselves to you on the eve of the election that will most likely make you the next president of the United States.

The millions of workers and youth, and great majority of Blacks, in voting for you will express their demand for a change from the policies pursued over the past many years that have plunged millions of workers into misery and increased social differences — including those of race — making the United States appear to be an enemy of all peoples of the world.

In Haiti today, these policies are having the following results: 60% unemployment rate of the active population; 80% of the population lives below the poverty level; life expectancy has fallen below 50 years; and, the infant mortality rate is 80 per 1000, while on the neighboring island of Cuba it is only 7 per 1000.

Our people, in addition to facing low salaries, privatizations, quasi-absence of public services, jobs cuts, etc., must also see the meager resources of their country pillaged by the IMF and World Bank. These organizations demand the payment of the external debt, a debt incurred by Duvalier and other dictators: the Haitian state will pay US$58.2 million in 2008 and $50 million in 2009 — that is, $1 million a week that disappears in smoke while people are dying of hunger.

Our country is living through an extraordinary catastrophe. According to official reports, Haiti is the poorest country of the continent. In fact, however, it is not true that our country is poor; it has been impoverished by the policies followed for the past many decades by the various governments acting against the interests of the nation.

Our country has been even further humiliated by another military invasion over the past four years. Last April these soldiers, which the UN says are sent in peace, opened fire on people protesting the brutal increase in the prices of products for basic needs, leaving six dead and 190 wounded.

On top of all this, we must add the consequences of four hurricanes that have plunged the country into a state of misery and unimaginable destitution — while the MINUSTAH troops occupying our country and controlling the wheels of the administration and police say that they are not there for humanitarian purposes.

Any Haitian citizen can answer that the result of four years of MINUSTAH occupation is a considerable retreat in terms of national sovereignty, most notably from the point of view of reconstruction of the State institutions that would allow Haitians to live a secure life with the possibility of a future.

Not long ago Président Préval accused the U.S. occupation of 1915-1935 and colonialism itself of being responsible for the situation in Haiti.

Dear Mr. Obama,

We are Haitians. Our country is part of the Great Antilles of the Caribbean. It was the first country to liberate itself from slavery and to have proclaimed itself, on January 1, 1804, to be the first Black Republic.

You understand that we cannot be indifferent to the fact that a Black man might become president of the United States. We have had a large Haitian community in the United States since 1960, and we estimate that there are now more than 1 million Haitian immigrants in the United States, constituting a social, economic and electoral force. Many of them, like thousands of young people and workers, in voting for you will be expressing their desire for the policy change vis-à-vis our country that you announced in your electoral campaign. Still to this day the cases of violence perpetrated by the MINUSTAH troops are known, public and indexed, and on October 14 the UN Security Council renewed the MINUSTAH’s mandate.

Dear Mr. Obama,

In the coming weeks, you will most likely take over the reins of the State. You have just declared that the policies of the U.S. government must change towards Haiti. The U.S. government sits as a permanent member of the Security Council, with the right of veto. You therefore have the enormous responsibility of having the power to modify the policies of the previous administrations.

The Haitian people, strong in their traditions and in their struggle for sovereignty, are steadfast supporters of the establishment of relationships based on equality and of cooperation between nations. Relationships based on submission can only lead to more conflicts and wars.

We — the undersigned citizens and militants, all of us supporters of democracy, the sovereignty of nations, and the establishment of a world without oppression or exploitation where peoples and nations can cooperate in peace and equality — are paying close attention to the changes under way in the United States.

With this letter we inform you that on December 12 and 13 we are organizing in our country, in Port-au-Prince, a conference of militants and citizens of our country to discuss together the ways and means for us to recover the sovereignty of our country — which is incompatible, in our eyes, with the maintenance of MINUSTAH troops.

We are launching a veritable emergency appeal to re-establish cooperation between peoples.

We thank you, Mr. Obama, for the attention you will give to this issue.

October 31, 2008

The following Haitian organizations have endorsed this Open Letter to Barack Obama (names and acronyms listed in French original):

CATH : Centrale autonome des travailleurs haïtiens, Louis Fignolé St Cyr, Secrétaire Général
POS : Parti ouvrier socialiste haïtien, Marc Antoine Poinson, Secrétaire à l’organisation des départements
FESTREDH : Fédération syndicale de l’électricité d’Haïti, Dukens Raphaél, Porte parole
KORTA : Fednel Monchery, Coordinateur Général
GIEL : Groupe d’Initiative des enseignants de lycées, Léonel Pierre, Secrétaire Général
ADFEMTRAH : Section des femmes de la CATH, Julie Génélus, Secrétaire Générale
GRAHLIB : Grand rassemblement pour une Haïti libre et démocratique, Ludy Lapointe Coordonateur Général
FOS : Fédération des ouvriers syndiqués, Raymond Dalvius, Responsable des relations publiques
GRAMA : Groupe de réflexion en action pour une meilleure alternative, Coordinateur général, Joseph Varnel

KONOSPOL : Kolektif oganizasyon sosyopolitik , Lukem Royel
CONAFTAV : Coalition nationale des femmes travailleuses, D. Benoit
KJKFF : Konbit Jen K. fou fey, Jonh Laurenvil
Zafé Fanm : Darline Sensuel
KOSEFANM : Elisabeth Augustin
KOPDA : Konbit peyizan pou developman, Ansajo Réginal Legerme
FANM GRAMA : Caroline Gaspard
AJAM/A : Association des jeunes avancés de Marmelade, Fénélus Sinel, Trésorier général
CONAREM : Coordination nationale citoyenne pour la revendication de masse, Jean Lesly Préval, Secrétaire à l’organisation
ANAMMAPME : Jean Oscalhome Florvil

MPPG : Jean Phalière Rezil



(February 5, 2009)

Haiti: A Long Dry White Season


As my plane lands in Port Au Prince, the power of the mountains lying gray along the run way grab and hold my eyes. The solemn spirit of this huge gray mass stretched out on its back face to the heavens. I could not make out much else. Just settled in staring out as the plane made its way into the airport. Professor Ahati Toure, my long term friend from Delaware State University, and I had a wonderful chat about our expectations as we traveled fro Miami.

I don’t know what was moving in his head but mine was swelled over with Dutty Boukman and Henri Christophe. They made their mark in my intellectual development when I was a young child. These were never real developed characters just a few images of men who stood up against white world wide racism.

Haiti was more special than others because it cut across nation building, heroes and legends and culture in a way in which no other major struggle against colonial imperialism and slavery managed to. Haiti gave me L in my very early years of Colored School in Mississippi.

When I entered Colored high school came my favorite man from this enchanted Island, s. He reminded me of my mother’s father who was always willing to throw down if the issue was morally and ethically correct, no matter the cost. For Lonnie Robinson, there was no price too high to pay in defense of righteousness just needed to make sure to be strategic in handling your business.

It was my early years in college that Bookman appeared. A man with special powerful message that demanded to be heard and actualized. Religious given life, taking on flesh with breath and walking a people in to a new freedom. These three giants w alked from the plane side by side with Ahati and I into a rather uncertain atmosphere for a moment of challenge in now re-occupied. Haiti neo-colonized. Some where here MIN, the United Nations occupying force awaited our arrival.

We are picked up at the airport by members of the Caribbean Workers and Peoples Alliance (ATPC) and the Democratic Association of Women Workers of Haiti (ADFEMTRAH) and taken a long ride into the downtown Port Au Prince. As we move along the narrow road en route what caught my eyes landing at the airport becomes clearer.

The mountain is ringed with what from a distance appears to be small houses in white circling around the broad terrain like small drops of candy on a layer cake. Here and there a house or part of a house or small building appears to be hanging over the side above the next layer of houses.

I am aware of the oldness in the frame of the picture. So, the hurricanes have wrecked a part of a spectacular picture, a mountain ringed in small framed houses, a giant wonderland cake surrounded by scare supply of trees- dashes of green here and there. One can imagine the effects of this picturesque tower with an abundance of forestry. Human imagination and engineering is what makes life worth living.

Haiti has a phenomenal mind at work in the arts of designing layer cakes. The car passes strings of folk walking along the road side in colorful garments, plain garments some with a child in hand, others carrying items for sell, traveling in ones twos or more. I try to keep from looking as the cars move around each other swiftly dashing along.

“Please don’t hit any body or smash into another vehicle”, the prayer is singing in my head as each car comes closer. Riding from one place to the next would be a nightmare for the full time in Haiti. I can only imagine the accident rate. Walking along these small narrow roads many of which were built by the USA during the 19 year illegal occupation of Haiti between 1915 and 1934. It does not appear to have been much road construction since that period.

Ahati is able to speak fairly well with his fragments of French. I am lost and angry with myself for being unable to speak the language. So much is lost without a knowing tongue to wag. My ears are stretched searching for meaning in the verbal text.

Western imperial colonizers have a powerful war tool in place, in multiple colonizer languages forming a frontier between Africans from the continent many from the same family or tribal groupings. This language barrier also blocks partnership and alliance building between Africans and Indigenous groups and other oppressed folk.

We must assault this great barrier by learning the languages of the West: Creole, Gullar, Indigenous and all others. We must take the time to make sure that each child and grand child is armed with language skills. Schools, churches and community programs dedicated to language development are critical and urgent business for community development. “Pull down the language barrier and speed across to take control of Our destiny”, must become the battle cry of all freedom loving Peoples.

We arrive in downtown Port Au Prince where the state house sits in Louverture square surrounded by a park cluttered with beautiful lively Haitians chatting, strolling all over. Its the middle of the day. “Why aren’t most of these adults at work?”, I dare ask myself knowing the answer. We drive around these small winding streets coming at last to an auto shop where our main representative is waiting. a rather short man with smart eyes greets us in English. He will take us to our hotel in an adjacent province where the conference is housed.

We take off again headed to our hotel moving swiftly down these narrow winding streets each seeming to run into or across the other my heart fastens itself to my chest head in prayer. After about thirty minutes we arrive at our hotel sitting in a barricaded enclave.

This resort setting with casino seemed odd a direct contrast to the impoverished area we have traveled through with old buildings many needing renovation, school houses needing renovation, some buildings have been severely damaged by the hurricanes which ripped across the Island. The damage of the hurricane spared this and one and another hotel on the Island we are informed.

The Third Caribbean Workers Conference: To Defend Haiti Is to Defend Ourselves (December 12-13, 2008) takes place in a large well furnished and lit room. All of the participants are cheerful and filled with excitement for the occasion. I notice that there are about 120 or more local folk crowding into this room which probably, my estimate, holds 200 persons at the most.

The participants are young men and women. All chatting in Creole which continues to bounce off my ear as I try to make meaning of individual discussions. Its really no good to be a fly on the wall when you have no idea what is being transferred form individual to individual and group.

The Brazilian delegates, as well as the delegates from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, San Salvador, Ecuador come with warm hugs and kisses for Ahati and me. We are the only two Americans present. We are made to feel comfortable. We are provided a tall handsome young Haitian translator who begins immediately helping us to understand as fully as possible what is being transferred in language. It was the moment that Ahati and I had hoped for and a big load was lifted from my head. A blast of light in a very dark place.

The Brazilian delegates lead us outside where we are updated on the work they have already completed here in Haiti prior to our arrival. They arrived two days earlier meeting with the UN and local officials in an effort to gather as much useful information as possible on conditions in Haiti, the state of the occupancy and the plight of local trade union movement.

Brazilians reported that in their discussion with the head of the UN MINUSTAH forces, a Brazilian general, they were informed that Haiti did not have a security issue. According to the Brazilian, the general stated that Haiti’s real problem is “finance”.

If Haiti does not have a security issue, why does the United nations have a security force in Brazil since 2004? There is no reason for MINUSTAH to be in Haiti. The incidences of murder, rape and violence said to be perpetuated by MINUSTAH could be prevented and the People of Haiti given their human right to control and police themselves. Why not provide the more than $500 millions spent to keep this force of occupiers in Haiti should be given to the starving people of Haiti for food, medicine, roads and bridges, job development, construction and schools.

The UN must have transparency. The world needs to know the doings of all UN agencies in Haiti; especially a standing army composed of 7000 troops and 2000 administrators and others. Eyebrows are being raised as to who owns the UN. Has the UN become a tool for policing and controlling the exploits of western imperialism?

The conference is intense. Speakers address the issues of the hour. A demand comes from the audience that the conference be addressed in Creole, the national language of Haiti. In a loud demanding voice, a young man screams, “I will not be addressed in French.” From some where within comes a scream of “yes” as the translator explains what had just happened. I was participating in English.

Embarrassment was not necessary as the audience appreciated my utterance. Haiti is the only one of the independent Black African countries that has Indigenous language and religion as the national language and religion of the country. This imbues a fierce sense of pride in the the people. Probably the reason for so much pain inflicted by France and the USA in part is due to the pride of Haiti as an African nation not a former French colony.

[Please see the report in The Organizer for January 16, 2009 “To Defend Haiti is To Defend Ourselves” on Conference proceedings. Space does not permit room for full conference report. Also see Conference Final Declaration below.–C.L.C.]

The African in the USA has shared a mutual experience with the People of Haiti across our forced sojourn through European forced slavery upon our prisoner of war ancestors. We are victims of a long dry white season of oppression. We have both fought long and hard struggles against the deadly acts of violence heaped upon body, mind and spirit.

Haiti showed us a new way of fighting beginning in early 1790-1804, when she waged a war not for manumission but freedom to form a new nation under the control of the descendants of prisoners of war-the very first Independent African State in the western world.

Haiti became an independent African Republic with mind set to provide a free and independent place for all freedom loving peoples. In her constitution of 1801 she guaranteed citizenship to all freedom loving people. The new Black Republic of Haiti sent shock waves through the entire western hemisphere where Africans were enslaved by the millions. America was jealous of the wealthy French colony and did all it could to destabilize it, but now a free Haiti threatened America’s imperial designs and the stability of the USA Republic.

There was immediate reactions to the new Republic in African enslavement in US, especially among free Africans in urban centers. The Goa revolt against slavery in USA ensued, talk of emigration to Africa increased. By 1915 Paul Cuffee has moved ahead with plans to emigrate a colony of former African slaves to West Africa – Liberia.

In Europe, the Africans who escaped America with the British following the USA war for independence took a course of emigration that would lead to establishment of nation of Sierra Leone. There were constant slave revolts in USA and the movement to free Africans spawned a more radical abolitionist force. Haiti lit the light of freedom to rule.

When in 1915, the USA invaded Haiti dissolving the Haiti government with the barrel of USA guns and bayonets at the head of Haiti’s public officials. The Americans took full control. The US Navy took control of the nation’s financial affairs and customs houses while the Marines occupied all coastal towns.

Haiti resisted and was readily repulsed. America appointed a Haitian to its liking as president forcing him to sign a peace accord/ later a constitution written by USA troops. The National City Bank of New York took over Banque Nationale of Haiti. Haiti’s gold was shipped to USA with the cheap rationale being for safe keeping. The actual value of the gold is unclear.

The USA claims to have returned it with interest five years later. But returned it to whom? American forces ran Haiti. All decisions made were under the full control and administration of the American government. America returned the gold! There have to be bigger lies but I have serious doubt whether or not there are bigger liars.

The USA military had full control of Haitian government with the president forced to take direct orders from the USA military until her very untimely departure in 1934. During the American occupancy like that of the UN today murder and rape were rampant. More than three thousand men, women and chi ldren shot down in so-called pacification campaigns referred to by the American Marines as “Caco hunting”. In the USA South, white Americans called this “rabbit season”.

The local population of Haiti was immediately forced into a form of forced labor (unlike the Haitian corvee where workers gave to the government free labor a few days a year) resembling in fact and deed slavery. They were forced to work for free building highway between Port au Prince and Cap Haitien and whatever other project decided upon by the southern whites from the USA who were the larger portion of the Marine force.

Haiti resisted, guerilla warriors took to fighting back against the USA. America launched a usual cover up of the terror and atrocities in an effort to calm the tidal wave of opposition to Haiti occupation that swept through the population of Africans in north USA cities. The NAACP sent reporters to gather information on the Haiti story and spread their accounts of the plunder of Haiti far and wide.

Today’s occupation of Haiti must end. MINUSTAH must leave. The dry white season of racism and genocide must be drowned in a tidal wave of protest. The African in the West and our allies must expose the lie that the UN occupation of Haiti is due to security issues. In fact, the UN MINUSTAH forces are here to protect and defend the interest of international capital to set up a beach head of free labor for investment firms. The present president and his government have privatized a sector of Haitian economy creating a Free Trade Zone.

What is described as the HOPE Law (Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Encouragement ACT) permits the labor of Haiti to be exploited for meager wages in the Free trade Zone. The Free Trade Zone does not allow workers to organize for wages and benefits or to protect themselves in any way.

Workers, mostly women, making up about 30 percent of the Haitian workforce labor long hard hours five days a week for $2 a day not a single benefit. This is a clear wage slavery policy that starves a population into submission to the will of businesses locating on the Island. In the meantime, hunger riots due to starvation will probably continue to erupt despite the UN presence.


It is not enough to demand the annulment of this foreign debt. We must demand guarantees for the development of Haiti. This development is necessary and should be financed by reparations that France, the United States of America and the United Nations should pay in exchange for compensation from the debt from independence, the pillaging of its resources from USA occupation 1915-1934 and from the numerous occupations and interventions that the country has experienced during the entire century.

These are all violations of Haiti’s national sovereignty- and this includes the present situation of the United Nations occupation. This policy of violation of national sovereignty of nations and violation of human rights of citizens of nations must be stopped. “The tallest tree in paradise is the tree man calls the tree of life. Everybody’s got a right to the tree of life”. (African Slave Spiritual USA enslavement) Don’t Haitians have a right to the tree of life?.

1. Removal of UN MINUSTAH troops and a demand of full report on the UN activity in Haiti by an independent body.

2. End to Haitian debt. There must be a full report from the World Bank as to why it decided to force a nation hit by 4 hurricanes between August and September 2008 to pay outstanding debt when the devastation was so severe as to cause hunger riots. The World Bank knew Haiti’s financial crisis.

3. An immediate closing of the so called Free Trade Zone and an end to the HOPE ACT. There is nothing free in this situation and hope is dashed upon stones of despair literally destroying the future of the first Black Republic in the western world by removing it once again into a form of slavery.

4. USA must return Haiti Gold to a government of the people of Haiti with reparations from the time it was removed in 1915. Haiti has to establish an independent body to research and assess exactly how much was taken and its present value.

5. The French must fully repay the illegal reparations extracted by force under USA leadership in 1840. The 150 million dollars should be returned with full interest.

6. The USA must pay Haiti reparations for the mass murders, rapes and other crimes perpetuated against its citizens from 1915-1934 when America forcibly entered the nation under false pretense.

7. All UN agencies and independent bodies working in Haiti must show full transparency. These agencies should provide a statement on how the People of Haiti are presently employed as a part of their workforce to assist in carrying out the reconstruction of Haiti. Further, such agencies should demonstrate ways in which they are helping to train and develop an independent Haitian workforce. Independent Haitian development is essential to reconstruction and recovery.

8. USA colleges and universities should set up exchange programs with Haiti to assist in the education of her citizens; including Creole language programs. Haiti has much to teach and such exchange programs should include this in their development guidelines.

9. Elementary- High schools in the USA; including youth groups, women’s groups, Masonic orders, churches and other religious institutions should set-up Haitian projects to send much needed pencils, pens, writing paper, uniforms/ shoes and other items that are needed for school children. These projects can be beneficial to American young who need to learn Creole language, Haitian arts and craft technique and generally share with youth of Haiti what it is like to grow up in USA and Haiti.

10. Tree of Life Project- youth in the USA must mount a campaign to get every citizen of USA to contribute a tree to help reforest Haiti. American cities and state governments, the National Forest Union, businesses and corporation, religious and other institutions and American families would raise $50 a tree to be administered through the Democratic Association of the Women Workers of Haiti, University of Haiti and Secondary School System Administration. Funds would be used for the Tree of Life Project purchase of trees, shovels, hoes etc. for planting and transportation needed to haul trees and youth of Haiti to sites where the trees are to be planted. When the Tree of Life Project deems it necessary, youth from the USA would pair up with Haitian youth for planting sessions.

(Colia L. Clark is the Producer of Manhattan Neighborhood Network. She can be reached at coliaclark@aol.com.)



Final Declaration of the Continental Conference in Port au Prince for the Sovereignty of Haiti

(3rd Caribbean Conference on December 12-13, 2008 in Port au Prince)

“To Defend Haiti is To Defend ourselves!”

We are gathered together on December 12-13 in Port au Prince at the initiative of ATPC and the representatives of the union and political organizations that have alerted us to the tragic consequences of the occupation by the troops of the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH). The call for this conference falls within the continuity of the first two Caribbean and Continental Conferences in Santo Domingo and in Mexico City.

It also is a continuation of the Katrina Tribunals and International Day on October 10 organized by the International Liaison Committee “for the immediate withdrawal of MINUSTAH!” and the organization of numerous actions of solidarity by the international worker’s movement with Haiti.

For two days, with the presence of 18 international workers delegates that came from Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador, Martinique and Guadeloupe, we were able to assemble the facts and the testimonies which allow us come to the following conclusions and proposals:

1. MINUSTAH is not a “peacekeeping” mission.

MINUSTAH is a U.N. mission (the mission originally had a term of 6 months renewable) that has the mandate. (see U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1529 and 1542)

a. To facilitate the establishment of conditions of security and stability inside the Haitian capital and around the country as need and circumstances permit, to support the calls for international assistance from the Haitian President, Mr. Boniface Alexandre, with the goal of promoting the constitutional political process underway in Haiti.

b. To facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and the access of the international humanitarian workers to the Haitian people in need

c. To facilitate the delivery of international assistance to the Haitian Coast Guard so as to establish and maintain the security.

Today, four and a half years after the adoption of these resolutions, after four and a half years of occupation, the record is clear: this mission with a so called “humanitarian” character has proven to be a disaster.

During this conference, we have been able to bring together the facts and testimonies supplied by our delegate comrades in order to support each one of the resolutions.

Several months ago, hundreds of thousands of men and women who had nothing to eat, the only reason being the unbridled speculation on the part of the financial operators on basic goods (a sack of rice went from 35 to 70 dollars), went out into the streets in what is called a hunger riot. The occupation forces of MINUSTAH did not hesitate to shoot, causing 6 deaths and hundreds of wounded.

Dogged by bad luck, after these events Haiti was hit by four hurricanes within a space of two months. According to a Reuters dispatch on October 25, 2008: Hit by four hurricanes or storms in a period of two months, Haiti was subjected to one of the biggest catastrophes of its history, according to a U.N. official.

Between August and September, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike descended on the Caribbean islands, provoking the deaths of 800 persons and leaving one million more without shelter. Thousands of persons, many of whom were children, were forced to leave in makeshift shelters and lack basic staple foods in a country where a large part of the population lives on an average of two dollars a day. “The food rations that they give us are gone in a week and we must go beg in the street just to be able to eat something” tells s 50 year old homeless person.

We think that this is not just bad luck: the MINUSTAH troops have shown themselves to be incapable of evacuating the population while on the neighboring island of Cuba, where the basic measure of safeguarding the population was carried out, not a single death occurred.

Still according to the same dispatch, according to the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, the damage in Haiti this week from the hurricanes is estimated to be a billion dollars (Reuters, October 25, 2008).

Robert Zoellick speaks of billions of dollars of damages? But the maintenance of the MINUSTAH troops costs him only 540 millions dollars a year (one third of the budget of the Haitian nation)! This money could be spent building schools, hospitals and education for children. Only a billion dollars would be needed to repair the damage caused by hurricanes while, according to the analysts, the banking scandal around Lehman Brothers announced by Wall Street is “near 2.774 billion dollars and is going to need 6 billion dollars more” How is this possible?

The President of the World Bank knows the value of these things and he demands the payment of this debt. This is the debt from the Duvaliers and the other dictators. It was contracted by them. Just to keep the debt current would cost the Haitian people 58.2 million dollars in 2008 and 50.9 million dollars in 2009. A million dollars goes up in smoke each week while the people die of hunger.

As our comrade Colia Clark, delegate for Grandmothers for the Release of Mumia Abu Jamal, reported at the opening of the conference, “it is not enough to demand the annulment of this debt! We must demand guarantees for the development of Haiti. This development is necessary and should be financed by the reparations that France, the United States and the U.N. should pay in exchange for compensation from the debt from independence, the pillaging of its resources from the American occupation of 1915, and from the numerous military occupations and interventions that the country has experienced during the entire century. These are all violations of its national sovereignty and this includes the present situation of the U.N. occupation. This policy must be stopped!”

Last November in Petion-ville, near Port au Prince, the roofs of schools collapsed on top of the heads of children. This collapse caused the death of 90 children. One more time MINUSTAH did not notice the disaster. The school that collapsed had been built by a minister with his bare hands and without any regulation by the government. How can this catastrophe not be connected with the anarchic exploitation, under the control of the mafias, the sandpits around Port au Prince where the exploitation is from 10% to 11% of the GNP?

Far from improving the situation of the Haitians, the presence of MINUSTAH makes it worse. Many international observers have noted the massacres and the violations perpetrated by the soldiers of the so-called “peacekeeping” force. During this conference we have become aware of conclusions reached by the 2nd Congress of the Democratic Association of the Women Workers of Haiti. One of the delegates reported:

“Yesterday we had a lot of discussions in our congress, especially about the problems linked to the presence of the troops of MINUSTAH. We put together resolutions that say in effect ‘MINUSTAH robs us and rapes us’. We tried to recover this money (the money that it costs to keep MINUSTAH) for education and healthcare.”, explained a delegate from ADFEMTRAH. The 2nd Congress of ADFEMTRAH also adopted an open letter to Rene Preval (current President of Haiti). This letter explains “far from contributing to the stability of the country and to peace, you can not ignore, Mr. President, that the troops murder innocent civilians who have no means of defending themselves, like in April 2008 during the hunger riots or December 22, 2006 during the massacre in Cite Soleil. They loot and rape and encourage prostitution. We ask why these 575 million dollars can not be utilized for the reconstruction of the country.”

The 2nd Congress of ADFEMTRAH proposed that on March 8, 2009, International Women’s Day, a demonstration be organized for the defense of the rights of the real women of Haiti. To defend their rights, it is necessary that the immediate withdrawal of the MINUSTAH troops occur without any conditions. They call on the organizations of the workers movement and the democratic organizations of the Caribbean and of the continent to support them.

After the Nobel Prize went to Adolpho Perez Esquivel, 1200 persons died in acts of violence during the first year of the deployment of MINUSTAH. According to the observers, between 2005 and 2007, in less than two years, the troops of MINUSTAH provoked at least three massacres in Cite Soleil. In a document of the “September 30th” foundation it states, “On December 22, 2006, about 400 soldiers of the U.N. committed an act of aggression that lasted an entire day in Bois-Neuf, a neighborhood in Cite Soleil. It was an operation that occurred to the same extent as that of the massacre of July 6, 2005 in the same neighborhood. There were many deaths and wounded on the civilian side. After the “Christmas massacre”, the U.N. forces have attacked Cite Soleil many times with their guns.

The main representative of the “September 30th” foundation, Mr. Pierre-Antoine Lovinsky, is reported missing today. In a letter dated in the month of August, 2008, to the Haitian authorities on the first anniversary of his disappearance, his wife, Michele Pierre-Antoine Lovinsky, explains: There is no doubt that that an active citizen of the caliber of Pierre-Antoine Lovinsky does not disappear nor can he evaporate without leaving a trace. Indeed, the clues and leads left during and after the abduction have not been sufficiently investigated to bring about concrete results. I want as proof the fingerprints found inside the vehicle used by Lovinsky.

Upon returning from the national demonstration on October 10 that was called by twenty two worker and popular organizations for the Non-renewal of the Mandate of MINUSTAH and backed with 8,000 signatures, our comrade, Jefaisant Laguerre, member of CATH, was assassinated in a cowardly way.

One more time, neither the appropriate authorities nor MINUSTAH supply explanations for their passivity and their inaction in these two serious attacks on human rights. We demand that a credible inquiry begin that brings all light to the disappearance of Dr. Lovinsky as well as the murder of our comrade Jefaisant.

II. What economic and political objectives cover up the occupation of Haiti by the troops of MINUSTAH?

In the U.N. resolutions that give MINUSTAH its mandate, it states: The U.N. asks that MINUSTAH also confer with the OAS (Organization of American States) and CARICOM (Communities of the Caribbean) while carrying out its mandate.

The testimonies gathered here prove it: CARICOM requires the Preval government to privatize public enterprises, and the HOPE law (Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Encouragment Act), which allows the overexploitation of labor in the free zones all under the control of the MINUSTAH.

In his expose entitled The Banking System and Agricultural Development in Haiti, agricultural engineer Joel Ducasse paints a clear picture of the economic situation in Haiti: “The banking system was allocating not even 1% of its capacity to the financing of agricultural activity in Haiti. Today that contribution has fallen to nothing, to 0%! As far as housing, only 500 houses have been financed by the banking system over the past fifteen years – for a population of 8.7 million inhabitants.”

In the introduction of the conference, Fignole St. Cyr, national secretary of the CATH, returned to the subject of the policies pursued by the IMF and World Bank. The application of these policies, directly dictated by US imperialism, has tragic consequences for workers. For example, explained Fignole, in respect to the recent privatization of TELECO, 1,500 workers were fired, with the support of the MINUSTAH.

“The situation is terrifying · We are at a pivotal moment for local and national unions. It is our duty to look for ways to reflect and collaborate on a worldwide scale,” he affirmed.

The HOPE law allows for the unilateral trade preference of the US in favor of Haiti in the areas of textiles and clothing, as well as motor vehicle parts. Within the framework set by the HOPE law, Haiti must commit itself to the practice of liberalism on both political and economic levels. Haiti must not, moreover, adopt any measure that goes against the economic and political interests of the US. Such are the conditions demanded by multinationals in order to produce their products at costs below those of China and Vietnam.

In Haiti, unemployment and misery reign, but these problems of insecurity are only one consequence of the situation of economic and political disaster in a country where sovereignty has been ridiculed for now more than 200 years – since the crushing of the first Free Black Republic of the world, proclaimed on January 1, 1804.

Already investors are rubbing their hands together and multinationals are sending out the call to battle in order to profit from the opportunites offered by the HOPE law. In an article that appeared in the August 15, 2008 issue of the Brazilian Valor Economico, it is explained: In the midst of chaos (the chaos of the Haitian economic situation), Brazilian companies are searching for opportunities and are beginning to profit from the strategic position of Brazil as leader of the MINUSTAH.

Coteminas (Brazilian giant of the textile sector, whose chairman is none other than the son of the vice president of Brazil) wants to use Haiti as a platform for export and clothing manufacture aimed at the US·. Brazil is a known collaborator in the rescue process of Haiti. Our country has the right to demand preferential treatment, said Valor Josue Gomes da Silva, president of Coteminas.

In spite of institutional confusion, Haiti presents important advantages for a company in the textile sector: proximity and access to the biggest market in the world, the US, and very inexpensive labor. A dressmaker for the capital Port-au-Prince is paid $0.50 an hour. That is a wage lower than the $3.27 paid in Brazil, and comparable to the $0.46 of Vietnam and $0.28 of Bangladesh.

The Coteminas plan is to export fabric from Brazil, have it made into clothes in Haiti at very low cost, and enter the US market without customs duties ñ the whole process protected by free trade agreements.

The MINUSTAH can itself then be used as a cover for passing agreements beneficial to multinationals on the backs of Haitian workers, with total contempt for ILO conventions!

Comrade Dukens Raphael, Secretary General of the Confederation of Public and Private Sector Workers (CTSP), in his statements pointed out the insoluble links that exist between the defense of the national sovereignty of Haiti and the defense of labor and union rights with respect to ILO conventions, notably No. 87 (trade-union freedom) and No. 98 (the right to union organization).

Of course, ILO conventions need to be respected and Haiti must finally exit from the gangsterish circle that pseudo humanitarian aid constitutes, and this will happen only by reclaiming the full and entire sovereignty of Haiti, both politically and economically. Cancel the debt! Food sovereignty for Haiti!

As one of the delegates from Guadeloupe expressed at the conference : Enough! That’s enough! Enough for these people!

It was shown at this conference that this barbarism is not the product of any kind of inevitable fate. For all of these crimes, guilt must be clearly established. To do this we must rely on only ourselves; this is the reason why we are addressing on the international labor movement, in order to organize an International Commission of Investigation which, on the basis of facts, will have the goal of assembling, before the next anniversary of the troops in May, a bill of indictment to establish who is guilty for the Haitian situation, the guilty whose armed wing is the presence of the MINUSTAH on the sacred soil of J.J. Dessaline and Toussaint Louverture.

III. Defend the sovereignty of the nations of the American continent in the face of the aggression of imperialism in crisis!

We notice that, in light of all that has been discussed here, behind the catastrophic situation facing the Haitian people we find policies at work on a continental scale; policies characterized by imperialist attacks on the sovereignty of nations, by contempt for national laws and labor codes, and by the quest to integrate trade-union organizations into the plans of privatization demanded by free trade agreements.

Brazil is currently the country that leads and provides the largest contingent of men for the MINUSTAH. In a very moving speech, one of the delegates from Brazil to the conference put forth in its full scope the problem posed by Lula’s policy in favor of the MINUSTAH:

The black people of Haiti are for us, black Brazilians, a reference. Haiti was the first black republic to win its sovereignty and we, black Brazilians, are brothers with Haitians in their struggle for the withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops. Because only the Haitian people themselves know what they need. Our government, elected to defend workers is composed of fourteen different parties, some of which are openly reactionary. For example, there is Jobim, minister of defense. This minister told us, in the press, that the experience of the troops in Haiti was a means to acquire the know-how necessary to able to apply these criminal methods next in the favelas of Brazil.

Our discussion at this conference shows us the significance of such a statement.

NO, we will not allow our government to massacre the blacks in Haiti as they are in the process of now doing. We were already brothers; now we are blood brothers. We shout for the withdrawal of all troops from Haiti immediately! Our government cannot be an accomplice to these crimes one second more! In Haiti they need doctors, engineers, and firemen, not the MINUSTAH! Withdraw the MINUSTAH! Haiti has the right to live! Defending Haiti is us defending ourselves!

In the same way, a militant delegated by the Workers Party of Brazil told us: “It is a shame for us to see Lula support the MINUSTAH · At this moment were are having a letter signed to go to President Lula, demanding that he receive a Haitian delegation. We have already gathered 14,000 signatures for the withdrawal of occupation troops. I hope to see you in Brazil participating in the delegation, for the immediate withdrawal of the MINUSTAH, until the last soldier leaves Haiti!”

The conference also received the cordial support of the ISP (Public Services International), an international organization representing more than 30 million members, whose delegate, also mandated by his union the SINDSEP-SP, gave a speech concluded with the words, “Sovereignty for the Haitian people! Long live Haiti!”

The delegate from the CUT (Single Central of Workers), the most representative of labor organizations in Brazil, informed us of a unanimous resolution adopted by the CUT. It states:

“In relation to the presence of UN troops and on Brazilian command in Haiti, the CUT will organize a dialogue between the Haitian labor movement and the national leadership of the CUT for the purpose of discussing the deadlines and forms of withdrawal of troops, considering that their presence is not creating the conditions for the reconstruction of a country destroyed by imperialism and neoliberialism.”

The comrade delegates of Gaudeloupean origin recalled that the slogan for the 2nd Conference, held on December 16th and 17th of 2005, was: “It is time to form a free and fraternal union of the people of the Caribbean!”

They recall and strongly affirm that the solution in Haiti will be found through a new Caribbean solidarity, including Haiti. The national secretary of the POSH, Onel Maignan, answered spontaneously, “Yes, we must build a free Caribbean solidarity. We need not fear the words; we must build a federal pole to create a space for ourselves, to counteract the obstacles to the freedom of the peoples of our region.”

Under this plan, the first act of common solidarity with Haitian organization was the adoption of a motion demanding the lifting of the embargo of the United States against the neighboring island of Cuba. Defend the revolution and sovereignty of the Cuban nation!

The organizations present constitute an International Commission of Investigation, open to the participation of labor and grassroots organizations from anywhere in the world, and mandating the ATPC to organize the tasks decided upon at this conference.

More than ever, we reaffirm: To defend Haiti is to defend ourselves!

IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF MINUSTAH TROOPS: Each day more of the presence of these troops on Haitian soil is an affront to the sovereignty of the people of Haitian and the entire world!



RONA, Rassemblement des organisations pour une nouvelle alternative
CTSP, Confederation des Travailleurs du Secteur Public
CATH, Centrale Autonome des Travailleurs Haitiens
ADFEMTRAH, Association des Femmes de la CATH
GIEL, Groupe de initiative des enseignants des Lycees
POS,Parti ouvrier socialiste haitien
KOTA, Konfedorasyon travaye aisyen
GRAHLIB, Grand rasemblement pour une Haiti libre et democratique
SCCF , Syndicat des chauffeurs de carrefour
UTSH, Union des Travailleurs syndiques haitiens
CISN, Confederation independante,syndicat national
FOS, Federation des Ouvriers Syndiques
COAMEDH, Coalition des medecins haitiens
Julio Turra, Central Workers Confederation CUT ( Brazil)
Raymond GAMA, Mouvman NONM ( Guadeloupe)
Charly LENDO, Union Generale des Travailleurs de Guadeloupe, UGTG
Claudio SYLVA, Workers Party of Brazil , PT
Guido LARA, Potable Water Workers Union, Quito (Equateur)
Jean Baptiste GOMES, International Services Publics,ISP, and Municipal Workers Union (Brazil)
Miguel MARTINEZ, ILC ( France)
Barbara CORRALES, Workers Party, PT (Brazil)
Jacqueline PETITOT, Alliance Ouvriere et Paysanne, AOP, Martinique
Robert FABERT Coordinateur de l’Association des Travailleurs et des Peuples de la Caraibe, ATPC, (Guadeloupe)
Luis VASQUUEZ Continuation Committee of the Mexico Continental Conferece (Mexico)
Colia CLARK, Grandmothers for the Freedom of Mumia Abu Jamal( USA)
Dr Ahati N.N TOURE, ( USA)
Markins SOKOL , Workers Party of Brazil
Lucien GRATE , Alliance Ouvriere et Paysanne, AOP, (Martinique)
Jocelyn LAPITRE , Travaye È Peyizan ( Guadeloupe)
Alex DESIR , President de l’Association des Haitiens en Martinique
Pedro NEJOURKA , President of Latinos Unidos (Martinique)


Brazil – Haiti

Document published on the national website of the Workers Party (PT) in Brazil:

“PT activists and trade unionists involved at a conference in Haiti “

A Brazilian delegation — comprised of Julio Turra, National Executive of the CUT, Joao B. Gomez, Secretary of the Union of Sao Paulo Municipal workers representing the PSI (Public Services International), Claudinho Silva, secretary of the struggle against racism of the board of State of the PT-Sao Paulo, Barbara Corrales, a member of the Executive Board of the City PT-Sao Paulo, and Markus Sokol, member of municipal PT — visited Haiti in the week from December 9 to 16, 2008.

The delegation participated in the conference to defend the sovereignty of Haiti, “Defend Haiti is us defend ourselves,” called by the ATPC (Association of workers and peoples of the Caribbean) and various union and popular organizations in Haiti, including the Autonomous Workers Confederation of Haiti (CATH) and the Confederation of public sector and private sectors workers (CTSP). Then there was a series of intense meetings and interviews with popular organizations and the authorities.

International Commission of Inquiry

The Conference, held on December 12 and 13 in Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, was considered a success by its organizers.

It was attended by 90 Haitian delegates and 20 international delegates, with delegations from Brazil, Guadeloupe, Martinique, the United States, Mexico and Ecuador, who unanimously adopted a final declaration, which calls for the “Immediate withdrawal of Minustah troops. Each additional day of presence of troops on the soil of Haiti is an affront to the sovereignty of the people of Haiti” and looked “to the democratic movement and workers for the formation of a Commission of Inquiry on the situation in Haiti “, scheduled for May 2009, when it will be 5 years of presence for the U.N. troops, commanded by Brazilian general, under the Minustah ( UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti).

Interview with General Santos Cruz: “The solution is jobs”

Markus Sokol, Claudinho Silva and Julio Turra, with Louis Fignolé Saint Cyr (Secretary of the CATH) and Robert Fabert (leader of the ATPC of Guadeloupe), on behalf of the Conference, were received by the Chief General Alberto Santos Cruz, commander of Minustah.

In the discussion that took place during the hearing, General Santos Cruz recognized the chaotic social situation and living conditions well below what is bearable, but he tried to defend the troops — “they have reduced crime and they fulfill a role of stabilization” – arguing that the rate of violence measured internationally shows a record in South Africa from 75 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants per year, compared to 25 in the neighboring Dominican Republic, 22 in Brazil and just 5.6 in Haiti.

Asked about the continuation of the mission, he replied: “The length is what the U.N. decides each year, but the solution here is to give jobs to create security.”

Interview with the Ambassador of Brazil in Haiti: “Withdrawal in 2011”

At the hearing with the Brazilian Ambassador to Haiti, Igor Kipman, it was reported that the mission was not only military, it is also civilian (7,000 soldiers and 1,700 police officers and around 1 200 civilians from UN agencies).

He said the solution is development, that’s for sure, but there will not be this without an atmosphere of security “. He admitted that “all want withdrawal, but not now,” and concluded with the announcement of troop withdrawal in 2011.

The date of 2011 is advanced under the pretext of having to supplement the training of 14,000 men of the Haitian National Police. But two weeks earlier, the current president of Haiti, René Préval, had announced its desire that the Minustah troops leave “by the end of my term,” which ends in 2011.

Other developments

Part of the delegation, Turra, Joao and Claudinho, attended the seminar of the Confederation of workers of public and private sectors.

The delegation also participated, with Barbara Corrales, in the 2nd Congress of ADFEMTRAH, women’s organization affiliated with the union CATH, where 117 delegates from 10 states in the country discussed the situation of women.

53% of women suffer from widespread discrimination, with even lower wages (than for men, NDT) and working without formal contracts.

The participants denounced the deteriorating situation in the country after the arrival of the troops of MINUSTAH, the increase in violence, especially against young people and women.

The Congress wrote a letter of women’s organizations to the secretariat of the women workers of the CUT, and another to the secretariat of the PT women on the situation of women seeking help for the withdrawal of troops.


African Press International


Haiti and the Dilemma of Afrikan Sovereignty in the Americas

by Ahati N. N. Toure

“Haiti must reclaim its place as an exemplar of Afrikan sovereignty in the history of Afrikan world developments.”

Two hundred and four years ago, Afrikan people in the French colonial prison territory called Saint Dominique achieved a great revolution. The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), in some sense singular in terms of the magnificence of its success, was merely one in a surfeit of revolutionary struggles Afrikans launched during the better part of four centuries all over the Americas against European totalitarian dictatorship, commonly called slavery. Unlike other areas of the Americas, however, the Afrikan revolution in Haiti garnered a level of international attention by European states not typical of other Afrikan states created in the Americas. This rare notoriety was due not so much to the idea that the Haitian Revolution wrested from European totalitarianism the first independent Afrikan state created in the Americas, but rather to the fact that European imperialism could not ignore it. The Afrikan revolutionaries of Haiti decisively and irrevocably defeated three of the most formidable militaries of late 18th and early 19th century Europe-those of France, Britain, and Spain  Thus, the imperialist states suffered an open humiliation. The Haitians’ effectiveness in permanently neutralizing enslaver efforts to contain the Afrikan quest for sovereignty simply could not be hidden or obscured.

As in Haiti, the revolutionary struggle to restore Afrikan sovereignty all across the Americas-in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean islands-erupted immediately upon embarkation in the Americas because Afrikans were never, in reality, slaves. Rather, they came from areas of West, West Central, Central, Southern, and East Afrika as free and sovereign peoples exiled from their homelands and held captive in European totalitarian dictatorships in the Americas.  Logically, then, as free and sovereign peoples they instantly fought to reinstate what they had known and enjoyed in Afrika. Forcibly brought to, and incarcerated in, Saint Dominique, Jamaica, Brazil, Surinam, Guyana, Panama, St. Vincent, Mexico, the United States, the Danish-controlled Caribbean islands, among numerous other places, they commenced revolutionary struggles wherever they landed, effectively challenging, frustrating, and frequently defeating enslaver military forces so as to restore to themselves their accustomed exercise of personal, collective, and state power.

“The Afrikan revolutionaries of Haiti decisively and irrevocably defeated three of the most formidable militaries of late 18th and early 19th century Europe.”

Accordingly, Afrikans enslaved in Mexico City sought to overthrow the Spaniard dictatorship in 1537 by killing the Spanish crown’s representative in Mexico, freeing themselves, and replacing the colonial regime “with an African king of their own.” Although Spaniard counterintelligence discovered and repressed this revolutionary effort, numerous other initiatives between 1540 and 1580 succeeded, sometimes involving “substantial cooperation between black and indigenous populations.” Perhaps the most successful revolutionary campaign was led by the redoubtable Yanga, who from 1570 to 1609 governed a sovereign Afrikan state that directly and devastatingly engaged Spaniard military forces from his stronghold in the Orizaba Mountains, eventually defeating them and forcing the Spaniards to sue for peace. Although he had been enslaved in Mexico, Yanga asserted he had been a state ruler in Afrika.

Despite widespread misconceptions regarding conditions in North America, Afrikan revolutionary struggles convulsed nearly all areas of what was or was to become the United States from 1619 to the end of the American civil war in 1865. Tolagbe Ogunleye, for example, has uncovered that from the mid 1600s through the mid 1800s, Afrikans who escaped to Spaniard-held Florida from plantations in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana of the United States established for more than 150 years “autonomous African settlements” and “were involved in a formalized Pan-African nationalist movement.” They “lived autonomously in Florida, ostensibly using discrete African art forms, traditions, and sensibilities in their modes of communications, rituals, subsistence strategies, and battle plans to attain and sustain freedom and autonomy.” In fact, some members of “these settlements had never been enslaved. They were born, reared, and died at a ripe old age within these communities.”

Moreover, these communities successfully resisted North American military forces in their quest to remain sovereign. “For more than a century,” she writes, “southern militiamen, mercenaries, and military forces from the United States routinely invaded Š Florida and completely destroyed the self-emancipated Africans’ homes, plundered their livestock, and waged war against these Africans and their offspring in an attempt to conquer and reenslave them.” Although the North Americans never succeeded in reenslaving them, they did manage to treat with them for their removal to the U.S.-controlled Oklahoma territory. This North American achievement came, however, at great cost, both in terms of military expenditures and humiliating defeats. Afrikans had established a formidable military presence in Florida in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and prosecuted a relentless guerrilla war of liberation against North American forces that, in its final phases, lasted for more than four decades.

“Afrikans had established a formidable military presence in Florida in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.”

Before its capture by a North American military incursion, Fort Ashila, about 60 miles south of the U.S. border, stood as a symbol of Afrikan military defiance of the enslaver dictatorship. The British, to spite the North Americans after their withdrawal at the conclusion of the War of 1812, had handed the fort over to Afrikan freedom fighters. According to Ogunleye, when U.S. forces bombed and captured the fort on 27 July 1816, they sent some $200,000 in seized armaments and other materiel to New Orleans, Louisiana, including 2,500 stands of musketry, 500 carbines, 500 steel scabbard swords, four cases containing 200 pairs of pistols, 300 quarter casks of rifle powder, 162 barrels of cannon powder, and other military clothing and supplies.  Revolutionary feeling was at such strength that many Afrikans enslaved in the United States escaped to Florida to join the war of liberation.  In addition, the revolutionaries in Florida enlisted enslaved Afrikans in the United States as double agents who led North American military forces into fatal ambushes, supplied North American weapons to the Afrikan liberation army, and provided critical intelligence on North American movements and intentions.

In fact, anthropological and linguistic research by Joseph E. Holloway and Winifred K. Vass reveals that Afrikans enslaved in the United States assessed the North American dictatorship in their own indigenous languages. They gave at least 270 Bantu language names to localities in which they were held captive in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Louisiana. A small sampling of these names include Abita Springs, Louisiana, from a bita, meaning “of handcuffs, manacles”; Ambato, Alabama, from ambata, meaning “lie on top of each other, be piled up, packed on top of the other, bodies crowded together (as in the hold of a slave ship)”; Benaja, North Carolina, from benzaja, meaning “made to work, forced to labor”; Kiowa, Alabama, from kuyowa, meaning “to be famished, weakened with hunger, exhausted”; Lula, Mississippi, from lula, meaning “be bitter, refuse to obey, be refractory”; Tahoka, Texas, from tauka, meaning “be cast off, shed, as leaves off a tree”; and Wataccoo, South Carolina, from wataku, meaning “be naked, without clothing.” These names powerfully demonstrate the Afrikan aspiration for sovereignty and their keen awareness of its absence in the United States.

While the Afrikan struggle for sovereignty met with varying degrees of success throughout the Americas, the assault against Haiti’s victorious revolution, which was the immediate reaction of France (its successful extortion of some $30 million in reparations, despite the fact it lost the war, in exchange for diplomatic recognition of the Afrikan state and other exploitative treaty concessions) and the United States (its collaboration with France in initiating, temporarily, an economic embargo against the country and its refusal to extend formal diplomatic recognition until the 1860s), has not been accidental. Indeed, the United States intensified its war against Afrikan sovereignty in Haiti during the early 20th century-particularly after its 1915 invasion and occupation of the country through to 1934. The successive crises that have weakened the nation since then, including various brazen foreign and foreign-controlled interventions; reigns of police, military, and political terror; economic exploitation, destabilization, and destruction; and environmental devastation, have all been aimed precisely at aborting the viability, integrity, and potentiality of the incontestable triumph of the Afrikan revolution. To the North American and other European states-beginning in the 19th century-the example of Afrikan sovereignty in the Americas evoked a literal and figurative gnashing of teeth. It proved an abomination, an abhorrent affront to European power and its racialist supremacist pretensions. Haiti, however, also posed a strategic threat to North American empire by introducing the specter of spreading Afrikan revolution that could potentially dethrone European settler hegemony not only within itself but throughout the larger Americas.

“To the North American and other European states, the example of Afrikan sovereignty in the Americas evoked a literal and figurative gnashing of teeth.”

Such fear was not farfetched. In addition to its considerable inspiration to renewed Afrikan revolutionary struggle in the United States, as well as to its role in 1824-1825 as a Pan Afrikanist haven for 6,000 to 13,000 non-enslaved Afrikans to escape U.S. totalitarianism and to participate in the economic reconstruction of Afrikan sovereignty, Haiti’s historic revolution also supported the Afrikan liberation struggle in Jamaica and extended the achievement of anticolonial revolution and Afrikan freedom to Spaniard imperial territories in South America. Haitian President Alexandre Petion, in exchange for his considerable support of Simon Bolivar’s revolutionary struggle, persuaded the South American leader to abolish the enslavement of Afrikans in the territories (Venezuela, Colombia, including what later became Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia) Bolivar liberated from Spain’s imperial rule.

What is happening to Haiti, therefore, and what has been happening to Haiti, was and remains to make Haiti an object lesson to all would-be revolutionaries fighting for a sovereign Afrikan present and future. It springs from a determination to expunge the revolution from human memory by rendering the grandeur of its achievement irrelevant. Haiti’s unrelenting torment is informed by nothing less than revenge. It emerges from a resolve to ensure that Afrikans in the Americas never again raise themselves to seriously challenge or destroy the power of the enslavers over their lives.

This explains why Haiti is currently suffering from a 60 percent unemployment rate, why 8 of every 10 Haitians (or approximately 6.4 million of 8 million) live below the poverty level, why more than 3 million Haitians have fled the island nation to escape extreme poverty, violence, and political repression, why life expectancy has fallen below 50 years, and why the infant mortality rate is 80 per 1,000, compared to a mere 7 per 1,000 in the neighboring island of Cuba and 4 per 1,000 in France. The hemorrhaging under these conditions of the equivalent of $1 million a week to pay an external debt ($58.2 million in 2008 and $50.9 million in 2009) incurred by U.S.-backed or -appointed heads of state who personally enriched themselves and terrorized the people; the imposition of 9,000 UN troops, a foreign army of occupation called MINUSTAH equally guilty of brutalizing and terrorizing the people and of mocking Haiti’s independence; the pillaging of the nation’s resources by IMF and World Bank policies-all of these are deliberate and predictable outcomes of the 204-year-old war by the United States, France, and their allies against Afrikan sovereignty in Haiti.

Haiti’s challenge-not only to defend its sovereignty, but to realize sovereignty’s full and feared potential-requires a number of strategic considerations and initiatives. Among them is to make of the serious economic and political crises in the United States an opportunity to reduce its vulnerability to its North American enemy by establishing alternative international relationships that will protect it from continued enslavement. To accomplish this Haiti must systematically disengage itself from the dynamics of dependency upon global Europe, which includes the United States. A key element of this process would rely upon Haiti’s participation in progressive trends in the Americas, specifically Venezuela President Hugo Chavez’s call to create and finance an alternative international economic and political block, alternative international trade and treaty relations, and alternative international financing mechanisms and institutions in the Americas as a counterforce to North American overlordship.

“Haiti must systematically disengage itself from the dynamics of dependency upon global Europe, which includes the United States.”

Any new Haitian strategic approach must also include jettisoning U.S. cultural influences (especially with respect to European political theory, political structures, and political economy) in defining and constructing the Haitian state. The urgency of this cannot be overstressed. Instead, Haitian intellectuals and authorities must creatively and paradigmatically reformulate the state, society, and economy along the lines of its own peculiar needs, interests, culture, and experience by drawing from the best of Haiti’s and global Afrika’s own historic initiatives in concert with Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, Cuba’s social achievements, and Bolivia’s spirit of integrating the indigenous people’s culture into a revivified sense of nation. In fact, Haiti should look increasingly to the cultivation of the genius of its people as an indispensable element in the nation’s liberation. Training in all areas of expertise critical to the vital functioning of the nation should come not merely from the flourishing and proliferation of indigenous Haitian institutions, but also from sending out Haitians to be trained in partner nations in the Americas that have similarly committed themselves to the systematic study and elimination of North American hegemony.

Further, the U.S. and French kidnapping of former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, to whom South Africa extended political asylum, may provide an invaluable opportunity to advance the economic viability of Haitian sovereignty through strengthened diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations with southern Afrika. The benefits could redound to Haiti’s need to ensure the training of its people in areas critical to its economic development, including engineering, agriculture, veterinary medicine, mining, manufacturing, bureaucratic management, technological research and development, and related technical expertise, as well as the institutionalization of these capacities. It could also lead to expanding and diversifying markets for Haitian goods and services in the Afrikan continent.

Finally, on the level of culture, Haiti must reclaim its place as an exemplar of Afrikan sovereignty in the history of Afrikan world developments. As a diplomatic strategy, it must embrace Pan Afrikanism genuinely, not cynically, seeing this ethos of Afrikan kinship not merely as an element of its foreign policy, but also as a cultural extension and reenvisioning of its nationalism. Haiti’s authentic engagement in the burgeoning trends in Pan Afrikanist movement of the Americas and of global Afrika will yield access to Afrikan cultural and intellectual currents which liberating potential remains, as yet, virtually untapped. It would also serve as one way of mobilizing the sentiments and contributions of multiple millions of Afrikan people throughout the Americas, Afrika, Europe, and Asia to its defense against recurring threats to its sovereignty. Properly understood, the potential economic, cultural, intellectual, and political benefits to Haiti are incalculable.

Ahati N. N. Toure is Assistant Professor of Africana History and Black Studies at Delaware State University in the United States. He has written several articles treating various aspects of Africana history and culture in the United States and Afrika. Perhaps his best known essay is “Reflections on Paradigms in Power: Imperialism and Americanization as a Modal Relationship Explaining the Treatment of Afrikans in the United States During and After Hurricane Katrina,” Thurgood Marshall Law Review 31, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 427-462. He is also author of John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History: Africalogical Quest for Decolonization and Sovereignty (Africa World Press, 2009). He can be contacted by writing to ilcinfo@earthlink.net This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

“Most commonly by dictatorship is meant the type of authority characterized by at least some of the following features: (a) Lack of laws or customs in virtue of which the ruler (or rulers) could be called upon to account for their actions or [be] removed; (b) lack of limitations on the scope of authority; (c) acquisition of supreme authority by contravention of pre-existing laws; Š (e) use of authority for a restricted group only; (f) obedience of the subjects being due solely to fear; Š (h) employment of terror.” In addition, “Totalitarianism is the extension of permanent governmental control over the totality of social life. A movement or an ideology may be called totalitarian if it advocates such an extension.” See Julius Gould and William L. Kolb, ed., A Dictionary of the Social Sciences (New York: UNESCO and The Free Press, 1964), 198, 719.

[ii] The revolutionaries also defeated the French colonial forces of Saint Dominique, destroying four European militaries in all.

[iii] Michael A. Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 29.

[iv] See, among others, John Henrik Clarke, “African Cultural Response to Slavery and Oppression in the Americas and the Caribbean,” in African Presence in the Americas, eds. Tanya R. Saunders and Shawna Moore (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1995), 73-95; John Henrik Clarke, “Pan-Africanism: A Brief History of an Idea in the African World,” Presence Africaine no. 145 (1st Quarterly 1988): 26-56; Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus, ed., Slave Revolution in the Caribbean 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents (Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006); Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004); N. A. T. Hall, “Maritime Maroons: ‘Grand Marronage’ from the Danish West Indies,” William and Mary Quarterly 42, no. 4 (October 1985): 476-498; Barbara Klamon Kopytoff, “Colonial Treaty as Sacred Charter of the Jamaican Maroons,” Ethnohistory 26, no. 1 (Winter 1979): 45-64; James D. Lockett, “The Deportation of the Maroons of Trelawny Town to Nova Scotia, then Back to Africa,” Journal of Black Studies 30, no. 1 (September 1999): 5-14; R. K. Kent, “Palmares: An African State in Brazil,” Journal of African History 6, no. 2 (1965): 161-175; Irene Diggs, “Zumbi and the Republic of Os Palmares,” Phylon 14, no. 1 (1st Quarter 1953): 62-70; Ernesto Ennes, “The Palmares ‘Republic’ of Pernambuco Its Final Destruction, 1697,” The Americas 5, no. 2 (October 1948): 200-216; Leonard Goines, “Africanisms among the Bush Negroes of Surinam,” The Black Perspective in Music 3, no. 1 (Spring 1975): 40-44; Robert Nelson Anderson, “The Quilombo of Palmares: A New Overview of a Maroon State in Seventeenth-Century Brazil,” Journal of Latin American Studies 28, no. 3 (October 1996): 545-566; Berta E. Pérez, “The Journey to Freedom: Maroon Forebears in Southern Venezuela,” Ethnohistory 47, no. 3-4 (Summer 2000): 611-634; Barbara Klamon Kopytoff, “The Early Political Development of Jamaican Maroon Societies,” William and Mary Quarterly 35, no. 2 (April 1978): 287-307; Richard Price, ed., Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas, 3rd ed. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996); Mavis Christine Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica, 1655-1796: A History of Resistance, Collaboration and Betrayal (Granby, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1988); Richard Price, The Guiana Maroons: A Historical and Bibliographical Introduction (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976); Silvia W. de. Groot, From Isolation Towards Integration: The Surinam Maroons and Their Colonial Rulers: Official Documents Relating to the Djukas, 1845-1863 (The Hague, Netherlands: Nijhoff, 1977); Alvin O. Thompson, Flight to Freedom: African Runaways and Maroons in the Americas (Kingston, Jamaica: University of West Indies Press, 2006).

[v] Ben Vinson III, “Fading From Memory: Historiographical Reflections on the Afro-Mexican Presence,” Review of Black Political Economy 33, no. 1 (Summer 2005): 59.

[vi] Vinson, 59-60; Sagrario Cruz-Carretero, “Yanga and the Black Origins of Mexico,” Review of Black Political Economy 33, no. 1 (Summer 2005): 75. Vinson says the Spaniards discovered an effort in 1611 by Afrikans to again overthrow their dictatorship and establish their own sovereign rule.

[vii] Tolagbe Ogunleye, “The Self-Emancipated Africans of Florida: Pan-African Nationalists in the ‘New World,'” Journal of Black Studies 27, no. 1 (September 1996): 24, 25, 26.

[viii] Tolagbe M. Ogunleye, “Aroko, Mmomomme Twe, Nsibidi, Ogede, and Tusona: Africanisms in Florida’s Self-Emancipated Africans’ Resistance to Enslavement and War Stratagems,” Journal of Black Studies 36, no. 3 (January 2006): 397.

[ix] Ogunleye, “Self-Emancipated Africans,” 26.

[x] Ogunleye, 32.

[xi] While the North Americans called it Fort Negro, Afrikans called it Fort Ashila. Ogunleye indicates the word ashila is a Bantu verb that means to build or construct a house for someone else. The North American term, on the other hand, is a tacit admission of the formidable character of Afrikan military resistance to North American imperialism. See Yvonne Tolagbe Ogunleye, “An African Centered Historical Analysis of the Self-Emancipated Africans of Florida, 1738 to 1838Åç (Ph.D. diss., Temple University, 1995), 278.

[xii] Ogunleye, “An African Centered Historical Analysis,” 1995), 285. For more extensive discussion of the Afrikan war of liberation, see her discussion on pages 260-352.

[xiii] Ogunleye, 314.

[xiv] Ogunleye, 333-335.

[xv] That Afrikans enslaved in the United States spoke their indigenous languages is well established by a number of scholars. Among them is Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks, 154-185. See also the pioneering work by Lorenzo Dow Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949) in addition to Winifred Kellersberger Vass, The Bantu Speaking Heritage of the United States (Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California, 1979).

[xvi] Joseph E. Holloway and Winifred K. Vass, The African Heritage of American English (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993), 107, 123-127, 131-132, 134-135.

[xvii] Segun Shabaka, “An Afrocentric Analysis of the 19th Century African American Migration to Haiti: A Quest for the Self-Determining Community” (Ph.D. diss., Temple University, 2001), 16-19, 21-24.

[xviii] As an example, see Lothrop Stoddard, The Rising Tide of Color against White World-Supremacy (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1920), 141-142. “As for the negro, he has proved as incapable in the New World as in the Old. Everywhere his presence has spelled regression, and his one New World field of triumph-Haiti-has resulted in an abysmal plunge to the jungle-level of Guinea and the Congo.”

[xix] For example, American imperialists in 1854-among them former U.S. Secretary of State James Buchanan, soon to become president-argued the U.S. colonization of Cuba was an imperative of the regime’s national security interests. Their concern for national security was directly related to the prospect of Afrikan revolution in the United States; the imperialists feared that Cuba, like Haiti, would become another Afrikan-ruled republic that would strengthen the Afrikan revolutionary struggle that raged, or that simmered just below the surface, in various parts of the United States. “We should Š be recreant in our duty, be unworthy of our gallant forefathers, and commit base treason against our posterity,” they declared, “should we permit Cuba to be Africanized and become a second St. Domingo [Haiti], with all its attendant horrors to the white race, and suffer the flames to extend to our neighboring shores, seriously to endanger or actually consume the fair fabric of our Union.” Indeed, they concluded, “We fear that the course and current of events are rapidly tending towards such a catastrophe.” (emphasis added) See “The Ostend Manifesto, October 18, 1854Åç in American Foreign Policy: A Documentary Survey, 1776-1960, ed. Dorothy Burne Goebel (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961), 97.

[xx] Among others, see Walter C. Rucker, “‘I Will Gather All Nations’: Resistance, Culture, and Pan-African Collaboration in Denmark Vesey’s South Carolina.” Journal of Negro History 86, no. 2. (Spring, 2001): 132-147; James Theodore Holly, A Vindication of the Capacity of the Negro Race for Self-Government, and Civilized Progress, as Demonstrated by Historical Events of the Haitian Revolution; and the Subsequent Acts of That People Since Their National Independence in Black Separatism and the Caribbean 1860 by James Theodore Holly and J. Dennis Harris, ed. Howard H. Bell (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1970); William Wells Brown, The Rising Sun; or, The Antecedents and Advancement of the Colored Race (Boston: A.G. Brown and Company, Publishers, 1874), 140-242. See also Shabaka, “An Afrocentric Analysis,” for a discussion of the 1824-1825 Afrikan immigration from the United States to Haiti.

[xxi] See Dubois and Garrigus, ed., Slave Revolution, 191; Dubois, Avengers of the New World, 303; C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, 2nd. ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 1963), 411; Dantes Bellegarde, “President Alexandre Petion,” Phylon 2, no. 3 (3rd Quarter 1941): 205-213; John Edward Baur, “Mulatto Machiavelli, Jean Pierre Boyer, and The Haiti of His Day,” Journal of Negro History 32, no. 3 (July 1947): 307-353; Vincent Bakpetu Thompson, “Leadership in the African Diaspora in the Americas Prior to 1860,” Journal of Black Studies 24, no. 1 (September 1993): 45-46; Shabaka, “An Afrocentric Analysis,” 15-16.

[xxii] Rosa Clemente, Colia Clark, Ed Rosario, Alberto Dos Santos, letter to UN Secretary General and to Governments with MINUSTAH Forces in Haiti, 10 October, 2008; Unions, Political and Grassroots Organizations in Haiti, open letter to Barack Obama, 31 October 2008; Association of Workers and People of the Caribbean (ATPC), “Appeal for the Third Caribbean Conference December 12-13, 2008 in Port au Prince, Haiti,” no date; Fignole Saint-Cyr, letter to organizations and friends, 28 October 2008; Statement of CATH (Centrale Autonome des Travailleurs Haïtiens) by Fignole Saint-Cyr, 28 October 2008 (in French). See also “How IMF, World Bank, Failed Africa,” Part 1. New African (January 2007): 14-16; “The Case Against IMF, World Bank,” Part 2. New African (January 2007): 18-22.




(from website of UGTG in Guadeloupe: Interview with Fignolé Saint Cyr)


Je suis Fignolé Saint Cyr secrétaire général de la CATH. Notre organisation syndicale est affiliée à l’ATPC à l’échelle caraïbe (Association des travailleurs et des peuples de la caraïbe) ainsi qu’à l’Entente internationale. Nous sommes confrontés comme syndicalistes à de graves problèmes.

Cliquez sur la photo pour la visualiser dans sa taille originale.
Haïti, comme vous le savez, est un pays occupé par la MINUSTAH. Cette armée étrangère sur notre sol est là uniquement pour protéger les représentants et les intérêts des institutions de Bretton-Woods, le FMI, la Banque mondiale, les ambassades et les membres du gouvernement. La présence de la MINUSTAH pose beaucoup de problèmes.

Elle empêche les travailleurs et le peuple de s’organiser. Cette armée d’occupation est composée principalement de militaires venant de pays d’Amérique latine : Brésil, Chili, Bolivie, Equateur, Bolivie, Argentine, Uruguay, etcŠet même si formellement elle est dirigée militairement au nom de l’ONU par le Brésil, politiquement ce sont les Etats-Unis, le Canada et la France qui dirigent. Pour La CATH en tant que centrale syndicale indépendante, de lutte des classes, nous avons opté d’une part pour le départ immédiat de la MINUSTAH et d’autre part pour le respect des conventions internationales de l’OIT (Organisation internationale du travail). En Haïti nous avons un gouvernement dont nous condamnons la politique sociale, politique et économique et qui est à la solde des 3 grandes puissances que je viens de nommer. Nous nous sommes inscrits dans une démarche de dénonciation, de mobilisations à l’échelle nationale, régionale mais aussi à l’échelle internationale pour arriver au départ de la MINUSTAH, c’est la condition première pour des changements pour les travailleurs dans le pays.

Alors que le Président Préval dit que pas grand-chose ne peut être fait par l’Etat car les caisses sont vides voici quelques chiffres : la Minustah coute 198 millions de dollars US par an au pays. On dépense chaque jour 500 dollars US par soldat de l’ONU alors qu’un policier national haïtien touche moins de 200 dollars par mois ! Le gouvernement mène une politique ultra libérale, il paie une dette externe aux banques étrangères dont les seuls intérêts sont équivalents à 1 million de dollars par semaine, qui sont pris sur les maigres ressources du pays. Cette dette n’est pas celle des haïtiens mais des dictateurs tels que les Duvallier qui, quand ils étaient au pouvoir, installés la plupart du temps par le gouvernement américain, ont créé cette dette et en plus ont volé le peuple. Pourquoi le gouvernement haïtien actuel ne demande pas la restitution des sommes détournées par Baby Doc, ce sanglant dictateur qui a été accueilli en France pour son exil doré avec ses 800 millions de dollars volés au peuple ?

La France doit aussi nous restituer les sommes qu’elle a exigées en 1825 de notre jeune république pour indemniser les colons esclavagistes qui en avaient été chassés. 150 millions de francs or, équivalent aujourd’hui à 22 milliards de dollars US, voilà comment dès le début Haïti a dû payer le prix fort pour son indépendance et a été mis à genoux sous peine d’être envahi par les armées françaises. La plupart des organisations ouvrières et populaires haïtiennes réclament à l’Etat français la restitution de ces sommes et pour notre part nous demandons aussi l’annulation pure et simple de cette dette externe de 1,3 milliard de dollars. Que cette somme, que les sommes qui doivent être restituées par la France soient affectées aux besoins sociaux les plus urgents, à l’école et aux autres services publics qui sont quasiment inexistants.

Les médias internationaux quand ils parlent d’Haïti c’est-à-dire une fois tous les 6 mois, montrent la violence, la délinquance et la MINUSTAH selon eux serait là pour la paix. Mais tout cela est pour justifier le maintien des troupes de la MINUSTAH. On a voulu présenter Haïti comme un pays où n’existeraient que des gangs, des kidnappings, une violence à tous les coins de rue. Mais nos camarades et amis qui viennent en Haïti pour apporter leur solidarité, comme l’ATPC et l’Entente Internationale, peuvent témoigner de la vraie situation : notre peuple est un peuple hospitalier, la violence et la délinquance malgré la misère n’y sont pas plus développées que dans des pays riches et qualifiés comme grandes démocraties. Il est vrai que les forces de la MINUSTAH sont qualifiées de forces pour la paix. Mais Haïti n’est en guerre avec personne ! C’était la même chose avec l’IRAK. Il fallait occuper ce pays pour le pétrole et pour cela on l’a accusé de vouloir déclencher une guerre avec des armes nucléaires. Et tout le monde sait depuis longtemps ce qu’il en est vraiment. La vérité c’est que la Minustah est en Haïti pour piller et violer et protéger les exploiteurs.

C’est la raison pour la quelle, avec des organisations syndicales, politiques et populaires d’Haïti dont la CATH avec le soutien de l’ATPC et de l’Entente viennent de lancer un appel à des manifestations le 10 octobre. Après notre dernier congrès du mois de mars dernier nous avons été dans les départements et communes mener une campagne de sensibilisation pour le départ de la MINUSTAH. Le 17 octobre c’est la fête nationale, l’anniversaire de l’assassinat de Jean Jacques Dessalines, père fondateur de la République souveraine d’Haïti. Mais quelques jours avant il sera question de renouveler pour un an le mandat de la MINUSTAH. Alors nous avons décidé de ne pas laisser faire, de nous adresser au peuple tout entier et l’appeler à manifester le 10 octobre en direction du palais présidentiel et du siège du gouvernement pour dire « assez de l’occupation, hors du pays les forces armées étrangères, souveraineté pour notre pays et notre peuple ».

De nombreuses organisations sont d’accord sur le principe d’une telle journée de manifestation, les syndicats du secteur public, le POS, des organisations de jeunes, des organisations populaires. Et tous nous allons avec l’aide de l’ATPC et de l’Entente nous adresser aux travailleurs et aux organisations des pays du continent en particulier ceux qui ont des contingents de soldats en Haïti : le Brésil, le Chili, la Bolivie, l’Uruguay, l’Equateur, l’Argentine, etcŠNous allons dire à toutes ces organisations s¦urs :

« Manifestez le 10 octobre, interpellez vos gouvernements, demandez aux Présidents de la République de vos pays, à Bachelet, Correa, Kirchner, Lula, Morales, Vasquez, qu’ils ne renouvellent pas le mandat des troupes de leur pays et qu’ils retirent immédiatement leurs soldats du sol d’Haïti et faisons ainsi ensemble de ce 10 octobre prochain une journée de mobilisation continentale pour le droit des peuples du continent américain à disposer d’eux-mêmes, à vivre en paix dans des nations souveraines. »

Nous invitons dans le même temps toutes ces organisations du continent à la 3ème conférence caraïbe qui va se tenir les 12 et 13 décembre en Haïti à l’initiative de l’ATPC, de l’Entente, avec la CATH, le POS et de nombreuses autres organisations haïtiennes. Cette conférence aura pour thème : « défendre Haïti, c’est nous défendre nous-mêmes ! »

A propos de la situation de l’emploi en Haïti je voudrais signaler que 80% de la population active est au chômage mais qu’il y a par contre plusieurs zones franches dans notre pays. A Ouanaminte nous avons une zone franche dans laquelle les travailleurs reçoivent une pitance. Cette zone franche est administrée sous le contrôle d’une loi américaine, la loi Hope votée par le congrès américain pour libéraliser les échanges et supprimer quasiment les droits de douane au seul profit des multinationales américaines qui s’y sont implantées. Le salaire journalier y est de 70 gourdes, 2 fois moins que le salaire minimum, soit moins de 1,5 dollar. Le transport et la nourriture reviennent plus cher pour ces travailleurs si bien qu’ils sont obligés de faire appel à des usuriers pour des prêts et pouvoir garder leur travail. Ces travailleurs ne peuvent pas s’organiser en syndicat et les patrons n’embauchent que des femmes parce que parait-il qu’en Haïti, elles sont moins revendicatives que les hommes. Comme centrale syndicale, nous menons un combat avec notre section femmes en terme de formation et d’éducation pour que ces femmes puissent se prendre en main et se défendre.

La situation à cette rentrée scolaire qui devait avoir lieu le 8 septembre est catastrophique. Des parlementaires demandent que le gouvernement décide de reculer la rentrée des classes à mi-octobre. Il y a un vide institutionnel. Avec les émeutes du début avril, le gouvernement est tombé et il a fallu attendre le mois de juillet, plus de 3 mois pour qu’à nouveau un premier ministre soit nommé. Ils ne savent pas comment faire face à la situation, ils ont peur de l’explosion de la rue car les parents ne peuvent même pas acheter le strict minimum pour la rentrée des enfants. Notre section femmes engage une campagne auprès d’organisations syndicales en Europe, aux Etats-Unis, en Guadeloupe, etcŠ qui partagent nos objectifs pour leur demander une solidarité internationale et aider dans ce cadre 2 à 300 familles à faire entrer leurs enfants à l’école. Avec la catastrophe provoquée par le passage des premiers ouragans la situation a encore empiré. De centaines de camarades et sympathisants se retrouvent dans le plus grand dénuement.

C’est dans ce contexte général que notre organisation combat. La CATH a 7 fédérations à travers le pays et 5 organisations syndicales, l’Association des femmes qui est très importante, la section des droits humains et syndicaux. Nous sommes représentés dans différents secteurs d’activités : le secteur informel, la sous traitante dans les zones franches, la paysannerie, le transport, le commerce et maintenant l’hôtellerie. Nous sommes 30 000 membres, dont 25 000 payent une cotisation modique mensuelle de 10 gourdes (0,20 euro). Pour faire fonctionner la machine, la centrale, on ne peut pas le faire sans la cotisation des adhérents, nos ressources ne peuvent venir que de nos adhérents mais elles sont totalement insuffisantes. Il faut bien se rendre compte que nous ne sommes qu’à 1h30 des Etats-Unis, que le pays est rempli d’ONG, et donc un syndicat de lutte de classe qui combat l’impérialisme et le néo colonialisme est soumis à de très fortes pressions, mais il faut maintenir notre ligne et notre combat. Haïti est un pays où le peuple se bat chaque jour pour survivre, faire manger les familles.

Comme centrale syndicale vous voulons être indépendant, du pouvoir, des ONG, des églises, des partis. Il y a en Haïti des syndicats sans troupes, sans syndiqués. Ces dirigeants-là, le groupe des 13 sont en négociation journalière avec le Président Préval. Ils ont signé un texte commun avalisant l’augmentation du prix de l’essence à la pompe.

Pour sa part la CATH, comme d’autres syndicats, veut rester à tout prix une centrale indépendante du pouvoir. Nous venons de prendre l’initiative d’une tombola pour trouver un peu d’argent. Nos camarades de Travayè é Péyizan de Guadeloupe, organisation affiliée à L’ATPC et à l’Entente nous ont édité 10 000 tickets que nous allons placer en Haïti et à l’extérieur. Nos camarades de l’UTHTR-UGTG aussi sont en train d’organiser la solidarité avec nous. Nous avons besoin de cette solidarité, d’accords bilatéraux avec les organisations syndicales qui nous ressemblent.

Je voudrais lancer un appel et dire à tous nos camarades au plan international, en particulier à nos camarades de l’Entente et de l’ATPC, que nous avons besoin de leur aide et de la solidarité ouvrière internationale pour aider notre combat pour reconquérir notre souveraineté, pour qu’Haïti se sorte de cette spirale infernale dans laquelle on l’a plongé. Pour ceux qui le peuvent venez nous voir, venez partager notre lutte. Et pour tous camarades de l’Entente et de l’ATPC, aidez-nous à divulguer la vérité sur les responsables de la situation que nous vivons, qui sont les capitalistes exploiteurs. Dites partout que nous ne sommes pas des barbares, que les barbares sont ceux qui veulent nous ramener aux conditions de l’esclavage que nos descendants ont subi. Vive la solidarité ouvrière internationale !

Fignolé Saint-Cyr, secrétaire général de la CATH.
Port au Prince le 23 août 2008.

Dernière minute :

Depuis que cet appel à la solidarité internationale a été lancé, 2 nouveaux ouragans ont ravagés une partie du pays, Fignole Saint Cyr apporte les précisions suivantes « Officiellement le gouvernement haïtien annonce au moins 500 morts, des centaines de milliers de personnes sinistrées, sans abris. Plusieurs départements du Pays (Gonaïves, Artibonite, etcŠ) ont été totalement dévastés, les plantations ont été détruites. Les réfugiés sont pour la plupart privés de nourriture et d’eau potable. L’aide internationale annoncée des Etats-Unis, et des pays de l’Union européenne est bien minime en regard de cette situation et aussi des sommes qu’ils sont capables de verser pour entretenir l’armée d’occupation de 9 000 soldats depuis 4 ans !





Noticias de los Movimientos Populares por el Cambio Social

La invasión “antiimperialista”

La presencia de tropas militares a Haití, que hace más de cuatro años motorizó centralmente el gobierno brasilero, acompañado por sus pares de Argentina, Chile, Bolivia y Uruguay es visto con buenos ojos como una forma de evitar la intromisón militar de los EEUU en la región. En tanto, movimientos sociales, organismos de Derechos Humanos, y organizaciones políticas de todo el continente, sumadas en la campaña “todos somos Haití”, manifestaran su exigencia de retiro de las tropas este viernes. El próximo 15 de octubre los congresos de los países mencionados deben aprobar la extensión de la misión.

A continuación una nota publicada por la agencia Brasil De Fato muestra a las claras las graves consecuencias para el pueblo haitiano, luego un comunicado de organizaciones de Haití, y la carta de los movimientos sociales a los congresales brasileños:

“Tropas de la ONU legitiman explotación de haitianos de las transnacionales de EEUU”

“Allá todo era diferente do que yo imaginaba y de lo que tinham me dijo. También no tengo nenhuma lição de moral para deixar para ninguém. Só gostaria mesmo de lembrar que estamos perdiendo la verdadera guerra: contra la miseria. Como los jugadores de la selección dijeran el día de aquel juego ridículo, solo el combate de la pobreza va traer la paz. Cuando será que vos enxergar eso?” El relato, forma parte del libro Un Soldado Brasilero en Haití, del soldado gaúcho Tailon Ruppenthal – que sirvió durante seis meses en aquel país – y es un indicio de como el pueblo haitiano está siendo violado en su derecho a la soberanía y la auto-determinación con la acción de la Misión de las Naciones Unidas para la Estabilización de Haiti (Minustah).

De acuerdo con el abogado Aderson Bussinger, que fue parte de una delegación que visito diversas regiones de Haiti en 2007, “Brasil no posee legitimidad para tal intervención, dado el contenido de ocupación de la misión, que consiste en una operación para contener la revuelta popular e impedir que el pueblo haitiano tome en sus propias manos su destino”.

“No asistí a un caso de represión o agresión directa de la Minustah. Asistí a una situación de constrangimento ao povo, sobretodo en los barrios más miserables, donde pude ver blindados brasileros con sus cañones apuntados para la población”, relata Bussinger. El abogado cuenta también que durante a su estadía, recibió muchos relatos de agresiones practicadas por las tropas de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), en particular por las fuerzas brasileras.

Las denuncias de cercenamiento de la organización popular no terminan ahí. De acuerdo con Marcelo Buzetto, integrante de Vía Campesina, la Minustah está mapeando e identificando a todos los lideres comunitarios. Muchos, inclusive, segundo él, están siendo perseguidos o presos. “Hay centenas de presos políticos en Haití por haber participado de procesos de movilización social, tanto con el gobierno anterior como en el actual”, afirma.

Buzetto resalta también que en la mayor villa misería de Porto Príncipe, hospitales y escuelas fueron bombardeados. “Quien anda por Cité Soleil ve las marcas de los tiros.” La descripción no es extrañar. Incursiones equivocadas dentro de las villas haitianas y la falta de preparación de los jóvenes soldados brasileros ya fueron relatadas por un “veterano” del Ejército brasilero al diario Folha de San Paulo, en 2006. “Las veces, en medio de un tiroteo, una cara viniendo en nuestra dirección puede parecer una amenaza. Si el agente da la orden de detención y él no para, la forma es tirar. Ocurre que, con los FAL – arma de origen belga usada por los soldados brasileros -, casi siempre termina en muerte. Es un fusil de guerra, no de patrulla urbana como las que hacemos en Haiti.”

Paros y dientes quebrados
En un informe entregue la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado, Aderson Bussinger relata como la Minustah legitima la acción de empresas extranjeras en el país, principalmente las estadounidenses. Cita a la industria textil Codevi, una transnacional dominicana, ligada al banco Chase Manhattan, que fabrica jeans para marcas famosas, como Levis y Wrangler. “Sus trabajadores ganan 48 dólares por mes, y trabajan vigilados por guardias armados, lo que fue testimoniado por nuestra delegación durante todo el período en que estuvimos en el área”, cuenta Bussinger.

“En Cité Soleil, donde está siendo organizada otra zona franca, conocimos a los trabajadores de Hanes, el fabricante mas importante de camisetas de los EEUU. Esa gran transnacional acaba de despedir 600 operarios y operarias para cerrar la planta industrial y se recusa a pagar los derechos laborales de los despedidos”, agrega el abogado.
Para Aderson, el “modus operandi” de las empresas extrangeras puede ser comprendido mejor cuando se considera la presencia de la Minustah, pues se trata “de una intervención que sustenta un modelo de explotación colonialista, vía transnacionales, en favor de algunos intereses específicos, textiles en especial”. El lembra que los trabajadores de esas “maquiladoras” le mostraron cicatrices, dientes quebrados y quemaduras; resultado de represión en huelgas.

Más represión
En abril y mayo de este año, en Porto Príncipe, siete personas fueron asesinadas y 170 fueron heridas (entre ellas un soldado de la Minustah) en protestas contra la subida generalizada de los precios de los alimentos en contra de la presencia de tropas extranjeras en el país. Para darse una idea, el saco de 23 kilos de arroz paso de 35 a 70 dólares, en cuanto al maíz y el aceite de cocina registraron aumentos del 40 por ciento .

Desde entonces, la represión a la organización sindical y las tentativas de organización de asambleas en Porto Príncipe y al sur de la isla solo aumenta. Las manifestaciones por el Día Internacional del Trabajo, el 1º de mayo, los nombres de todas las personas que hicieran uso del micrófono durante la marcha fueron revocados por parte de la Minustah y la Policía Nacional.

Publicamos a continuación comunicado de 20 organizaciones haitianas, exigiendo el retiro de tropas a los gobiernos de la región

A los trabajadores de los pueblos hermanos, a las organizaciones obreras, populares y democráticas del Caribe y del continente.

Tras el paso de cuatro huracanes en Haiti:

SI, a la ayuda y solidaridad internacional,

NO, a la ocupación militar de Haiti y a la agresión a nuestra soberanía

A todas y todos, compañeras y compañeros, hermanas y hermanos del continente y de otros países,

Como ustedes saben, nuestro país acaba de sufrir, en menos de dos semanas, el paso de los huracanes Fray, Gustav, Hanna e Ilke. Todos los Estados de nuestro país fueron gravemente afectados, algunos completamente devastados, causando oficialmente más de 600 muertos y 800 mil afectados.

Esta situación es agravada por el hecho de que los pocos servicios públicos que se mantienen y no fueron privatizados o liquidados por los planes de ajuste estructural, están ahora sobrecargados y de hecho no logran ayudar a la gran mayoría de la población.

Nuestro pueblo está, enfrentando esta terrible situación en la que cada día se traba una nueva lucha por la sobrevivencia, para obtener agua potable, víveres y socorro que solo llegan a cuenta gotas, pese a las declaraciones de solidaridad de los jefes de Estados y de las organizaciones internacionales. La ONU anunció a tres semanas, que una ayuda de 198 millones sería ofrecida a Haití, y ahora la institución lamenta que, a pesar del compromiso asumido por los gobiernos, solamente el 2% de esta suma efectivamente llegará al país.

Con relación al Sr. Préval, presidente de Haití, que desde el inicio de su mandato continua su política de privatización de las empresas y los servicios públicos, demuestra hoy, una gran incapacidad y una parálisis real para tomar las medidas pertinentes a la dramática situación por la que atraviesa el pueblo haitiano, en la que falta todo, en la cual, una población vive en condiciones de extrema dificultad. Préval continúa pagando las cuotas de la deuda externa de Haití a los bancos internacionacionales: 1 millón de dólares que son desembolsados a cada semana, considerando que el 80% de esta “deuda” fue contraída bajo el gobierno dictatorial de Douvalier padre e hijo, Papa Doc y Baby Doc! Un millón de dólares por semana que permitirían comprar y distribuir toneladas de arroz, de agua, de remedios etcŠ

NO! Esta deuda no es del pueblo haitiano! Exigimos que no salga más “ni un dólar” de nuestro país para los cofres de los bancos e instituciones financieras internacionales. El dinero de los haitianos debe permanecer con el pueblo haitiano, que lo necesita ahora mas que nunca. Nosotros, las organizaciones haitianas, nos dirigimos al gobierno y le pedimos la anulación pura y simple de esta deuda de 1,3 billones de dólares.

El gobierno, en su inamovilidad e injuria, se esconde detrás de la presencia de las organizaciones humanitarias y, sobretodo, de los militares de la MINUSTAH, encargados de encaminar los víveres y socorro. Debemos acordarnos que fueron George Bush y el gobierno estadounidense quienes decidieron y organizaron, a cuatro años, esta nueva ocupación de Haití, sirviéndose de amparo de la ONU para imponer a Haití un ejército de ocupación de 9.000 soldados. Pues entonces, ahora que han pasado los huracanes, se han vuelto ellos súbitamente los bienhechores del pueblo haitiano.

Nos dirigimos a las organizaciones obreras y populares, y a todos los demás pueblos pidiendo ayuda y solidaridad con Haití, en contraposición, no pedimos nada a los que ocupan nuestro país con armas en la mano, aún cuando hoy tengan bolsas de arroz sobre los hombros .

Haití no está en guerra con nadie. Que los cuarenta gobiernos que mantienen estos el pueblo haitiano, utilicen esos 540 millones de dólares para sustituir sus soldados por bomberos, médicos, policías civiles, técnicos, obreros para reconstruir las rutas y toda la infraestructura destruida, etc.

Nosostros, los abajos firmantes, organizaciones sindicales, políticas y populares haitianas, nos dirigimos a todos ustedes, hermanas y hermanos de todos los países, con un pedido urgente de solidaridad, por la ayuda al pueblo haitiano, para que pueda lograr reconstruir el país en la paz, sin ocupación militar de cualquier tipo, con total soberanía.

Nuestro país, que a su tiempo, supo dar asilo y ayuda a Simón Bolivar, así como a otros líderes de la lucha contra la colonización española, va a festejar el 17 de Octubre próximo la fiesta nacional de Jean Jacques Dessalines, uno de los padres fundadores de la nación haitiana. En la misma semana, el 15 de Octubre, los gobiernos de sus países y de todos los que poseen tropas en la MINUSTAH deben decidir si renuevan por el tiempo mínimo de un año el mandato y la presencia de esos soldados en el suelo de Haiti.

Nosotros, las organizaciones haitianas, nos reuniremos el 10 de Octubre, durante una manifestación ante la residencia de la República, en Puerto Principe, par exigir:

* La anulación de la deuda! Ni más un centavo para los banco internacionacionales. Todos los recursos del estado deben ir para el plan de reconstrucción del país.

* Paz, democracia, respeto a la soberania del pueblo haitiano: retirada inmediata de las fuerzas extranjeras de la MINUSTAH, el presidente Préval debe pedir la renovación del mandato.

A ustedes, hermanos y hermanas del Brasil, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay y demás paises del continente, a todas las organizaciones obreras, populares y democráticas de Bachelet, Correa, Kirchner, Morales y Zázquez, para que no renueven el mandato de las tropas de sus países y retiren inmediatamente sus soldados del suelo de Haití, y que lo sustituyan por el pernonal civil en el área de salud, comunicaciones y construcción etc. para ayudar al pueblo haitiano a la reconstrucción del país.

Hagamos así, juntos, el próximo 10 de Octubre una jornada de movilización por la ayuda y solidaridad internacional de trabajadores, por el derecho de los pueblos del continente a la audeterminación, por el derecho de vivir en paz entre naciones soberanas.

Puerto Principe, 24 de setiembre de 2008

Organizaciones Haitianas:

CATH – Central Autonoma de los Trabajadores Haitianos, Louis Fignolé St. Cyr, Secretario General.

POS – Partido Obrero Socialista Haitiano, Marc Antoine Poinson, Secretario de Organización de los Departamentos.

FESTREDH – Federación Sindical de Electricidad de Haiti, Dukens Raphaél, portavoz.

KORTA – Fednel Monchery, coordinador general

GIEL- Grupo Iniciativa de Profesores de Enseñanza Secundaria,

ADFEMTRAH- Sección de Mujeres de la Cath, Julie Génélus, secretaria general

GRAHLIB- Gran Unión por un Haiti Libre y Democrático, Ludy Lapointe, coordinador general

FOS- Federación de Obreros Sindicalizados, Raymond Dalvius, director de Relaciones Públicas

GRAMA – Grupo de Reflexión y Acción por una Alternativa Mejor, Joseph Varmel, coordinador general.

KONOSPOL – Clectivo Organización Socio – politico, Lukim Royel.

CONAFTAV – Coalición Nacional de las Mujeres Trabajadoras, D. Benoit.

KJKFF – Konbit Jen K. Fou Fey, John Laurenvil.

ZAFÉ FANM – Darrline Sensuel.

KOPDA – Konbit Peyzan Pou Developman, Ansajo Reginal Legeme.

FANM GRAMA – Caroline Gaspard.

AJAM/A – Asociación de Jóvenes Progresistas de Marmelade, Fénélus Sinel, tesorero general.

CONAREM – Coordinación Nacional Ciudadana por la Reivindicación de las Masas, Jean Lesly Préval, secretario de la organización.

ANAMMAPME – Jean Oscalhome Florvil.
MPPG – Jean Phaliére Rezil.

Carta de organizaciones sociales y politicas de Brasil al parlamento:

Estimados Ministros y Parlamentarios del Brasil

Los movimientos sociales brasileños estamos avergonzados por el triste papel que nuestras tropas militares están desempeñando en Haití.

No hay noticias en la historia de la humanidad que una tropa de ocupación extranjera haya aportado por mejorar las condiciones de vida de un pueblo. Y mucho menos para su liberación!

Imagine lo contrario, si hubiese tropa extranjera en nuestro país, cuál sería vuestra posición?

La presencia de las tropas brasileñas, además de avergonzarnos como pueblo, hiere duramente la soberanía del heroico del pueblo haitiano que sufre las malezas de años de exploración.

Nuestro apoyo debe ser material, de intercambio educacional cultural, jamás militar.

Las Naciones Unidas están gastando por año, (alrededor de 500 millones de dólares) para mantener las tropas, sería mas que suficiente para resolver los problemas fundamentales del pueblo de falta de: energía, alimentos, vivienda, educación y empleo.

Vergonzoso es saber que nuestras tropas están alojadas en las dependencias de una universidad que debería ser un espacio de acumulo de conocimiento.

En estos cinco años, no tenemos noticias de ninguna mejoría en las condiciones de vida del pueblo. Todo al contrario!

Nosotros como movimientos sociales brasileños, estamos dispuestos a ayudar de la forma que el pueblo haitiano solicite.

Si ustedes tienen aun dudas sobre lo que piensan las organizaciones del pueblo haitiano, lean los mensajes que hemos recibidoŠ

Sabemos que el Congreso Nacional Brasileño necesita renovar el permiso para mantener las tropas por allá.

Apelamos a vuestras conciencias. Retiren lo antes posible las tropas brasileñas y ofrezcan en cambio ayuda económica, profesores, técnicos, que sería más prudente, humanitario y necesario.

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