U.S. and Canadian groups oppose elections in Haiti
Haiti Information Project
17 Apr 2009 14:25 GMT
Over dozen members of the San Francisco Bay Area Haiti Action Committee confront the former Head of the U.N. Mission in Haiti Juan Gabriel Valdés last year when he visited UC Berkeley to gloss over his record of injustices. The group left placards showing Haitians — killed by UN occupation forces in Haiti — outside the meeting room where Valdés is seen speaking.
We must appeal to our fellow Americans and Canadians...
HIP - San Francisco — U.S. and Canadian activists have banded together to call for opposition to the upcoming Senate elections scheduled to take place in Haiti on Sunday, April 19. The U.S.-based Haiti Action Committee (HAC) and the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN) contend that the decision by Haiti's election council to exclude the country's largest political party, the Fanmi Lavalas party, "is a blow against democracy." They also state that their governments are directly responsible for Haiti's current situation and are calling for a campaign to "make it a priority to prevent these policies from continuing any longer."
The joint statement was apparently timed to be released on the same day that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives in Haiti to shore up the Preval government before the elections. Her visit comes one day after an international donors conference in Washington D.C. where $324 million dollars in economic assistance was promised to Haiti. A representative of the Haiti Action Committee stated, "We can't allow the donors conference or Clinton's visit to distract from the real issue in Haiti today. These upcoming elections cannot be called democratic if they exclude the majority political party in the country. Stability cannot be built in Haiti upon aid packages that mask exclusion."
Here is the complete statement released by HAC and CHAN this morning:
END THE SUPPRESSION OF DEMOCRACY IN HAITI
A call to action
Haiti Action Committee (U.S.) and the Canada Haiti Action Network (Canada)
The US and Canada undermined Haiti's democratically elected government for years before helping organize its overthrow in 2004. They then offered extensive support and training to an unelected interim regime that oversaw a bloody campaign of repression aimed at Haiti's majority political movement, Fanmi Lavalas. Effectively prevented from participating in the elections that finally took place in 2006, Fanmi Lavalas is again being excluded from senate elections scheduled for 19 April 2009.
This is a call to action to end the suppression of democracy in Haiti.
Under fraudulent pretexts, the US and Canada imposed an aid embargo against Haiti in 2000. While funding, training, and arming the opposition to Haiti's democratically elected government, western governments blocked aid to the poorest country in the hemisphere. After years of starving the Haitian government of money and loudly denouncing its largely imagined human rights abuses, the US and Canada were deeply involved in overthrowing Haitian democracy in February 2004.
The years that followed saw an unelected interim regime installed in Haiti that enjoyed extensive funding and political support from western governments. With US arms and Canadian training, the Haitian police rounded up thousands of political prisoners, gunned down peaceful protestors, and executed Fanmi Lavalas supporters.
The death-toll of Haiti's interim regime rivals that of the military junta that ravaged Haiti after a similar coup erased the results on Haiti's first democratic elections in 1990. The military junta is estimated to have killed 5000 Haitians between 1991 and 1994; under the interim regime from 2004 to 2006, it is estimated that nearly 4000 political killings - overwhelmingly directed at Fanmi Lavalas - took place in the capital city alone.
The difference is that, while the military junta was widely condemned and subjected to an international embargo, Haiti's recent ‘interim regime' was showered with western aid as its repression of Fanmi Lavalas took its bloody toll. In spite of this latest wave of terror, Haiti's pro-democracy movement continues to organize and demonstrate against odds that should leave us humbled.
With many of its leaders and supporters murdered, in prison, or in hiding, Fanmi Lavalas was effectively barred from the elections that finally took place in February 2006. The period since those elections has offered some respite for Haiti's majority political movement, but without concerted action by Americans and Canadians of conscience, the western-backed suppression of Haitian democracy will continue.
In early February 2009, the current Haitian president met with the US Secretary of State. The next day, Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council ruled Fanmi Lavalas be excluded from the upcoming senate elections. When Fanmi Lavalas launched a lawsuit and a judge ruled they could not be disqualified from running, Haiti's electoral council refused to recognize the decision; the current Haitian government subsequently relieved that judge of his duties. Western governments and the media have remained virtually silent as Haitian democracy is once again poised for subversion.
If we too choose to remain silent, we are condoning our governments' consistent policy of undermining Haitian democracy. Silence is complicity. The time has come for action.
We need to organize national campaigns to end our governments' destructive roles in Haiti. A variety of groups have already laid the foundation and their efforts need our support. The US Haiti Action Committee www.haitisolidarity.net&www.HaitiAction.net and the Canada Haiti Action Network www.canadahaitiaction.ca have been working for years raising awareness about the situation in Haiti and supporting the pro-democracy movement there. We need your help and participation.
The media played a critical role in demonizing the Haitian government and turning a blind eye to the attempted destruction of Fanmi Lavalas after the coup. We need to pressure journalists at all levels to cover the story of our government's role in the ongoing suppression of Haitian democracy.
Without action by us, Haitians will continue to be denied democracy by our own elected governments. Such foreign policy does not reflect the will of Americans or Canadians - we need to overwhelm our government representatives with demands that democracy be given a chance in Haiti on April 19th. (See contact information below.)
If the upcoming senate elections fail to include Fanmi Lavalas, it will be another blow against democracy - but our campaign must not end there. We will need to continue to organize and develop strategies to ensure our governments' end their interference in Haiti and make amends for all they have wrought.
We must appeal to our fellow Americans and Canadians, who will support this cause if they are made aware of the situation in Haiti and our governments' role in creating it.
The US and Canadian governments have undermined, overthrown, and suppressed democracy in Haiti. With deeply flawed elections scheduled for 19 April 2009, it is imperative that we make it a priority to prevent these policies from continuing any longer. We should take the amazing resilience of Haiti's pro-democracy movement as our inspiration and do everything we can to demand our governments finally end their suppression of Haitian democracy.
CALL & WRITE TODAY
President Barack Obama
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Minister of International Cooperation
Tel: (613) 992-2792
Fax: (613) 992-2794
Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
Tel: (613) 992-0253
Fax: (613) 992-0887
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tel: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802
NDP Foreign Affairs Critic
Tel: (613) 946-8682
Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic
Tel: (613) 992-5234
Fax: (613) 996-9607
Bloc Quebecois Foreign Affairs Critic
Tel: (613) 995-6327
Fax: (613) 995-5173
Secretary-General United Nations
Tel: (509) 510-2563 ext. 6343
Special Representative of the
UN Secretary-General to Haiti
Tel: (509) 244-9650 or (509) 244-9660
Fax: (509) 244-3512