August 30, 2005
Half-Hour for Haiti: Join the U.S./UN Out of Haiti Campaign
Update on previous actions: Thanks to everyone who wrote to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions last week urging an investigation of theAugust 20: Grande Ravine Football Game Massacre. We have not received a response from the Special Rapporteur, but the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) condemned the killings, and�announced it would investigate last week. This week MINUSTAH�announced measures to control the Haitian Police. The Football Game Massacre has received increasing press attention, including articles in�Newsday, Reuters and the Washington Times. We will file an updated complain with the Special Rapporteur soon, and post it onwww.ijdh.org.
Action: This week�s action is a letter to President Bush, Senators and Congressional Representatives issued by the International Action Center, calling for 1) an end to the persecution of pro-democracy activists in Haiti; 2) the departure of U.S. and MINUSTAH troops from Haiti; and 3) the return of Haiti�s democratically elected government.
The sample letter is below, but to sign it you need to go to the website,http://www.iacenter.org/haiticampaign.shtml . From there it is easy- you simply fill out the form, edit the letter if you would like, and click �send.�
President Bush, Senators, and Congressional Representatives:
U.S. , U.N. Out of Haiti Now! Stop the massacres. Return democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide to power.
On Feb. 29, 2004, U.S. Marines kidnapped the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, forcing him to fly to the Central African Republic and overthrowing his government (Washington Post, March 16, 2004 – “Aristide Back in Caribbean Heat – Before Arriving in Jamaica, Haitian Details ‘Coup’ by U.S.” -�http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61549-2004Mar15.html). Since that time, the U.S.-installed and -supported illegitimate government of Haiti has been responsible for the murder of thousands of trade union, community and political activists. It has imprisoned thousands more. It has committed all these crimes with the complete complicity of the Bush administration.
The repression of the people of Haiti at the hands of the US/UN occupation forces continues unabated. On July 6, 2005, United Nations forces (MINUSTAH) invaded Cit�-Soleil. Over 300 UN/MINUSTAH troops supported by tanks and helicopter gunships carried out this outrageous, criminal attack. Eyewitness accounts, photos and video have documented this all-out military assault against the supporters of President Aristide. UN/MINSUTAH forces firing indiscriminately killed and wounded dozens of women, children and men.
On July 14 UN/MINUSTAH forces again attacked Cit�-Soleil. This time they were responsible for killing three young children who were asleep in their homes. UN officials have claimed that UN/MINUSTAH was chasing “bandits.” It has been well documented, however, that Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega and U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James Foley are in fact calling the shots. The two U.S. officials have demanded that the UN/MINUSTAH take tougher action against Fanmi Lavalas and other popular forces who are organizing against the occupation (The Guardian Unlimited, July 18, 2005 – “6/7: The Massacre of the Poor That the World Ignored” –
This must stop and it must stop now!
The situation for the thousands of political prisoners in Haiti has become desperate. This is especially true for Prime Minister Yvon Neptune; legendary Fanmi Lavalas activist and singer So-Anne and most recently Father Jean-Juste.
Prime Minister Yvon Neptune has been imprisoned for over a year and like many others, has never been charged with a crime. In spite of poor health, Neptune has been on a hunger strike for the past several months demanding that he either be released or formally charged.
So-Anne has also been imprisoned for over a year. On May 10, 2004, in the middle of the night, heavily armed U.S. Marines blew open the door to So-Anne’s house and arrested nine members of her family including her 5-year-old granddaughter.
Father Jean-Juste was arrested on July 21, 2005, while attending the funeral for Haitian journalist, Jacques Roche, a strong supporter of the coup. He was initially charged with the murder of Roche. When it was shown that Father Jean-Juste was in Miami at the time of the killing, the charges were changed to kidnapping. Like many others he has never seen a judge nor has he been formally charged. Fr. Jean-Juste is considered second to Aristide inside the Fanmi Lavalas party.
These are just a few of the more famous prisoners being held.
In 2000 President Aristide was elected to a second term with 92 percent of the vote. Almost from day one the U.S. government demanded concessions from Aristide and imposed economic sanctions on Haiti, denying food, medicine and other necessities of life to the population. During this same period the U.S. actively supported the so-called “Democratic Convergence,” the right-wing opposition, both economically and politically.
President Aristide is currently in exile in South Africa. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, impoverished by centuries of slavery and colonial exploitation by France, Canada and the U.S. Since the February 2004 coup, living conditions for the Haitian people have deteriorated significantly. While the wealthy are wining and dining, the vast majority of the people are living on less than $1 a day in spite of the fact that Haiti has coffee, sugar and uranium as well as a deep water port.
This is an outrageous injustice!
I stand in solidarity with my Haitian sisters and brothers as well as people throughout the world and demand that:
ALL political prisoners currently held in Haiti be immediately released and that the violent and systematic repression of trade union, community, Fanmi Lavalas activists and all popular forces end immediately! The U.S. government must stop aiding and arming the terrorist, paramilitary groups that interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue relies on to terrorize the people of Haiti.
ALL U.S. and UN/MINUSTAH troops must be withdrawn today!
The U.S. government must stop supplying weapons to the illegitimate government of Haiti! These weapons are being used against the people of Haiti who have a right to resist this illegal and criminal occupation.
President Aristide must be allowed to return to Haiti and reclaim his position as President of Haiti. Sincerely,
For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti or human rights in Haiti, see www.ijdh.org.