CALL-OUT – Pan-Canadian Week of Action to Condemn Sham Elections in Haiti
November 12-20, 2005
STOP RIGGING ELECTIONS AGAINST HAITI’S POOR MAJORITY!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS – RESTORE HAITI’S SOVEREIGNTY NOW!
October 15, 2005 – The Canada Haiti Action Network invites all supporters to join us in a Pan-Canadian Week of Action to demonstrate the growing opposition to Canada’s disastrous policies in Haiti. With a launch on Parliament Hill in Ottawa at 1pm on November 12, Haiti solidarity organizers in at least six different cities ( Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver) will be holding demonstrations and other activities called to condemn the Canada-backed sham elections in Haiti.
We are demanding that the Government of Canada:
* Withdraw the support of Elections Canada and all other bodies from any elections held under current conditions of repression, which include hundreds of political prisoners, police killings and terror, and the exclusion of the poor from participation;
* Demand the immediate release of Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Father Gérard Jean-Juste, former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, the folksinger Annette “Sò Ann” Auguste, and all other political prisoners;
* Discontinue all RCMP training and logistical support for the human rights-abusing Haitian National Police, and withdraw all Canadian logistical support for the UN “peacekeeping” mission-turned repression operation;
* Announce Canada’s support for the position of the governments of the Caribbean community countries (CARICOM) and the African Union, both of which are demanding an investigation into the circumstances of President Aristide’s removal;
* Withdraw and withhold recognition of Haiti’s coup government until President Aristide is returned to oversee the holding of fair elections without repression.
Canada’s Role in Haiti’s Human Rights Crisis
The deeply-impoverished country of Haiti is in the midst of a major human rights crisis, following the coup d’état sponsored by Canada, the US, and France on February 29, 2004.
At the time of the coup, Canadians were told that Haiti’s former President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, had resigned from the elected government he led. This was not true. Aristide was coerced by US marines to leave the country, was forced onto a plane, not told where he was going, and dumped into the French-controlled dictatorship of the Central African Republic. At the request of the US and France, the UN Security Council quickly sanctioned the illegal coup and launched a “peacekeeping” mission that quickly evolved into a military occupation force.
Canadians were also told that Canada would be working with the “international community” – a euphemism for the US and France, Haiti’s former colonizers – to deliver aid to Haiti and help rebuild it. This was also not true. Instead, Canada and the other two coup-backers have overseen the establishment of an unelected government that is facilitating a brutal military occupation that features untold thousands killed, more than a thousand political prisoners including “prisoner of conscience” and potential presidential candidate Father Gérard Jean-Juste, police executions and shootings of unarmed demonstrators, UN military assaults on poor neighbourhoods, journalists murdered and arrested for investigating police abuses, and the poor majority being disenfranchised in a sham, Canadian-backed election process. Meanwhile, the cost of living has skyrocketed, and the turmoil has left the population far worse off than they were before the coup.
For corporate elites in Canada, the US, and Haiti itself, this disaster is already paying dividends. Having failed to overcome President Aristide’s resistance to the privatization of Haiti’s major state enterprises (telephone, electricity, water, etc.), the economic plans being laid for Haiti by the coup government and the World Bank are set to turn the country into an even more easily exploited sweatshop zone, where Canadian and American corporations can extract even greater profits without fear of interference from a Haitian government interested in protecting its population. A few Canadian companies, such as Gildan Activewear and SNC-Lavalin, have already begun to cash-in on the new, more business-friendly environment established following the coup. Share prices for these companies are flying while Haitians are dying.
Enough is enough. The solidarity movement now building across Canada through the Canada Haiti Action Network is calling for an immediate end to these abuses, and the return of Haiti’s constitutionally elected government. We reject the deployment of Canada’s own Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley to lead the “monitoring mission” appointed to bless this sham election in the same way that sham occupation elections were blessed by Kingsley in Iraq earlier this year. Jean-Pierre Kingsley is in a clear conflict of interest, given his position on the Board of Directors of IFES, a US-funded NGO with direct links to the International Republican Institute and other groups that worked to undermine Haiti’s democracy and foment the coup.
People and groups from all social justice movements are invited to join us for these events, and we welcome the organization of other actions under this banner. All organizations interested in endorsing this pan-Canadian Week of Action, please contact Canada Haiti Action Network at (613) 864-1590, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsored by: Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN), linking:
Haiti Action Halifax Hamilton Haiti Action Committee
Haiti Solidarity BC Haiti Action Montréal
Ottawa Haiti Solidarity Committee Toronto Haiti Action Committee