[News] The United Nations Will Fail Haiti Once Again

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 14 11:31:46 EDT 2014


October 14, 2014
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/14/the-united-nations-will-fail-haiti-once-again/


*Pull Out the Occupation Troops*


  The United Nations Will Fail Haiti Once Again

by KEVIN EDMONDS & AJAMU NANGWAYA

On October 15 
<http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2119.pdf>, 
the United Nations Security Council will meet to "debate" the extension 
of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) which 
has acted as an occupying force in the country since the summer of 2004. 
MINUSTAH was created to put an end to the Multinational Interim Force 
(primarily made up of U.S., French, Canadian and Chilean troops) which 
occupied Haiti after an internationally backed coup d'état ousted the 
democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide and his Fanmi 
Lavalas party from power on February 29, 2004.

During these ten years, MINUSTAH has compiled a horrific record of human 
rights abuses, including but not limited to extrajudicial murder, an 
epidemic of sexual assault against Haitian men, women and children, the 
repression of peaceful political protests, in addition to unleashing 
cholera through criminal negligence which has caused the death of over 
9,000 people 
<http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/haiti-cholera-counter> and infecting 
nearly a million more. Despite these well documented abuses, the 
historical record has shown that the Security Council will mostly likely 
renew MINUSTAH for another year without any thought to damage being done 
to Haiti. As evidence of how little resistance there is to the renewal 
of MINUSTAH's mandate in the United Nations, on August 21 
<http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/C.5/68/26>, 
MINUSTAH's budget was extended to June 2015 -- clearly signalling that 
the occupation is certain to continue.

When one examines the level of instability in Haiti which is used as the 
justification for MINUSTAH's continued presence in the country, the 
United Nations' argument of protecting the Haitian people from 
themselves falls flat. Despite the mainstream media portrayal of Haiti 
as a lawless and dangerous country, in 2012, it had a homicide rate of 
10.2 per 100,000 
<http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Homicide-rates-double-in-Haiti-over-a-5-year-period----UN-study> people, 
ranking it as one of the least violent countries in Latin America and 
the Caribbean -- in contrast to Washington DC which sat at 13.71 per 
100,000 
<http://homicidewatch.org/2013/06/17/d-c-2012-murder-rate-ranked-8th-among-nations-most-populated-cities/>. 
Furthermore, to argue that it is the presence MINUSTAH which has acted 
as a stabilizing force which has kept violence down, the United Nations 
Office on Drugs and Crime reported that 
<http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Homicide-rates-double-in-Haiti-over-a-5-year-period----UN-study> between 
2007 and 2012, Haiti's homicide rate doubled from 5.1 to 10.2 per 100,000.

For the fiscal year running from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, $609.18 
million 
<http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/facts.shtml> was 
allocated to MINUSTAH. In the ten years in which MINUSTAH has been 
operational, their total budget is over $5.5 billion. If this same 
amount had been applied towards human development in the form of 
investments in clean water, sanitation, healthcare and education -- 
Haiti would have the potential reclaim its sovereignty and 
self-determination.

We must be clear, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti is 
not based on any principles of humanitarianism, but rather those of an 
imperialist occupation which seeks to make sure that the island's 
government can implement and maintain repressive policies favourable to 
international investors. Thus the reasons for MINUSTAH's continued 
presence in Haiti were confirmed thanks to revelations by WikiLeaks. In 
one of the most up-front classified cables, from US Ambassador Janet 
Sanderson on October 1, 2008, stated that 
<https://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/10/08PORTAUPRINCE1381.html>, "A 
premature departure of MINUSTAH would leave the [Haitian] 
government...vulnerable to...resurgent populist and anti-market economy 
political forces---reversing gains of the last two years."

The corrupt and repressive regime of President Michel Martelly has 
proudly boasted that 
<http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CFEQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.globalresearch.ca%2Fhaiti-is-open-for-business-government-complicity-in-wage-theft-by-foreign-factories%2F5360409&ei=_u06VOytI82nyAS_wIHYCg&usg=AFQjCNFtPegPzgzp_NJ8ZyS3QrZo5bLqBQ&sig2=g71OjaJL3BT1_7oUje0asg> "Haiti 
is open for business". Indeed, this is true -- however it is the people 
and the land that are being sold. Canadian mining companies like St. 
Genevive and Eurasian Minerals have taken advantage of weak laws to 
prospect new sites covering enormous swaths of territory (an estimated 
1/3 of Northern Haiti 
<http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/02/haitian-senate-calls-for-halt-to-mining-activities/> has 
been granted to companies via permit), setting up the potential for 
substantial displacement through forced evictions and environmental 
destruction. Montreal based Gildan Activewear (the world's largest 
manufacturer of blank T-shirts) has routinely pressured the Haitian 
government to block an increase in Haiti's abysmally low daily minimum 
wage 
<http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thestar.com%2Fnews%2Fworld%2F2014%2F02%2F11%2Fhaitian_garment_workers_low_pay_has_them_still_going_hungry.html&ei=_u06VOytI82nyAS_wIHYCg&usg=AFQjCNGRYI9wcBnmwWabKtlxR0iiLbuXjA&sig2=Y5kJEqt0UYsOJMCZgBXMAg> and 
have undermined unionization efforts 
<http://en.maquilasolidarity.org/node/1040> in their plants.

MINUSTAH has carried out a series of human rights violations resulting 
in a loss of Haitian sovereignty, stability, dignity and life. Its 
record of engaging in acts of extrajudicial murder, sexual assault, 
suppressing peaceful political protests, undermining democracy and 
introducing cholera into Haiti are more than enough grounds to revoke 
its mandate. Yet for geopolitical and economic reasons, this does not 
happen.

As people of good conscience and principled internationalists, we 
collectively have the capacity and the resources to force an end to the 
military occupation of Haiti. However, we will not be able to fulfill 
this potential and stand in solidarity with the laboring classes in 
Haiti, if we don't organize campaigns in Canada 
<https://www.facebook.com/campaigntoendtheoccupationofhaiti> and across 
the world 
<http://haitinominustah.info/2014/06/01/call-to-mobilize-to-end-military-occupation-of-haiti-june-1-october-15-2014/> that 
pressure contributing states to end their provision of military and 
police personnel to MINUSTAH's occupation force.

Our opposition to the military occupation of Haiti ought to take the 
form of grassroots-oriented campaigns that educate, mobilize, and 
organize membership-based organizations to add the end to the occupation 
to their organizational programme. It is critically necessary to reach 
out to the people in the spaces in which they are present, and offer 
specific actions that they may carry out to force the withdrawal of the 
occupation troops.

We have a moral and political obligation to support the struggle for 
self-determination by the popular classes in Haiti. The successful 
Haitian Revolution eliminated the enslavement of Afrikans in Haiti, and 
lit the fire of freedom in slaveholding states in the Americas.

The people of Haiti demonstrated their solidarity 
<http://thoughtmerchant.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/latin-americas-debt-to-haiti-the-untold-story/> with 
the colonized peoples in South America by providing a place of refuge, 
guns, ammunition, personnel, and a printing press to Simon Bolivar's 
campaign to liberate the region from Spanish colonialism. The French 
Revolution and the American Revolution cannot lay claim to being beacons 
and agents of emancipation in the Americas.

As we work to rid Haiti of MINUSTAH's occupation forces, we ought to be 
motivated by the fact that we are continuing a long and proud tradition 
of people-to-people solidarity in support of emancipation in the 
Americas. Haiti is the architect and pioneer of this principled 
political tradition. We should remember this legacy as we call for the 
Security Council to pull out the occupation troops from Haiti.

/*Kevin Edmonds *is a PhD student and member of the Toronto Haiti Action 
Committee and the Campaign to End the Occupation of Haiti./

/*Ajamu Nangwaya* Ph.D., is an educator. He is an organizer with the 
Campaign to End the Occupation of Haiti, and the Organization of Afrikan 
Struggles and International Solidarity./

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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