One unified demand: Withdraw Brazilian and all foreign occupation troops from Haiti!

Publié le par hort

http://www.haitiact HAC/6_18_ 8.html

Lula Haiti visit prompts protests in Brazil, Mexico and San Francisco

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Demonstrators in many Brazilian cities and San Francisco denounced Brazil's brutal 4-year military occupation of Haiti -- on the occasion of the May 28th visit to Haiti by Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva, marking the 4th anniversary of the arrival of Brazilian U.N. troops in Haiti. Organized labor played a key role in coordinating the actions in Brazil.

In Mexico City on May 30th, a high-level Mexican labor delegation, responding to the call of their colleagues in Brazil, met at the Brazilian embassy to demand withdrawal of Brazil’s troops from Haiti and respect for Haitian sovereignty.

In Brazil, the National Campaign for Brazilian Troops Out of Haiti organized actions as part of the May 28th national day of struggle by the CUT trade union federation, seeking a 40-hour workweek. The banner "Brazilian Soldiers Out of Haiti" flew at rallies and marches in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Salvador and state capitals throughout Brazil. Speakers connected the money squandered on the Haiti occupation, with the pressing but unmet needs of people back home in Brazil.

Leading forces in the Troops-Out-of- Haiti campaign include the Unified Black Movement (MNU) and Black Youth Network, along with significant elements of Lula's own Workers Party (PT), the Landless Peasants Movement (MST), and the CUT labor federation. They collected some 6,000 petition signatures, to be presented to President Lula by PT Federal Deputy Fernando Ferro.

While Lula visits, Haitian CIMO police attack vigil for Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

San Francisco rallied May 28th at the Brazilian consulate, in solidarity with the demonstrations in Brazil. Speakers cried out against the attack in Port-au-Prince earlier that day, when CIMO special police roughed up participants in the weekly vigil for disappeared human rights leader Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine at the Place des Martyrs and threw their placards to the ground.

The San Francisco rally, called by Haiti Action Committee with participation by the anti-war group ANSWER, San Francisco Labor Council, Global Women’s Strike and Gabriela Network, denounced the UN mission in Haiti as having been installed, under Brazilian command, to legitimize the 2004 coup against the democratically- elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

UN forces arrived in Haiti as a proxy force, 3 months after US troops kidnapped President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 29, 2004 and installed a coup regime. In the aftermath of the coup, more than 8,000 Aristide supporters were killed and thousands more 'disappeared' , exiled or thrown into prison, where most remain locked up to this day. The entire government apparatus, down to the village level, was ‘cleansed’ of Aristide supporters during the coup..

Brazil's legacy in Haiti - Massacres in the poor neighborhoods

Brazil commands the 9,000-strong UN 'peacekeeping' force in Haiti, which committed massacres in poor working-class neighborhoods on July 6, 2005, on December 22, 2006, February 2007 and many other occasions -- attacking the civilians who are the base of support for President Aristide and his widely popular Lavalas political movement. Scores of women, children and men were killed in these massive, day-long raids involving as many as 400 troops, tanks and helicopter gunships. UN troops have also been caught committing rapes, sexual abuse of children and running prostitution rings in the poor neighborhoods.

State repression continues as a daily fact of life in Haiti:

*** A thousand pro-Aristide political prisoners are still crammed into Haiti's jails and prisons, most being held for many months or years without charges and without ever seeing a judge. Many were arrested by UN soldiers on suspicion of being Aristide sympathizers and turned over to Haitian police.

*** On April 11th, UN soldiers smashed up an open-air market in the capital, assaulting street vendors, killing at least three and torching the stalls with flamethrowers.

*** On May 28th, as UN troops and National Police massed in the streets of the Haitian capital for Lula's visit, black-uniformed CIMO special police attacked the peaceful weekly vigil for Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine at the Place des Martyrs, roughing up seven of the vigilers and throwing their placards and banners to the ground.

The mobilization for Pierre-Antoine' s safe return continues: in the U.S. Congress; on the streets (weekly vigils in Haiti, as well as at Brazil's embassy in London and Los Angeles consulate), and on the internet (Petition to Save Lovinsky). For information go to
http://www.globalwo menstrike. net/Haiti/ HaitiIndex. htm#Lovinskylink To read the powerful new letter to the Brazilian government from the distinguished independence leader and elder from Guyana, Mr. Eusi Kwayana, demanding action to ensure the safe return of Brother Lovinsky, go to http://www.haitisol article.php? id=248

Lula's troops "not leaving anytime soon" - despite rising protests in Brazil & Haiti

The Miami Herald quoted Lula's foreign ministry as saying "the main purpose” of Lula’s trip to Haiti “will be to figure out what role Brazil and the...U.N. Stabilization Mission, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, can play in the 'restoration of democracy' in Haiti." This may be a tall order, given the blue helmets' sordid history of rapes and massacres of the poor in the Haitian capital -- and their role in consolidating the coup d'etat that overthrew Haiti's democratically elected government in 2004.

Lula, meeting with President Rene Preval, said Minustah was "succeeding in their mission" (Reuters), while Lula’s Defense Minister Nelson Jobim promised to deploy 100 additional Brazilian soldiers (AP). While giving a pep talk to Brazilian troops, Lula compared the UN mission in Haiti to "a soccer game that has only reached halftime," adding that "the second half is a time to take the initiative," according to Associated Press.

But persistent protests in both Brazil and Haiti are demanding Minustah's departure. Miami Herald pointed out that "like his Chilean and Argentine counterparts, Lula is facing domestic pressure to pull his troops out of Haiti." In Haiti, thousands rallied against the U.N. in April during militant mass demonstrations over the soaring cost of food, shouting for the blue helmets to leave Haiti.

The movement is building in Brazil. In Paraná the Coalition of Social Movements (CMS) of Paraná, which includes the CUT labor federation, the landless peasant movement and student groups, announced that a rally would be held in June to demand troops out of Haiti. In Salvador, a debate was being organized on the same theme.

On April 30th in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia, a delegation including Fernando Ferro, federal deputy from Lula's Workers Party (PT) and Markus Sokol, member of the PT National Executive Board, met in Planalto Palace with Lula's chief of staff, Gilberto Carvalho. They delivered a letter to Lula demanding withdrawal of all Brazilian military forces from Haiti. The letter was signed by 16 prominent Brazilian members of Parliament, trade union officials, and representatives of peasant, student and women's organizations. The delegation delivered an Open Letter from a Haitian American, David Josue, describing in graphic detail the July 6, 2005 massacre of innocent Haitian women, children and men by UN troops under Brazilian command, and appealing to Lula to put an end to the brutal foreign occupation of Haiti.

The anger of Brazilian unionists and peace activists was heightened when it was announced that more than 464 million Reais (US$290 million) have been spent over the past four years -- funds desperately needed for people's needs in Brazil -- to attack the sovereignty of the Haitian people.

However, a Brazilian foreign ministry spokesperson told the Miami Herald: "At this moment, the Brazilian position has been to renew our work with MINUSTAH. We don't have the intention of leaving." The Miami Herald reported: "Rubens Barbosa, a Brazil-based consultant who served as Brazil's ambassador to the United States from 1999 to 2004, said that while he believes Brazil should end its mission in Haiti because of the costs, he sees the South American nation staying involved [in Haiti] for the foreseeable future."

Nevertheless, Brazil is feeling growing pressure to withdraw its troops. In Mexico City on May 30th, a delegation of Mexican trade unionists met to dialogue with officials at the Brazilian Embassy in Mexico City, joining their Brazilian comrades in calling for Brazil’s military to leave Haiti now. The delegation included Salome Herber Aguilar, a leader of the Miners and Metal Workers Union (SNT-MMSRM ); Nivardo Rodriguez Morales and Fernando Mendoza, leaders of Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE; and Armando Pasos Cabrera, from SITUAM. Like the Brazilians, they presented an Open Letter to President Lula raising the Troops Out Now demand.

Publié dans African diaspora

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