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Edition Electronique

Vol. 8, No. 28
Du  Jan  21  au  Jan 27. 2015

Electronic Edition

Kòrdinasyon Desalin: Conférence de presse



New York:
During All-Day Demonstration, Hundreds Demand
UN Out of Haiti!

by Kim Ives


On August 5, Haitians and their international supporters held a boisterous eight-hour demonstration in front of the United Nations General Headquarters in Manhattan to demand the immediate withdrawal of UN occupation troops from Haiti and the payment of reparations to the families of the 6,000 Haitians who have now been killed by a cholera epidemic. The disease was imported into Haiti by UN troops last October.

Organizers estimate that a few hundred demonstrators cycled through the picket-line in Ralph Bunche Plaza during the course of the all-day demonstration, which began at 10 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m.. At any given time during the day, there were about 70 people holding signs and chanting anti-occupation slogans like “UN Troops Out of Haiti Now!” and “Down with MINUSTAH!”, the acronym for the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti.

A number of demonstrators paraded with symbolic card-board coffins in front of others waving blue and red Haitian flags, as journalists photographed and filmed. On the side of the coffins, which were covered with images of skulls, one could read slogans like “UN Troops Brought Cholera to Haiti!” and “Reparations Now for Cholera Victims!

 The demonstration was called by a new committee called the “Komite Sitwayen pou Pwoteksyon Ayisyen” (KOSIPPA) or Citizens Committee for the Protection of Haitians. Numerous other Haitian community groups in the New York area supported the action, as well as U.S. groups like the International Action Center, the ANSWER Coalition, and the Newark-based Peoples Organization for Progress (POP).

 The MINUSTAH was first deployed in Haiti on June 1, 2004, to take over from U.S., French, and Canadian troops which occupied Haiti immediately following the February 29, 2004 coup d’état against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

 Generally, the UN Security Council renews MINUSTAH’s mandate for one year every year. The last mandate expires on October 15, 2011, and most Haitians are demanding that it not be renewed.

 However, Washington and its allies want to keep the occupation in place, even now after seven and a half years. “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,” wrote US Ambassador Janet Sanderson in an October 1, 2008 secret embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to Haïti Liberté. MINUSTAH “is an indispensable tool in realizing core USG [US government] policy interests in Haiti.

 On July 28, 2011, the 96th anniversary of the 1915 U.S. Marine occupation of Haiti, a coalition of grassroots organizations also demonstrated in Port-au-Prince to demand an end to the UN occupation.

Vol. 5 No. 4 • Du 10 au 16 Août 2011

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