high-ranking UN official is now saying that the Security Council
plans to keep UN troops in Haiti for another three years despite
a unanimous Haitian Senate resolution demanding their departure
no later than May 2014.
On Oct.10, a large
international delegation met with United Nations officials at
the UN headquarters in New York to express their strong
opposition to the continuing foreign military occupation of
Haiti and to demand the immediate withdrawal of troops. The same
day, the Security Council
voted to renew the mandate
deploying UN troops in Haiti for another year, until Oct. 15,
Led by Haitian Senator Moïse
Jean-Charles, the 14 delegates from Haiti, Brazil, Mexico,
Guadeloupe, and the United States met with William Gardner, the
Integrated Operational Team Leader for the UN’s Europe and Latin
America Division of the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO),
and his assistant Patrick Hein.
This is the third year that the
international committee “To Defend Haiti is to Defend
Ourselves,” based in Brazil, has organized a delegation to
pressure UN officials to withdraw the UN Mission to Stabilize
Haiti (MINUSTAH), which was deployed on Jun. 1, 2004.
At last year’s meeting,
Gardner said that the
MINUSTAH would possibly be withdrawn after 2015. At this year’s
meeting, he pushed back the “possible” exit date another year
“So the Secretary General will
provide to the Council in his next report [on Haiti] in March a
series of proposals for a post-2016 scenario, which could
include a departure of MINUSTAH,” Gardner told the delegates in
a conference room on the Secretariat’s 27th floor.
“All options are possible.”
The response outraged the
delegates, who all presented arguments for why the UN must leave
“In 2004, President George Bush
invited Brazil’s president [Ignacio da Silva] Lula to have
Brazil lead UN troops in Haiti for only six months,” said
Barbara Coralles, the coordinator of the Brazilian anti-MINUSTAH
committee which has affiliates throughout Latin America, North
America, and Europe. “Now, it’s been almost 10 years. Why is the
sovereignty of the Haitian people being trampled?”
Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles
stressed that the Haitian people, via their elected
representatives, have resoundingly rejected the presence of UN
troops on Haitian soil, which is in flagrant violation of the
Haitian Constitution and of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
“We are not at war,”
Jean-Charles told Gardner. “How can we have United Nations
troops stationed in Haiti? In a Senate resolution we called for
MINUSTAH’s withdrawal from the country and we clearly said:
after May 28, 2014, MINUSTAH should be out of Haiti.”
“It is a form of modern
colonialism,” the senator added. “It is obstructing our
The delegates from Guadeloupe,
Mexico, and the U.S. also explained to Gardner why people in
their nations opposed the MINUSTAH and would fight for its end.
“We would like to see the UN
live on,” said Colia Clark of the Guadeloupe Haiti Tour
Committee, who has visited Haiti several times to speak against
MINUSTAH, “but live on as a body that represents the people of
the world and not the international corporate capitalist
interests, especially those of the United States, that it now
seems to serve.” Clark is a veteran of the U.S. civil rights
struggles, having worked and marched with Medgar Evers and
Martin Luther King, Jr..
The delegation also visited
with unions in New York with an eye to deepening ties of
solidarity and support. On Oct. 10 it met with Arthur Cheliotes,
the President of Local 1180 of the Communications Workers of
America (CWA) and on Oct. 11 with Ozzie Lo Verme, the president
of Local 808 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Finally the delegation held a
meeting with the Haitian community of New York at Haïti
Liberté’s Brooklyn office on the evening of Oct. 11, where
Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, Yves Pierre-Louis of Haïti Liberté’s
Port-au-Prince office, and Eddy Damas and Jocelyn Lapitre of the
delegation from Guadeloupe spoke. Luis Baro, a representative of
the Cuban Embassy in New York, also attended the meeting and
spoke, as did Colia Clark.
Below is the final resolution
put out by the delegation that visited the UN.
2004 - 2014: Ten Years Is Enough!
UN-MINUSTAH Troops Out of Haiti Now!
We -- the undersigned political and trade
union leaders, human rights activists, peace and democratic
rights activists -- have been mandated by the Continental
Conference For the Withdrawal of UN-MINUSTAH Troops from Haiti
-- To Defend Haiti Is To Defend Ourselves" to present to the
United Nations officials in New York the conference's unanimous
- Immediate withdrawal of UN-MINUSTAH
troops from Haiti!
- Compensation for all the victims of the
The Continental Conference was held in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on May 31-June 1, 2013, with the
participation of 140 delegates from ten countries. It was the
third such conference since 2008.
Our delegation was received at
the United Nations on Oct. 10, 2013, by Mr. William Gardner,
Integrated Operational Team Leader, Europe and Latin America
Division, Office of Operations, UN DPKO, to whom we presented
the results of the Continental Conference.
Our delegation underscored, in
particular, the importance of the resolution adopted by the
Haitian Senate, which, as a co-custodian of Haiti's national
sovereignty, took a stand to demand "a gradual and orderly
withdrawal of U.N. troops in a lapse of time not exceeding one
year (1) to be counted from the date of the vote of the present
resolution, i.e., no later than May 28, 2014."
Based on the reports presented
by the Haitian delegates to the UN officials, our delegation was
able to put the spotlight on the current situation in a country
that for 10 years has suffered under the boot of military
occupation, focusing in particular on the involvement of the
UN-MINUSTAH forces in political repression in response to the
popular mobilizations; the absence of calls to hold elections;
the impossibility to hold truly democratic elections in a
country under military occupation; the increased abuses by the
UN troops (all protected by UN impunity); and the inhumane
situation of Haitians living in the Diaspora.
Mr. Gardner, representing the
United Nations, replied that in defiance of the will of the
sovereign institutions of Haiti and of the Haitian people
themselves, "the United Nations will maintain the MINUSTAH
troops in Haiti until at least 2016."
Also, in opposition to the
Haitian Senate's resolution on the matter of the cholera
epidemic, which calls on the UN to pay reparations to all the
victims, Mr. Gardner responded that the United Nations was not
responsible and that it would not pay reparations to the
Our delegation reaffirmed that
the campaign will continue and broaden to demand the immediate
withdrawal of the UN-MINUSTAH troops from Haiti. In this vein,
our delegation calls upon all governments to respect the
resolution voted by the Haitian Senate in the name of the
Haitian people for the withdrawal of the UN-MINUSTAH troops "no
later than May 28, 2014."
That is why our delegation
calls for the continued and broadest mobilization on all
continents for the immediate withdrawal of the UN-MINUSTAH
troops from Haiti.
Ten years is enough! Let's make
2014 the year of the broadest and most powerful mobilizations
for the withdrawal of UN-MINUSTAH troops from Haiti.
* Let us demand that
governments throughout Latin America and the Caribbean -- as
well as all governments involved in the occupation of Haiti --
immediately carry out the withdrawal of these troops from Haiti!
* Let us call upon the
parliaments/congresses of these countries to insist that they
respond positively in solidarity with the appeal issued by the
* In each country, let us reach
out more widely to the popular, democratic, political and trade
union organizations and invite them to join this campaign in the
manner they consider most appropriate!
In the framework of the
decisions of the Continental Conference held in Haiti on May
31-June 1, 2013, the organizations involved in the campaigns
that were adopted are currently considering initiatives at the
continental level for the first semester of 2014, including the
perspective of holding a Fourth Conference on Haiti. As these
decisions are taken, we pledge to get the word out widely to
deepen the campaign.
More than ever, the demands
raised by the 2013 Continental Conference are the order of the
day for all peoples the world over:
- For the Immediate Withdrawal of UN-MINUSTAH
Troops from Haiti!
- To Defend Haiti Is to Defend Ourselves!
SIGNATORIES (the Delegation):
HAITI: Moise Jean-Charles, Senator; Fignolé
Louis St-Cyr, CATH; Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté - BRAZIL:
Barbara Corrales, Committee "To Defend Haiti Is to Defend
Ourselves!" - UNITED STATES: Larry Adams, Peoples Organization
for Progress; Ray Laforest, Communication Workers of America
Local 1180; Nat Wood, Producer, MNN Public Television; Colia
Lafayette Clark, Guadeloupe-Haiti Tour Committee; Quincy Saul,
Eco-Socialist Horizons; Anthony Gronowicz, New York City Green
Party; Nellie Bailey, Occupy Harlem - GUADELOUPE: Eddy Damas,
Executive board member and communications director, General
Union of Workers of Guadeloupe (UGTG); Jocelyn Lapitre,
representative, Association of Workers and Peoples of the
Caribbean (ATPC) - MEXICO: Luis Alfonso Vázquez Villalobos,
representative, Organization of Workers and Peoples (OPT).
The delegation was supported by messages,
motions and letters from the following individuals and
ALGERIA: Labatcha, Salim, Deputy, National People's Assembly,
APN (Algeria's Congress), and General Secretary, Federation of
Food and Agricultural Workers, UGTA; Tazibt, Ramdane, Deputy,
APN; Akdjout, Amar, General Secretary, National Federation of
Textile Workers (UGTA); Abdellah El Houari, Wilaya General
Secretary, General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA); Hamarnia,
Mohamed Tayeb, National Organization Secretary, UGTA; Ben Bessa
Rahima, Deputy, APN; Zitouni Lamtaï, General Secretary,
Organization of African Trade Unions, Metal Mines and Energy
Division; Dheb Ben Ali, UGTA; Djouambi, Amar, General Secretary,
Trade and Commercial Federation, UGTA; Chaabane, Souraya,
Deputy, APN; Boufenara, Mohamed, Deputy, APN - ARGENTINA:
Argentine Workers Central (CTA) - BOLIVIA: Bolivian Workers
Central (COB) - BRAZIL: Unified Workers Central (CUT) - Eduardo Suplicy, Senator; Union of Workers in the Public Service (Sintrasem)
in the city of Florianópolis - DOMINICA: Arlington Wilson,
Deputy Secretary-General of the National Workers Union, NWU -
FRANCE: Jacques Girod, Force Ouvrière, Paris - UNITED STATES:
Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1180; International
Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 808 - GUADELOUPE:
Association of Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean (ATPC) -
MEXICO: Electrical Workers Union (SME) - PERU: General
Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP); National Federation of
Metalworkers of Peru; National Union of Higher Education
Workers; United Teachers Union of Lima; Federation of Electrical
Workers, CGTP, Section of Lambayeque.