The Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network is a network of groups and individuals who are working in solidarity with people struggling for social justice and environmental protection in Latin America, the Caribbean and in our own region.
We are writing to express our support for the popular movement in Haiti, which has been pushing for the resignation of President Martelly and Prime Minister Lamothe, and for a process to begin that will result in the holding of long delayed elections.
Prime Minister Lamothe did resign on December 14th, but President Martelly has nominated Evans Paul to take Lamothe’s place, and has reached an unconstitutional accord with the leaders of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies to extend members terms in office. Many protesters have also called for better living conditions and the end of the occupation of their country by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Thousands of people have taken to the streets of several cities in Haiti on many occasions in the past few months to make the strength of their convictions known.
MINUSTAH, the police and other officials have reacted with violence, resulting in many injuries and the deaths of at least six protesters. Many have also been arrested. (1)
The Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network is particularly concerned about Canada’s role in robbing Haitians of their democratic rights. The Canadian government was instrumental in the fraudulent election of President Martelly. (2)
Canada has also played a significant role in MINUSTAH over the years. MINUSTAH was installed in Haiti shortly after the 2004 coup against President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Aristide and his party, Fanmi Lavalas, had won landslide victories in elections in 2000. The whole of Haiti’s government, from the local to the national level was removed from power during the coup. We are convinced by very credible evidence that this illegal ouster was planned and carried out by France, Canada and the United States. A paramilitary force, which was probably backed by the US, and members of the small Haitian elite also played their part. (3)
After the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti five years ago on January 12th, 2010 in which over 220,000 people were killed and millions lost their homes, there was a lot of talk of reconstruction. Unfortunately this reconstruction has not come anywhere near to living up to expectations. (4) In fact further damage was done when MINUSTAH brought cholera to Haiti through the negligent release of sewage into the Arbonite and La Mielle Rivers. So far 8,854 people have died and 725,802 have become ill from the disease. Five of the people affected by this outbreak are suing the UN in a US court. (5)
As do Canadians, Haitians have a right to self-determination, including the right to participate in free and fair elections. We call on the Canadian government to reverse the democracy-trampling policy that has existed since before the 2004 coup, through both Liberal and Conservative governments. We support the demands of the popular movement in Haiti for President Martelly’s resignation and for a truly democratic process, in keeping with the Haitian constitution, to begin so that free and fair elections can be held as soon as possible. We also call for an end to the occupation of Haiti by MINUSTAH and for the UN to pay reparations for bringing cholera to Haiti.
1. “Anti-Martelly Protests Grow in Haiti” by Isabelle L. Papillon and Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, October 29, 2014; “As Martelly prepares to jettison Lamothe: Nationwide uprising gains strength in Haiti” by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, December 3, 2014; and “In Haiti, only the face of power has changed” by Amy Wilentz, in LA Times, Dec. 26, 2014. You can also find all of these articles on the Canada Haiti Action Network website.
2. Yves Engler’s book The Ugly Canadian, pp. 223-225, Red Publishing, Fernwood Publishing, 2012.
3. Canada Haiti Action Network’s: Apology to Haiti.
4. “Outsourcing Haiti: How disaster relief became a disaster of it” By Jake Johnston, published in Boston Review, January 16, 2014.
5. CBC The Current: US courts must decide if United Nations is responsible for bringing cholera to Haiti.