Responding to Washington's Haiti Coup
— Caribbean People's Statement
CARIBBEAN PEOPLE, REPRESENTATIVES of Caribbean organizations and people of Caribbean descent meeting in Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday March 20th, 2004, unanimously agreed to call on CARICOM Governments to take the following steps as a matter of urgency. In addition we committed ourselves to immediately begin to mobilize public opinion and action in the Caribbean region ourselves, to oppose and reverse the deadly threat to democracy in the Caribbean resulting from the violent overthrow of the Aristide Government by criminal forces supported by the United States of America and France.
We support CARICOM's principled call for an investigation under the auspices of the United Nations to clarify the circumstances leading to President Aristide's demission from office and departure from Haiti accompanied by U.S. marines.
The investigation should be broad enough to determine whether the armed assault on the government and people of Haiti was supported by any foreign governments or agencies, and/or elements of the domestic opposition within Haiti, and whether there were illegal clandestine efforts by external and internal forces to destabilize the elected government of Haiti over the past three years.
We urge CARICOM to act expeditiously to bring an appropriate resolution before the General Assembly of the UN to implement this investigation.
In addition, given the implications of the coup in Haiti for democracy and sovereignty in the region, we call on CARICOM to immediately pursue its own investigation.
We further call upon the governments of the Caribbean Community to refuse to recognize the illegitimate regime that has been installed in Haiti. Any Caribbean government which officially recognises this regime will, in effect, be repudiating CARICOM'S principled call for an international investigation into the ouster of President Aristide.
RESOLUTION No. 2
We salute the Governments which have taken a strong and principled stand in creating conditions to guarantee the safety of President and Mme Aristide: in particular Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and the Government of Jamaica for providing space for them to remain in that country for up to 10 weeks; and President Chavez of Venezuela and President Mbeki of South Africa for offering them asylum.
Further, we urge the Governments of CARICOM to ensure:
- that President and Mme Aristide be provided safe haven in the Caribbean region until their return to Haiti.
- that President and Mme Aristide be allowed to travel and speak freely during this period.
- that they move with alacrity to make a formal request to the UN that President Aristide be permitted to address the United Nations General Assembly about his forced removal from Haiti as soon as possible.
- that they facilitate President Aristide in establishing a Government in Exile within the region if it becomes necessary.
RESOLUTION No. 3
In light of the fact that the abduction of President Aristide and the overthrow of the constitutional, democratically elected government of Haiti and the invasion and occupation of Haiti by armed forces of the USA, France, Canada and Chile constitute flagrant and fundamental breaches of international law, which must be denounced, challenged and rectified, we hereby call upon the governments of CARICOM, among other actions, to:
1) Pilot a resolution in the General Assembly of the United Nations demanding the restoration of President Aristide as the duly elected, legitimate political leader of Haiti, and ordering the removal from Haiti of all foreign forces that have been implicated in the abduction of President Aristide and the overthrow of the constitutional government of Haiti, and their replacement by a genuinely neutral, international peace keeping force, comprising military contingents from nations which share a common historical, ethnic and/or geographical connection with the nation and people of Haiti, namely the nations of the Caribbean Community, the African Union and Latin America;
- Proactively prepare for the assembling of such an African/Caribbean/Latin American peacekeeping force, by taking immediate steps to reach out to and engage with the African Union and with such major progressive nations of Latin America and the Caribbean as Venezuela and Cuba on this matter.
- Insist that the mandate of any such international peacekeeping force must be to disarm the so-called rebel forces in Haiti; to arrest and bring to justice all persons implicated in the commission of acts of gross criminality against the people of Haiti; to secure the return of President Aristide to Haiti as Haiti's legitimate political leader; and to assist in overseeing the holding of fully democratic Parliamentary and Presidential elections in Haiti.
In support of these aims, we further commit ourselves to mobilize Caribbean public opinion and action against the deadly threat to democracy in the region resulting from the violent overthrow of the Government of Haiti by criminal thugs supported by foreign forces.
RESOLUTION No. 4
Along with the return of President Aristide, Haiti must be provided with the financial and technical resources to improve the physical infrastructure, including roads, utilities, schools, hospitals, and other public purpose buildings, to provide food security, capital for economic development in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing and other industries and services.
The governments and people of the region must assist Haiti to get money which is rightfully due to the country and special funds to deal with the humanitarian crisis. The sources for funding which must be pursued are:
- Loans and grants amounting to over $500 million U.S. which were already approved by various International Financial Agencies but withheld largely due to the lobbying and veto actions of the U.S. Government.
- Restitution from France based on the illegal and immoral extortion of some $90 million francs, of an originally sought $150 million, from the battered post-revolution economy of a diplomatically isolated Haiti, an imposition which further devastated the economy and took the Haitians over 100 years to pay. The value of the money paid by Haiti has been estimated at over $21 billion U.S. in today's currency, a sum which was being actively sought by President Aristide before his overthrow.
- CARICOM should take the lead in a major international thrust for donor funds to help the recovery of a country devastated by consecutive dictatorships, undue external interference, the blockage of critical funds and the destruction caused by the brutal invasion of thugs.
- International Civil Society funds which must be carefully directed to legitimate grassroots organizations and must not be made available to any of the organizations which took part in the illegal removal of President Aristide.
- We unreservedly condemn the past practice of some foreign governments and agencies in using the economic plight of the Haitian people to provide funds for subversion of the duly elected government of the country under the guise of humanitarian assistance and building democracy. The Haitian people and the international community must guard against any repetition of this nefarious practice.
- We praise the example of Cuba, which provided genuine assistance to the people of Haiti, particularly in the medical field.
- We express our solidarity with the government and people of Venezuela, a country struggling against a process of destabilization similar to the one that resulted in the overthrow of President Aristide.
- We are deeply concerned about the reality on the ground in Haiti as it affects women and children, who always pay the highest price in these conflicts. The most disturbing reports coming out of Haiti refer to rape and violence against women. Such reports make it all the more urgent to work towards the return of President Aristide and the deployment of a genuinely neutral force to help the elected government of Haiti to stabilize the security situation in the country.
Agreed and adopted on the 20th of March 2004 by the following:
- Clement Payne Movement (Barbados)
- Emancipation Support Committee (Trinidad & Tobago)
- Pan-Caribbean Congress (Antigua, St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia)
- Veye-Yo (Haitian Diaspora)
- Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike
- DAWN Caribbean
- Organization For National Empowerment (St. Lucia)
- African Cultural and Development Association (Guyana)
- Israel Lovell Foundation (Barbados)
- Federation des Organisations des Femmes de Petion-Ville (Haiti)
- Centre de Reintegration Economique et Sociale des Femmes Haitiennes (Haiti)
- Khafra Kambon (Trinidad & Tobago)
- Peggy Antrobus (Barbados)
- Peter Josie (St. Lucia)
- Bobby Clarke (Barbados)
- Andaiye (Guyana)
- Trevor Prescod, M.P. (Barbados)
- Flavia Cherry (St. Lucia)
- David Comissiong (Barbados)
- Alicia Baptiste (St. Lucia)
- Lucie Tondreau (Haiti)
- Margaret Prescod (U.S.A.)
- Joy Workman (Barbados)
- Shaffira Khan (Trinidad & Tobago)
- Maxi Fox (Guyana)
- Thelma Gill-Barnett (Guyana/Barbados)
- Buddy Larrier (Barbados)
- Glenroy Straughan (Barbados)
- Edmund Douglas (Barbados)
- David Denny (Barbados)
ATC 110, May-June 2004