Toronto Haiti Action Committee

Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

Toronto Haiti Action Committee - Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

In the News: After Aristide Testifies to Investigating Judge: Massive March Signals Lavalas Movement’s Resurrection

by Kim Ives. Originally posted at Haiti Liberté

Well over 15,000 people poured out from all corners of Haiti’s capital to march alongside the cortege of cars that carried former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide back to his home in Tabarre from the Port-au-Prince courthouse he visited on May 8.

Fanmi Lavalas Thousands more massed along sidewalks and on rooftops to cheer the procession on, waving flags and wearing small photos of Aristide in their hair, pinned to their clothing, or stuck in their hats.

Led by Fanmi Lavalas party coordinator Maryse Narcisse through a gauntlet of jostling journalists, Aristide had entered the courthouse (the former Belle Époque Hotel) at exactly 9:00 a.m., the time of his appointment to testify before Investigating Judge Ivickel Dabrésil. Aristide had waited with Narcisse in a car outside the court’s backdoor for about 45 minutes. It was only the second time that Aristide had left his home (and the first time publicly) since returning to Haiti on Mar. 18, 2011 from a seven-year exile in Africa following the Feb. 29, 2004 Washington-backed coup d’état which cut short his second government.

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In the News: International Delegation Challenges UN Officials on Renewal of Haiti Occupation

UN Official Suggests that Troops May Stay Until 2015

by Kim Ives, published in Haiti Liberte, Oct 17, 2012

On October 12, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to renew for one more year the foreign military occupation of Haiti known as the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, or MINUSTAH, which has been deployed in Haiti since June 1, 2004.

However, the Haitian people, and increasingly people throughout Latin America, are calling for UN troops to immediately leave Haiti and respect Haiti’s sovereignty and right to self-determination. This was the message of an international delegation led by Haitian Senator Moïse Jean-Charles which met for almost two hours with high-ranking UN officials on Oct. 11, the day before the vote.

The 10-member delegation, composed of unionists, activists, and journalists, met with William Gardner, the Senior Political Affairs Officer of UN Department of Peace-Keeping Operations’ Europe and Latin America Division, and three of his Political Affairs Officers, Patrick Hein, Ekaterina Pischalnikova, and Nedialko Kostov.

Sen. Moïse’s delegation included Julio Turra, National Executive Director of the United Trade Union Central of Workers of Brazil (CUT); Pablo Micheli, General Secretary of the Confederation of Workers of Argentina (CTA); Fignolé St. Cyr, General Secretary of the Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers (CATH); Jocelyn Lapitre, a leader with the Front against Profit (LKP) in Guadeloupe; Colia Clark of the Guadeloupe-Haiti Campaign Committee; Alan Benjamin of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC); Robert Garoute, of the Progressive Movement for Haiti’s Development (MPDH); Geffrard Jude Joseph, the director of Radio Panou; and Kim Ives, a journalist with Haiti Liberté newspaper.

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In the News: Police kill unarmed peasants in another controversial eviction

by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté

Haitian police have killed four people and destroyed seven homes in an attempt to clear peasants from a remote mountain-top park where they have lived and farmed for the past 70 years. The bloody confrontation, which occurred (July 23, 2012) exactly 25 years to the day after an infamous 1987 peasant massacre near the northwestern town of Jean-Rabel, has incensed the Southeast Department’s population and redoubled charges that the President Michel Martelly’s government is resurrecting the repressive tactics of the Duvalierist and neo-Duvalierist dictatorships which ruled and scarred Haiti over two decades ago.

The incident was first reported and photographed by Claudy Bélizaire of the Jacmel-based Reference Institute for Journalism and Communication (RIJN). His photographs of bloody corpses and burned houses in Galette Seche/Seguin, a remote locality near the peaks of some of Haiti’s highest mountains, have gone viral on the Internet, Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, the mainstream media has largely ignored the story to date.

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In the News: Brazil delegation meets with Defense Minister, demands withdrawal of UN Troops from Haiti

by Kim Ives, published in Haiti Liberte (print weekly), July 25, 2012

On July 10, a delegation of parliamentarians, unionists and Haiti solidarity activists met with Brazil’s Defense Minister Celso Amorim at the Defense Ministry in Brasilia and grilled him about the continuing UN military occupation of Haiti.

Brazilian generals head the military component of the 9,000-member force known as the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Brazilian troops predominate.

Markus Sokol, a member of the national directorate of Brazil’s ruling Workers Party (PT), told Amorim that over 600 people, with representatives from seven countries, had gathered in São Paulo last November for a congress which launched a “Continental Day of Action” against the UN occupation of Haiti on June 1, 2012, the date of the eighth anniversary of MINUSTAH. There were anti-occupation actions in ten countries (including 20 Brazilian cities) on that date.

“What are we doing in Haiti?” Sokol asked Amorim. “Former [Defense] minister [Nelson Jobim] said that we were training to scale the hills of Rio; that can’t be!

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Haiti’s earthquake victims step up demands for housing

By Roger Annis & Kim Ives, July 4, 2012

The following article was published on the Haiti blog of Rabble.ca. It also appears in the July 4 issue of Haiti Liberté newsweekly.

The plight of some 400,000 Haitians still living under tarps and tents since the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake has surged into the streets and headlines in recent weeks, highlighting one of Haiti’s most explosive and intractable issues. A new grassroots campaign, an international petition, several new reports, and street demonstrations are underscoring the problem’s urgency.

On May 31, dozens of protesters mobilized by the Forces for Reflection and Action on Housing Matters (FRAKKA) demonstrated in front of the office of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to denounce the broken promises of Haitian government officials to provide housing for earthquake victims. “We in FRAKKA have noted the growing speed of forced expulsions against the displaced people camps,” said Rénel Sanon, FRAKKA’s Secretary General.

For almost one year now, the government of President Michel Martelly has trumpeted a program entitled ‘16/6’ under which about 30,000 residents of six large camps would be resettled to their original but repaired 16 neighborhoods, all of which were badly damaged by the quake. The program has been heavily supported by foreign governments, including Canada. To encourage people to leave camps, residents were told they will receive a one-year rental subsidy of $500 per family.

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