Global Solidarity on Haiti’s Flag Day to Stop Foreign Intervention

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, 17 Jun 2024

Haiti Action Committee | CounterPunch – TRANSCEND Media Service

Photo– Malcolm X Jazz Festival in Oakland on May 18th.
Courtesy of Akubundu Amazu

13 Jun 2024 – May 18 marked Haitian Flag Day, commemorating the day in 1803 when Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared independence as the goal at the historic people’s congress in Akaye and created the Haitian flag. Flag Day signifies Haitian sovereignty and commemorates ancestors and other loved ones who have died fighting for freedom. With the people’s tremendous victory six months later, the country’s native name – Ayiti was restored.

The Haiti Action Committee called for an International Day of Solidarity with Haiti on May 18th to protest the impending arrival in Haiti of more foreign occupation troops. We send a salute and heartfelt thanks to the many individuals and organizations who participated in this Day of Solidarity. From Atlanta to Philadelphia to Guyana, Belize and Los Angeles, from Santa Rosa to Oakland to San Francisco in the California Bay Area, solidarity activists turned out to demand an end to US/UN intervention in Haiti. Our great respect goes to revered Guyanese elder Eusi Kwayana, now 99 years old, for his 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with Haiti and Palestine. Thanks to the many organizations who endorsed the call to action, who helped spread the word and for their expressions of solidarity with the Haitian people’s struggle for liberation, including the Eastside Arts Alliance for inviting HAC co-founder Pierre Labossiere to speak about Haiti at the Malcolm X Jazz Festival in Oakland. For further information and more photos, see the Haiti Action Committee facebook page.

eusi.jpeg

Photo of Eusi Kwayana from the Walter Rodney Foundation

These solidarity actions amplify the people’s resistance in Haiti to US-backed terror and repression. We call public attention to the courageous demonstrations by the Haitian people. We honor the memory of Karl Udson Azor, a Haitian medical student. Following Haitian Flag Day in 2023, Azor publicly took off his shirt and shoes and laid them alongside a Haitian flag on the steps of the Monument of the Heroes of Vèrtières in Cap-Haitien, erected to the last battle of Haitian independence. Azor handed out his money to passing strangers, then sat down, doused himself with gasoline, and burned himself to death in protest over the ongoing destruction of Haiti, as reported in the Haitian media.

The root cause of the current crisis in Haiti goes back to the U.S.-orchestrated 2004 coup that overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was elected in 2000 by a huge majority in a free and fair election. Aristide’s goal was to raise Haitians from a condition of misery to “poverty with dignity” through government policy to support the vast majority of Haitians, not transnational capital and Haiti’s ruling elite. His government constructed schools, health care centers and a hospital, and mapped Haiti’s vast natural resources, committing itself to use them in service to the Haitian people. He also demanded that France repay $21+ billion dollars as restitution for money extorted by France from 1826-1947 as “reparations” to the French enslavers for “lost property.”

The coup brought with it a UN occupation force led by Brazil that ushered in a period of extreme repression, cholera, massacres, rapes, and rigged elections, and in 2011 brought to power Michel Martelly and his fascist PHTK party, which controlled executive power through a series of rigged elections and terror. PHTK collaborated and coordinated activities with the Haitian police, the army, and the paramilitary death squads that have created what Haitians call a hell on earth in Haiti. During the beginning of 2024 alone, more than 1500 Haitians have been killed as a result of paramilitary violence. Journalists, clergy, peasant-farmers, students, workers, market women vendors, and others raising their voices in protest have been met with beatings, incarceration, rape, assassinations and mass killings.

Now, once again, the US and the UN are pushing for a new foreign invasion, this time fronted by troops from Kenya, Benin and the Caribbean. Contractors are already being flown into Haiti to construct a base for the foreign troops. The Biden Administration is providing $300 million for the invasion, including weapons and equipment in the form of 80 humvees, sniper rifles, riot control gear and more. The notoriously repressive Kenyan police are expected to arrive in Haiti any day now.

In opposition to the deployment of Kenyan police in Haiti, distinguished Kenyan author, playwright and social activist Ngugi wa Thiong’o wrote “An Open Letter to William Ruto, the President of Kenya, first published on May 30th in PM News Nigeria. The letter criticizes Ruto’s recent visit to the White House and Kenya’s collaboration with the US-headed military invasion and continued foreign occupation of Haiti.

Without a trace of irony, the same foreign powers responsible for the disastrous state of affairs in Haiti are asking Haitians to believe that more foreign intervention masked by a UN Security Council resolution will resolve the crisis.

Haitian grassroots organizations have long demanded a people’s transitional government composed of honest and democratic individuals and organizations, but the US has corrupted the process and seen to it that this transitional council is composed almost entirely of people loyal to US interests. While the Fanmi Lavalas Party of President Aristide is participating in this council, as one of the few democratic forces represented there, it is relying on grassroots people power to create fundamental and lasting change.

As the U.S. organizes a new invasion and as the paramilitary death squads continue to unleash terror, we demand:

+ Stop using US tax dollars to fund the brutal Haitian police and affiliated death squads

+ Stop the flow of weapons from the US to death squads in Haiti

+ No more foreign intervention – End the occupation

+ Stop attacking and deporting Haitian refugees

+ Sovereignty and self-determination for Haiti

For an excellent update on the current situation, please listen to Haiti Action Committee co-founders Pierre Labossiere and Robert Roth on Pacifica/KPFA’s Flashpoints – https://kpfa.org/archives/2024/5/21/ – scroll down to Flashpoints at 5 pm.

For more information on how to directly support Haiti’s grassroots movement, go to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.

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The Haiti Action Committee is a Bay-Area based network of activists who have supported the Haitian struggle for democracy since 1991.Our members travel frequently to Haiti and are in close touch with Haitian grassroots activists, legal and human rights workers, and victims of repression. Through demonstrations and civil disobedience, Congressional lobbying and educational events, publications and community organizing, we are working to build a strong Haiti solidarity movement.

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