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Haiti at the 'LATIN AMERICA 2005" conference

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:06 am
by Charles Arthur
Haiti at the 'LATIN AMERICA 2005 - Making another world possible' conference

9 December, 2005 - published by the Haiti Support Group

Over 300 people attended a national conference of solidarity with Latin America held at the headquarters of the National Union of Teachers in London on Saturday, 3 December, 2005.

The conference began with messages of support delivered by the ambassadors of the Republic of Cuba and of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Keynote speakers during the day included John Fisher (TGWU), Tariq Ali, Richard Gott, John Crabtree, Tony Benn, Jenny Pearce, and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.

At an afternoon workshop entitled 'The Caribbean: Will full sovereignty ever become a reality?', the Haiti Support Group's Charles Arthur shared a platform with Ken Campbell, the former editor of the weekly Caribbean Times, and Isaac Saney, lecturer at Dalhousie
University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and author of "Cuba, A revolution in motion".

Charles Arthur's contribution, entitled 'Forgotten and forever occupied Haiti,' started by suggesting that Haiti is forgotten in the UK and in much of the Caribbean region because "the ruling class, the imperialists, don't want anyone to know, let alone remember, the incredible story of the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804".

Turning to the issue of foreign occupation of the country, Arthur gave the audience a brief review of Haitian history, and quoted PAPDA's Camille Chalmers who, in July this year, said that "Haiti had experienced 90 years of control by the US State Department".

Regarding the most recent foreign military intervention at the end of February 2004, Arthur discussed the reality behind the mounting instability during 2003, and the collapse of the Lavalas Family government in the face of an armed insurgency. He pointed out that while the United States and France publicly stated that they wer
e obliged to send troops to Haiti because of the political violence and instability, in fact it was these countries themselves, together with allied diplomats, and the international finance institutions, that had created the crisis. Not only had the international community given the opposition political parties in Haiti a free hand to block any chance of a compromise, but the freezing of international aid and the covert support for the so-called rebel force effectively brought the elected government down.

Attempting to generate a discussion of the motivations of the main international players in the Haitian crisis, Arthur pointed out that Haiti has "no natural, or indeed any sort of resources at all that might explain the foreign intervention". He also discounted the idea - still pushed by some revisionists - that Aristide and his Lavalas Family party represented any sort of left-wing threat.

Arthur concluded that those interested in Haiti's fate should hesitate to interpret the 2004 intervent
ion as the conclusion of a pre-determined plan to overthrow the government and occupy the country. He wondered whether a more likely explanation was that a destabilization campaign directed by the United States, and supported by France and Canada, had been "too effective", and that the collapse of the Haitian police force in the face of a small force of former soldiers and the extent to which support for Aristide outside the capital had eroded, were two developments that took everyone by surprise.

Finally, the Haiti Support Group's Arthur warned that whatever the original objectives, "now it looks more and more as though the international community regards Haiti as a kind of laboratory, where the US and its allies can accumulate low-risk experience in how to occupy countries and control civilian populations". Arthur warned that the idea of Haiti being turned into a UN protectorate was being mentioned with increasing frequency in influential international circles. Such an outcome, he said, would be a d
isaster for the progressive movement in Haiti, and would represent nothing less than the final nail in the coffin of the Haitian Revolution.

In the discussion section, members of the audience expressed considerable interest in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's PetroCaribe program to provide oil to Caribbean countries on preferential terms. Arthur noted that in Haiti a coalition of grassroots organizations - the Collective to Mobilize against the High Cost of Living - had been instrumental in getting the interim Haitian government to pay attention to PetroCaribe.

Responding to a question about the future of the region, Arthur stated that, in his opinion, while Caribbean governments could help each other, "for the majority of people in those islands, the only start on a real solution to their problems lies with the creation of stronger popular movements and participatory democracy at both the local and regional level".

The Latin America 2005 event was organized by Cuba Solidarity Campai
gn and the Venezuela Information Center. It was sponsored by a large number of organizations concerned with solidarity action on Latin America in the United Kingdom. Among them were: the Haiti Support Group, Peru Support Group, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, Caribbean Labor Solidarity, Latin American Bureau, Liberation, Brazil Network, Central America Women's Network, Justice for Colombia, Noticias Latin America, and the NGOs War on Want, One World Action, plus the Latin
American Workers' Association and the Transport & General Workers' Union (TGWU), one of the biggest in the country.

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Forwarded as a service of the Haiti Support Group - solidarity with the Haitian people's struggle for human rights, participatory democracy and equitable development - since 1992.

Web site: www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org

Arthur replies to Jafrikayiti

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:28 pm
by Charles Arthur
[quote]Arthur himself observes that the occupation of Haiti has been planned in advance by the foreign forces[/quote]

I didn't observe this at all. Please read it again.

[quote]What Arthur apparently did not discuss in his presentation, is how the ultra right forces in the U.S., France and Canada used groups fronting on the left, in order to destabilize then overthrow the Aristide government, resulting in the current mess. [/quote]

You are correct here. I didn't discuss this. But I did point out that certain civil society organisations were funded by the US, France and Canada. This should not surprise you because, after all, it was me who first revealed that the European Commission had been funding the ISC and other Group of 184 organisations. As to funds for left groups and your references to Batay Ouvriye, well, you said it yourself, "Truth and acco
untability require that we move beyond the easy rhetoric." Ayibobo! I hope that you will apply this stricture to the vast outpourings coming from individuals in North America attempting to portray Aristide and the FL government as heroic, anti-neo-liberal, leftist revolutionaries....If only that had been the case, then for sure, Haiti would not be in the "current mess". It is yet another shame that so many probably well-meaning people are being purposely duped into believing something that just was not true. Only the forces of reaction will benefit from the confusion that is so successfully being spread.