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Letter to the presidents of UNASUR member countries

We, social and political organizations gathered in Port-of-Spain – Trinidad and Tobago – on the occasion of the Hemispheric Meeting on the Current Political and Economic Conjuncture and the Founding Congress of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) wish to express our concern and dissatisfaction with the current situation which the Haitian people are currently facing and the inadequate responses to this crisis being put forward by the « international community, » and also with the active participation of several Latin American governments which play a leading role within MINUSTAH.

1 .- The Haitian People are experiencing a serious crisis, as a result of its continued marginalization following the great anti-slavery revolution of 1804. This crisis was exacerbated through the Duvalier dictatorship which lasted 29 years (1957-1986) and the implementation, since 1983 of structural adjustment measures that helped destroy much of their productive capacity and its institutions. The devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010 has aggravated the structural crisis, provoking a decrease in this nation’s GDP of 120%, a significant amount of losses and a dramatic impoverishment of more than 70% of the population.

2 .- The presence of the United Nations in Haiti, with several formulas since January 1992, has not improved the situation. In June 2004, MINUSTAH – the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti – was installed with the following objectives:

• a) To restore a climate of security and stability

• b) To assist with the holding of democratic elections

• c) Promotion of and respect for human rights

• d) To help boost the economy

• e) Monitoring the borders

These objectives, set out in various resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations between 2004 and 2010 have not been met. In some respects, the situation continues to deteriorate.

3 .- During the past 7 years the Haitian people have organized major protests, some of which involved tens of thousands of demonstrators denouncing this occupation, its total inadequacy and its repressive nature. In October 2010 a cholera epidemic emerged in Haiti. Cholera is a disease which had disappeared from this country for more than a century. All investigations conducted by scientists and specialized agencies of France, U.S. and WHO experts concluded that the disease was introduced by MINUSTAH soldiers. This disease killed more than 4,600 persons and more than 280,000 became infected. Additionally, there were significant economic losses with the drastic reduction in imports into the country at the border with the Dominican Republic.
Taking into account these elements we put forward the following demands:

1 .- Latin American governments must take all measures necessary to resolve the crisis in Haiti and place this issue as a priority on the hemispheric agenda. Given the great contribution of the Haitian revolution to the emancipation of all peoples and the globalization of human rights we must ensure that Haiti is not forgotten. The American People’s ability to contribute to helping the Haitian people to overcome the crisis should be a key element of the new ongoing integration process.

2 .- The immediate withdrawal of the Latin American MINUSTAH troops, whose presence constitutes an attack on the dignity of the people of Haiti and, in its current form, is a dangerous precedent with respect to the issue of self-determination.

3 .- The organization of a conference of Latin American
governments to explore ways to express solidarity from our continent to the Haitian people, which has to take the lead amongst new institutions, programs and projects (of short, medium and long term). The tremendous cooperation between Cuba and Haiti (particularly in the health sector) since 1998 and with the Bolivarian Government, since 2006 are alternative models of effective cooperation.

4. UNASUR governments should be spokesmen and advocates for the long term interests of the Haitian people in all regional and multilateral spaces. They must also put forward positions which differ from the racist and simplistic propaganda that dominates mainstream international media, and which often characterizes the interventions of international agencies in this country.

5 .- The current situation requires massive support to respond to the post-earthquake crisis and also to help the Haitian people build a future of prosperity.
Movements, political parties and organizations gathered in Port-of-Spain agree to carry out a major solidarity mission to Haiti in the upcoming months, towards a new vision of solidarity with the people of Haiti.
We hope that your decision to immediately withdraw your troops from MINUSTAH and to advocate for the dismantling of this force and the construction of alternative mechanisms of cooperation contributes to an effective response to the crisis being experienced in Haiti and is both a strong signal of your determination to break with traditional patterns and to undertake new paths in line with those outlined by the founding fathers of our nations.

Long live self-determination of the people! Long live alternative integration of our peoples!

– Otros Mundos/Amigos de la Tierra, México

– Bloque Popular Hondureño

– Clement Payne Movement, Barbados

– Comité Pro Niñez Dominico-Haitiana, Puerto Rico

– Common Frontiers, Canadá

-Communication Workers’ Union, Trinidad and Tobago

-Conise, Paraguay

– Corporación Mujeres y Economía/Marcha Mundial de
Mujeres, Colombia

– Federation of Independent trade Unions and NGOs,
Trinidad and Tobago

– Grito de l@s Excluid@s, Puerto Rico

– Insurrección Autónoma Honduras

-Jubileo Sur/Américas

-Jubileu Sul Brasil

-Marea Creciente, México

-Movimiento Social de Nicaragüense

-Movement for Social Justice, Trinidad and Tobago

-Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union, Trinidad and Tobago

-Organización de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de África,
Asia y América Latina

– PAPDA, Haïti

-Proyecto Caribeño de Justicia y Paz

-Working Peoples’ Alliance, Guyana

-Voces Ecológicas, Panamá

-UNES, El Salvador

-Centro Memorial Martin Luther King Jr. Cuba

-Trade Union Federation C-47, Suriname

-Suriname Labour Party, Suriname

-Red Sin Techán, El Salvador