The Continental Day of Action for the Withdrawal of UN Troops From Haiti — a proposal first launched at the Continental Rally that brought together more than 600 people at the chambers of the Sao Paulo City Council in November 2011 — was a victory in the fight for the Haitian people’s sovereignty, with events and demonstrations across the entire continent.
There were activities in 10 countries, including the United States and Mexico and, in the Caribbean, in places such as Guadeloupe, Martinique and the Dominican Republic. There were also demonstrations in Haiti proper. In South America, there were events in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil that marked June 1 as the day to fight for the immediate withdrawal of the troops of MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti).
The events — directed at governments, particularly those that keep troops on Haitian soil — demanded the immediate withdrawal of MINUSTAH from Haiti. MINUSTAH has been occupying and repressing the country for the past eight years. It has brought cholera and exploited the misery of the Haitian people in “free zones” created by U.S. imperialism (Hope Law), which are without laws or rights.
As a result of this unprecedented initiative, the governments of Argentina, Brazil and Peru, which keep troops in Haiti, were forced to receive delegations.
In Brazil, there were more than 14 actions in 11 states, including Alagoas, Bahia, Ceara, the Federal District, Pernambuco, Parana, Rio de Janiero, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Sao Paulo.
In a message from the CUT trade union federation (Unified Workers’ Central, Brazil), Joao Felicio, secretary of international relations, affirmed that “the demand for the withdrawal of UN troops from Haiti is in order because although they are under Brazilian military command, it must be up to the Haitian people, with complete sovereignty, to define their own destiny.”
Haiti - Fignole St. Cyr, Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers (CATH)
United States - Colia Clark, veteran of the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s
Bolivia - Nelson Guevara Aranda, Mining Workers Union of Huanuni
Uruguay - Hugo Dominguez, Sind. Metalurgicos, PIT-CNT, and Andres Uriostes, coordinator for the Withdrawal of UN Troops Campaign
Argentina - Natalia Saralegui, Argentine Committee for the Withdrawal of UN Troops, and Prof. Henry Boisrolin, Haitian Democratic Committee of Argentina
France - Jean Marquiset, Independent Workers Party (POI)
Brazil - Julio Turra, Unified Workers Central (CUT); Joaquin Pinero, Landless Rural Workers (MST); Rosi Wansetto, Jubileo Sur; Joelson Souza, Revolution Youth; Milton Barbosa, Unified Black Movement (MNU); Markus Sokol, O Trabalho Current of the Brazilian Workers Party (PT); Claudio Santos, secretary of the Fight Racism of the PT and SOS Racism; Barbara Corrales, Committee “To Defend Haiti is to Defend Ourselves”; Lucia Skromov, Pro-Haiti Committee; Deputy Adriano Diogo (PT/SP)
Day of Action in 10 Countries Demands the Immediate End to the Haitian Occupation!
In New York, in front of the UN headquarters, the following demands were raised: “End the US-MINUSTAH occupation! Get the troops out of Haiti!” The rally was sponsored by the Guadeloupe-Haiti Campaign Committee, International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti (ICI-H), ANSWER Coalition (NY), Colia Clark Committee, Green Party (NY), Free Mumia Committee; International Action Center (IAC), Haiti Network (ISHN), Konbit Ayisyen pou Kore Lakay (KAKOLA), Lavalas Family (NY), Party of Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the World Workers Party (WWP). There were also events in St. Louis and in Pescadero, Calif.
In front of the U.S. Mmbassy in Mexico (photo above), more than 70 union activists (SME - Mexican Electrical Worker’s Union), the Workers and People’s Political Organization (OPT) and an organization of Haitian residents delivered a letter to the ambassador. On the border, in Mexicali-Calexico, there was an action that brought together around 40 people from different organizations, including the church, teachers, officials and OPT activists.
The delegation of the Committee for the Withdrawal of Argentine Troops and the Solidarity Committee for Haiti — formed by Fernando Pita of CTA-capital, Cecilia Cordoba of Juventud Rebelde-Rebelion, Manuel Martinez of Socialismo Libertario, Ricardo Properzi of the Unified Workers Socialist Party (PSTU), Ezequiel Slafer, Antoine B. Simounet — were met by Andres Rosconi of the Office of Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, who proposed to organize a meeting with Minister Pablo Tettamanti.
A delegation (photo above) headed by Leopoldo Ortiz Centy, secretary of Institutional Relations for the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP), delivered a letter to President Ollanta Humala. It was received in the Congress of the Republic by the leader of the government bloc, Deputy Wilder Ruiz Loayza. The meeting concluded with the commitment that the requested motion would be presented by the member of Congress. The letter was signed by 60 representatives of more than 50 unions, farmer and youth organizations, the Political and Popular Movement of Peru, the dock workers union FENTENAPU, the sugar workers union FTAP, the state water workers union SUTESAL, Political Movement “Project San Marcos,” and the Committee for a Workers Party - International Socialist Current.
In Quito, 40 union activists from different regions of the country held a National Meeting for the Self-determination of Peoples (photo above) and delivered a letter to President Rafael Correa in which they asked for the withdrawal of Ecuadoran troops from Haiti.
In Santo Domingo, a protest brought together unionists, political organization activists and youth at the local office of the UN, where they delivered a letter for the UN secretary general demanding the withdrawal of troops.
A public forum organized by the LKP strike collective brought together 70 participants, where they directed a letter to the UN secretary and those governments with troops in Haiti, demanding the withdrawal of the troops and the sovereignty of the world’s first Black republic (photo below).
On the campus of the Schoelcher University, the Forum “4H for Haiti, the world’s first Black republic” included the participation of Josue Merilen, a Haitian and leader of UNNOH, the national union of Haitian professors. At the end, they created the “Committee for the Withdrawal of Troops.”
- Rio Grande do Sul:
With more than 100 people (photo above), including representatives of eight quilombos (Brazilian African settlements) in the state, as well as union activists, young Brazilian students, Africans and various educators, they were united in celebration by the Porto Alegre Act and in the fight for the land titles of the quilombos residents. They are also against against the Unconstitutionality Action of the rightist party DEM in the Supreme Court, which, if approved, negates the Decree of 2003 that regulates the quilombo land titles. The mass action was attended Laercio Barbosa (DR PT), Milton Barbosa (national MNU leadership), Silvia Viera ( MNU/RS), Tiago Maciel, Revolution Youth (JR/RJ), Marcelo Carlini (CUT-RS), Ortiz por Quilombo (Candiota/RS), Margarete Periera-Quilombo, Macaco Branco (Portao/RS) and Onir Araujo of the National Front for the Defense of Lands of Quilombolas.
150 young people were at the Government Palace to protest against the occupation of Haiti at the instigation of JR-IRJ. A commission formed by the union leaders and student movement, including Ismael Cesar and Andres (CUT-DF), Oton Nieves (Sindsep-DF, Jean Loiola (FENAJUFE), Marcius Siddartha (PT-DF), Milena Alcantera (UMES Gama), Jhonatan Lucas (UBES), Guilheme Shandler (JR-IRL), was met by Audo Faleiro (advisor to the secretary of International Relations of the Presidency of the Republic). The commission presented the demand and denounced the many abuses of UN troops in Haiti (photo below). He committed to inform President Dilma Rousseff and to arrange a meeting with Gilberto Caravalho (secretary general of Presidency of the Republic). The leaders of of CUT, Ismael (CUT) and Oton (Sindsef) presented a report-back to the plenary of CUT Congress.
In Curuba, activists distributed pamphlets June 1. In Sarandi, there was a debate in the Chamber, with the participation of Alderman Bianco (PT) and the cabinet of Congressman Thadeu Veneri (PT). The students of the State University of Maringa (UEM) formed a committee.
- Santa Catarina:
In the CUT Congress, representatives of the MST and MNU, Alderman Battisti, Lucia Cabriera and the JR/IRJ decided to form a committee in the state.
The nucleus of JR-IRJ of UFR-PE, the Sintragui union and the CUT distributed pamphlets against the presence of MINUSTAH troops in Haiti.
Union activists from the leadership of the unions Sindpec, Sindados, Sindvigilante, Sindpetro and youth met in at a forum-debate in Salvador.
Workers and youth participated in debate event promoted by the JR-IRJ at the headquarters of the CUT-CE.
- Sao Paulo:
Five events occurred: In the capital, a letter was delivered to the cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic, demanding a meeting with Defense Minister Celso Amorim Osasco; there was a discussion between CUT coordinator Tafarel and Congressman Marcos Martins (PT/SP); In Ribeirao Preto, there was a discussion in the Chamber of the City Council, which led to the formation of a committee; and two debates were organized in the Guaruihos region.
The Governments of Peru, Argentina and Brazil Are Compelled to Receive Delegations
In Peru, the leaders of the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP) delivered a letter to President Ollanta Humala reiterating the demand for the withdrawal of the 372 Peruvian soldiers in MINUSTAH. At the end of the session, a government deputy committed to presenting the motion to Congress that would cancel the sending of troops.
In Argentina, the director of the Government Commission for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, Andrea Rosconi, received a delegation and committed to organizing a session with Minister Pablo Tettamanti.
In Brazil, the petition request for a meeting with the government — signed by Joao Felicio (CUT), by members of the Workers Party’s leadership (Fernando Ferro - PT/DF; Adriano Diogo - PT/DF; Markus Sokol - DN of the Workers Party) — was marked by a meeting July 10 with Minister of Defense Celso Amorim. Audo Faleiro, advisor to the Presidency of the Republic, received a delegation in Brasilia and proposed a public session in the National Congress.
June 1 Mobilizations in Haiti
In the Streets of Cap-Haitien, the People Demand: Down with MINUSTAH! Down with MINUSTAH!
Organized June 1 by CATH (Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers) — together with other unions and popular organizations, such as OFDPA, KITAM, VISODHA, OBDA, AFDH, AFEKONO and FTN — the activists demanded the immediate withdrawal of MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti).
In the document, they declared: “CATH, a union body that shares the values and ideals of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC) and that is a member of the International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti (ICI-H), organized the event to make the Continental Day of Action effective. The Continental Day of Action was called in Brazil at the end of 2011 with seven countries present. It was further approved at the conference in Cap-Haitien/Vertieres in November last year.
In the streets of Cap-Haitien, the slogans were: Down with MINUSTAH! Down with MINUSTAH! The activists demanded compensation from the UN for all the cholera victims as well as decent salaries for all categories of workers. They objected to the loss of sovereignty with the dismantling of the 1987 Haitian Constitution. They demanded a true public service to satisfy the needs of everyone, as well as the protection of agricultural lands and the development of national production. They demanded a national security force capable of responding to the desires of the people — not one created with the participation of the occupiers (MINUSTAH). They also asked for job creation in the agro-industrial sector to improve agricultural production in the context of Haiti’s economic, social and cultural development.
Finally, they called for “maintaining international solidarity with the independent and democratic union movement to make sure that the fight for the withdrawal of the UN (MINUSTAH) troops becomes a reality.”
Positive Outcome of the Mobilization of June 1, 2012 in Port-au- Prince, According to Organizers, More Video
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Despite the difficulties encountered during the mobilizations of Friday, June 1, 2012 against the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the balance sheet of the different activities undertaken in several countries remains positive and the fight continues, says one of the leaders in Haiti’s protest against the UN force, Yves Pierre-Louis.
"The goal of this movement is to force the elected leaders in the various countries with troops in Haiti to assume their responsibilities and oppose the occupation of our land by UN soldiers, who have not stopped sowing grief among our families even now eight years after their intervention into our country," said Pierre-Louis.
Many of the actions against MINUSTAH during this day of mobilization in Haiti were organized by the Collective demanding reparations for the victims of the cholera epidemic and the Association of Social Communicators (AKP).
Marked by sit-ins, protests and delegations at embassies in several countries, the mobilizations in Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince included a march and an exhibition of photographs of victims of the UN troops in Haiti. At the sound of drums and cymbals, a few hundred people took to the streets of Port-au-Prince on June 1, chanting slogans hostile to the UN mission.
Stopped by a “security unit” of the National Police of Haiti (PNH), the demonstrators did not, however, reach the Champ de Mars, the main public square of the city near which lie the ruins of the National Palace .
"The National Police and MINUSTAH units that are but Siamese twins", they protesters scowled. The march finally ended up at the parliament building, where a strong message was read. The statement demanded justice and reparations for the 7,000 persons who died of cholera, the epidemic whose spread since October 2010 is widely attributed to the Nepalese contingent of MINUSTAH, as well as justice for the many Haitian women raped by soldiers of the UN force.
A short video of the march in Port-au-Prince can be viewed at:
(report published June 5, 2012 by Alter-Presse)
Meanwhile, Brazilian Troops Tried to Invade the Capital’s University
The following message was sent out by the Reparations Collective for the Victims of Cholera against the Friday, June 15 invasion by MINUSTAH’s Brazilian troops in the Port-au-Prince Humanities School compound.
The university president, Jean Vernet Henry, said that there were three attempts to invade the school — all on the same day — causing panic among students and professors.
"The blue helmets of Brazil [MINUSTAH] interrupted a joint meeting being held at the university. This was a meeting of the Reparations Collective, which is a committee that supported and built the June 1 Continental Day of Action. We denounce with great indignation the intervention and intimidation at the university on the part of the MINUSTAH troops. Once again, MINUSTAH demonstrated what it is: A force of occupation and repression. We see once again that our constitution, our laws and the right that our university are violated as these are nothing more than paper words for the MINUSTAH. We cannot forget that this isn’t the first time that MINUSTAH has tried to intimidate us and, without any provocation, to invade university space."