The Haitian people must resolve the crisis
Trade unions of Haiti opposed to US intervention
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) expresses its opposition to the intervention by the United States, Canada and France in Haiti. The Haitian people have a very proud tradition of fighting for freedom and independence and neither wish nor require any external intervention that seeks to impose a solution to their crisis.
In fact, external intervention, while not the only factor, has contributed to Haiti’s problems being what they are - both in the past and the present. The US, in particular, has always sought to intervene in Haiti’s affairs - be it the non-recognition of Haiti until more than 60 years had passed after its independence or the invasion and subsequent occupation of Haiti, which occupation lasted for some two decades. It is also clear that the US played a role in the coup d’etat against President Aristide in 1991 - just seven months after he was installed as the first democratically elected leader of that country.
FITUN was therefore disturbed, firstly, by the fact that Caricom sought to intervene in the developing crisis in Haiti only after the US President spoke to Prime Minister Manning. Secondly, it is also clear that the Caricom initiative to bring about a resolution to the conflict was undermined in the last few days by the US changing its position. The Caricom proposal was based on President Aristide remaining in office until the expiration of his term in 2006, which position was supported by the US until, unilaterally it demanded that Aristide should go because he was “not fit to govern”.
Quite apart from resulting in the torpedoing of the Caricom proposal, the US has no moral right to pronounce on who is “fit to govern”. Many in the world share the very strong view that neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Blair are “fit to govern” given their lies about weapons of mass destruction being the reason to invade Iraq, and their initiation of an illegal war. However, while many millions the world over and many important governments question these leaders “fitness to govern”, nobody seeks to militarily or politically intervene in the internal affairs of the US or UK in order to oust them from office. Yet this is precisely what the US, France and Canada have done.
Haitian people must be the determinants of their own destiny
FITUN states that the Haitian situation is extremely complex and can only be resolved by the Haitian people themselves. The Haitian people must be the determinants of their own destiny and must not have their sovereignty infringed. In this regard we oppose the use of US, French or Canadian military in Haiti, as these forces will be essentially another army of occupation. Caricom must not be part of such an army of occupation. The only auspices in which Caricom can participate is under a United Nations peace-keeping force, which force is not under the military command or control of the US, France or Canada - all of which have already sent troops into Haiti and thus usurped the UN’s role.
There is a need for a transition government in Haiti, one that would have the participation of all the various legitimate political parties and civil society organizations. For this transitional government to be able to function all the armed groups - the ex-Duvalierist army officers and FRAPH operatives ; the ex-Aristide, now anti-Aristide elements (formerly known as the “Cannibal army”) ; and the pro-Aristide elements known as the “chimeres” - must be disarmed. A U.N. peace-keeping force can play a key role in this process of disarming.
Ultimately, however, the Haitian people themselves can and will work out the solutions to their very serious economic, social, environmental and political issues. All they require is the space to do so. A transitional government should provide the political space to enable the national dialogue necessary for the people to identify the way forward for their country. There is also a need for economic support for the process of transformation. Caricom should assist in this regard based on the specific requirements identified by the
Haitian people as they discuss the solutions to their situation.
FITUN believes that the recent events in Haiti once again demonstrate the absence of historical knowledge and current information by the people of Trinidad and Tobago on other Caribbean nations. There is thus a clear need for a process of public information and education and to this end we propose the formation of a “Haiti Solidarity Committee” that would facilitate such a process.
David Abdulah, Interim President
2004 March 1, MEDIA RELEASE