Grassroots International recently supported a delegation of Haitian social movements to attend the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. This diverse group represented several of our partners and allies on the ground in Haiti and offered them a unique networking and educational platform.
Doudou Pierre, representing our partner the National Congress of the Papaye Peasant Movement and our close ally, the National Haitian Network for Food Security and Food Sovereignty, recently told us that the experience changed his perception of the U.S. “The entire Haitian delegation was moved to see that people in rich countries face many of the same problems as those in poor countries,” he said, “We have to work across borders to solve problems like consolidation of resources by Monsanto and the controlling agenda of some NGOs.” In Haiti, real and sustainable reconstruction takes exactly the kind of connectedness described by Pierre. The delegation used the U.S. Social Forum as an opportunity to spell out exactly what a better Haiti would look like and what Haitians need from the international community to make it happen. Please read the following statement developed by the Haitian delegates to the U.S. Social Forum. Declaration of the Delegation of Haitian Social Movements to the U.S. Social Forum on the current situation in Haiti for the consideration of the Committee for the Final declaration of the Assembly of Social Movements. The earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti marked the beginning of a new period of crisis in our country which has been deeply affected by a long standing structural crisis that is a direct result of more than 500 years of colonial and neocolonial domination and by 30 years implementation of neoliberal policies. We affirm the courage and the daily resistance of the Haitian people in the wake of this catastrophe. This has given us a daily example of solidarity, of mutual aid and self organization. More than five months after this terrible earthquake, the situation of the Haitian population is far from getting better. The rights of the victims are constantly disregarded while the international community puts on great media shows, just like the donor conference held in New York on March 31, 2010. We denounce the use of the humanitarianism as a smokescreen for the sole purpose of defending the geopolitical, economic and military interests of the U.S. government with the complicity of the European Union. This policy only serves to promote the interests of the multinational corporations that want to transform Haiti into a free trade zone in order to completely exploit Haiti’s cheap labor and natural resources. The implementation of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (ICRH) which was decided upon at the New York international donor meeting subordinates the Haitian population and their representatives creating an inadmissible precedent. We ask the U.S. social movements to support the Haitian peasant and other social movements in the determination to put in place an alternative response to the current crisis that can meet the fundamental needs of the Haitian people who should be the principle actors in the definition of options to determine their own future. We seek the support of the U.S. Social Forum to demand:
- Respect for our national sovereignty
- A moratorium for at least three to five years on any future international economic agreements signed by the Haitian government
- An end to all of the conditionality traditionally imposed by the international financial institutions on Haiti.
- That the use of military force as a solution to the crisis be replaced by a respectful form of international cooperation that is respectful of the sovereignty and dignity of the Haitian people
- The immediate, total and truly unconditional cancelation of the illegitimate external debt and the implementation of a program of reparations
- Respect for the demands of the Haitian peasant and social movements in opposition to the hybrid Monsanto seeds that will destroy Haitian organic agriculture.
Signed by the Haitian Delegation to the U.S. Social Forum: Iderle Brenus, Via Campesina Caribbean Region and Peasant Movement of Papay Tania Felix, SAJ/ Veye Yo Raoul Vital, Institut Culturel Karl Leveque and PAPDA, Haitian Platform for Alternative Development Guy Numa, MODEP, Democratic Popular Movement Doudou Festile Pierre, RENAHSSA, National Haitian Network for Food Security and Food Sovereignty