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"Justice. Verite. Independance."
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
July 1 - 7, 2009
Vol. 2, No. 50
by Berthony Dupont
Subversion and destructive violence are rampant in Iran, aimed at destroying the peace and independence of the Iranian revolution. This trouble is fomented by Western imperialism which wants to cast doubt on Iran's recent election results. U.S. President Barack Obama has found nothing better to say to the Iranian government than "the world is watching." Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, in contrast, said: "We ask the world to respect Iran because some are trying to undermine the stronghold of the Iranian revolution."
This is not the first time that the so-called "international community" has used electoral violence to destabilize a country. We will never forget the attacks on the elections of May 21, 2000 and November 26, 2000 in Haiti, where opposition parties including the OPL, the MPSN, MOCHRENA, RDNP, PADEM, and the MDN formed the Democratic Convergence and on February 6, 2001 proclaimed Gérard Gourgue provisional president, while the next day, February 7, Jean Bertrand Aristide was to be sworn in as the President constitutionally elected by the people. We know all the fuss the "international community" made to sabotage our nation, which it still militarily occupies.
Today in Iran, Western imperialism calls to "verify the expressed will of the people." What a great idea! Since when has the "international community" paid attention to the people's will and respected their choice? Look what had happened in Mexico during the 2006 presidential elections with the two leading candidates Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Andrés Manuel López Obrador. More than two million people protested for more than three months in the streets of Mexico against Calderón's electoral coup. At the time, the West did not feel compelled to "verify the expressed will of the people" of Mexico.
On April 19 and June 21, 2009, the Haitian people clearly and peacefully expressed their will by massively boycotting Préval's rigged elections. Worse yet, the masses were excluded from the outset. What was the international community's reaction? It was pleased with the vote and welcomed the fact that these elections were conducted peacefully in all of Haiti's geographic departments.
There are events which by themselves forever mark an era, either because of their importance or because of the profound changes they herald. The Iranian crisis should be for us in the Haitian popular and progressive sector an indicator, a guide, for the transformation of our overall strategy, because class struggle is the only dynamic, rational and historically correct approach to defeat the maneuvers of the imperialist powers.
Thus during the student demonstrations to force the bourgeoisie and Préval to publish the minimum wage law, the UN occupation force's soldiers fired at the students, killing one. At the funeral of the progressive Lavalas priest, Father Gérard Jean-Juste, MINUSTAH soldiers repeated the crime by killing a young man from Solino. What is the message, the link between these two crimes? What is the lesson we should draw? It is that one cannot separate the struggle of the students from the struggle of the masses. They are one. The struggle for change and national liberation is the struggle of all progressive forces of the people.
The aim and tactic of the imperialists is to neutralize, to paralyze us, to break the resistance of the dominated classes. In this sense, to avoid the mistakes of 2004, where Apaid, Baker and the other agents, instruments, allies, partners or agents of imperialism infiltrated the students, it is now essential and even vital, in this phase, to strengthen our solidarity and our class cohesion to combat the common enemy.
From all appearances, the situation is moving towards a confrontation which which will effect all the people. A crisis is deepening in the State University; many Lavalas supporters still languish in Préval's jail; modern-day slave drivers, led by Préval, want to maintain slave wages; in the February 2004 coup d'état, then-President Jean Bertrand Aristide was arrested by Western imperialists just as their colonialist ancestors kidnapped Taino Indian leader Caonabo and anti-slavery revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture. In order to save this country, a unity of the forces for change is needed among Haiti's progressive and democratic forces against the common enemy of the masses.
By the force of events, we are all called on to take responsibility. We remain confident that the vigilance of revolutionary and progressive forces will defeat the dark machinations and shenanigans of the people's main enemy.
FINALLY, SOME DEBT RELIEF FOR HAITI
by Kim Ives
After years of campaigns cajoling them to do so, three international banks announced on June 30 that were annulling what Haiti owes them, thereby cancelling 63% of Haiti's $1.9 billion debt.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are forgiving about $690 million of loans. The Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), Haiti's biggest creditor, followed suit the same day saying it would forgive another $511 million, a promise it made back in March 2007.
Haiti had been paying about $5 million a month in interest payments on its overall debt. "The debt relief will help us invest in growth and poverty reduction programs," said Haiti's Finance Minister Daniel Dorsainvil. "Haiti has demonstrated over the past four to five years that it can commit itself to a menu of reforms and respect this commitment."
Much of Haiti's debt never went to benefit Haitians. "The Haitian people are still paying for the crimes of their past leaders," explained the Jubilee USA Network, which has petitioned for debt relief for Haiti for many years, in a July 2008 statement. "45% of the country's current external debt was incurred by the Duvaliers, while the country's lenders turned a blind eye to the corruption. Not only did these loans fail to benefit the Haitian people, the consequent debt service payments continue to cost the country millions of dollars that could be better spent on education and health. Meanwhile, harmful economic policies mandated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank continue to undermine the country's ability to chart its own development path."
The announcement of debt relief was seen by some Haitians as an effort to bolster the government of President René Préval, which is deeply unpopular and faced with a sharpening economic crisis.
WBAI HAITI PROGRAM TO ANALYZE IMMIGRATION AND DEPORTATIONS
This Thursday, July 2, from 9 - 10 p.m. on WBAI 99.5 FM and www.wbai.org on "Haiti: The Struggle Continues," Miami-based Haitian community advocate and para-legal LUCIE TONDREAU will explain the challenges and pitfalls President Barack Obama faces as his administration works to overhaul U.S. immigration policy. Ms. Tondreau, who has been an immigrants' rights advocate for over a quarter of a century, will also analyze what Haitian and the other immigrant communities must do to influence policy changes that will be favorable to the undocumented.
Also, JESUS LUC of Bourgeoizie Filmz will talk to us about "Lost in Haiti," a soon-to-be completed documentary about the life of U.S.-raised Haitian deportees in Port-au-Prince.
The Haitian Collective at WBAI, which produces the program, can be reached at 917-251-6057 or email@example.com.
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