Sunday, September 14, 2014

U.S. Actor and Human Rights Activist, Danny Glover and other Human Rights Activists Signed a Letter to Support Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Movement

Stop the Attacks on Former President Jean Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Movement

On August 21, Haitian police wearing black masks and carrying heavy arms appeared in front of the home of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as a Haitian judge issued calls to arrest him. Hundreds of people courageously surrounded the house to protect him.

One week before, President Aristide was summoned to court on false corruption charges.  This is the fourth time since his return to Haiti in 2011 that he has been the target of a politically motivated legal case. (Previous charges were dropped before he could even challenge them in court.) The judge in this case, Lamarre Bélizaire, has been suspended for ten years from practicing the law by the Port-au-Prince Bar Association for using the court to persecute opponents of the present regime. His suspension is due to begin once he steps down as judge.

President Aristide, a former priest, was Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He is loved and trusted by the majority of Haitians. While in office he built schools and hospitals, encouraged agriculture and doubled the minimum wage. He was removed and forced into exile with his family in 2004 by a US-backed military coup.  Thousands of members of his Lavalas movement were killed, raped or falsely imprisoned in the aftermath of the coup.

In 2011, after seven years of grassroots organizing in Haiti backed up by an international campaign, President Aristide and his family returned home.  Tens of thousands of people welcomed him. He promised to work for education and the inclusion of all Haitians in the democratic process. He has done just that – reopening the Aristide Foundation’s university, UNIFA, where today over 900 students from all sectors of society, including those who cannot afford higher education, are training to become doctors, nurses and lawyers. 

Legislative elections due to take place in Haiti in October are triggering a new chilling wave of repression aimed at President Aristide and his supporters.  Lavalas has overwhelming won every election in which it has participated, but since the 2004 coup the party has been barred from elections.  As a result, fewer than 20% of Haitians turned out for the flawed election that brought the current President Michel Martelly to power in 2011.  The Martelly government has not held an election since, and legislative elections are now three years overdue. Determined to consolidate dictatorial power, the Martelly government has systematically attempted to defame Lavalas, throwing out one set of accusations after another against President Aristide and other respected Lavalas leaders such as former Senator Myrlande Liberis-Pavert. 

While President Aristide is being threatened with arrest, former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier – who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Haitians during his rule – is living freely in Haiti, and has been openly embraced by Martelly.

Since the devastating earthquake and the cholera epidemic, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals training at UNIFA are needed more than ever. President Aristide must be able to carry on with his vital work as an educator.

The last time President Aristide was summoned, thousands of people surrounded the courthouse, chanting: “If they call our brother, they call all of us.” We echo their voices. Enough is enough. It is time for food, housing, health care and education.  It is time for free, fair, and inclusive elections in Haiti, not dictatorship, so the urgent needs of the population can be addressed. The arrest warrant and other false charges aimed at President Aristide and his supporters should be dropped once and for all.

Danny Glover, Actor and Human Rights Activist
Selma James, Author and International Coordinator, Global Women’s Strike (GWS)/UK
Pierre Labossiere, Co-founder, Haiti Action Committee
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Journalist and death row prisoner
Jerry Acosta, Senior National Representative, Utility Workers Union of America
Dr. Adrianne Aron, Liberation Psychologist
Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM)
ALBATV (Venezuela)
Alexandria House, Los Angeles, CA
Bilal Mafundi Ali, Organization of African American Unity
Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma'at, Founder, Africans Deserve Reparations
Akubundu Amazu-Lott, Central Committee AAPRP
Jack Albert, Windsor Peace Coalition, Windsor, Ontario
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition - Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (U.S.)
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Ayuko Babu, Pan African Film Festival
Michael Bass, School of the Americas Watch
Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Committee (BALASC)
Richard Becker, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition - (U.S.)
Dennis J. Bernstein, Executive Producer KPFA/Flashpoints
Johanna Berrigan, House of Grace Catholic Worker, Philadelphia, Pa.
Diana Block, California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Diana Bohn, Nicaragua Center for Community Action, Berkeley, CA
Blase and Theresa Bonpane, Directors, Office of the Americas
Richard Brown, San Francisco 8/Committee for Defense of Human Rights
Dr. Siri Brown, Chair of Ethnic Studies, Merritt College
Mark Burton, Visiting Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
Reverend Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd
Joey Cain, SF LGBT Pride Celebration Committee Board Member
Rossana Cambron, member of Military Families Speak Out
Dolores Canales, Organizer and activist
Laura Carlsen
Andrea Casher, PsyD, ABPP 
Chiapas Support Committee – Los Angeles
CIP Americas Program
Terry Collins, KPOO
Brian Concannon, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)
Shandre Delaney, Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up and Abolitionist Law Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Jacques Depelchin, Historian
Dignity and Power Now – Los Angeles
Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party
Sister Maureen Duignan, Executive Director, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant
Carolina Dutton, Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition (BALASC)
Derethia DuVal, PhD, MFT, SFSU Director of Counseling & Psychological Services Center
Mia Engberg, Documentary Filmmaker, Sweden
Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC
Linda Evans, Organizer, All Of Us Or None
Leslie Fleming, Director, Anthropology Program, Merritt College, Oakland, CA
Laura Flynn, Author
FMLN - Northern California
Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (Honduras)
Cindy Forster, Professor, Scripps College, California
Tova Fry, Workers World Party
Mattias Gardell, Professor Comparative Religion, Uppsala University, Sweden
Anna-Maria Gentili, Professor History and Politics, Bologna University, Italy, retired
David Gespass, former President, National Lawyers Guild
David Gibson, Peacehome Campaigns
Eric Gjertsen and Dean Kendall, Payday men’s network
Andy Griggs, LA Laborfest
Deeg Gold, LAGAI Queer Insurrection
Sister Stella Marie Goodpasture, OP, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, CA
Guerilla Food Not Bombs
Ben Guillory
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit
Professor Shadrack Gutto, PhD, University of South Africa
Daletha Hayden, RN and activist
Genesy Hernandez, Union Salvadorena de Estudiantes Universitarios, UC Berkeley
Charles Hinton, Inkworks Press, worker-owned collective
Marcus Holder, ILWU Local 10 delegate to San Francisco Labor Council
Hondurans in Resistance – NorCal
Gerald Horne, Historian
Phil Hutchings, Civil Rights activist (SNCC)
Nehanda Imara, AAPRP Organizer & Faculty at AFRAM Merritt College
Dr. Nia Imara, Harvard University
International Action Center
Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi, Campaign Director LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy)
Sister Gloria Marie Jones, OP, Congregational Prioress Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose
Hank Jones, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights
Phoebe Jones, PhD, Quaker, Global Women’s Strike
James Jordan and Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinators, Alliance for Global Justice
William Joyce, Chair, Fr. Bill O'Donnell Social Justice Committee
Malaika Kambon, Photojournalist
Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Nadine Khoury-Quesada, RN, Trauma Nurse, San Francisco General Hospital
Nunu Kidane, Director, Priority Africa Network
Marcus Kryshka, Executive Vice President, National Lawyers Guild
Eusi Kwayana, Caribbean Activist Without Borders
Tchaiko Kwayana, Educator
Labor Community Strategy Center (Los Angeles)
Regina Day Langhout, PhD, Provost, Oakes College, University of California at Santa Cruz
Marilyn Langlois, Richmond CA Planning Commissioner
Gloria La Riva, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Rev. Dr. Phil Lawson, Pastor Emeritus, Easter Hill United Methodist Church
Richard Lichtman, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, The Wright Institute, Berkeley, CA
George Lippman, Vice-Chair, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission [for identification only]
Rev. Dr. Lewis E. Logan, II
Jose Lopez, Executive Director, Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Chicago
Nina Lopez, Coordinator Latin America working group GWS/Argentina, UK
Jacqui Lovell, PhD Candidate, York St. John University, U.K
Barbara Lubin, Director Middle East Children’s Alliance
M. Brinton Lykes, Associate Director, Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College
Robert Majzler, University of California at Santa Cruz
Claude Marks, Freedom Archives
Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor, City of Richmond, CA
Anita Schrader McMillan, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK
David McPhail, Ruling Elder, St. John's Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, CA
Judith Mirkinson, San Francisco Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Wazir Mohamed, Associate Professor, Sociology
Alejandro Molina, National Boricua Human Rights Network
Movimiento Cumbe Afrosalud Barlovento (Venezuela)
Leslie Mullin, San Francisco Women in Black
Michael Neocosmos, Director UHURU program, Rhodes University, South Africa
Robert Nixon, School of the Americas Watch – Oakland, East Bay
Kwazi Nkrumah, Co-Chair, Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
Kiilu Nyasha, Host/Freedom is a Constant Struggle
Oakland-Santiago de Cuba Sister Cities Association
Ofraneh (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, Honduras)
Catherine Owen, Human Rights Committee & District Labor Council, Windsor, Ontario
Tanalis Padilla, Professor of History, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, U.S.
Rosa Peñate, FMLN – Northern California
Peter Phillips, PhD, President Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored
Kevin Pina, Documentary Filmmaker
Richard Pithouse, Professor Politics and International Studies, Rhodes University
Suyapa Portillo, Comité Solidario Graciela Garcia
Margaret Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology
Margaret Prescod, Host “Sojourner Truth,” Pacifica Radio & Women of Color/GWS/US
Porfirio Quintano, Coordinator, Honduran Resistance FNRP Northern California
James Quesada, PhD, Chair and Professor, Department of Anthropology, San Francisco State University (SFSU)
Kate Raphael, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT), KPFA Women's Magazine
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
Dr. Willie Ratcliff, Publisher, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
Barbara Rhine, Attorney
Wilson Riles, Oakland C.A.N.
Walter Riley, Attorney, Chair of Board, Haiti Emergency Relief Fund
William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, University of California-Santa Barbara
Robert Roth, Co-founder, Haiti Action Committee
Alex Sanchez, Executive Director, Homies Unidos
Carolyn Scarr, Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC
Azadeh Shahshahani, President, National Lawyers Guild
Dan Siegel, Attorney, Oakland, CA
Dr. Vito Signorile, Professor Emeritus, Windsor, Ontario
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, National Council of Elders
AJ Smith, Artist, Windsor, Ontario
Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community
Susan Gold Smith, Professor Emerita, Windsor, Ontario
Dale Sorensen, Director, Marin Interfaith Task force on the Americas
Jeb Sprague, Author and Instructor, UCSB
Patricia St. Onge, Seven Generations, Nafsi ya Jamii: The Soul Community
Ruth Todasco, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network
Clarence Thomas, member ILWU Local 10
Willie Thompson, Professor Emeritus Sociology, City College of San Francisco
Walter Turner, President, Board of Directors, Global Exchange
Akinyele Umoja, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of African American Studies, Georgia State University
Lisa Valenti, US Cuba Sister City Association
Sister Judy Vaughan, CSJ
Gloria Verdieu
Margaret Villamizar, Chair, Windsor Peace Coalition, Windsor, Ontario
Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, Congolese Historian, Philosopher
Kristin Wartman, Author and Journalist
Tom Webb, Oakland Catholic Worker
David Welsh, delegate, San Francisco Labor Council
Michel Wenzer, Documentary Filmmaker, Sweden
Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner
Witness For Peace Southwest
Michael Wong
Workers World Party
Pauline Wynter
Mario Zelaya, Father Bill O'Donnell Social Justice Committee, Berkeley, CA

Affiliations listed for identification purposes only