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Statement on fifth anniversary Haitian overthrow

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Foreign Occupation Troops Out of Haiti! Freedom and Justice for Haiti! Statement by the Canada Haiti Action Network, on the fifth anniversary of the overthrow of elected government in Haiti.

January 24, 2009–This February, the Haitian people will commemorate the fifth anniversary of a seminal date in their long and proud history. But it won’t be a celebration. They will mobilize in angry protests to condemn the overthrow of the elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004. They will also condemn the decades of foreign domination that has brought the country to ruin; made all the worse since 2004.

The illegal coup of 2004 has had an extremely negative impact on Haiti’s social fabric–breakdown in government services, including education and health care; increased poverty; decline of agricultural production; increased violence by pro-coup gangs and by foreign military forces and the Haitian National Police; an increase in emigration of educated Haitians; and heightened tensions within families as a result of all of the above.

Haiti’s crippled economy was dealt further blows when a series of hurricanes struck the island last summer. Several thousand died and agricultural production was dealt a heavy blow. The city of Gonaives, the fourth largest in Haiti, still lies under several feet of dried, rock-hard mud.

Some $100 million was pledged by foreign governments in relief following the storms. Almost nothing has been received. This follows the pattern of the past five years whereby the United Nations and participating countries have spent hundreds of millions of dollars each year on their 9,000-member military mission while spending next to nothing on social and economic development.

Canada supported the overthrow of the government of President Aristide and thousands of other elected officials in 2004. Troops from the U.S., France and Canada joined with Haitian rightists to consolidate that illegal act. The three big powers got a stamp of approval from the United Nations Security Council. An appointed regime of human rights violators ruled Haiti from 2004 to 2006 and ran the country into the ground.

Today, a 9,000-member foreign police and military force, including the aforementioned Big Three, patrols the country with the endorsement of the UN Security Council. These powers have a preponderant role in the financing of the Haitian government and thus in its policy decisions.

The Canadian government and its Canadian International Development Agency say they are providing $110 million per year to assist Haiti. But little of that money reaches ordinary Haitians. Most of it is used to prop up institutions of foreign domination, including ngo’s and propaganda agencies that supported, or were silent in the aftermath of, the 2004 coup.

Political persecutions dating from the 2004 coup are continuing. These include:

  • Ronald Dauphin, still imprisoned after five years.

  • Political rights leader Lovinsky Pierre Antoine who was “disappeared” on August 12, 2007 and whose whereabouts remain unknown. Incredibly, his case was not even mentioned in the 2007 report of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances.

One of the ideological pillars of the 2004 overthrow in Haiti was the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” The doctrine is increasingly used today to justify military intervention against many of the world’s poorer countries–from Venezuela and Cuba to Sudan and Zimbabwe. Thus, the lessons of Haiti have an added importance for the world’s people.

Haitians are fighting to retake the sovereignty of their country. Just one month ago, on December 16, tens of thousands marched and rallied in Port au Prince and in other cities across Haiti to reaffirm their opposition to foreign occupation.

The Canada Haiti Action Network will hold public events in at least seven cities across Canada to commemorate the 2004 coup d’etat in Haiti, featuring speakers or films. In late March, we are sponsoring a delegation of trade union activists to Haiti for one week. We continue to assist in sending medical supplies to health providers. We invite you and your organization to join us at anniversary events–become a co-sponsor. Join us in the work of our projects. We encourage local and national media to join us in examining the conditions in Haiti today.


  • Reparations to the Haitian people for all the damage of the past five years caused by foreign occupation.

  • An investigation of the raids by United Nations military forces into Cite Soleil on July 6, 2005 and December 22, 2006. The UN stands accused by residents of “massacres” that cost dozens of lives. To date, not a single international human rights group has undertaken a serious investigation of the community’s allegations.

  • Free all political prisoners, including Ronald Dauphin. End the grisly overcrowding in Haiti’s prisons.

  • The United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) must conduct an independent investigation into the disappearance of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine.

  • An independent inquiry into Canada’s role in the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government in 2004. This inquiry must release the full documentation of the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” meeting held in Meech Lake, Quebec on Jan 31-Feb 1, 2003 that sketched plans for the overthrow of Haiti’s government. It must conduct a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s aid programs in Haiti, including the extensive involvement in Haiti’s persistently dysfunctional justice system and national police service.

For the Canada Haiti Action Network and its local chapters,

Roger Annis, Vancouver 778 858 5179

Chris Semrick, Nanaimo 250 616 7009

Regan Boychuk, Calgary 403-479-8637

Macho Philipovich, Wpg 204 783 2571

Niraj Joshi, Toronto 416 731 2325 Stuart Neatby, Ottawa 613 293 9480

Nik Barry Shaw, Montreal 514 225 5984

Tracy Glynn, Fredericton 506 458 8747

For information on the web, including activities in cities across Canada:

For an in-depth look at the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine:

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