Saturday, April 21, 2012

HAITI: Interview with Katia Ridoré : "Let's Join Forces to Make June 1 a Powerful International Day of Action for the Withdrawal of MINUSTAH Troops from Haiti!"

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Katia Ridoré (Haitian Committee for a Workers Party) interviewed by the Alliance of Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean (ATPC)

"Let's Join Forces to Make June 1 a Powerful International Day of Action for the Withdrawal of MINUSTAH Troops from Haiti!"

Q: The political situation is currently very tense in Haiti. We have witnessed the resignation of the Prime Minister, assassinations of judges, the ouster of elected officials, repression. ... What can you tell us about this situation?

A: Political crimes, intimidation, the creation of a climate of fear have always been wielded by the Haitian ruling class to affirm their power. When the democratic will of the people is not respected, when "leaders" are elected in questionable elections with little if any popular participation and under the dictates of foreign occupation forces, it is not surprising that things such as you describe are taking place.

In regard to the resignation of the Prime Minister and the media outcry that was made about the differences that exist between him and the President, I see all of this as a diversion to distract the public from the real everyday problems. Martely (President) and Gary Conille (Prime Minister) may not agree on the form, but in substance they are both working for the same institutions, the same system. In this sense, the people are not involved in their theatrics.

This situation only shows once again the need for an organization of the popular class capable of leading the struggle for the seizure of political power, where the people can be properly represented in a Constituent Assembly in which their voices can be heard and their rights can be defended, and in which a democracy can be built arising directly from their aspirations as a sovereign people.

Q: Does this situation not confirm the complete failure of the purported "stabilization" mission of the UN-MINUSTAH troops?

A: To speak of a "failure" of MINUSTAH in Haiti is to attribute to it good intentions from the start. But the MINUSTAH mission was totally wrong from the beginning. There was not a war situation in our country that required a peacekeeping or stabilization force. There was no need for MINUSTAH.

The presence of MINUSTAH can only be understood in the context of the perpetual quest by the imperialist forces to have forces of repression on the ground in Haiti. This is especially true today, when the neoliberal policies have clearly shown their murderous and dehumanizing face.

MINUSTAH's fundamental role in Haiti is to silence the voice of the people, to maintain the status quo, to control the domestic political forces (which are, most often, the puppets of the system), and to maintain the majority of the population in dire poverty while preventing them from protesting. The presence of MINUSTAH is a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the Haitian people. Tens of thousands of soldiers are running amok in their armored vehicles, loaded with large caliber ammunition and heavy weapons ... in the midst of a population that has been left to fend for itself.

This is what's taken place in Haiti under MINUSTAH since 2004. But that's not all. There have been countless abuses, such as the rape of young girls and boys, the deaths of several thousand people from cholera, and the looting of the peasants and the theft of their property. MINUSTAH is nothing but a force to stabilize poverty and the violation of human rights. Given this situation, the role of the people is to fight hard against this so-called humanitarian UN "mission."

Q: How do you see the ongoing struggle for the withdrawal of the occupation troops, including the preparation of the International Day of mobilization, support and solidarity with the Haitian people on June 1, 2012?

A: The fight for the immediate withdrawal of the UN-MINUSTAH troops is the major axis of our activity. We are working hard to ensure the success of this International Day of Action on June 1.

The initial call, for this action, we should remember, was launched at the Continental Rally in São Paulo (Brazil) on November 5, 2011 -- a rally in which there were delegates from seven countries whose governments are engaged in the occupation of Haiti. This proposal was then taken up and approved by the Caribbean Conference in Vertières (Haiti) on November 16-18, 2011.

In Haiti, two important coalitions have since joined forces to build the June 1 International Day of Action: the Continuations Committee of the International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti (ICI-H) and the Mobilizing Collective for Reparations to the Victims of Cholera.

They have recently issued a new appeal in which they call on all working people and their organizations to come together to make June 1 a powerful International Day of Action for the withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti!"

Many of us involved in building the June 1 action are also involved in promoting a Haitian Committee for a Workers Party. We are proud to be associated with the June 1st efforts.

-- Interview conducted by Robert FABERT, on behalf of the ATPC


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