Open Letter From Haiti Human Right Activists to US Congress: No to Sham Elections and US Occupation
October 10, 2014
To: Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY)
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balartz (R-FL)
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL)
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Ranking Member, House Committee on the Judiciary
Dear Honorable Senators and Representatives,
We would like to thank you for your work on behalf of the American people to promote justice and democracy. However, we are writing you to express our outrage over your letter dated September 15, 2014 to Senator Simon Dieuseul Desras, President of the Haitian Senate. We, Haitians and Haitian-Americans living in the Diaspora, appreciate your concerns. Yet after reading your letter, we are more concerned because it is clear that you have not been properly informed on the real situation in Haiti. In that regard, we would like to share with you some of the obstacles Haiti faces.
The situation in Haiti is very bleak, and extremely serious. Haitians living in Haiti are faced with an uncertain future. The current regime that was imposed on the people of Haiti by the US and allies through a fraudulent election in 2010, has moved the clock backwards in all areas. This selection had the seal of approval of former US President William Jefferson Clinton with the support of his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton then US Secretary of State.
If, we were to give a facade of legitimacy to the Martelly selection by the US and its allies, one would suppose a legitimate government is constitutionally obligated to organize local, municipal and parliamentary elections. But it has been three (3) years since President Martelly took office. Where are we and what has happened? Essentially the powerful hand of international lawmakers and global stakeholders, backed by UN privatized guns for the benefit of US and trans-national corporate interests, prevent the Haitian populace from handling issues that need to be handled by Haitians.
- By chance, have you inquired why elections were not organized in 2011, 2012, and 2013? Currently, all local government officers have been replaced with non-elected presidential henchmen called Interim Executive Agents who are friends and supporters of the Martelly-Lamothe regime. All the institutions necessary to conduct free, fair, and democratic elections are under the control of the executive branch of government.
- The justice system has been heavily politicized and is in a state of paralysis. The Martelly-Lamothe regime has been using the justice system to repress political opponents.
- In one instance, a Deputy in function was arrested and jailed in clear violation of the Haitian constitution.
- In another instance, a judge investigating corruption charges brought against president Martelly and his family died, allegedly from the great pressure illegally exerted by the Martelly-Lamothe regime for the judge to throw out the case.
- In yet another situation, Martelly’s Minister of Justice personally went to a police station and ordered the release of the wife of an individual who is a good friend of the president and was put in jail under a judge’s order while conducting an investigation into an alleged kidnapping.
- Where are the voices of concern from “the friends of Haiti” and/or “the international human rights industry” against this Martelly-Lamothe reign of terror?
- The police force is in a very precarious situation that is no different than that of the justice system.
- The selected president feels so comfortable with US-Euro support of his new Duvalierist regime that he publicly stated that “the police is the armed wing of the government”.
- In the manner of Ferguson USA, this US and foreign-trained, militarized police has been used to break-up peaceful protests through the use of tear gas, beatings, chemical showers, rubber bullets and other militarized police tools.
- Peaceful demonstrators are routinely arrested and thrown in jail. These individuals are indefinitely kept imprisoned without a hearing, trial or conviction. The near complete impunity of the Haiti State, supported by the international “friends” of Haiti, reign as if Haiti and the world were back in the Cold War days.
- This Haiti mass disenfranchisement and repression is a clear violation of local, regional and international human rights.
- A growing number of political prisoners like the Florestal Brothers whose only crime was to file a lawsuit against the president’s family for corruption are abandoned and warehoused in US occupied Haiti behind UN privatized colonial guns.
- The persecution of attorneys Andre Michel and Newton Saint-Juste for denouncing corruption and for filing lawsuits against many members of the government and the presidential family, evidences the authoritarian nature of the new Duvalierist regime supported by US lawmakers without dissent.
- Opposition members are constantly harassed and persecuted; even former President Jean Bertrand Aristide has been targeted with an illegal house arrest.
- Effectively, Haiti is functioning under the regime of “Legal Bandits”, a moniker given to the current regime by the Haitian public that US Lawmakers won”t hear.
- Those close to the Martelly regime routinely commit crimes and walk free with impunity. One Senator close to the government beat up an individual and broke his tooth. The Senator in question, during a radio interview, said “I broke his tooth.” Yet, he was found not guilty of any charges in the town of Jacmel where the incident took place.
- Another close ally of President Martelly in Jacmel, spit on a judge’s face. The judge was subsequently fired for no apparent reason.
- A close friend and member of the President’s security team beat up, punch, slaps anyone who get in his way. A group of innocent students passed his car on their way to school; he pulled the students car over, beat them up, and humiliated them in broad day light. Afterwards, he drove the students to the next police precinct and walked off. These are verified and documented incidents of state terror.
- Most illegally, President Michel Martelly summarily issued a presidential decree that charges $1.50 on every transfer that is being sent to Haiti and also a .5-cent tax on all international outgoing and incoming phone calls. The money collected from the fees is supposed to cover expenses associated with the President free school program. The law that would make this program legal never made it to the Haitian parliament. From 2013 to present, an alarming number of teachers have been on strike for not getting paid. There is no accountability on how those monies are collected and or spent. The Diaspora is not spared.
- Many Haitians are living in terror of losing their homes and their family lands. Over 400 houses have been demolished in Port-au-Prince by Martelly’s regime and only 17 homeowners received compensation. At the same time, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is taking over the Island of Ile a-Vache and evicting residents from their lands. This situation is forcing a number of Haitians to become homeless. It is understood that many of Haiti’s land is being liquidated to foreigners. A May 10, 2013 presidential decree takes Haiti offshore islands for “tourism and public utility” and will subject hundreds of thousands of Haitians and impoverished peasants to possible eviction off their communal properties or family-owned lands.
- The Prime Minister refused to show up in parliament to defend the nation’s budget and explain the nation’s expenditures. All of those things are happening under the eyes and noses of the international community.
- Pamela White, the US Ambassador in Haiti has not said a single word to condemn these acts. It is likewise for Ms. Sandra Honore , the UN Representative in Haiti. The majority of the US newspapers are completely silent, especially the Miami Herald.
- Former UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali said, in 2003, that “the United Nations is just an instrument at the service of American policy”. And so are its peacekeeping missions.
- Since 2004, Haiti has been under military occupation by the United Nations, which is, as Boutros Ghali and Haiti freedom fighters have pointed out, nothing but a proxy for the United States to impose its will and agenda on the majority of the Haitian people.
- One of the stated purposes of the United Nations in Haiti was to promote democracy and build institutions in the society through democratic elections. That mission has been a catastrophic failure. Both elections held under their leadership in 2006 and in 2010 were deeply flawed and contested. It seems that the goal of the international community and mostly the United States is to have a “selection” where the majority of Haitians are excluded. Unfortunately, the organization of American States (OAS) is used to validate the election results. The international human rights industry also remains mute on the US occupation in Haiti behind privatized UN guns, Private Military and Security companies (PMSCs) and the NGO charitable industrial complex.
- The Unites States Mission to Stabilize Haiti known as MINUSTAH has destabilized Haiti since its arrival.
- MINUSTAH’s soldiers have killed, raped, infected Haitians with cholera, and generally prevent Haitians from expressing their democratic rights. This force replaces the old Haitian army and paramilitary forces. More than 10,000 Haitians have lost their lives in the cholera epidemic and over 850,000 have been infected, taking Haiti from zero cholera cases in October 2010 to having the world’s worst cholera epidemic. It is far from being over as more Haitians continue to die with the disease. The cholera victims have yet to be compensated. The United Nations refuses to take responsibility for its soldiers committing genocide in Haiti. The Obama administration, the respondeat superior here, sides with the UN – its employee in Haiti- to continue the tradition of impunity for the wealthy and powerful. It recently intervened in a Federal class action lawsuit against the UN to recommend that the federal judge find the UN immune from legal liability for importing cholera to Haiti.
- Wouldn”t committed friends of Haiti demand justice for Haitians? Write to UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon to urge for the United Nations to pay damages to the cholera victims?
- Haitians have been calling for the UN troops to leave the country for ten years now and they have to go. Why won”t US Lawmakers join hands with the Haitians in supporting their call to end the occupation?
With regard to the electoral council, there is overwhelming information circulating throughout the Haitian press daily stating that the majority of Haitians have no confidence in the current body. There was meager participation in the dialogue, and the discussion to create this electoral body was not inclusive. The process that created it has been contested since its inception. The electoral body consists of nine (9) members, six (6) of whom have been handpicked by President Martelly. There is no trust in the government and the electoral body lacks credibility. Under those conditions, can honest, fair and free elections be held in the country? No.
Haitians want free, fair, honest and democratic elections. Haitians do not want pre-programed election results, prepared by the international community and justified by the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC. This was the case in 2006 and in 2010. Enough is enough. The neo-Duvalier reign of terror in Haiti is unacceptable. Silence is complicity.
The dissenting Haitian Senators respectfully demanded the implementation of the Haitian constitution in the formation of the Provisional Electoral Council. They have also requested that the necessary conditions be put in place for honest and fair elections be held. When one considers the current atmosphere in Haiti, the blatant violation of human rights, fear and intimidation perpetrated toward the opposition; the Senators” positions are justified. As legislators, you stand guard against any violations of the US constitution. How come you are writing legislators in another country asking them to violate their own laws?
The United States of America has promoted dictatorship in Haiti, overthrown democratically elected president Aristide and now, again, is getting ready to organize another sham election while they are calling themselves “friends of Haitians.”
Which Haitians are they friends with? Conditions must be established to have free, fair, credible and democratic elections for all to participate. That means no occupation. That means that Haitians must have control of their own resources to develop and improve Haiti’s infrastructures, food security and self-reliance. Right now, we are far from being there.
We are sick and tired of the so-called “friends of Haiti” who time after time have shown that they are the enemies of freedom and democracy for the majority of Haitians. We hope that you will invest the time to become fully knowledgeable about the imperialist war against the Haiti masses and their natural resources. Perhaps then, you will realize that your are on the wrong path. The letter sent the wrong signal and we forcefully condemned it.
We, Haitians and Haitian-Americans in the diaspora, stand firm in supporting democratic elections and the institutionalization of the rule of law in Haiti. There can be no democracy, legitimate elections or due application of local, regional or international human rights laws while Haiti is under foreign occupation. We are committed to defending the rights of the citizens of Haiti to elect their government representatives freely and fairly. We are ready to mobilize the Diaspora with our ballots as well as through other peaceful means to put an end to this situation in order to have real democracy in Haiti. This will enable the country to prosper and become the paradise that we all know Haiti can be without all this meddling and US hero/villain pathology and thereby accomplishing the dreams of our forefathers of establishing a truly independent nation.
Jean Yves Point-du-Jour, Transportation Engineer Manager
Maryland USA [email protected]
Eugenia Charles, Democracy for Haiti
Ezili Dantò, Human Rights Attorney, Haitian lawyers Leadership Network, Free Haiti Movement (Author of “The Quiet Genocide in Haiti/How is it wielded from FDR to Obama-The United Nations, a criminal organization from Lumumba to Aristide)
Thony Jean Tenor, Veye Yo-Miami, FL