Haiti Action Committee Demo in San Francisco
February 22, 2005
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Haiti Action Committee Demo
in San Francisco

Contact: Diana Bohn 510-525-5497


Although the people of Haiti twice elected much-beloved President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by overwhelming majorities, the United States (with the complicity of France and Canada) forcibly removed him from Haiti on Feb. 29, 2004.

Aristide's ouster - accompanied by the forced removal of hundreds of local elected officials, the firing of thousands of public sector workers and the return of the Haitian military (disbanded by Aristide a decade ago) - has thrown this island nation into a state of violence: former soldiers use armed intimidation to assert their legitimacy; the Haitian National Police (into which some ex-soldiers have been integrated) commit extrajudicial murder and execute warrantless arrests of Aristide supporters; U.N. "peacekeepers" stand by passively or actively participate in police incursions into popular districts.

On the first anniversary of this U.S.-led coup, Bay Area activists in solidarity with the Haitian majority, will call for an end to the foreign occupation, release of the political prisoners, a halt to the political repression of Aristide supporters, restoration of constitutional government and the return of Haiti's democratically-elected president:

Monday, Feb. 28 4:30 p.m. Rally in UN Plaza

San Francisco (under the Simon Bolivar statue at Hyde Street)

5 p.m. March stops at the:

  • SF Chronicle (5th and Mission)
  • the Chilean Consulate (870 Market)
  • French Consulate (540 Bush)
  • Brazilian Consulate (300 Montgomery)
  • U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's office (1 Post)

The protest is sponsored by Haiti Action Committee, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and ANSWER Coalition.

Why rally in UN Plaza?

By removing Haiti's legitimate government, the U.S., France, and Canada created conditions where chaos and bloodshed thrive. The U.N. was called on to support the interim government's attempts to stabilize the country, however it has failed to accomplish its mission. According to a study authored by the Center for the Study of Human Rights, University of Miami School of Law: "The violent repression by police and former soldiers with the U.N. forces visibly acting as support for, rather than a check on the official violence, has generated desperate fear in a community that is quickly losing its young men to violent death or arbitrary arrest." (Read the full report at http://www.law.miami.edu/news/368.html.)

Why target The San Francisco Chronicle?

While The Chronicle published a number of critical stories in February and March 2004 leading up to Aristide's ouster and immediately following it, the paper ran only a handful of news stories on Haiti during the rest of the year. There has been only one story on Haiti in 2005. The public has been deprived of information on the more-than-700 political prisoners jailed by the U.S.-backed government, most without warrants, without trial dates, many beaten or otherwise mistreated. Unless people search out alternative news sources, they don't know about the attacks on union activists and Haitian journalists. Sadly, the Chronicle ignored the Bay Area visit of Fr. Gérard Jean-Juste, former political prisoner and one of the most powerful voices of the democratic movement in Haiti today.The Chronicle must do better.

Why target the Chilean and Brazilian consulates?

Brazil, whose troops are mostly in Port-au-Prince, leads the U.N. "peacekeeping" mission; Chile has a large contingent of troops in the north. Some observers believe Brazil has taken on this leadership role in order to please the U.S. and gain a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. For the most part, these troops (like other U.N. forces) speak neither Creole, the language of the Haitian masses, nor French, the language of the educated. When U.N. troops accompany ill-trained Haitian police on incursions into the popular pro-Aristide neighborhoods, they can communicate neither with the police (who regularly brutalize the population), nor with the people.

"It's a clear double-standard," said Douglas Spalding of the Haiti Action Committee. "U.N. troops help to arrest Aristide supporters while allowing armed and dangerous ex-soldiers complete freedom of movement."

Why target the French Consulate?

France was Haiti's original colonizer and slave master. After Haiti won independence in 1804, France demanded and received the equivalent of $21.7 billion in today's currency from Haiti as payment for the loss of land and slaves. As Haiti's 200th anniversary approached, Aristide's government demanded this amount in restitution from France. Many believe this legal claim pushed France to join with the U.S. and Canada to oust Aristide.

Why target Dianne Feinstein?

While Rep. Barbara Lee decried the "democratic government overthrown," Sen. Dianne Feinstein has ignored Lee's demand that the U.S. investigate the truth of the manner in which Aristide was removed. "Feinstein typifies the bi-partisan refusal to question U.S. foreign policy in Haiti," said Charlie Hinton, an activist with the Haiti Action Committee.

"Feinstein typifies the bi-partisan consensus that guides U.S. foreign policy," said Haiti Action Committee activist Charlie Hinton. "She neither opposed the destabilization campaign that led to the overthrow of the Aristide government nor has she supported the call for an investigation."

See also:

The World Demands Justice for Haiti
Pro-Demoracy activists around the World stand in solidarity with the Haitian People on the one year anniversary of the U.S. sponsored Coup d'État and Occupation of Haiti

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