For the immediate withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti (letter to Ban Ki-Moon)

September 26, 2011

From a MINUSTAH protest September 14, 2011.  
Photo: Ansel Herz 

September 26, 2011

The following open letter was released last week calling for the immediate withdrawal of the United Nation's stabilization mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH. The mission is largely seen as an occupying force within Haiti given its record of human rights abuses and the political aims with which it was instituted by foreign powers, and it has been under mounting opposition in recent months. 

To the Secretary General of the UN, Dr. Ban Ki Moon; 

To the Governments of States members of the Security Council and MINUSTAH; 

To the international community and public at large

Receive our greetings. 

It is surprising and humiliating to certify that "Haiti is a threat to world peace and security", as the UN Security Council does, year after year, in order to ratify the presence there of a military-police mission said to be for the purposes of  stabilization: the MINUSTAH.

It is a statement that hides the impunity of the major powers and the hypocrisy that allows them to intervene militarily, politically, and economically in Haiti, drawing as well on the services of others.

The real threat is that intervention itself, a laboratory as well for new forms of domination and popular control.

The intervention of foreign troops over years, whether from the United States, France, other powers, or now the MINUSTAH, has not improved the lives of the Haitian people. Rather, their presence undermines the sovereignty and dignity of that people and ensures the process of economic recolonization that is directed from outside by a virtual parallel government - the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti - whose plans are more responsive to the lenders and entrepreneurs than to the rights of Haitians.

As if this were not enough, the intervention directly usurps USD 800 million per year (equivalent to nearly half of Haiti's annual budget) of resources needed by the people for their health, education, housing, water and sanitation, food sovereignty and job creation.Worse still, the MINUSTAH has built-up a real criminal record: it abuses and rapes women and youth, and it kills. It kills with bullets when people stand up to hunger and low wages, and it kills with cholera: some 5,000 Haitian women and men have been killed by the disease introduced by the MINUSTAH.  Enough!

We demand the immediate withdrawal of troops and non-renewal of the MINUSTAH mandate. The Security Council will have to address the situation in Haiti, before October 15. If it really wants to defend world peace and security it must also ensure the non-interference of any foreign military or police presence in that country, as well as the sanctioning and reparation for the crimes committed by these.

We further urge the States and organisms involved to urgently review their policies of regional and international cooperation with Haiti. It is not a question of responding to the problems that do affect the social peace and security of that people with short-term and assistencialist measures that sharpen their dependency. The country needs changes whereby the Haitian people are the protagonists of their own life and builder of their own history. The Cuban medical presence is irrefutable proof that another cooperation is possible.

Haiti, predecessor and benefactor of antislavery and anticolonial struggles throughout the region, renowned for the creativity of its artists and the organizational strength of his people, has endured throughout its life enormous depredation and calamities. But the Haitian people have also demonstrated their persistence and solidarity in the struggle to build alternatives in the face of injustice and adversity. It is essential that their right to sovereignty and self-determination be respected: ridding them of occupations and illegitimate debts; supporting them in their struggle against impunity; acknowledging their abilities; and restoring to them the resources that have unjustly been taken from them - the historical, social, ecological, and financial debt due to the Haitian people - and that they need for life and dignity. 

September 2011 

Initial signators:

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate; Nora Cortiñas, Mother of May Square-Founders’ Line; Beverly Keene, International Coordinator Jubilee South; Jubilee South/Americas; Peace and Justice Service of Latin America; Foundation Peace and Justice Service-Argentina...