Haitians protest the lack of direct aid to the people of the Caribbean nation. An earthquake struck the country on Jan. 12, yet most people have not received the assistance they need., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Protests mark 8th year of Haiti occupation
Published Jun 11, 2012 9:10 PM
A Haitian coalition, including the Mobilizing Collective for Reparations to the Victims of Cholera, issued an international call to protest the eighth anniversary of the United Nations’ occupation of Haiti. In response, actions were held in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Moreover, organizations in Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, France and the United States also held demonstrations to mark this anniversary.
On June 1, there was a march from the popular neighborhood of Fort National in Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince to the parliament, along with a teach-in and a photo display. Demonstrators’ slogans were “Down with the occupation!” “Down with the World Bank!” “Up with the struggle of the people!” and “Let Haiti make its own choices!”
The economic motivation for the U.N.’s costly occupation was made abundantly clear with the recent announcement of gold deposits in Haiti worth more than $20 billion. It’s worth even more since mine workers in Haiti are paid at the most $5 for an 8-hour workday with no benefits, far less than similar workers earn elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Minustah, the U.N.’s so-called Stabilization Mission in Haiti, is not a cheap operation. It currently has about 7,200 soldiers and 3,200 cops stationed there, with a budget of $793 million for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. During the eight years it has run this operation, the U.N. has spent more than $6 billion to ensure that the vast gold deposits in Haiti remain available for imperialist exploitation.
The Mobilizing Collective for Reparations to the Victims of Cholera says that calling Minustah a “peacekeeping” operation is a misnomer. From the day these troops disembarked in Haiti, they have been a disruptive, violent force, attacking even members of the parliament. Besides this repression, the Collective reports that these soldiers have engaged in rape, thievery, murder, corruption and drug trafficking.
The Minustah troops have also committed the vile deed of introducing cholera into the country. More than 535,000 Haitians have been infected in this epidemic, and more than 7,000 people have died.
The U.N. has refused to pay reparations to those who have suffered from cholera or to their family members, although all the evidence from several epidemiological studies points to the Minustah troops as the source of the cholera epidemic in this Caribbean nation.
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