Haitian Lavalas Activist Calls for Solidarity
By Benjamin Melancon,
Posted on Mon Oct 18th, 2004 at 07:23:30 PM EST
The Haitian people will continue their struggle against imposed rulers and for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, despite constant violence from the former army against people associated with his majority Lavalas party, said a Lavalas activist who traveled from Haiti and spoke at the Million Worker March yesterday in Washington D.C.
A transcript of her speech, recorded at the event by this reporter, follows below.
Speaking under the name Marlene Jean-Louis from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, she asked for solidarity from the several thousand people gathered for the rally of organized labor, unorganized workers, anti-war, and other activists on October 17. Eugenia Charles, the director of the humanitarian and human rights organization Fondasyon Mapou, translated.
I say Haitians where are you because the situation is grave in Haiti. We have lost a lot of our brothers and sisters since February 29th and we know we've been losing them because of all the other coups.
In 1915 the U.S. came to Haiti. We know when the U.S. came they gave us an army that kill and torture thousands.
On February 29th Two Thousand and Four, President Bush along with the President of France and the Prime Minister of Canada they built-- they constructed a coup and kidnapped our president.
Since that day they have taken our hopes.
All the dreams that we have, have been stepped upon.
The reason we have chosen to travel from far to come to this march today is because we know among union workers and union members there is solidarity.
And we would like to share with you this march and share the struggle.
And also share with you the struggle of the Haitian union members.
More than 8,000 Haitian workers have lost their jobs after February 29th 2004 because of their political association.
The only people who own the country of Haiti today are the Haitian bourgeoisie.
Today the U.S. government has taken Haiti and handed it over to Andy Apaid who is a U.S. citizen born in New York but passing as a Haitian.
They have given the Haitian people a coup because they could not implement the neoliberal economic policies that they want to implement on us.
This plan we call it in Haiti a death plan because the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer.
And today that is the plan that's being implemented in Haiti.
It is a shame that I have to tell you today we do not have a media in Haiti.
The press have chosen their side. They say they are working with the bourgeoisie and the mass poor of the population is not part of that.
Today we are facing a situation that we have never seen before since after we ended slavery in 1804.
They have entered Haiti and destroyed everything in their path.
There is a lot of you who went to Haiti on January 1st 2004 and saw how beautiful the country was and how we were moving forward.
And today if you go back you will see it is almost the end of Haiti.
Not a day goes by since February 29th 2004 that twenty or thirty people don't die.
Under the eye of the MINUSTAH, the mission from the United Nations, they are there witnessing as the former soldiers, the torturous Hatian army that the U.S. created during their occupations [as of 1915-1934] before they left, is killing more people every day.
And the press that has been bought by the bourgeoisie and the Latortue government continue to say that it is people associated with Fanmi-Lavalas who are killing people inside the country.
It as if we are a bunch of imbeciles and we are killing our own people.
Not too long ago they found 13 bodies under dumps of trash.
And those people had already been decomposed and their bodies you could see worms all over them.
The press have never said a word.
The police is going inside union offices arresting people.
They were inside a particular union office and they arrested people without a search warrant.
And the press has not said a word.
The government has said nothing.
And we see the de facto government that the Bush administration has put in Haiti, Gerard Latortue, they went inside Saint Claire Church and kidnapped Father Gerard Jean-Juste.
They beat him up.
And now they have locked him up.
We are now suggesting that the Latortue government take the Haitian national stadium and turn it into a penitentiary so they can imprison the 90 percent of the population who represent the Lavalas.
The workers are unable to live they are unable to unionize themselves.
Apaid is the next president of Haiti after Gerard Latortue.
We have put a claim against Apaid because he is firing a lot of people because they do not associate with his political party and we want to take him before the justice department and ask for justice.
Now we are asking for solidarity from those of you who are here to support the Haitian workers.
The Haitian people deserve better.
The Haitian people fought along your side to help you get your independence, you need to help us now. [Cheering becomes very loud.]
We gave our blood in Savannah. [Cheering and applause.]
I don't think the American workers are working hard to pay taxes so they can send people in Haiti to kill the Haitian people.
I think the march you are organizing today is not just today, you will have it in the future and continue to work in solidarity with the Haitian people.
I would like to thank you all for inviting me here and I will say that the U.S. government along with the French government, the Canadian government, they have taken president Aristide out of Haiti because they want to implement their own neoliberal plans in Haiti and also because Aristide is the first president in Haiti's history to call for reparations for the Haitian people, the over twenty-one billion dollars that France had forced us to pay in indemnities to them after we won our independence, we will get it back. Even though Aristide is not in Haiti, he is still the president of the people and he is with us in spirit and we will continue to fight for his return.
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