Haitian organisations denounce US occupying forces – Haiti Support Group press release, 18 May 2004
As Haiti celebrates Flag Day, the London-based solidarity organisation, the Haiti Support Group, joins with a number of organisations representing the majority population in Haiti in denouncing the US military forces in Haiti.
The latest in a series of unacceptable actions by US troops was the violent and aggressive intervention at the offices of the Tèt Kole peasant movement and the Antèn Ouvriye organisation in downtown Port-au-Prince on the afternoon of 23 April. On the dubious pretext of searching for a counterfeit passport operation, the US soldiers damaged property, read documents, and ‘confiscated’ the sum of 34,850 gourdes.
On 12 May, the Institut Culturel Karl Léveque, ITECA, PAJ, and SAKS, published an open letter to Justice Minister Bernard Gousse calling on him to take action. The four organisations pointed out that not only had the US troops acted with total disregard for Haitian law, but that, at the conclusion of the intervention, no passports were found and no one was arrested.
Batay Ouvriye and the Regwoupman Òganizasyon Popilè Granmoun also denounced the intervention in Rue Montalais. The Regwoupman Òganizasyon Popilè Granmoun, which includes the Tèt Kole movement as well as MUPAC, Chandèl, and SAJ/Veye Yo, denounced other violations of Haitians’ rights by what it described as the “occupation forces”. It highlighted the violent intervention by US troops at a health clinic opposite the State Hospital in Port-au-Prince on 20 April, and the seizure of street merchants’ goods by French troops in Trou du Nord.
These organisations also echoed calls made earlier by student organisations, and the Platform of Haitian Human Rights organisations, for foreign troops to leave the University of Peace at Tabarre outside the capital. The foreign troops are using the university campus as their base, and in doing so are preventing 247 medical students from continuing their studies.
The Haiti Support Group backs all these organisations in their denunciations, and also highlights the fact that the UN-mandated force has not made no attempt to disarm the illegal and unconstitutional armed irregular forces that control much of the country, and instead appears to be co-operating and co-habitating with them.
Finally, troops from other countries will be deployed in Haiti as part of the larger United Nations force that will come into being on 1 June. The Haiti Support Group notes that while a reduction in the size of the US military contingent may be a welcome development for the people of Haiti, the fact that these same US troops may well be redeployed to take part in murderous actions against the people of Iraq is a deeply depressing thought.