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ACTION ALERT
CARICOM's Action on Haiti: "Honor for a Few, Shame for Most"?


!!!Urgent Action Alert!!!

August 16, 2004

Contact CARICOM, urge that they not buckle under pressure from the U.S.-installed Latortue regime and maintain their principled stand for democratic principles and processes!!!

*****

Today, August 16, 2004, we at the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network find ourselves yet again sending out another action alert to ask our supporters to urge CARICOM to stand firm and continue as the pioneers in this 2004 international struggle to return the VOICE of the Haitian masses and Constitutional rule to Haiti. Please call, fax and write to CARICOM asking they not allow an un-elected, unconstitutional government into their sacred CARICOM council.

We also find ourselves deeply indebted to the Prime Ministers, governments and peoples of St. Vincent & the Grenadines and St. Lucia, who have publicly shown they shall not cave in, in this Goliath vs. David-like battle, no matter the pressures exerted by the powerful "International Community" - mostly the former colonial master states and their various agents.

See the press release by Coha entitled "CARICOM's Action on Haiti: Honor for a Few, Shame for Most"

We fervently wish that, when this chapter in the annals of "worldwide citizenry vs. organized tyranny" history is finally written, that that heading "Honor for a few, shame for most" shall not be the engraving marker descriptive and entombing of the honorable CARICOM body politic.

On July 27, 2004, during the DNC in Boston, Haitians and supporters of law, equality and justice came together and honored CARICOM for their steadfast refusal to recognize the illegitimate puppet government of Latortue that was illegally installed in Haiti and for its courage, compassion and tireless efforts to lift up Haiti's right to self-determination and democracy. (See our slide show on the event:)

We honored CARICOM and its governments and peoples for not legitimizing the violent overthrow of democracy and for not reinforcing the illegal rule of the Latortue regime. A regime which came to power in Haiti as a result of the forcible removal of the lawfully elected president by outside forces aided and abetted by thugs, assassins and freed criminals.

But ours is still a long and arduous road full of mountains after mountains with lots of steep precipices ahead and bottomless ravines below. There has been a ruthless campaign to intimidate all of us anti-Coup d'etat and pro-democracy advocates. Especially the poor, defenseless, and starving Haitian masses in Haiti, who firmly believe that a country based on the rule of law cannot be built on the foundations, even with the powerful military, political and mainstream media support of foreigners, laid down by an un-elected and unconstitutional regime. An illegal Latortue regime that was so thirsty for power in Haiti it was willing to get it by whatever demeaning or repellent way it could acquire it, even through Bush/Roger Noreiga/Otto Reich-affirmative-action job handouts and foreign occupation in this, Haiti's sacred 2004 year. How may democracy and the rule of law in Haiti be institutionalized while the masses in Haiti along with Haiti's constitution is simply evicted from the process?

Haiti's poor and starving masses just took to the streets yesterday and the day before, some say, over 200,000 of them in Port-au-Prince alone, and thousands upon thousands in Cayes, Cap Haitien, even Gonaives, coming forth for August 14th Bwa Kayiman, despite the systemic repressions, all over Haiti, to take their freedom back and tell the world that democracy in Haiti has no future without their voice, cannot be built on the unholy alliance of a tiny disaffected and constituency-less ex-Lavalas politicians, USAID-constructed group 184, imported technocrats, an un-electable and morally repugnant business elite and their armed thugs, killers and freed criminals.

Shall the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) ignore these cries for help and assistance, allowing what is happening in Haiti to go unchallenged? If not CARICOM, if not now, then what's to prevent this precedent - the forceful overthrow of a CARICOM member nation - from happening again? Not to mention that an un-elected power-grabber who calls mass murderers "freedom fighters" should have no place at the sacred council table of CARICOM. At least, not in the name of the Haitian people, the Haitian resistance as expressed by the Haitian Revolution, which on August 22, 2004, will mark our 213th year of resistance.

The blood spilled during those 13 years that ended with Haiti's independence in 1804, as well as the 300 years of blood spilt before that resisting bondage and tyranny, calls to us today in 2004, 200 years since we-Haitians broke the formal bonds of chattel slavery and colonialism in Haiti. We wish not to mark these milestones, this legacy of struggle and resistance without the support and solidarity of our brothers and sisters at CARICOM.

It would be shameful, deplorable no less, if just as CARICOM's steadfast stand for the principles of democracy was helping to mobilize the world about the plight of the Haitian people, just as South Africa has taken CARICOM's lead one step ahead to say South Africa still recognizes Jean-Bertrand Aristide to be Haiti's legitimate president, if just then, a meeting was held on or around August 16, 2004, where CARICOM recognized the illegal Latortue, thus becoming part of the bonds and chains threatening to fastening, once again, upon our people in Haiti to re-enslave their will.

It would be more than ironic for CARICOM to relinquished its principled stand, become just another political entity who does not apply its stated charter mission to the poor masses of Haiti. A shining beacon that suddenly become a dim follower, not the leader it has shown the world it is when it comes to honoring the principles of democratic rule for this Western Hemisphere.

Such a lost would be painfully disappointing, not only to anti-Coup d'etat Haitians and their supporters, but freedom loving peoples worldwide. For, more so than most, CARICOM leaders should know by now that the chains that are encircling Haiti today must be broken forthwith so that all of us in the Western Hemisphere may move forward collectively. This precedent must not stand. Divided we fall. L'union fait la force!

To date, CARICOM has earned the world's respect on this matter. It deserves all our support and appreciation, as its award citations stated for "its unparalleled commitment to restoring sovereignty, human rights, the dignity of the Haitian voter and constitutional rule to Haiti and for having displayed distinguished, steadfast and courageous support of the democratic principles and processes essential to good governance worldwide."

We urge those member nations within CARICOM who are wavering to reconsider and not to relinquish their principled stand and CARICOM's leadership role. To review the newly released July 2004 human rights reports coming from the Institute for Justice and Democracy, the Haiti Accompaniment Project, Haiti Information Project, Haitkaah Social Justice Project and Amnesty International. And compare them to the rosy picture and propaganda being presented by the Foley puppets of Haiti.

We ask our friends and supporters to help the masses that came out on August 14th, 2004, risked their lives struggling to regain their liberty, help our people in Haiti by writing, faxing and calling CARICOM and urging they maintain their principled stand and not recognize the Latortue regime. Thank you.

WRITE LETTERS TO:

  1. Edwin Carrignton, Secretary General of CARICOM -
    (Phone) 011.592.226.9281;
    (Fax) 011.592.226.4493


  2. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves - Prime Minister of St. Vincent & The Grenadines
    (Phone) 784-456-1703
    (Fax) 784-457-2152
    (e-mail) pmoffice@candw.lc - (Letters of Appreciation)


  3. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony - Prime Minister of St. Lucia
    (Phone) 758-452-2611
    (Fax) 758-453-7352
    (e-mail) foreign@candw.lc (Letters of Appreciation)


  4. President Bharrat Jagdeo - Guyanese President
    (Phone) 011-592-225-1330
    (Fax) 011-592-226-9969
    (E-mail) minfor@sdnp.org.gy (Letters of Appreciation)


  5. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson,
    (Phone) 876 927 9941
    (Fax) 876 929 0005


  6. K.D. Knight, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
    (Phone) 876.926.4220
    (Fax) 876 929 6733)
    (E-mail) mfaftjam@toj.com


  7. Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer,
    Foreign Minister Harold Lovell via Embassy in Washington D.C.
    (phone) 202-362-5122 / ANTIGUA and BARBUDA: (The current CARICOM chair)
Cc: Huntley Medley, Public Relations Consultant, Office of the
Secretary-General Tel:
(592) -226-9280-9 or 227-4671 ,
Email: hmedley@CARICOM.org

Cc: Hugh Cholmondeley , Head of the CARICOM Task Force on Haiti
E-mail address is huchom@hotmail.com

Cc: CARICOM Minister's of foreign Affairs at: foreignaffairs@antigua.gov.ag, mfabahamas@batelnet.bs,,barbados@foreign.gov.bb, belizemfa@btl.net, pmoffice@tod.dm, pmoffice@cwdom.dm, faffgnd@caribsurf.com minfor@sdnp.org.gy, mfaftjam@toj.comlibraryja@toj.com, foreigna@caribsurf.com, foreign@candw.lc, svgforeign@caribsurf.com, buza@sr.net, permanent.secretary@foreign.gov.tt

cc: OAS Leinaudi@oas.org, HunterJ14@aol.com, gunter.burghardt@cec.eu.int, AntBar@oas.org, Argentina@oas.org, Bahamas@oas.org, Barbados@oas.org, Belize@oas.org, Bolivia@oas.org, Brazil@oas.org, Canada@oas.org, Chile@oas.org, Colombia@oas.org, Costa-Rica@oas.org, Dominica@oas.org, Ecuador@oas.org, ElSalvador@oas.org, Grenada@oas.org, Guatemala@oas.org, Guyana@oas.org, Haiti@oas.org, Honduras@oas.org, Jamaica@oas.org, Mexico@oas.org, Nicaragua@oas.org, Panama@oas.org, Paraguay@oas.org, Peru@oas.org, Republica-Dominicana@oas.org, StKitt-Nevis@oas.org, StLucia@oas.org, StVnG@oas.org, Suriname@oas.org, TnT@oas.org, Uruguay@oas.org, USA@oas.org, Venezuela@oas.org, vze4ksd@verizon.net

If you wish, you may also individually write to or

cc: CARICOM PRIME MINISTERS, CARICOM FOREIGN MINISTERS & SELECTED CARICOM AFFAIRS CONTACTS (aditional phone, e-mails and other CARICOM contact information may be found on our website:)

bcc: Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network at Erzilidanto@aol.com

Marguerite Laurent, Esq.
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
August 16, 2004

Background Information

CARICOM's Action on Haiti: Honor for a Few, Shame for Most
  • Whatever happened to Jamaican P.J. Patterson's spunk?
  • Trinidad's Patrick Manning clamors to be in Uncle Sam's pocket.
  • Barbados' Owen Arthur strangely silent.
  • CARICOM all but ignores relentless persecution of Aristide's political party and an ominous list of casualties occurring among the ousted president's backers.

As most of the members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) prepare to relinquish their principled stand on Haiti, perhaps as a result of Washington's leverage over their troubled economies, three nations are determined to hold firm to their democratic principles. Guyana, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines oppose any recognition at this time of the Haitian government led by interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue. In the past months, CARICOM, at first led by Jamaica's P.J. Patterson, had steadfastly refused to recognize the interim government that was formed upon the February 29, 2004 ouster of the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

A delegation of five CARICOM foreign ministers led by Barbados' Dame Billie Miller visited Haiti in July and has since recommended that CARICOM return to "full engagement" with the Latortue government. The recommendation marks an abrupt reversal of CARICOM's previous doughty position on Haiti the regional bloc had been the most vocal advocate of Haitian democracy and its sovereign rights in the days immediately before and after Aristide's overthrow.

Championing the Haitian cause in both the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS), CARICOM was forced to drop its request for a UN investigation as a result of determined opposition from the U.S. and France and Secretary General Kofi Annan's unfortunate languor over the subject. However, CARICOM's persistence eventually led to an OAS resolution that essentially acknowledged that "an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state" had taken place in Haiti. Due to their adamant concern for Haitian autonomy, CARICOM members initially took a stand that affirmed their own self-respect as well as their insistence that, although tiny, they would not allow their dignity to be trampled. They also insisted that they would not act as indifferent bystanders as armed insurgents and the hemisphere's larger nations, such as the United States, interfered with the constitutional process of a fellow CARICOM nation.

The Three Heroes
Guyanese president Bharrat Jagdeo, St. Lucian prime minister Kenneth Anthony and St. Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister Ralph Gonsalves have insisted that full engagement with the new government, if it happens at all, should not take place before the special summit of CARICOM leaders scheduled to take place in Trinidad and Tobago in November. All along, Gonsalves has displayed inestimable pluck by maintaining his insistence on salvaging CARICOM's honor regarding Haiti. But Jagdeo must have warmed the heart and done homage to the ideals of Guyana's greatest historical figure, the late Cheddi Jagan, when he emphasized that "the issue of ensuring that constitutional governance is not disrupted by coups or political violence remains of deep concern to Guyana." Jagdeo's words were particularly important since unlike his mentor, Jagan, who was considered the soul and undeniable moral force of CARICOM, the country's current leader was viewed up until now as more of a technocrat than a visionary.

As the other members of CARICOM succumb to concerns of political expediency and base self-interest, these three countries should be praised for their continued focus on the real problems extant in Haiti. How can CARICOM in good conscience walk away from a series of hard facts? While Latortue holds de facto power in Haiti, he certainly does not hold the premiership as the result of a legal process: he was plucked from his reportedly gated community in Boca Raton and then extra-constitutionally installed in the National Palace in Port-au-Prince.

Jamaican Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Keith Knight says that Jamaica is "committed to helping the Haitian people in their institutional and capacity-building, working with the United Nations mission in areas such as the Haitian police, the electoral system and the administration of the country, to improve the life of the people there." While these are admirable sentiments, the members of CARICOM now pushing for the recognition of the Latortue government should consider the ultimate implications of their alleged "realism."

Genuflecting to Washington was not exactly a problem for Trinidad and Tabago's prime minister Patrick Manning, who had no honor to lose when he said, "What has happened in the past we consider very unfortunate, we don't like it at all. However, we think the time has come to move on." Equally strange is the conduct of Barbados' Owen Arthur, who has been all but silent on the issue. Barbados' seemingly compromised position is reminiscent of the late Tom Adams' role in the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada, when Barbados' then Prime Minister closed the island's airport to prevent U.S. medical students from fleeing Grenada, thus removing Washington's pretext to invade the island.

The majority of CARICOM now seems ready to accept a constitutionally blemished government in Port-au-Prince, which seems intent on pursuing a program of persecution against, rather than constructive engagement with, their political opponents. There are growing reports coming out of Haiti of massive human rights violations, including the violent deaths of hundreds of perceived opponents of the Latortue government as well as those who actively supported Aristide. In addition, Lavalas political figures, including a number of former high level officials like former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, have been arrested and are now rotting in jail. As additional negative accounts of wrongdoing come to light, perhaps CARICOM will abandon its haste to recognize the interim government and return to its more principled stance.

This analysis was prepared by Kirstin Kramer, COHA Research Associate

August 12, 2004

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. It has been described on the Senate floor as being "one of the nation's most respected bodies of scholars and policy makers." For more information, please see our web page at www.coha.org; or contact our Washington offices by phone (202) 216-9261, fax (202) 223-6035, or email coha@coha.org.

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Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership
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