Send a message to President Obama, former Presidents Clinton and Bush: “The People of Haiti need food, water, and medical aid, not military occupation”
Sign the Petition at http://iacenter.org/haitipetition/
According to news reports the Pentagon has been given complete control over the Port-au-Prince airport and is responsible for all air traffic control. There are increasing reports that aid organizations have accused the U.S. military “of focusing their efforts on getting their people and troops installed and lifting their citizens out.” (New York Times, Jan. 17, 2010)
Under the pretext of stopping alleged looting, the U.S. has now forced the government of President Rene Preval to pass emergency measures that would delegate all security to the Pentagon.
The U.S. military presence has expanded from 3,500 soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division, 2,200 U.S. Marines, to an estimated 10,000 troops. It is outrageous that the Haitian people are being forced to endure even greater hardship so that the U.S. can expand their military occupation.
According to Jarry Emmanuel, air logistics officer for World Food Organization: “There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti. But most of those flights are for the U.S. military. Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed.”
A plane from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) carrying medical supplies was denied permission to land on Jan. 16. After Red Cross flights were continually diverted they choose to attempt to enter with a truck convoy via the Dominican Republic. The news media has reported that France, Brazil and Italy along with major international relief agencies were so upset by having aid shipments diverted that they have lodged formal complaints. Argentine, Peruvian and Mexican flights filled with rescuers and supplies were also turned back. The Caricom, the Caribbean Community’s emergency aid mission to Haiti, was refused landing.
French Secretary of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet told reporters he had lodged a complaint with the United States over its handling of the Port-au-Prince airport. “I have made an official protest to the Americans through the U.S. embassy,” he said at the Haitian airport after a French plane carrying a field hospital was turned away. (AFP Jan. 17) After two relief flights were turned away the French ambassador to Haiti, Didier Le Bret, said that the Port-au-Prince airport has become “not an airport for the international community. It is an annex of Washington.” (The Guardian UK Jan. 17)
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez on Jan. 17 said the United States was using the earthquake in Haiti as a pretext to occupy the devastated country and offered to send fuel. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says that the United States has taken advantage of the massive quake in Haiti and deployed troops in the country.
Haiti is the poorest and least developed country in the hemisphere, everyone repeats. That is true, but it is because Haiti has been occupied by U.S. military forces again and again. This is what makes the latest U.S. troop deployment to Haiti so ominous. As in the past, it will not help Haiti.
From 1804, when the first successful slave revolution in history drove out the French colonialists and slave masters, until the present, Washington has continually imposed sanctions, debt repayments and military intervention in an attempt to crush Haitian independence. The U.S. directly occupied the country from 1915 to 1934 and again in the last 20 years.
In 2004 in a coup, planned from Washington and supported by troops from France and Canada, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a president democratically elected by over 90 percent of the vote in the last election was kidnapped and removed. The U.S. still prevents President Aristide from returning to Haiti from South Africa, where he is exiled. The U.S. set up an occupation of Haiti under UN command. Six years of this UN occupation has done nothing to develop Haiti or improve its infrastructure. Instead it has led to still greater poverty and hunger and unsustainable debt.
This is an important time to oppose to all forms of U.S. military occupation of Haiti. The peoples movement must demand that Haiti’s airport be used for flights carrying desperately needed medical aid, food and water, not U.S. troops.
Your message to U.S. officials, U.S. and international media and to UN officials is an important step to call for international humanitarian assistance and to show international opposition to continued U.S. occupation of Haiti.