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|Sujet: HAITI: Letter from CATH union federation inviting to Dec. 12-13 Conference in Ha Sam 22 Nov 2008 - 19:21|| |
To the popular, democratic and worker organizations of the Americas:
At the end of last May, before the worsening situation of misery and repression imposed upon the workers and the people of Haiti, the Autonomous Central of Haitian workers (CATH), with the comrades of the Association of the Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean (ATPC), took the initiative to convene a conference for the sovereignty of Haiti with the theme: "Defending Haiti is to Defend Ourselves.
This conference will take place on December 12 and 13, 2008 in Port au Prince in Haiti.
The call for this conference says, among other things:
"The sovereignty of the nations and the fight of the peoples for peace against the wars and the military occupations, the disastrous consequences of the free trade agreements, and the matter of union independence, have been the questions of the day during recent years in most countries of the American continent as well as on other continents."
These questions have been at the center of the debates during the 5th Convention of CATH on March 28-29, 2008.
The appeal to the conference continues:
"On the American continent, the policy of U.S. Imperialism is seen in the growth of its military bases, through the support of the intolerable interventions such as the aggression against Ecuador by the Colombian government, by the embargo against Cuba and the attempts to destabilize and bring about coups against the governments. These are governments which, through the struggles of the workers and the peoples, reject the policy of U.S. Imperialism and are fighting, as in Venezuela, Bolivia and Mexico, to maintain control of their national resources, especially oil.
"In the Caribbean, this policy leads entirely to profit for the capitalists and the large multinational companies and is seen in:
- Restrictions to the free movement of the workers and the people from one country to another;
- Implementation of free trade agreements which are devastating the countries such as the Hope Law (Dominican Republic, Haiti);
- Maintaining the domination of French colonialist oppression in Guadeloupe and Martinique;
- Attempts to undermine the workers by imposing class collaboration through the forced participation of the workers union;
"But there is one country in the Caribbean where this policy of national destruction and of super-exploitation of the workers, a policy that seeks to starve the people while it goes further into dishonor, is taking place with the complicity of a strong army of occupation of 9,000 men. This country is Haiti."
We remind everyone that it costs US$540 million per year to maintain these troops, a third of the budget of the Haitian nation.
The call for the conference adds:
"This country, where some months ago, hundreds of thousands of men and women who had nothing to eat came into the streets and participated in what we call a hunger riot. The occupation forces of Minustah did not hesitate to shoot into the crowd, killing six people and wounding hundreds of others. This country, Haiti, with 8 million inhabitants where 60% of the population is unemployed; where 80% of the population lives below the poverty line; where the average life declined to 51 years old, where the infant mortality rate is 80 per 1000, while it is 4 in France and 7 in Cuba, the neighboring island.
"This country, Haiti, where the corruption, the violence, the kidnappings are present everywhere. This country ,Haiti, where the people put up with very low wages, the privatizations, the near absence of public services, the layoffs and must face the pillaging of their meager resources organized by the IMF and the World Bank which demands the payment of the foreign debt, a debt which the Duvaliers and the other dictators had contracted. The Haitian government would pay $58.2 million dollars in 2008 and $50.9 million in 2009, or 1 million dollars each week that goes up in smoke while the people are dying of hunger.
"This situation led 20 organizations of workers, the general working class, and the youth of Haiti with CATH, to protest this past October 10 in Port au Prince.
Today, with the global crisis that is ravaging and leading to the destruction of nations, and with the four hurricanes that passed through Haiti, the situation has gotten worse.
The town of Gonaives, one of the towns most affected by the hurricanes, collapsed under the hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of mud. While the French television shows the Haitian infants eating dirt cookies, the imperialist governments that are occupying the country or have supported this occupation send two trillion dollars to the banks while no more than 30 billion is needed to eradicate the malnutrition that is experienced by 923 million human beings around the world.
As you know, the UN Security Council just finished renewing the mandate for MINUSTAH and the UN. The UN seems to regret the slow pace of the humanitarian assistance for Haiti while the occupation forces, which cost $543 million dollars each year, state that they are not there for humanitarian work.
With this new situation, we expect the multinationals and the capitalists, in order to save their system that is in crisis, to put in place their plans, their "free trade" agreements, the Hope Law voted by the U.S. congress, with even greater ferocity. We expect that the occupation forces will not hesitate to shoot, once again, into the crowd because the workers and the people of Haiti will have no other choice but that of rising up against this situation.
The union organizations, like CATH, as your own organization, has the duty to defend the interests and demands of the working people with complete independence from the political powers and the governments in place, in total independence from the employers, the multinational companies, the international financial institutions, the NGO's.
We know that the unity of the workers, their citizens and their organizations is indispensable for leading the struggles with any chance of success. Within this framework, we believe that mutual aid, solidarity and common action on a continental and world scale by the union organizations is also indispensable in order to confront this terrible and general decline that the capitalists organize in our country. Their own system is in crisis and they are trying to exploit the workers and the people even more.
In Haiti, one of the poorest countries on the planet, the response to this policy has become a question of survival.
The conference that we are organizing will be an important moment for the Haitian organizations to organize a way to respond on behalf of our people.
With the union organizations from other countries of the continent which we are inviting, and with your presence and support, it will be a strong moment for our right as a people to regain our national sovereignty.
The Haitian people need fraternal solidarity and support from all the union and democratic organizations of the continent. We hope to be able to count on the effective participation of your union organization and that you send us the form that is attached so that we may register your support.
We are available for any needed information. Please receive, dear comrades, our fraternal greetings.
Port au Prince, October 28, 2008
For the CATH,