by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Senator Moïse Jean-Charles is presently on a speaking tour in Brazil and Argentina to raise consciousness about and to campaign against the continued military occupation of Haiti by troops of the so-called United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH. June 1st will mark the 9th anniversary of MINUSTAH’s deployment in Haiti, a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and of the Haitian Constitution. A major demonstration calling for MINUSTAH’s immediate withdrawal will be held in Haiti on that date, with participants coming from across Latin America.
Brazilian generals have led MINUSTAH since its inception following the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d’état against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and Brazilian soldiers make up the largest contingent, about 2,200 of the 9,000-head force.
Senator Moïse traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil on Apr. 14 at the invitation of the Trabalho current of the ruling Brazilian Workers Party (PT). On Apr. 15, he flew to the city of Juiz de Fora, where he met with the mayor, local legislators, the teachers’ union, the transport workers’ union, the city’s Movement of Blacks, and the general public.
Moïse’s visit to Juiz de Fora was favorably covered by an extensive news report on Globo, Brazil’s largest TV network. “I am opposed to the UN and Brazilian military occupation of Haiti because I am a Haitian nationalist,” he told the network.
Late in the day of Apr. 15, the senator traveled to Rio de Janeiro, from which he flew to Brasilia, Brazil’s capital. On the morning of Apr. 16, he met with over 200 high-school students who jammed into an auditorium at Teaching Center #3 in the town of Gama, a suburb of Brazil.
Translated into Portuguese by Vogly Pognon, the only Haitian college student studying at the University of Brasilia, Senator Moïse spoke to the students, who displayed rapt attention for over two hours. “95% of the Haitian population is against the occupation,” Moïse told the students. “When the Haitian people hear about UN soldiers raping young Haitians, they are angered. They heard about another young Haitian who was found hung on the UN base in Cap Haïtien. But if a neighborhood has some insecurity and they call MINUSTAH, the soldiers say it’s not their concern and never show up. But when the Haitian people rise up due to hunger, the MINUSTAH shows up to beat them with clubs and to tear-gas them.”
Later that afternoon, Senator Moïse met with the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Deputies in Brasilia. Four deputies, Committee president Nelson Pellegrino and Fernando Ferro, both of the PT, and Luiza Erundina and José Stédile, both of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), held a cordial meeting of over 90 minutes with the senator, who stressed, as he did at other meetings, that the Haitian Senate had unanimously voted a resolution in 2011 calling on MINUSTAH to withdraw from Haiti by October 2012. That resolution has been flagrantly ignored.
Then later on the evening of Apr. 16, Senator Moïse met for almost two hours with students at the University of Brasilia, who asked him many questions. “Everybody knows that Brazil is heading up the UN military occupation in Haiti,” he said in response to one question. “But who is making the big money in Haiti? The Americans. Who is giving the orders? The Americans. This game of bluff has to stop.”
On Apr. 17, Senator Moïse will meet with the Brazilian Senate’s Human Rights Commission in Brasilia, and later in the day hold another public meeting.
On Apr. 18, he will travel to Sao Paolo, where he will meet with several legislators in the local parliament, as well as hold public meetings.
On Apr. 21, Senator Moïse will travel to Argentina where he will meet with senators and deputies there, as well as hold a large public meeting with the Workers’ Central of Argentina (CTA), one of Argentina’s largest unions. The union will also present the senator with an award for his work in Haiti.
“I commend the government and the people of Brazil on the great progress they have made in this country in recent years,” Senator Moïse said to the students at the University of Brasilia. “But in my country, things are only going to get more complicated for them if the Brazilian troops stay. Recently, President Michel Martelly, who was put in power by Washington, was asked in France if he was afraid of the people rising up against him. He answered that he was not, because the MINUSTAH was there to protect him. That remark says it all.”
Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles speaking with students at the University of Brasilia on Apr. 16.
Photo by Kim Ives/Haïti Liberté
Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles meeting with Brazil’s Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Deputies in Brasilia.
Photo by Kim Ives/Haïti Liberté