Friday, 22 January 2010

CHOMSKY's LETTER ON CURRENT HAITI CRISIS

'USA prioritised own military over aid'

The Guardian

We the undersigned are outraged by the scandalous delays in
getting essential aid to victims of the earthquake in Haiti
('Chaotic and confusing' relief effort is costing lives,
aid agencies warn, 19 January). As a result of the US
decision to prioritise the accumulation of foreign soldiers
over the distribution of emergency supplies, untold numbers
of people have died needlessly. We demand that US
commanders immediately restore executive control of the
relief effort to Haiti's leaders, and to help rather than
replace the local officials they claim to support.

Obsessive foreign concerns with "security" and "violence"
are refuted by actual levels of patience and solidarity on
the streets of Port-au-Prince. In keeping with a
long-standing pattern, US and UN officials continue to
treat the Haitian people and their representatives with
wholly misplaced fear and suspicion. We call on the de
facto rulers of Haiti to do everything possible to
strengthen the capacity of the Haitian people to respond to
this crisis. We demand, consequently, that they allow
Haiti's most popular and most inspiring political leader,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide (whose party won 90% of the
parliamentary seats in the country's last round of
democratic elections), to return immediately from the
unconstitutional exile to which he has been confined since
the US, Canada and France helped depose him in 2004.

If reconstruction proceeds under the supervision of foreign
troops and international development agencies it will not
serve the interests of the vast majority of Haitians. We
call on the leaders of the international community to
respect Haitian sovereignty and to initiate an immediate
reorientation of international aid, away from neoliberal
adjustment, sweatshop exploitation and non-governmental
charity, and towards systematic investment in Haiti's own
government and public institutions. We demand that France
pays the colossal amount of money it owes Haiti in full and
at once.

Above all, we demand that the reconstruction of Haiti be
pursued under the guidance of one overarching objective:
the political and economic empowerment of the Haitian
people.

Roger Annis Canada Haiti Action Network, Noam Chomsky MIT, Brian Concannon Jr Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Berthony Dupont Editor, Haiti Liberté, Yves Engler Haiti Action Montreal, Peter Hallward Middlesex University, Pierre Labossiere Haiti Action Committee, USA, Kevin Pina Journalist/film-maker, Jean Saint Vil Canada Haiti Action Network

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