By Beverly Keene, Dialogo 2000 Argentina / Jubilee South
(The author is a spokesperson for Jubilee South, a network that brings together movements, organizations, and campaigns in more than 50 countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, who struggle against debt domination for a world of sovereignty, equity, and justice.)
Port-au-Prince, April 29, 2011. Approximately one hundred representatives of social organizations from throughout the country; including farmers, women, labor, students, human rights, and professionals; this afternoon concluded three days of intense debate about the kind of Haiti they want to see, the obstacles they face, and the nature of the financing they need.
Among other conclusions, they agreed on an agenda for collective action that includes creating a permanent Assembly of Social Movements, campaigning for the non-renewal of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti – a veritable parallel government set up a year ago under the tutelage of the U.S., World Bank, IDB and other so-called “international donors” -, and reinforcing a regional campaign for the withdrawal of the MINUSTAH military occupation.
The organizations strongly denounced the non-fulfillment of reconstruction aid promised after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. They were similarly critical of the performance of the vast majority of governments, international institutions and large NGOs that undertook various humanitarian initiatives without the participation or even consultation with Haitian popular organizations. In that spirit, they called on movements and networks in the region and throughout the world to carry out a new Fact-finding and Solidarity Mission to the country, in late July, in order to make direct contact with the situation that Haitians are now facing, accompany the popular organizations, hear their proposals, and agree on new joint initiatives of support such as the realization of solidarity brigades.
The participants of the International Forum “What Finance for What Reconstruction?” warned of the urgent need to reverse the present situation in the country and its people. They:
Denounced the surrender of the country’s sovereignty
Called for a 5 year moratorium on all neoliberal trade and investment agreements
Rejected any new borrowing for reconstruction
Called for the audit, nonpayment and reparation of the illegitimate debts that are still being collected from the Haitian people
And demanded restitution of the historic, social, and ecological debts of which the people recognize themselves to be the creditors.
They discussed the impacts of global crises and the new scenarios that have emerged, especially in our region with the ALBA initiative that has shown that it is possible to finding ways of partnership and complementarity among countries when there is political will to advance in that direction. Participants in the Forum emphasized the need to prevent the earthquake catastrophe from becoming consolidated as a new opportunity for foreign capitalist imperialist interests to deepen their penetration and looting of what was once one of the most prosperous colonies in the region. For this reason, they argued that the rights and needs of the population and of the natural environment should be the basis for building the ¡¥other Haiti¡¦ that they know is possible, drawing on the rich experience and traditions of the Haitian people to build a fully functioning economy of social solidarity.
For this reason the participating organizations also gave great importance to strengthening their work of training, mobilization and coordination to build a participatory democracy capable of ending the impunity enjoyed by the political leadership of the country whom they also hold responsible for the surrender and ransacking of the country.
This international forum was organized by the Haitian Advocacy Platform for Alternative Development (PAPDA), with the support of its member organizations SOFA, ICKL, ANDAH, MITP, CRAD and ITEC. International participants included networks such as Jubilee South and the Assembly of Caribbean People, the Latin American Political Economy Society, the Oilfield Workers¡¦ Trade Union and the Independent Federation of Trade Unions and NGOs of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a large number of academics and professionals from Haiti and the University of the West Indies.