Jubilee South/Americas, a Latin American network focusing on international debt, has announced a campaign to end the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), an international military and police force that has now been in operation for 10 years. The campaign is to run from June 1 to Oct. 15, when the United Nations Security Council will vote on whether to renew the mandate for the Brazilian-led mission, which was established on June 1, 2004, three months after the overthrow of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991-1996, 2001-2004). Over the years it has been held responsible for acts of corruption, sexual assaults, the killing of civilians, and the introduction of cholera into the country through negligence in October 2010. As of April this year, 8,556 people had died in the epidemic and another 702,000 had been sickened. Currently the force includes more than 5,000 soldiers and nearly 2,500 police agents, mostly from Latin American countries; the official cost of the mission is currently close to $600 million a year.
"The MINUSTAH is not a humanitarian mission," according to a manifesto posted by Jubilee South. "It is a military occupation of Haiti… Under the pretext of stabilizing the country, the real goal of the MINUSTAH is to prevent the Haitian people from exercising their sovereignty and self-determination. It also serves to test new forms of imperialist intervention and social control such as those later applied in the coups in Honduras and Paraguay, for example, or in the slums and against protests in Brazil." Signers include the US-based School of the Americas Watch (SOAW), the Argentina-based Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) and Brazil's CSP Conlutas, a network of unions and social organizations. Among Haitian groups supporting the campaign are the Haitian Platform Advocating an Alternative Development (PAPDA), the Haitian Platform of Human Rights Organizations (POHDH) and the People's Camp Party (Pati Kan Pèp la). (AlterPresse, May 27; Adital, Brazil, May 2)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 8.