Organizations and Public Figures Against the Militarization of Humanitarian Aid in Haiti

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Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / November 7, 2016.


Despite the press announcement of the withdrawal of the Dominican troops from Haiti, we would like to share the indignation we felt when we heard through the media, on October 13, 2016, that the Dominican troops had been deployed under the pretext of “protecting the convoys of humanitarian aid that came from the Dominican Republic”. Those who doesn’t share nor understand our legitimate anger at this unacceptable fact, probably don’t know, or perhaps deliberately ignore, that in 1937 about 30,000 Haitians were massacred by Dominican soldiers under the command of the Dominican government, who was then engaged in a campaign of hatred and ethnic cleansing aimed at the Haitian nationals in their own territory. We must also recall that, recently, on September 23, 2013, the Dominican Republic retroactively withdrew the Dominican citizenship from four million Dominicans of Haitian descent that had been born in the Dominican Republic. This was a clear violation to the Dominican Constitution that recognizes the principle of “non-retro-activity of the law”, and contradicts the fact that the Dominican Republic is a signatory to the UN Charter on Statelessness.

As far as the Haitian government goes, according to what has been reported, it allegedly agreed to the deployment of the Dominican troops in Haiti, but this is a non-elected provisional government, it has a limited mandate and according to the Haitian Constitution it doesn’t have the power to grant soldiers of other republic the right to enter Haitian territory. Let us be quite clear: contrary to what a representative of the Dominican Embassy in Haiti dared to say, those who are denouncing the Dominican military actions in Haiti are not “incapable of acknowledging true friendship gestures”. We simply believe that when friends reach out to help you, they shouldn’t do it with a gun in their hands. We recommend the Dominican Embassy to follow the example of Cuba and Venezuela, who have sent doctors and more than 700 tonnes of essential goods to Haiti, without feeling the need to deploy troops in our country.

It would be also a good time for the U.S. government examine their conscience, since they have occupied Haiti from 1951 to 1934 and, after the 2010 earthquake, they have been internally and internationally criticized for their counterproductive and relentless tendency to militarize humanitarian aid in the first free Afro-descendant republic in the world. This must be said loud and clear: the presence of foreign military troops on Haitian soil is not necessary for the task of distributing humanitarian aid.

We consider that, even if temporary, the Dominican military intervention in Haiti is even more absurd and reprehensible than the UN military mission, which has been in the country for over 12 years and whose presence in the country was recently extended for another 6 months, despite controversies on the results of its presence. How on earth can it be explained that there are soldiers from the Dominican Republic, the U.S. and France intervening our country to protect convoys of humanitarian aid while the Blue Helmets (UN) do nothing? Have the Haitian authorities that allowed the Dominican military intervention forgotten that cholera was introduced in Haiti precisely by soldiers of a MINUSTAH military base? Have the Haitian authorities forgotten about the homicides and rapes perpetrated by soldiers in Haiti? Are these numerous and serious crimes, committed with impunity by the soldiers, not enough proof to learn that “military” is the opposite of “humanitarian”?

The absolute failure of the UN Peace Corps in Haiti and the systematic refusal to withdraw them from the country, despite growing consensus demanding them to leave, are a new proof that neither the Dominican military, the MINUSTAH, the North American Army, nor any other foreign force, are in a position to provide the help that the Haitian population needs. We believe that they are the cause of great violence and feel a profound contempt for our people: they continue trying to militarize humanitarian aid.

Last but not least, those who have learned the lessons of the post-earthquake crisis know that it’s time to put an end to foreign intervention in Haiti, in all its forms.

So far, solidarity and human help received by Haiti was provided by those who expressed their solidarity with the struggle of the Haitian people for its liberation. At a time when the world’s military expenditure has reached record levels, we join our voices based on the principles of international law, peace, ethics and mutual respect, to reject the militarization of humanitarian aid, to reject neo-colonialism, to reject the humanitarian aid business and to reaffirm our solidarity with the Haitian people and the peoples of the world.

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