URGENT ACTION ALERT URGENT ACTION ALERT URGENT
Haiti Action Committee Phone (510) 483-7481
On April 30, 2003, an important meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) will take place concerning Haiti. In anticipation of this meeting, the United States Representative to the OAS, Peter De Shazo, is blaming the government of Haiti for the continuation of the political crisis. This baseless charge is contrary to the facts and is part of the continuing campaign to deny Haiti much-needed funds and undermine Haiti's democratic process.
On the eve of the bicentennial of Haiti's independence, let us raise our voices in solidarity with the people of Haiti. We need to make it clear to the members of the OAS that we fully support the people's struggle for democracy and economic justice.
FAX, PHONE and E-MAIL - Modify the sample letter below to your liking
1) Fax OAS Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria at 202-458-3624 and Assistant Secretary-General Luigi Einaudi at 202-458-3011. The phone number is 202-458-3497.
2) E-mail the OAS Missions with copies to the Commissions of CARICOM and the European Union. Cut and paste the letter into the body of a new e-mail message. Cut and paste the e-mail addresses into the "To" line and the "CC" line; then send. If possible, we recommend you use the letterhead of your organization.
CGaviria@oas.org, LEinaudi@oas.org, AntBar@oas.org, Argentina@oas.org, Bahamas@oas.org, Barbados@oas.org, Belize@oas.org, Bolivia@oas.org, Brazil@oas.org, Canada@oas.org, Chile@oas.org, Colombia@oas.org, Costa-Rica@oas.org, Dominica@oas.org, Ecuador@oas.org, ElSalvador@oas.org, Grenada@oas.org, Guatemala@oas.org, Guyana@oas.org, Haiti@oas.org, Honduras@oas.org, Jamaica@oas.org, Mexico@oas.org, Nicaragua@oas.org, Panama@oas.org, Paraguay@oas.org, Peru@oas.org, Republica-Dominicana@oas.org, StKitt&Nevis@oas.org, StLucia@oas.org, StVnG@oas.org, Suriname@oas.org, TnT@oas.org, Uruguay@oas.org, USA@oas.org, Venezuela@oas.org
cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, HunterJ14@aol.com
Honorable Cesar Gaviria, Secretary General
Members of the Organization of American States:
As a friend of Haiti, a supporter of democracy and a friend of all people who strive for a system of government based on justice and the will of the people -- I strongly urge the members of the OAS to support the democratically elected government of the Republic of Haiti, particularly with its efforts to comply with OAS Resolution 822 and to have legislative elections in 2003.
I protest the implied condemnation of the Haitian government by the US Representative who blindly echoes the views of an obstructionist opposition minority.
The government of Haiti already has made great concessions to the losing parties, including the resignation of seven senators whose seats have been in dispute, and the agreement to shorter terms for uncontested officials. It is noteworthy that the only systemic problems with the May 2000 elections mentioned in the OAS report are these 8 disputed senate seats (one of which was re-run a few months later). The report itself mentions that Haitian voters and election officials made an historic effort to conduct the election successfully and that Fanmi Lavalas received a strong popular mandate from the voters. The significant defeat of the opposition parties at the polls in the May 2000 elections and their continuing low popularity are undeniable by all accounts and have been confirmed by US-sponsored Gallup polls.
It will be a grave injustice to universal democratic principles if the OAS were to reverse the will of the Haitian electorate. The OAS Charter, Article 3, guarantees that "Every state has the right to choose, without external interference, its political, economic and social system."
President Aristide has demonstrated respect for civil liberties, freedom of the press and assembly. In a marked departure from most previous governments, he has shown incredible restraint and judgment in his response to threats by members of the opposition. The press voices daily criticisms of the government, which would have been unheard of during the days of the Duvaliers and the military dictators that followed them. The authorities have been effective in establishing order when faced with violent incidents, thus minimizing the loss of life and property.
Therefore, I ask that:
1) The OAS support the government of Haiti and desist from supporting any initiative that seeks to reverse the will of the Haitian electorate, who overwhelmingly vote for President Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas every opportunity they are given.
2) The OAS help normalize relations between the government of Haiti and the international financial institutions, and in particular facilitate the release of the approved loans from the Inter-American Development Bank to bring much-needed relief to the people. The OAS, and all its members should comply with the directive of the OAS Charter, Article 20, that "No State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State..."
3) The OAS play a positive, unbiased role to support the scheduled 2003 elections, which are being widely demanded by the majority of the electorate in Haiti. In accordance with OAS resolution 822, the Convergence, all political parties, and other sectors of Haitian society also have obligations in the resolution of the political crisis. Except for the Convergence, most others have responded constructively to President Aristide's initiatives. It is unjustifiable that this one grouping, without demonstrable electoral support, be allowed to exercise a veto over the resolution of these issues in a manner which negatively impacts the living conditions of millions of Haitians.
cc: Honorable Julian Hunt, CARICOM Commission