Originally: Initial considerations of the international fact-finding and solidarity mission to Haiti

11 avril 2005

The International Fact-finding and Solidarity Mission to Haiti, headed by Argentine Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Nora Cortiñas of the Mothers of the May Square-Founders’ Line and composed of 20 representatives of social, cultural, and political movements, networks, and institutions from Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and Africa, would like first of all to thank the many people and organizations in Haiti who made this visit possible and who shared with us their experiences, testimonies, aches and hopes.

We arrived here with the conviction that the future of Latin America and the Caribbean, the future of all the peoples of the South, is being played out today in Haiti. What is at stake is our right to determine our own destinies.

Over these few days we have been able to meet with officials of the interim government, human rights groups and other social organizations of peasants, women, trade unions, students, political parties, university authorities, embassies, international organizations and the UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti, MINUSTAH. Each contributed information and elements of analysis that enriched enormously our understanding of the present situation of the Haitian people in the context of their long struggle to achieve democracy, development and self-determination.

At this time, and before having concluded our program of visits and meetings, we would like to share the following initial appreciations :

1. We recognize and salute the deep struggle of the Haitian people who have resisted, over the more than two hundred years following on their independence, the onslaughts -external and internal- that have opposed and posed obstacles to every advance of constructive popular forces. In that context, it seems important to us to highlight the fact that the departure of Aristide from the presidency and the country should be interpreted in the light of the growing social mobilization that had coalesced around the clamor for his resignation and was proposing its own transitional alternatives.

2. The problem of Haiti is not military and therefore cannot be resolved through measures of that sort. We reject the presence of an international force of occupation in Haiti, which affects its sovereignty, and we demand of our governments that they be withdrawn in a manner and according to a calendar established by the social and political forces of Haiti.

3. We propose that the establishment of the rule of law be guaranteed so as to enable full compliance with and the integral realization of all human rights.

4. As part of a democratic, transparent, and secure electoral process, we recommend to the responsible provisional authorities that they invite the Interamerican Union of Electoral Organisms (UNIORE) to support, together with the Interamerican Promotion of Elections (CAPEL), the establishment of a plan for administering the elections.

5. We propose that the funds destined for projects for the development of the Haitian people be of a non-repayable nature and that they be used in support of the proposals of social organizations and local communities rather than those formulated by international organisms as in the case of the Interim Cooperation Framework (CCI). Priority should be given to implementing the agrarian reform proposed by peasant organizations and rural communities, which is essential in order to recover and defend food sovereignty.

6. We oppose the transformation of Haiti into a land of sweat-shops grouped in free-zones where workers are exploited in a new form of slavery.

7. We demand the immediate and unconditional cancellation of the immoral and illegal external debt claimed of Haiti ; a debt that serves to continue the historic plundering of the Haitian people and their resources.

8. We recognize and demand compensation for the historic, social, and ecological debt that France and the US in particular, owe to the people of Haiti. We believe that new forms of international cooperation are possible, based on the respect for and self-determination of each people and involving the exchange of cultural, social, scientific, and technological experience among both social organizations and governments. We commit ourselves to taking concrete steps in this regard, developing an intense process of accompaniment of the Haitian people through the widespread dissemination within our communities and networks and the entire world of the information and perspectives that we have received and promoting diverse actions, such as the arrival in June of a delegation of peasants and agricultural technicians that the Brazilian Movement of Landless Peoples is sending to collaborate with their peers in Haiti.

After the International Mission concludes its program tomorrow, it will proceed to elaborate a full report reflecting its vision of the present situation in Haiti, its recommendations and commitments.

  Port of Prince, Haiti, April 8, 2005


  Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate (Argentina)
  Nora Cortiñas, Mothers of the May Square-Founders’ Line (Argentina)
  Beverly Keene, Jubilee South/ Dialogue 2000 (Argentina)
  Alejandro Barrientos, Movement of Documentalists (Argentina)
  Bishop Adriel de Souza Maia, National Council of Christian Churches (Brazil)
  Deputy Valmir Assunção, MST/Via Campesina (Brazil)
  Lucélia Santos, artist and social-ecological activist/Member of the Presidential Council on Economic and Social Development (Brazil)
  João Luis Pinaud, Evangelical Lutheran Church/Praxis-Human Rights in Action (Brazil)
  Carolina Vilanova, Folha de São Paulo (Brazil)
  Sandra Quintela, PACS/Jubilee South Brazilian Campaign against the Debt, the FTAA, and Militarization (Brazil)
  William Sloan, American Association of Jurists (Canada)
  Jean Peutetre M’Pele, Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt/ Solidaires /ASPAH (Congo-Brazzaville)
  Aurora Donoso, Southern Peoples’ Ecological Debt Creditors Alliance / Ecological Action (Ecuador)
  Flavia Cherry, Hemispheric Social Alliance/Caribbean Alliance of Feminist Research Associations CAFRA (Santa Lucia)
  Ana Juanche, Peace and Justice Service in Latin America (Uruguay)
  Efraín Olivera, Interamerican Plataform on Human Rights, Democracy and Development (Uruguay)
  Deputy Jhannett Madriz Sotillo, Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas COPA (Venezuela)
  Deputy Luis Antonio Bigott, Andean Parliament/Superior Council of the Andean University “Simón Bolívar” (Venezuela)
  Vidal Cisneros G., Andean Parliament (Venezuela)
  Luis Días Laghee, Andean Parliament (Venezuela)