Over the past five years I have traveled with Father Roy Bourgeois to bring the solidarity of the SOA Watch movement to seventeen countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. But no nation demands our solidarity in a more compelling way than that of Haiti; no people have more lessons to share about the power of hope and tenacity as the Haitian people.
Father Roy, myself and a group of SOA Watch activists will embark on the first SOA Watch delegation to Haiti from October 1-8, 2011. Many members of the extended SOA Watch community have been active in Haiti and we will partner with them in our planning.
Twenty months after a devastating earthquake shattered the nation, over a million people remain homeless. The daily reality for the majority of Haitians is defined by a lack of access to basic services like clean water and sewage. The subsequent cholera epidemic has only served to exacerbate the situation and add 4,000 more victims to the earthquake’s tally of 300,000.
In spite of an international outpouring of goodwill and pledges of aid, the major international presence in Haiti does not wield hammers for rebuilding, but guns for controlling. These are the 12,000 military and police forces of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), whose price tag of $2 million dollars a day is nothing short of an outrage in a nation whose population survives on less than $2 a day. According to deposed president Jean Bertrand Aristide, MINUSTAH represents a “neo-colonial occupation of Haiti.”
While the Obama Administration has shown support to the new government of Michel Martelly – voted in by less than 15% of the electorate, its support has not been extended to Haitian immigrants. Planeloads of immigrants have been deported from the US to the dangerous post-quake conditions, leading to the death of at least one deportee.
We are going to bring a message of solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Be part of our movement to stand with the people who, in the face of enormous odds, are taking a stand for the sovereignty and dignity of their lives and their nation.
Grassroots activists from Haiti will join us from November 18-20, 2011 at the gates of Fort Benning, georgia, for the November Vigil to close the SOA and to resist U.S. militarization.
For more information, please contact me at
Latin America Coordinator
P.S. I look forward to seeing you at the SOA Watch vigil from November 18-20, 2011. A focus will be on support for the rights of immigrants, many of whom fled policies of terror planted by SOA graduates such as many of these Haitians.