Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Haiti Aid: US Respect Sovereignty Without Militarization

Earthquake Aid to Haiti and Respect the Sovereignty of the Haitian People!
[Note: The following resolution was adopted by the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Labor Council on March 1, 2010. The original resolution was submitted by Dave Welsh of the Letter Carriers union to the Feb. 22 delegates' meeting of the Labor Council, where it was referred to the Executive Committee. At the Executive Committee, the resolution was moved and motivated by Alan Benjamin of OPEIU Local 3.] http://www.sflaborcouncil.org/ViewUpload/502

WHEREAS, President Obama has promised that "the people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble, and to deliver humanitarian relief" following the January 12, 2010 earthquake; and
WHEREAS, instead of delivering on this commitment, U.S. military deployment has taken priority, resulting in thousands of preventable deaths, as many areas devastated by the earthquake have seen little or no aid, even to this day; and
WHEREAS, there has been compelling testimony from aid organizations on the ground that US military actions have prevented them from using airports to bring in relief supplies; and
WHEREAS, as Haitian families search for survivors and relief supplies remain undistributed, and despite the cancellation of some of its external debt, Haiti is still shouldering the burden of servicing many hundreds of millions of dollars in international debt, including debts originated by unelected governments and unscrupulous lenders; and
WHEREAS, a large majority of Haitians continues to demand an end to the banishment of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, so that he can freely and safely return to the land of his birth and participate in the rebuilding of his country. The devastation of the earthquake has given this oft-expressed demand a renewed urgency;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council urge the Obama Administration to make a public commitment: A) that distribution of water, food, shelter, medical care and other vital aid in Haiti will have priority over military deployment; B) that Marines and paratroopers will cede control of the distribution of aid to civilian authorities as soon as possible; C) that it is the Haitian people - not outsiders - who must coordinate and lead relief efforts and the long term rebuilding of their country; and D) that the U.S. support the Haitian people's demand for sovereignty and self-determination, including food sovereignty and democratization of food production and distribution in favor of the poor; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council send the following letter to the G7 Finance Ministers, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and International Development Bank: "In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, we call on you to secure the immediate cancellation of all of Haiti's external debt and ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the form of grants, not debt-incurring loans. As the country starts to rebuild, it is essential that its people are not saddled with a debt burden that will simply deepen poverty for generations"; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council urge President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to end the banishment of President Aristide, as the majority of Haitians demand, so that he can freely and safely return to the land of his birth and participate in the rebuilding of his country; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council request that the AFL-CIO ask the federal government to seek ways in which union members can be involved in the reconstruction of Haiti; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Council send copies of this resolution to President Obama, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, Speaker of the House Pelosi, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Also copies to Bay Area labor councils, California Labor Federation, the AFL-CIO, and Change to Win Federation, urging adoption of this resolution.

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