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An Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Regarding Haiti

It’s time for the Canadian government to stop propping up a repressive and corrupt dictatorship in Haiti.

The Canadian government must end its support for a repressive, corrupt Haitian president devoid of constitutional legitimacy. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The Canadian government must end its support for a repressive, corrupt Haitian president devoid of constitutional legitimacy. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

It is time to change Canadian policy towards a nation born in struggle to liberate Africans from slavery.

The Canadian government must end its support for a repressive, corrupt Haitian president devoid of constitutional legitimacy. For the past two years Haitians have demonstrated their overwhelming opposition to Jovenel Moïse with massive protests and general strikes calling for his departure from office.

Since February 7 Jovenel Moïse has been occupying the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince in defiance of the overwhelming majority of the country’s institutions. Moïse’s claim to another year on his mandate was rejected by the Superior Council of Judicial Power, Haitian Bar Federation and other constitutional authorities. In response to the opposition selecting a Supreme Court judge to head an interim government after his mandate expired, Moïse arrested one and illegally dismissed three Supreme Court justices. The police were also sent to occupy the Supreme Court and repress those protesting, shooting two reporters covering the demonstrations. The country’s judges have launched an unlimited strike to force Moïse to respect the constitution.

Moïse has ruled by decree since January 2020. After the mandates of most officials expired due to his failure to hold elections, Moïse announced a plan to rewrite the constitution. Fair elections are unlikely under Moïse’s leadership as he recently pressured the entire electoral council to resign and then appointed new members unilaterally.

Having garnered fewer than 600,000 votes in a country of 11 million, Moïse’s legitimacy has always been weak. Since massive anti-corruption and anti-IMF protests erupted in mid-2018 Moïse has become steadily more repressive. A recent presidential decree criminalized protest blockades as “terrorism” while another established a new intelligence agency with anonymous officers empowered to infiltrate and arrest anyone deemed to be engaging in ‘subversive’ acts or threatening ‘state security’. In the worst documented case, the UN confirmed the Haitian government’s culpability in a massacre of up to 71 civilians in the impoverished Port-au-Prince neighborhood of La Saline in mid-November 2018.

All this information is available to Canadian officials, however, they continue to fund and train a police force that has violently repressed anti-Moïse protests. The Canadian ambassador in Haiti has repeatedly attended police functions all the while refusing to criticize their repression of protesters. On January 18 ambassador Stuart Savage met the controversial new head of police Leon Charles to discuss “strengthening the capacity of the police.”

As part of the influential US, France, OAS, UN, Spain “Core Group” of foreign ambassadors in Port-au-Prince, Canadian officials have offered Moïse important diplomatic support. On February 12 Foreign Minister Marc Garneau spoke with Haiti’s de facto foreign minister. The post meeting statement announced plans for Haiti and Canada to co-host a forthcoming conference. The statement made no mention, however, of Moïse extending his mandate, illegally firing Supreme Court judges, ruling by decree or criminalizing protests.

It’s time for the Canadian government to stop propping up a repressive and corrupt dictatorship in Haiti.

SIGNATORIES: 

Noam Chomsky, author & Professor 

Naomi Klein, author, Rutgers University 

David Suzuki, Award winning geneticist/broadcaster 

Paul Manly, Member of Parliament 

Roger Waters, co-founder Pink Floyd 

Stephen Lewis, Former UN ambassador 

El Jones, poet and professor 

Gabor Maté, author 

Svend Robinson, former Member of Parliament 

Libby Davies, former Member of Parliament 

Jim Manly, former Member of Parliament 

Will Prosper, filmmaker and human rights activist 

Robyn Maynard, author Policing Black Lives 

George Elliott Clarke, former Canadian Poet Laureate 

Linda McQuaig, journalist & author 

Françoise Boucard, former chair Haiti’s National Truth and Justice Commission 

Rinaldo Walcott, Professor and Writer  

Judy Rebick, journalist 

Frantz Voltaire, Éditeur 

Greg Grandin, Professor of History Yale University 

André Michel, Président ex-officio Les Artistes pour la Paix 

Harsha Walia, activist/writer 

Vijay Prashad, executive-director Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research 

Kim Ives, editor Haïti Liberté 

Anthony N. Morgan, racial justice lawyer 

Andray Domise, journalist 

Torq Campbell, musician (Stars) 

Alain Deneault, philosophe 

Peter Hallward, author of Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment 

Dimitri Lascaris, lawyer, journalist and activist  

Antonia Zerbisias, journalist/activist 

Missy Nadege, Madame Boukman - Justice 4 Haiti 

Jeb Sprague, author Paramilitarism and the assault on democracy in Haiti 

Brian Concannon, Executive Director of Project Blueprint. 

Eva Manly, retired filmmaker, activist 

Beatrice Lindstrom, Clinical Instructor, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School  

John Clarke, Packer Visitor in Social Justice York University 

Jord Samolesky, Propagandhi 

Serge Bouchereau, activist 

Sheila Cano, artist

Yves Engler, journalist 

Jean Saint-Vil, journalist/Solidarité Québec-Haïti 

Jennie-Laure Sully, Solidarité Québec-Haïti 

Turenne Joseph, Solidarité Québec-Haïti 

Frantz André, Comité d'action des personnes sans statut/Solidarité Québec-Haïti 

Louise Leduc, Enseignante retraitée Cégep régional de Lanaudière à Joliette 

Syed Hussan, migrant workers alliance 

Pierre Beaudet, éditeur de la Plateforme altermondialiste, Montréal 

Bianca Mugyenyi, ‎Director Canadian Foreign Policy Institute 

Justin Podur, writer/academic 

David Swanson, Executive Director of World Beyond War

Derrick O'Keefe, writer, co-founder Ricochet 

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Stuart Hammond, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa

John Philpot, international defense lawyer

Frederick Jones, Dawson College

Kevin Skerrett, union researcher 

Gretchen Brown, lawyer 

Normand Raymond, Certified Translator, Signer and Songer-Writer 

Pierre Jasmin, Pianist 

Victor Vaughan, activist 

Ken Collier, activist

Claudia Chaufan, Associate Professor York

Jooneed Khan, journalist and human rights activist

Arnold August, author

Gary Engler, author 

Stu Neatby, reporter 

Scott Weinstein, activist 

Courtney Kirkby, founder Tiger Lotus Coop

Greg Albo, York professor

Peter Eglin, Emeritus Professor Wilfrid Laurier University 

Barry Weisleder,Federal Secretary, Socialist Action 

Alan Freeman, Geopolitical Economy Research Group 

Radhika Desai, Professor University of Manitoba 

John Price, Professor 

Travis Ross, co-editor Canada-Haiti Information Project 

William Sloan, ex. refugee lawyer 

Larry Hannant, historian and author 

Grahame Russell, Rights Action 

Richard Sanders, antiwar researcher, writer, activist 

Stefan Christoff, Musician and community activist 

Khaled Mouammar, Former Member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada 

Ed Lehman Regina Peace Council 

Mark Haley, Kelowna Peace Group 

Carol Foort, activist 

Nino Pagliccia, Venezuelan-Canadian political analyst  

Ken Stone, Treasurer, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War 

Aziz Fall, President Centre Internationaliste Ryerson Foundation Aubin  

Donald Cuccioletta, Coordinator of Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme and Montreal Urban Left 

Robert Ismael, CPAM 1410 Cabaret des idées 

Antonio Artuso, Cercle Jacques Roumain 

André Jacob, professeur retraité Université du Québec à Montréal 

Kevin Pina, Haiti Information Project 

Tracy Glynn, Solidarité Fredericton and lecturer at St. Thomas University 

Tobin Haley, Solidarité Fredericton and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University 

Aaron Mate, journalist 

Glenn Michalchuk, Chair Peace Alliance Winnipeg 

Greg Beckett, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Western University 

Marie Dimanche, founder Solidarité Québec-Haïti 

Françoise Boucard, former chair Haiti’s National Truth and Justice Commission 

Louise Leduc, Enseignante retraitée Cégep régional de Lanaudière à Joliette 

Tamara Lorincz, fellow Canadian Foreign Policy Institute 

André Michel, Président ex-officio Les Artistes pour la Paix 

Monia Mazigh, PhD/author 

Elizabeth Gilarowski, activist 

Azeezah Kanji, legal academic and journalist 

David Putt, aid worker 

Elaine Briere, documentary filmmaker Haiti Betrayed 

Karen Rodman, Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste 

David Webster, Professor 

Raoul Paul, co-editor Canada-Haiti Information Project 

Glen Ford, Executive Editor Black Agenda Report 

John McMurtry, Professor & Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Canadian Foreign Policy Institute

Canadian Foreign Policy Institute

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