Greens: Make peace, political self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency part of the US aid for post-earthquake Haiti
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Green Party leaders assert that aid to Haiti must not be delivered under the barrel of a US machine gun; Greens thank Obama for granting long overdue Temporary Protected Status to Haitians in the US
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WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders expressed sympathy and solidarity with the people of Haiti in the wake of Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake, and urged President Obama to make peace, political self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency part of US relief efforts for Haiti.
Party leaders also demanded that US forces not obstruct relief efforts, after a Doctors Without Borders cargo plane carrying medicine and other badly needed supplies was blocked from landing on Saturday (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org//press/release.cfm?id=4165&cat=press-release / http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7017546193). Haiti air-space has been under US control since January 15.
Greens have joined the millions of other Americans who are sending contributions to Haiti, with an emphasis on charitable groups that are most effective in getting aid to Haiti and have a solid record of human rights advocacy and grassroots community development work in Haiti.
Former Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney visited Haiti in May and June, 2008, and spoke at the SOPUDEP School in Pétion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince (http://www.sopudep.org). The school provides free tuition to hundreds of poor children. Greens have learned that the school is still standing and will serve as a relief center, but there is still little news on students and staff (http://www.orilliapacket.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2264272).
"We hope President Obama sees this sad occasion as a chance to initiate a new era of relations with Haiti, one based on cooperation, respect, and non-intervention. It should begin with a massive and green rebuilding effort that promotes Haiti's political self-determination and economic self-sufficiency. If President Obama's post-earthquake aid plan for Haiti puts an end to a century of exploitation for cheap labor, brutal human rights abuses by US-backed regimes, colonial corruption and graft, and political bullying by the US, he'll be remembered for having helped the Haitian people emerge from two disasters -- the earthquake itself and Haiti's status as the poorest nation in the western hemisphere," said Rosa Clemente, 2008 Green nominee for Vice President of the United States (http://www.rosaclemente.com).
"The decision on Friday, January 15, to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians residing in the US before January 12 was long overdue. We're glad the Obama Administration announced that deportations of undocumented Haitians in the US will cease and that Haitians will be allowed access to employment opportunities so they can support their families," said Betty Davis, co-chair of the Green Party Black Caucus.
Until the announcement on Friday, the Obama Administration had maintained the US policy of denying Haitians Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is available to people from federally designated countries suffering armed conflicts and natural disasters.
Green Party leaders have been alarmed about reports that US troops, including an entire Marine Expeditionary Force, FEMA, and an aircraft carrier, have been ordered to Haiti to "help restore order."
"The relief effort must not turn into a military invasion of Haiti," said Romi Elnagar, a member of the Green Party's International Committee. "The deployment of SOUTHCOM and NORTHCOM puts Haiti in danger of joining Iraq and Afghanistan as a country occupied by US troops, with similar miseries visited on the Haitian people. It'll be an opportunity to provide more desperately poor sweatshop workers for companies like Disney and land for biofuels for American consumption. Greens and other Americans who care about the Haitian people demand a different future -- one based on peace, freedom, fair wages for Haitian workers and an economy that meets the needs of Haitians first, as well as safety from the mounting effects of global warming."
The Green Party of the United States issued a statement of support for Haitian democracy in 2005 (http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2005_02_07.html). Greens strongly criticized the US's role in former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's kidnapping and expulsion in 2004 and called for an independent investigation (http://www.gp.org/press/pr_03_02_04.html). See also the interview with Randall Robinson, founder and former president of TransAfrica and author of "An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President," on Democracy Now! (January 15, 2010, http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/15/bush_was_responsible_for_destroying_haitian).
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"Ten Things the US Can and Should Do for Haiti"
By Bill Quigley, Common Dreams, January 14, 2010
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