A solidarity gathering with Haitian unions has reinforced the need to respect the right of the Haitian people to decide their own future, and to support their efforts to end the crisis that has gripped the country.
CUPE took part in the meeting with the Confederation des Travailleurs Haïtiens (CTH) and our partner union the Confederation of Public and Private Sector Workers (CTSP), along with unions from 10 other countries. CTH and CTSP are part of a Haitian civil society coalition organizing for desperately needed change.
International attention is focused on the current economic, political and social instability in Haiti. The crisis includes a rise in gang violence and power, the resurgence of cholera, a lack of access to health and social services, low wages, food insecurity, and the spiralling cost of scarce goods.
What’s drawing far less media and international attention is how the Haitian people are organizing for solutions that are led by them, including community and faith-based organizations and unions. The solidarity gathering aimed to raise awareness about the importance of this organizing, and to rally support.
The solidarity meeting ended with a joint statement, the Haití: Declaración de Ouanaminthe. It states that “the crisis in Haiti is due to bad governance, international interference, the absence of the rule of law and social justice, and a model of society where the economy is for the benefit of the elite.”
It further adds that “any solution to the crisis in Haiti must begin with the recognition of the sovereignty of the country, the State and the people of Haiti. It is up to the people of Haiti to choose their leaders and their form of government. In the current context, any international armed intervention would go against the right to self-determination of Haitians.”
Participants in the meeting are also developing a union strategy to rebuild from the crisis and boost international support and will release that roadmap in the coming months.
Our union was represented by CUPE Regional Vice-President, Quebec, Richard Delisle. The meeting took place at the border with Dominican Republic, in the commune, or community, of Ouanaminthe. The meeting was organized by the CTH and CTSP, which are Haitian affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation and the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas.
CUPE has written to Foreign Affairs minister Mélanie Joly calling on the Canadian government to respect Haitian democracy and self determination, and to stay away from military intervention. Our union continues to stand in solidarity with workers and community members in Haiti as they plan for a future that meets the needs and aspirations of all Haitian people.