Haiti – Truth Made Law
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Haiti – Truth Made Law

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John Ahni Schertow
January 18, 2007
 

Haiti Justice – Investigators, human rights groups, journalists, members of Congress and national leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean have made serious allegations that the U.S. Government played a key role in the February 2004 overthrow of constitutional President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, by supporting his armed and unarmed opponents, weakening the government through a development assistance embargo and eventually forcing him onto a plane. If these charges are true, the Bush Administration’s actions directly contradicted the fundamental U.S. commitment to democracy, both here and abroad. If the Bush Administration did not intervene to destabilize President Aristide, it deserves to have the record set straight. www.HaitiJustice.org

Support the TRUTH Act

Half-Hour for Haiti: Update
January 17, 2006

Good news: the first bill of the year supporting justice in Haiti was filed in the U.S. Congress. Rep. Barbara Lee introduced H.R. 351, the TRUTH Act, which was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. It now needs our help (see below). Thank you to everyone who wrote Edmond Mulet, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Haiti. We have not yet received a response from Mr. Mulet, please let us know if you have.

On Friday, Cite Soleil residents returned a machine gun that UN peacekeepers had abandoned following a skirmish in December.

Coming Attractions: Democracy is celebrated in Haiti on February 7, the anniversary of the departure of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier (1986) and the inaugurations of Presidents Aristide (1991 and 2001) and Preval (1996). Haiti’s Fondation Trente Septembre, joined by grassroots groups in Haiti and the US, have asked us to commemorate February 7 through the International Day in Solidarity with the People of Haiti. Please consider attending or organizing an event to promote justice in Haiti in your area. Events can include vigils, protests, or house meetings. A few friends gathered together is a good start. The Quixote Center’s Haiti Reborn Program has a week of activities organized in its annual Haiti Solidarity Week February 3-10, 2007, which focuses on debt cancellation for Haiti. Haiti Reborn is also looking for people to coordinate local events.

This Week’s Action: Support the TRUTH Act. Formally known as the Independent Commission on the 2004 Coup d’Etat in the Republic of Haiti, H.R. 351 may be the only chance for a credible official investigation of Haiti’s coup. The TRUTH Act, if passed, will establish a bi-partisan commission much like the 9/11 Commission. Commission members would be appointed by Congress (half by Republican leaders, half by Democrats), and would be entrusted with investigating the February 2004 Haitian coup d’état, and determining whether the United States government contributed to the overthrow of the Constitutional President, directly or by channeling aid to subversive groups.

The commission would have the power to call witnesses under oath, and compel production of government agency documents. It would issue a report of its findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures, if needed. For more on why the TRUTH Act is good for Haiti and for the U.S., see U.S. Congress Should Make New Year’s Resolution for Haiti.

The next step for the TRUTH Act is collecting co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, to demonstrate support. That’s where you come in. Please call, write or fax your Representative to co-sponsor the resolution. A sample letter is below. To find contact information for your representative, visit http://www.house.gov/writerep, or call the Capitol switchboard, 202-224-2131 and ask for your representative by name. Urge your Representative to contact Aysha House-Moshi at Rep. Barbara Lee’s office, 202-225-2661.

source, and example of a letter to a rep in the US can be found at www.pej.org

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