You said, “the second witness”. I didn't know who the second witness was. I had the impression there were three people.
I'd like to begin by thanking you for this invitation, and for giving me an opportunity to speak about what's happening in my home country, and in particular, to talk about the hopes of the Haitian people and what they want.
I would like to bring you, the members, a strong message from the people of Haiti, not only from within, but from the diaspora as well, about their categorical denial of any aggression there. We officially oppose any form of intervention, no matter what it might be labelled, what its content might be, or the colour of the boots it wears.
The people of Haiti are historically living with the disastrous consequences of multiple interventions since the European invasion in 1492. Examples include the genocide of the Taïnos, which led to the coming of captives from Africa, the debt imposed by France on the country's independence in 1825, the theft of the Republic of Haiti national bank's gold reserves, which have never been returned since the American occupation of 1915‑34, the dispossession of the peasants and their forced and orchestrated migration, the destruction of state institutions, and the replacement of the national army by a stateless police force. The unspecified reasons for these invasions were always hidden behind vaguely expressed desires to come and help Haiti, whether to bring it civilization or to restore peace.
Today, the Core Group, under the leadership of Canada and others, would like once again to respond to an unconstitutional and illegal demand from an illegitimate government condemned by the people of Haiti, to counter insecurity and deal with the humanitarian crisis.
Needless to say, Haiti is currently facing one of its worst crises, one that is affecting every sphere of society. However, the crisis is nothing new; it is the outcome of politics imposed upon the people of Haiti through the efforts of local lackeys from the world of politics and the private business sector. The structural adjustment policies that are destroying Haiti's economy are a few examples of this. One piece of evidence for this is the recent criminal measure imposed by Ariel Henry's government to increase the price of fuel by 128% on a people already in distress, at the request of the International Monetary Fund, supported by the Core Group.
For over 20 years, the Canadian Armed Forces and police forces like the RCMP have been part of the various United Nations peacekeeping missions to Haiti, including the United Nations mission in Haiti, UNMIH, in 1993, and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, BINUH, in 2019. The role of this most recent force in the country until 2022 was to promote and strengthen political stability and good governance, police professionalism, reduced community violence, and gang violence.
The outcomes of all these missions were inconclusive. They did not achieve any results in terms of their own objectives. Not only that, but all they brought to the people was suffering and an increase in vulnerability: rape, fatherless children, prostitution. Those who perpetrated these crimes were never arrested, or required to appear in court.
We wonder about the sudden desire to stamp out this crisis, which arose out of the policy implemented in Haiti by the countries of the Core Group, including Canada, which never took into consideration the demands of the Haitian masses, and which observed a deathly silence in the face of the abuses of all kinds they had to bear.
Nothing was ever said about the massacres, the hundreds of kidnappings that ruined the middle class, further pauperizing the working classes, casting doubt and despair on families; nothing was ever said about the systematic and savage repression of demonstrators and others by the national police established under the tutelage of the Canadian Forces; nothing was said about initiatives to federate and give legal status to the very gangs we want to fight today; nor was anything said about the massive influx of weapons and ammunition from the United States. The list is endless.
In light of these facts, the Coalition haïtienne au Canada contre la dictature en Haïti, the CHCDH, In keeping with the desires of the people of Haiti, are asking the Canadian government to resist any form of intervention in Haiti that risks provoking genocide in working-class neighbourhoods under the control of heavily armed gangs; to stop supporting the illegitimate government of Ariel Henry; to stop providing indirect support to gangs through government puppets, including Ariel Henry's; to support a Haitian solution to the systematically ignored crisis, including the Montana accord that brought together the strengths of the nation, the outcome of a broader consensus that advocated a clean break.
The CHCDH is also asking the Canadian government to co‑operate in respect and dignity towards Haiti's constitution and sovereignty, based on real needs expressed by local stakeholders, through technical assistance from the national police and training in human rights, through support for the judicial system to bring justice to the population in connection with the many different massacres and the misappropriation of the PetroCaribe fund, and through support for the reparations demands of families who have recorded 10,000 deaths from cholera and 800,000 infections.
Honourable members, the people of Haiti, who are still standing and fighting despite hundreds of years of being denied justice and suffering from glaring social inequalities, exhort you to listen and respect their will.