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Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 21:43:18 -0500

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Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 21:09:10 -0500
Subject: [WW] San Francisco Labor Council salutes Haiti Revolution

San Francisco Labor Council salutes Haiti Revolution

Workers World 8 January 2004

The San Francisco Labor Council voted in early December to send warm greetings of solidarity to the working people and government of Haiti on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Haitian Revolution, which abolished slavery and ended colonial rule.

The resolution by the council, introduced by delegate Dave Welsh and adopted unanimously, hailed the 13-year rebellion that threw off the yoke of slavery and French rule as an earth-shattering development in the struggle for the emancipation of labor all over the world.

The Labor Council represents over 80,000 members in 141 affiliated unions. It is part of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organiz a tions. Its resolution noted that the United Nations has declared 2004 the Year of the Abolition of Slavery on the occasion of Haiti’s bicentennial and to honor the Haitian people as valiant pioneers in the struggle for the emancipation of labor.

It was a general strike in 1791, by the enslaved labor force in Haiti, that set in motion the armed rebellion that defeated the pro-slavery French army of Napoleon Bonaparte at a time when the trans-Atlan tic slave trade was at its height, according to the Labor Council statement. The Haitian people on Jan. 1, 1804, victoriously declared their independence; abolished the slave system; renamed the country Haiti in honor of the original indigenous population of the island; and declared Haiti as the first free republic in the Americas.

The council, the voice of organized labor in San Francisco, had earlier passed a resolution calling for an end to the current U.S. government- led embargo on international financial aid to Haiti, and demanding release of the approximately $500 million in blocked humanitarian and developmental aid.

The earlier resolution, Let Haiti Live! went on to be adopted last year by the 2-million-member California Labor Federation, as well as by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and A. Philip Randolph Institute, San Francisco chapters. The 2002 resolution noted that Secretary of State Colin Powell had vowed the U.S. would continue to embargo these funds in order to leverage a ’political outcome’ in Haiti, adding: It is appalling that the U.S. is using humanitarian aid as a political weapon.

The heroic Haitian people deserve support and solidarity, not sabotage and interference.