From Mon May 7 11:10:41 2001
Date: Sun, 6 May 2001 16:31:20 -0500 (CDT)
From: Haiti Reborn <>
Subject: Haiti Report for May 2, 2001
Article: 119472
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Summit of the Americas and the FTAA; Summit of the Peoples of the Americas; Aristide Progress on Eight-Point Agreement and the OAS

Haiti Report, Prepared by Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center, 2 May 2001

Summit of the Americas and the FTAA

Leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City singled out Haiti as a country where democracy is struggling and urged President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to make good on pledges toward reform. They designated Secretary General of the OAS (Organization of American States), Cesar Gaviria, to visit Haiti soon to check on progress and hinted that aid money was linked to the reforms. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, said, We acknowledge the problems that continue to limit the democratic, political, economic and social development of this country. He also said, We ask President Aristide to take rapid action on all of the commitments made in December. World Bank President James Wolfensohn, announcing a $150 million fund for AIDS projects in the Caribbena, said a possibility existed for Haiti to discuss that with the Bank. Gaviria of the OAS said a special mission to Haiti must wait until certain conditions were met. But he added: Everyone recognizes Haiti cannot be isolated. A Latin American diplomat said the Summit decided to comment on Haiti because leaders did not want Aristide to return home in triumph after a meeting of democratic countries. (Reuters, 4/22)

In the Summit's closing declaration, Canadian Prime Minister Chretien acknowledged that President Aristide has made progress in his efforts to fulfill the 8-point agreement and asked him to take rapid action on all of the commitments made in December and called on all parties to work in a spirit of openness and conciliation to resolve the political crisis. President Aristide, acting immediately on this support and encouragement, upon his return from the Summit on April 23, immediately held a press conference at Haiti's International Airport once again inviting the opposition to a fruitful dialogue in the spirit of concertation, consensus, and compromise. Pleased that the OAS is responding to his request to assist in the process, President Aristide welcomes the upcoming meeting with the OAS and Caricom (Caribbean Community) and expresses confidence that there will be a positive resolution to the political crisis in the very near future. Aristide assured the Haitian people that one of the greatest victories that they have won in this summit is that they have thirty-three other countries standing beside them, so that when they cast their ballots their votes will not be stolen through a coup d'etat. Solidifying his belief that democracy has indeed taken hold in Haiti, he stated that, There will be no more coups d'etat. (GOH Press Release, 4/24)

One agreement that came out of the Summit was a pledge by all leaders to pursue the Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005. Camille Chalmers, a State University of Haiti economics professor, said, Eight million people will be dominated by a project that favors US and European interests. We must have a critical reflection process that includes the reality of the people, said Chalmers, who serves as executive secretary of PAPDA, the Platform for the Advocacy of Alternative Development in Haiti. The FTAA will knock down barriers to imports and exports for virtually every country in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba. This will not be good for Haiti's already fragile economy. What's bad will become worse, Chalmers said, noting that already reduced tariffs like the three percent fee that is levied against foreign grown rice pouring into Haiti would be eliminated completely. In 2000, Haiti imported almost 220 million metric tons of rice—a move that many local farmers and their advocates say only serves to further destroy Haiti's ability to produce food for itself. This will have great consequences, yet the people—those who it will impact most—aren't being consulted in Haiti or the US. Besides being a threat to Haitian workers, the FTAA could also cost American workers jobs, Chalmers said. The economist believe the US recession—in which nearly 100,000 workers have been laid off—could cost even more Americans their jobs as companies head south in search of lower wages and fewer worker safety standards. Chalmers and others argue that any talks between the Haitian government and international actors that fail to include voices from Haiti's poor will ultimately fail to serve the country's greatest needs. We must articulate society's needs in the context of commerce and industry. To not do so would be to betray our own people and our chance to lift ourselves up and out of poverty, he said. (Haitian Times, 4/18)

Summit of the Peoples of the Americas

Two Haitian organizations participated in an alternative summit April 19-22 called the Second Summit of the Peoples of the Americas and the Second Assembly of the People of the Caribbean. The Platform for the Advocacy for An Alternative Development (PAPDA) and the Solidarity Organization of Haitian Women (SOFA) were part of the group that denounced the sexist, racist, unjust and inequitable character of internationalization. This internationalization will contribute to increased unemployment in poor countries. Summit participants also denounced the Free Trade Area of the Americas because it will concentrate all the wealth of the hemisphere in the hands of U.S. based transnational corporations. (AHP, 4/27)

Aristide Progress on 8-point Agreement and the OAS

U.S. President George Bush, addressing a special meeting of the OAS Permanent Council on April 17, declared that the Organization had an important role to play in the hemispheric commitment to democracy and the collective responsibility to break down the barriers of poverty, disease and ignorance, so individuals may better realize their full, God-given potential. He added that the U.S. hopes the OAS can serve well as a valuable mediator in Haiti, between President Aristide and the democratic opposition. (OAS Press Release, 4/17)

President Aristide's most recent proposal to resolve the May 21st election impasse exceeds OAS recommendations. The most recent offer, made as part of his pursuit of a negotiated settlement with the opposition to end the crisis, would accelerate the electoral calendar by two years and reduce the terms of all senators and deputies elected on May 21st. The government proposed the following calendar to the OAS in March:

(GOH Press Release, 4/17)