Date: Sat, 6 Jul 1996 07:28:08 -0500
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> S * IN ACTIV-L --> Database ACTIV-L, 6717 hits.
> print 06715
>>> Item number 6715, dated 96/07/02 15:22:45—ALL
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 15:22:45 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: Haitian Information Bureau <email@example.com>
Subject: Haiti Info v.4 #17 NEOLIBERALISM REJECTED
Participants... reflected a great deal on why the Lavalas
government chose this road that... puts to one side a series of
fundamental rights of citizens and noted:
1. The Lavalas government decided at the end of 1994 to apply the
neoliberal plan, a
death plan big imperialist countries have
decided and want to jam down the throats of all little countries on
2. The objective of neoliberalism is not to
improve the living
conditions of people or favor development, (in fact, it can't!)
but is rather
a response... to the crisis that the capitalist
system has been in since the late 1970s.
3. Neoliberalism has the same principles of the old
and is a way of managing capitalism where
the market is the motor
of all economic activities while the state plays the role of
police and that the only thing
neo or new is
of integration of the capitalist relations worldwide, what they call
in their mystifying language,‘globalization’ which is
actually today's savage, violent form of managing capitalism.
4. With neoliberalism, there are actually two liberalizations:
allows foreign products enter freely into your country, without paying taxes, which is a catastrophe for national production,and which permits multinationals to exploit the country and send its profits
pulls out of all economic activities, privatizes public services,and removes all barriers to capitalists.
5. All the changes are done in the name of
fire 25,000 state employees..., retire the state's
responsibilities regarding economic and social rights... rights
recognized in the 1987 constitution like the right to life, to
work, to housing, to education, etc.
The modernization they are talking about instead has as its true
objective to reduce the democratic demands and aspirations of the
Haitian people, and make the political game a simple formal and
institutional process based only on elections. In other words, the
right of participation is not guaranteed. When the slaves go to vote
for their masters, that does not eliminate the situation of masters
and slaves. The police will come to play a repressive role, like the
The government is hiding the real information on this subject.
Instead, it's corruption, manipulation and co-optation all over.
The press does not help people see clearly, and the majority of local
authorities (magistrates) and many parliamentarians have already
decided to support, eyes closed, the neoliberal plan.
The government is not telling the truth when they repeat the
clarion call of‘no alternatives'. There are many
propositions... But the Lavalas power would rather believe in the
role of 'salesman’ that it is playing...
The Lavalas government's neoliberal plan will open the door
to even more trampling on human rights in the country and will totally
ignore the thirst for justice of the population after three years of
Human rights organizations should further integrate respect for
economic and social rights into their work...
Human rights organizations should work together to make the
government guarantee... access to information especially the
immediate publication, in Creole, of the accord the government has
with the international financial institutions.
Human rights organizations should work to support the
people's right to participate. Meeting after meeting is held,
plots upon plots are cooked up, and the people are increasingly mere
observers. The Haitian people are the ones who should first know the
consequences of the government's neoliberal plan, and who should
first hear the explanations to justify the mayors’ and
parliamentarians’ support of the death plan.
Human rights organizations should organize more sensitizing
activities... on the nature and consequences of the neoliberal plans
of the government for social and economic rights.
Human rights organizations should develop good relations with
peasant, popular, and women's organizations to combat the
government's neoliberal plan.
At the same time we denounce all the pressure on and blackmail
of parliamentarians, we ask them not to vote for the neoliberal plan
and measures. Despite the bad orientation of his program, you still
voted for Prime Minister Rosny Smarth. Today you should refuse to
march down the route of selling the country, of trampling on the
fundamental demands of the population.
While government officials rush to finalize the agreement with the
International Monetary Fund [see last issue], organizations in the
democratic and popular movement are not sitting back to accept the
passage obligee or
Instead, at a three-day meeting hosted by the Platform of Haitian
Human Rights Organizations, representatives of over two-dozen popular
groups, a dozen human rights, women's and socio- professional
institutions, and two Latin American visitors met in a
Neoliberalism and Human
The outcome of the meeting—where over 50 delegates broke into two work groups: one that looked at the neoliberal economic measures planned for Haiti, and a second at the consequences and how base groups and the human rights sector can fight them—was clear: a firm rejection of the government's neoliberal policy and a determination to struggle together against it.
The meeting opened on Sunday, June 16, with introductory addresses by
Father Hugo Trieste, General Coordinator of the Platform, and by Luiz
Perez Aguirre of Uruguay and Joao Whitaker Ferreira of Brazil. Father
Trieste explained that the Platform has decided to focus on economic
and social rights because the neoliberal plan being forced on the
touches the first right of all human beings, which
is the right to life, but, he concluded,
we are not alone
change is possible.
Aguirre, from Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ) of Uruguay, said
poverty is a
sickness produced by capitalism.
So what is neoliberalism? Aguirre asked the audience.
words, [it] is not‘the end of history,’ as some affirm,
but an end to capitalist accumulation.
The effects to his country, which applied
neoliberalism, have been devastating: all private banks are now in
foreign hands, 30% of export earnings service the debt, almost half
the budget goes to
security and police, while education and
health get only 32%. It has the highest unemployment, the highest debt
per person and the lowest growth in the region, he said, ending:
Voil the consequences of neoliberalism!
Aguirre concluded by calling for mobilization, but said
we do not
immediately see the solution. That inspired criticisms from
several participants who disagreed with his overall resignation and
Whitaker, a member of the Worker's Party in Brazil, talked about the environmental degradation due to neoliberalism: garbage from the over-consuming north and also from the transfer of heavily polluting industries to exploited countries. He also spoke of the importance of the mass media in promoting consumption. In Brazil, the world's tenth largest economy, 30 to 40 million out of 150 million consume, and the rest are left out, with 32 million under the poverty line.
Something is not working, Whitaker said.
alternatives, Whitaker cited Cuba's economic
independence, but then said that
in the global village, it is
impossible not to integrate... It is inexorable. He instead made
abstract propositions: networking,
horizontal organization and
reconstruct the social tissue.
Like Aguirre, Whitaker offered interesting facts, but concluded with a
pessimistic and defeatist vision which provoked harsh criticism from
the audience. Rather than fighting neoliberalism, he advocated trying
to minimize the damage, and spoke of the experiences of his party in
Sao Paolo, where it held City Hall for a term. However, he admitted
perhaps more than he had planned when he said that after four years,
the right-wing got control and in three months,
destroyed what we
Chenet Jean-Baptiste, General Secretary of the Platform, said the
seminar as a success:
The reflections were very rich.
Jean-Baptiste said participants made a number of recommendations to
the human rights sector regarding the necessity to inform people of
their rights, which he thought was positive, and also noted that it
was the first time a series of
accompanying institutions sat
down with base groups for such an exchange of information and ideas.
The Platform will be publishing two documents resulting from the
seminar: one with the alternatives discussed, and a second with
background papers. The Platform will also undertake to document
violations of economic and social rights and hopes to organize more
The subject will be a priority for the Platform for the
coming year... More meetings, discussions, elements of reflection, but
above all, systematic information work.
An organizer with Aksyon Katolik Ouvriye (AKO), an organization that
accompanies workers and unemployed people, said the meeting was
very good initiative because he had heard a lot of discussion
about neoliberalism before, but did not fully understand it and its
More people will understand the importance of taking a position on
those policies, he said, and added that the most important thing
for him was:
Learning and accumulating facts and understanding a
series of economic concepts... seeing what is in store for us... and
being able to use that information to make more people understand.
The organizer said the discussions and exchanges over strategies were
also important, and that reviewing history showed that
fall of Jean Claude Duvalier they have been putting peons into
place and setting up neoliberal structures here.
Now the Platform needs to do the follow-up it promised, and the groups
that attended need to see how they can work together, he said. AKO
will continue studying the reality of neoliberalism and its
manifestation among the masses, and on worker's rights, which do
not exist under neoliberalism, especially in the growing
sector, he said.
A women from Chandel (
Candle), a popular organization founded
in 1989 which focuses on popular education, thought the seminar was
it was the occasion for many popular organizations
and institutions to reflect together.
Habitually, organizations reflect themselves. Chandel can reflect
with its members... but when you put all the human rights institutions
together with all those popular organizations, I think it is a good
experience because it makes us see things more clearly, she
Many ideas are exchanged and it is very enriching.
One concrete result, she said, was that those attending realized there
a little team, we can't say‘platform,’
because we did not agree with that word, that can determine
what should be done.
Things were discussed, but I will not say them because they are
strategic, she said.
A member of Solidarite Ant Jen (SAJ) said:
We think it is
interesting to link it to the human rights question..., because they
always perceive of human rights in terms of political and civic
rights... They never talk about social and economic rights.
The young man said working together to
produce a reflection and
develop a collective understanding was very important. Another
crucial aspect were the discussions on the need to expose individuals
and organizations who say they are against neoliberalism, but are part
of the government,
like, for example, CRESFED [Centre de Recherche
et de Formation Economique et Sociale pour le Developpement], an
institution which is a member of the Platform, and we know the
Platform is very clearly against neoliberalism, yet the entire senior
staff of CRESFED is in OPL [qganizasyon Politik Lavalas] and is
supporting the neoliberal plan... It was necessary that we air out
these contradictions... so people are not confused!