Bolivian Troops in Haiti

Andrés Soliz Rada, January 19

On November 5, 2006, the Haitian Anti-Imperialist League addressed an open letter to Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Lula da Silva of Brazil asking them to withdraw their troops from Haiti, where they are part of the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of that country, in conjunction with the United States, France, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Croatia, Ecuador, Spain, Guatemala, Jordan, Malaysia Morocco, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines and Sri Lanka (

The letter reminded Evo and Lula that the UN “is an instrument in the hands of the imperialist powers, especially the North American imperialist superpower.” It added that the attitude of other, conservative, neoliberal and reactionary presidents is understandable, but one might hope for a more balanced and just attitude from other authorities with a better sense “of the tragedy suffered by our country, once again a victim of the interventionist policy of the United States”.

New Massacre

The request went unheard and last December 22, 400 soldiers of the occupation force, led by the Brazilian general José Elito Carvalho Siquiera, with the support of helicopters, armoured vehicles and heavy artillery carried out a massive attack on the poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, the capital, resulting in the deaths of at least 17 persons and wounding 40. The repression was ordered by the UN Security Council, and carried out by soldiers from Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay. The cruelty of the invaders went so far as to prevent Red Cross ambulances from attending to the wounded.

This “Christmas” gift was in retaliation for the December 16 protest in the streets by the poor people of Port-au-Prince against the fraud in the municipal elections of December 3 and against the foreign occupation. The pretext was that the attack was aimed at suppressing kidnappers and bandits, but they exist in all areas of the city and not only in the slums ( 28-12-06).

The Executive Power and the Parliament

In the second meeting of the cabinet of the newly-installed Bolivian government, in February 2006, the Minister of Defence, Walter San Miguel, reported that he was sending a request to parliament to authorise the sending of Bolivian troops to the Congo and that this was the tenth mission our country would carry out under UN agreements.

As Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, I opposed the initiative, arguing that if Bolivia supported the military occupation of other countries how would we oppose similar aggression against our country, especially at a time when we were preparing to initiate profound structural changes in Bolivia? The question is very timely, now that the foreign press, once again, is speculating on the possibility that UN “blue helmets” will be sent to put down the existing social and political conflicts in our country — just as the news media did during the governments of Carlos Mesa and Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé. The election victory of Evo Morales, with 53.7% of the votes, is no guarantee that no foreign intervention will occur. The Haitian president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, was overthrown for the first time in 1991 after winning the elections with a 67% vote.

San Miguel explained that we were fulfilling previous commitments and this would be the last time this authorisation would be sought. This reasoning was backed by the Head of State and the other ministers. It should be mentioned that the presence of foreign troops in the Congo resulted in the “rampant sexual exploitation” of Congolese women. The Uruguayan contingent alone left 59 girls and teenagers pregnant in 2006, amidst growing scandals over corrupt practices in the oil-for-food barter program involving senior UN officials. (Indymedia, 3-01-05)

Four months later, a new request was made to parliament to send troops to Haiti. The former vice-Minister of Government, Rafael Puente (who attended the cabinet meeting in the absence of the Minister Alicia Muñoz), spoke out against this, using arguments similar to mine. The President told him that the matter had been clarified when the question of the Congo was discussed. In Parliament, only senators Antonio Peredo and Gastón Cornejo refused to endorse the Executive’s requests. Later I heard that Senator Peredo was reprimanded by the Presidential Office for his attitude.

Not one parliamentarian had the courage to request a report, even less so an interpellation, of the Minister of Defence for these decisions.

Nobel Peace Prize

Many international personalities and organizations, including Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchú, Leonardo Boff, Hebe de Bonafide, the Human Rights Assembly of Ecuador, the Bolivarian Circles of Venezuela, the “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo” in Argentina, and the National Cadre School for the Defence of the Cuban Revolution are actively campaigning to have the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Evo Morales. It is important that the campaign include a call on the Head of State to withdraw Bolivian troops from the Congo and Haiti, in the elementary interest of defense of the national sovereignty and self-determination of peoples.

The case of Haiti, situated geographically between Cuba and Venezuela, has a special connotation in the politics of North America, which seeks to maintain a base between these two countries opposed to its policies of subjugation of Latin America. Let us recall just one fact. In 1919, the Marines shot 10,000 Haitian farmers during the U.S. occupation. In the wake of the massacre of December 22, Eduardo Galeano wrote the following: “Haiti is a country thrown on the rubbish heap by never-ending punishment to its dignity. There it lies, like so much scrap.” (Página 12, Buenos Aires. 5-4-07). This cannot continue happening with the participation of a government determined to carry out a democratic and cultural revolution.

1 comment:

Dave Brown said...

Morales uses Bolivian troops in Haiti to please Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam will return the favor to support Morales by suppressing the Cochabamba commume (see urgent call below)

20 of January 2007


Organize the support for the revolutionary government of Cochabamba!
The workers, popular and revolutionary organizations of the continent have the responsibility!

Like yesterday Oaxaca, today Cochabamba shows the way!
Long live the workers commune of Cochabamba!

On Tuesday 16 and Wednesdays 17 of January, after days of battles of barricades in the streets of Cochabamba against the governor Reyes Villa and the government of Evo Morales (who as commander-in-chief ordered the police to repress the people) the workers and poor peasants of that city of Bolivia formed a provisional revolutionary government.

Like the commune of Oaxaca theyshow the way for the masses to follow to meet the needs and satisfy their demands.

The government of Evo Morales proves once again that his government only serves the bourgeoisie and imperialism.

The ambassador of the United States to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, has given his full support to the proto-fascist Reyes Villa.

Before the great events facing the workers and poor peasants of Cochabamba, before the clear opposition to the commune of Cochabamba by Evo Morales and his big boss, the United States, there can be no middle road. One is for the workers and popular commune or one is against.

The COB, COR and COD, the the peasants organisations opposed to the government like the MST (homeless) cannot remain with their arms crossed: they must urgently summon a Congress of delegates of the rank and file of the COB and the peasants organisations in Cochabamba!

All must go to support and generalize the commune of Cochabamba!
Build workers and peasants militias now to defeat the fascists!

The revolutionary base of El Alto that demands the resignation of the governor Paredes, the revolutionary miners of Huanuni that defeated the attempt by the government to use the cooperatistas to attack them, have won the authority in combat to take the lead and send their delegates to Cochabamba to make the demand for a national Congress.

The workers and popular organizations of the continent must demand that all those who say they are revolutionaries and workers organisations cannot remain shamefully silent in the face of this attack by Evo Morales.

It is necessary to act in solidarity to strengthen the Commune in Cochabamba by sending delegates of the workers and popular organizations to Cochabamba. There is not time to lose!
The immediate future of the Bolivian revolution will be decided in these combats!

Jose Vidal. Trotskista.
20 of January 2007 email:

20 de Enero 2007
¡Hay que organizar el apoyo al gobierno revolucionario de Cochabamba!
¡Las organizaciones obreras, populares y revolucionarias del continente tienen la palabra!
¡Como ayer Oaxaca, hoy Cochabamba marca el camino!
¡Viva la comuna obrera de Cochabamba!

Entre el martes 16 y el miércoles 17 de Enero, después de días de batallas de barricadas en las calles de Cochabamba contra el gobierno de Reyes Villa y el de Evo Morales (que hasta mandó reprimir con la policía de la cual Evo Morales es el comandante en jefe), los trabajadores y campesinos pobres de esa ciudad de Bolivia formaron un gobierno revolucionario provisional. Siguiendo el camino de la comuna de Oaxaca señalan el camino a seguir para que las demandas más sentidas de las masas sean satisfechas.
El gobierno de Evo Morales se saca una vez más la careta demostrando que solo es un gobierno más de la burguesía y el imperialismo. Con tan solo horas de diferencia siguió los pasos de Philip Goldberg, embajador de Estados Unidos, y le dio todo su apoyo al proto- fascista Reyes Villa.
Ante el gran paso delante de los trabajadores y campesinos pobres de Cochabamba, ante la clara definición en contra de la comuna de Cochabamba de Evo Morales y su mandamás, Estados Unidos, no caben las medias tintas. O se está con la comuna obrera y popular o se está contra ella.
La COB, COR y COD, las centrales campesinas opuestas al gobierno como el MST no pueden quedarse de brazos cruzados: deben convocar de manera urgente a un Congreso de delegados de base de la COB y las centrales campesinas en Cochabamba! ¡Hay que rodear de solidaridad y extender la comuna de Cochabamba! ¡Hay que poner en pié las milicias obreras y campesinas para derrotar al fascismo!
La base revolucionaria del Alto que pide la cabeza del prefecto J. L. Paredes, Los mineros revolucionarios de Huanuni que vienen de derrotar el intento del gobierno de quebrarlos por medio de los cooperatistas tienen toda la autoridad ganada en el combate para dar un paso adelante enviando delegados a Cochabamba y exigiendo la convocatoria a dicho Congreso.
Las organizaciones obreras y populares del continente que se dicen revolucionarias y obreras no pueden seguir con un silencio vergonzante que a esta altura es subordinación a Evo Morales. Hay que rodear de solidaridad efectiva a Cochabamba enviando delegados de las organizaciones obreras y populares a Cochabamba.
¡No hay tiempo que perder! ¡El futuro inmediato de la revolución boliviana se decide en estos combates!
José Vidal. Trotskista.
20 de Enero 2007

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