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Related Categories: Haiti | San Francisco
Haiti in Venezuela: Solidarity at WSF: Dispatch #1
by Haiti Action!
Wednesday Jan 25th, 2006 7:44 PM
The 19-member U.S. and Canadian Haiti Action Network delegation, and more than a dozen colleagues from Haiti have successfully placed Haiti on the map at the World Social Forum, with a bang.
The 19-member U.S. and Canadian Haiti Action Network delegation, and more than a dozen colleagues from Haiti have successfully placed Haiti on the map at the World Social Forum, with a bang.

Yesterday, we marched through central Caracas along with tens of thousands of others in a march and rally that marked the official opening of the Forum. The theme of the march was "Against imperialism and war." We carried a large banner (from Toronto) that read "Canada, U.S., France, UN Hands Off Haiti!" along with a banner from our Ottawa chapter. We made a very vocal presence as well, all along the ten kilometer route. We chanted, in Spanish, and in order, "Canada, (U.S., France, Brazil, Chile, Argentina) out of Haiti!", "Sovereignty for Haiti, Troops out!"

Our contingent was something of a sensation. A lot of delegates on the march approached us to cheer us on or to ask questions about the situation in Haiti and about our work. Many Venezuelan bystanders along the route cheered us or gave a raised-thumb salute.

At the rally site, where thousands more Venezuelans joined in after their work or school day, we walked around with the banner and got cheers from groups of Brazilian delegates sitting in the stands. A lot of them asked us, "Why don't you have Brazil named on your banner?" In one particularly moving moment, a group of ten young Venezuelans asked if we could take a photo of them holding up our banner.

Evidently, the case of Haiti is well known among the Venezuelan people. President Hugo Chavez frequently denounces the coup on television. The military aid which the young Haitian republic provided to the independence struggle in Venezuela in the 1820's is taught in the school system. One young Venezuelan told us, "They helped us to win our independence, we owe it to them to help out today."

There is a large delegation, about 140 people, here from unions and NGO's in Quebec. We are engaging them in discussion and will introduce them to our colleagues from Haiti over the coming days.

We have two public forums and one film showing organized over the course of the next three days. Colleagues in the Haiti Action Committee in the U.S. have one forum as well. Without question, by the end of this World Social Forum many thousands of delegates will be aware there is a strong and vibrant Haiti solidarity movement in North America.

Panel #1 - Haiti in the Hemisphere
Date & Time: Wednesday, January 25, 12:00 noon (2nd period)
Location: Colegio Universitario de Caracas, La Floresta, piso 3, Sala 304
Themes: The current crisis in Haiti and the need for a Latin & North American dialogue
Facilitator: Jean Saint-Vil (CHAN)

* Euvonie George-Auguste (exiled grassroots organizer);

* Lovinsky Pierre Antoine (Fondasyon Trant Septanm);

* Loulou Chéry (General Secretary, CTH union);

* William Robinson (Writer)

* Angel Palacios, Director, 'El Espejo Haitiano';

* exiled grassroots leaders;

* Ginette Apollon (CTH Women's Commission);

Panel #2 - US and Canadian Imperial Aggression in Haiti
Time: Saturday, January 28, 3:30pm (3rd period)
Location: Colegio Universitario de Caracas, La Floresta, piso 2, Sala 202
Themes: The coup, the human rights crisis, the growing solidarity movements in Canada & US;
Facilitator: Jean Saint-Vil (CHAN)

* Margaret Prescod (Global Women's Strike)

* Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine (Fondasyon Trant Septanm)

* Ginette Apollon (Women's Commission, CTH union)

* A former elected deputy and leader of peasant movement;

* Anthony Fenton (CHAN)

* Jeb Sprague (independent researcher)

* Mario Joseph (BAI Human rights group)

* Marco Aurelio Garcia, Special Advisor to Pres. Lula of Brazil

Panel 3. Film Presentation: El Espejo Haitiano
Time & Location: To be announced at Panel #1 and on canadahaitiaction.ca website

* Facilitator: Jean Saint-Vil (CHAN)

* Guest: Director, Angel Palacios
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Debates Rage at the World Social Forum--Dispatch #2.CHANSunday Jan 29th, 2006 11:51 AM