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25147: grassrootshaiti: "GRASSROOTS PERSPECTIVE" CONFERENCE ON HAITI (fwd)
From: grassroots haiti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
BRAZILIAN AND HAITIAN PRESENT "GRASSROOTS PERSPECTIVE"
A Brazilian economist and a Haitian labor organizer
will be in New York this weekend to present a
radically different view of the situation in Haiti
from the one familiar to most people in the US.
Sandra Quintela, from PACS/Jubilee South Brazilian
Campaign against the Debt, the FTAA and
Militarization, visited Haiti in early April as part
of an international fact-finding and solidarity
mission headed by Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Perez
Paul Philome is a longtime organizer with Batay
("Workers' Struggle"), a workers' movement with an
international reputation for its militant campaigns in
the low-wage foreign-owned assembly shops known as
maquiladoras that have come to dominate industry in
much of the developing world.
Like progressives in the US, Quintela and Philome
condemn the US intervention in Haiti in 2004 and
oppose the current occupation by Brazilian-led UN
troops. But they also oppose a widespread view of
deposed Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide as an
ally to the struggles of poor Haitians.
"The Aristide government was one of great violence, of
major persecution of the social movements, one with a
neoliberal agenda for transforming the country into a
big maquiladora," Quintela told the Brazilian magazine
Socialist Opinion earlier this month after her visit
to Haiti. "In December 2003 the grassroots
organizations began to prepare a plan for Aristide's
exit. But he
was taken from the country on a plane of the US armed
forces before the grassroots forces could remove him."
Philome's experience of the struggle against
Aristide's policies is more direct. One of Batay
Ouvriye's main focuses over the last two years has
been a pioneering union at a maquiladora owned by the
Dominican Grupo M corporation in the Haitian border
town of Ouanaminthe. The factory is in a "free trade
zone" set up by Aristide and then-Dominican president
Hipolito Mejia in April 2002.
Quintela and Philome are speaking in Brooklyn on
Saturday, May 21 at 6 pm at the Brooklyn Greens/Green
Party of NY, 388 Atlantic Avenue (and Hoyt Street).
The forum, "Haiti after Aristide: a grassroots
perspective," is organized by the Grassroots Haiti
Solidarity Committee, a recently reconstituted group
of North American and Haitian activists.
Quintela, who speaks Spanish as well as Portuguese,
will be available for interviews on Saturday, May 21;
translation into English can be arranged. Philome is
available for interviews in English, French and
Creole; he will be in New York through Wednesday, May
Grassroots Haiti is also organizing for a picket line
on Monday, May 23 to protest the Dominican
government's mass deportations of Haitians over the
last two weeks. The picket, with Haitian and Dominican
groups, will be held outside the Dominican consulate,
at 1501 New Broadway Avenue (at 43rd Street in Times
Square), from 4 pm to 7 pm.
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