Published on the Abahlali baseMjondolo site, 10 May 2008
I am writing to ask for your urgent support for Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine who was kidnapped on 12th August 2007 in Haiti. He is the highly respected and well known human rights activist who co-founded of Fondasyon Trant Septamn (30th September Foundation). His abduction has had a devastating effect on family and community.
I had arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as a guest of members of the women in the Lavalas Movement, on the day Lovinsky disappeared, and experienced first hand how distraught his friends and community were when news began to circulate that his car had been found abandoned by the roadside. Lovinksy Pierre- Antoine had just finished a series of meetings with an international human rights delegation from the US.
Amnesty International has issued two urgent reports for Lovinsky, and his close colleague Wilson Mesilien, who has co-ordinated Fondasyon Trant Septumn in Lovinsky’s absence, and who had to go underground after receiving death threats. See AI Reports.
But after eight months he is still missing and there is silence from the UN, MINUSTAH (UN Mission in Haiti), and from the Haitian Government.
Michelle Pierre-Antoine, Lovinsky’s wife, his sons, family members and colleagues, and concerned people around the world are keeping up the pressure for his immediate safe return. Vigils are being held every Wednesday in Haiti and in Guyana (at CARICOM HQ), and outside Brazilian Embassies in Barcelona, London, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Other regular actions are taking place in a number of cities across the US and in Canada. See photos of the Haiti demonstrations on www.globalwomenstrike.net
An on-line petition initiated by Red Thread (Guyana) and Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike has gathered over 2,000 signatures from organisations, churches and prominent people. Among them, actors Danny Glover, Martin Sheen and Vanessa Redgrave, writers George Lamming and John Arden, poets Linton Kwesi Johnson and Benjamin Zephaniah, Claudette Werleigh (Secretary General of Pax Christi Intl. and former Prime Minister of Haiti under President Aristide), Eusi Kwayna (legendary leader of Guyana’s independence movement), Madaraka Nyerere (son of Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president) and Moazzam Begg (who was illegally detained and tortured in Guantánamo Bay). We urge you to sign the petition and circulate it widely amongst your network. http://www.petitiononline.com/august/petition.html
We are asking people to write EVERY WEDNESDAY, the day of the vigil, to your local Brazilian embassy or consulate, the US, Canada and France embassies or consulates, to President Préval and to the UN (see sample letter). Brazil heads the UN forces in Haiti responsible for law and order, and we hold them responsible for finding Lovinsky. (See the fantastic letter delivered to Brazilian President Lulla in protest at Brazil´s presence in Haiti.) Please ask your networks to ask the Brazilian embassy what steps are being taken to find Lovinsky.
You could also contact your local media, ask them to cover what is happening in Haiti, highlighting Lovinsky’s disappearance. Also post regular information on your websites, and link to the petition and the Global Women’s Strike.
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine is important to people everywhere who care about Haiti and recognise the enormous debt owed to the Haitian people. Their extraordinary revolution in 1804 overthrew the most powerful empire of its time and was the first victory against slavery in the Americas, making way for emancipation throughout the region and liberation movements everywhere – Haiti directly aided South American Liberator, Simon Bolivar. Yet this enormous contribution to human liberation is barely acknowledged.
The people of Haiti have been driven to the brink of starvation, brought about by the $1 million a week debt repayment extracted by the IMF, the destruction of local farming to make way for US cheap rice and recent food price increases. This is part of the legacy of slavery and US imposed coups and invasions.
But they have never given up. Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, beloved father, community organiser and member of Aristide’s Lavalas movement, represents their revolutionary resistance and determination. To win his return they need and deserve our support, especially international pressure. Please act now.
What you can do:
Sign and circulate the online petition:
Forward this email to all your contacts.
If you are part of an educational institution, organisation or group, distribute a copy of this email and sample letter to your students and or colleagues
If you have a website or blog please place link to the “Free Lovinsky Petition” on your site.
Write to your local Brazilian, US, French and Canadian embassies or consulates (See attached sample letter)
Sign the petition for the release of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine