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Caribbean pan-African leaders say Trump not welcome in region

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — About 90 pan-African organisations and leaders inthe Caribbean have declared United States President Donald J Trump persona non grata for reported racist remarks he made last week about Haiti and African nations.

The leaders said that Trump made himself unwelcome with his vulgar insults against Haiti and African countries, saying that they likely speak for the entire African Diaspora.

The declaration was authored on Saturday by the “pan-Africanist and socialist popular forces of Barbados”, and submitted to the people and civil society organisations of the Caribbean for their endorsement and adoption.

Among the organisations and leaders supporting and endorsing the declaration are: the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados; Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI); Caribbean Pan-African Network (CPAN); Peoples Empowerment Party (Barbados); Pan-African Federalist Movement – Caribbean Region Committee; International Committee of Black Peoples (Guadeloupe); Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association; Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago; Organisation for the Victory of the People (Guyana); Black Consciousness Movement of Guyana; and the International Movement for Reparations (Martinique).

“We, the undersigned representatives of the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare that President Donald Trump of the United States of America is persona non grata in our Caribbean region,” the declaration said.

“We further declare that as persona non grata President Donald Trump is NOT welcome in any territory of the Caribbean; and we hereby confirm that we – the Caribbean people – will petition our Governments, vehemently protest against any Trump visit, and engage in popular demonstrations designed to prevent President Donald Trump's entry into any portion of the sovereign territory of our Caribbean region,” it added.

“As sons and daughters of the Caribbean, we hereby affirm that the continent of Africa is the revered motherland of a sizable majority of our people and that the Republic of Haiti – the seminal architect of the destruction of the system of chattel slavery that held our ancestors in bondage – is the foundational cornerstone of our Caribbean civilisation,” the declaration continued. “And we therefore consider that any insult or attack that is directed at the African continent or at the Republic of Haiti is intrinsically an insult and attack that is directed at us as well.

“We further affirm that we Caribbean people – in light of our history of experiencing, resisting and surviving the most horrendous forms of enslavement and colonialism – consciously regard ourselves as champions and defenders of the dignity and fundamental human rights of all black or African people, and that we are guided by an overarching and non-negotiable principle of zero tolerance of any manifestation of anti-black or anti-African racism or discrimination,” it said.

It is against this background that the declaration said: “We, the sovereign people of the Caribbean have determined that by describing the nations of Africa, the Republic of Haiti and the Central American nation of El Salvador as 'sh..hole' countries, US President Donald Trump has committed a despicable and unpardonable act of anti-black, anti-African, anti-brown racism that has served to further energise and fortify the vile white supremacy system that the said President Trump has self-consciously sought to champion and lead.”

The declaration added: “We, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare to the entire world that we vehemently and unreservedly denounce President Donald Trump and the evil and inhuman white supremacy value system that he represents.”

After three days of denunciations from around the world, including many in the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora, Trump declared on Sunday that he is “not a racist”, even as the uproar over his vulgar remarks on immigration overshadowed critical issues facing the US, including efforts to protect young undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants and avert a Government shutdown.

“I'm not a racist,” said Trump late Sunday as he arrived at Trump International Golf Club in Florida for dinner with California Republic Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, who attended the meeting on Thursday at the White House, where Trump reportedly made the disparaging remarks about Haiti and African nations.

“I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” Trump told reporters.

The remarks represent Trump's first direct response to accusations of racism that have dogged him since he allegedly asked, “Why are we having all these people from sh..hole countries come here?” in the meeting on immigration on Thursday, referring to Haiti and African nations.

Trump reportedly queried why Washington does not instead welcome more immigrants from countries such as Norway, which is overwhelmingly white.

But while Trump has denied using the vulgar language, the lone Democratic senator at the meeting insisted that he did.

Trump's latest comments were a departure from the White House's initial statement last week, which did not deny the comments.

The alleged remarks brought down furious condemnation on Trump from Democrats and media talking heads.

Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the largest and oldest civil rights organisation in the United States, on Friday told CNN – “We know he's a racist; he's demonstrated that. He's a racist both in his actions and his words.”

Johnson said the issue will help to motivate African-American voters in the 2018 mid-term elections.

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