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Haiti: Prayer for the New Year

Pwoje Espwa bids 2007 farewell and welcomes the New Year with a prayer.

4 comments

  • Today, January 1, is the 204th anniversary of Haitian independence. In late November 1803, Haitian slaves, led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines, achieved victory in a twelve year war for independence from the French and sent Napoleon’s army packing. The victory by the Haitian slaves resulted in the establishment of the first independent black republic. But, over the next 200 years, the international community interfered numerous times in Haiti’s internal affairs, especially France and the US.

    Today, Haiti is under occupation by the United Nations, a force formed under the direction of the US, France and Canada. I am providing you with a URL for a two part photo essay/article by Wadner Pierre, a young Haitian freelance journalist in Haiti. The article, written in February 2007, chronicles the effects of the current occupation on one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, Cite Soleil. The photos are incredible and the story is very compelling.

    I couldn’t let January 1 pass without acknowledging Haiti’s Independence Day and encouraging everyone to learn more about Haiti.

    URL for Wadner Pierre two-part story: http://haitianalysis.com/photo-exhibits/brutalized-and-abandoned-residents-of-cit%C3%A9-soleil-speak-out

    Also, if you would like to check out this young journalisr’s blog: http://wadnerpierre.blogspot.com

    Also, for background on Haiti since the 2004 coup that resulted in the kidnapping of the president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, please go to: http://hcvanalysis.wordpress.com

  • Jean

    I found the independent journalist Jane Regan’s article “In Bondage to History?” (published by the North American Congress on Latin America in 2005) far more insightful and educational than Wadner Pierre’s highly partisan and decidedly unobjective work.

    The full text of the article, written by Regan after a 20-year involvement with Haiti and chronicling the role that Haiti’s politicians, including former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, played in fostering Haiti’s disastrously violent political climate, can be read in it’s entirety here:

    http://www.haitipolicy.org/printversions/2850.htm?PHPSESSID=ec6a4cc3db57842f14ddc7b0ccd5bff5

  • Thanks for referencing the Jane Regan article that appears on the Haiti Democracy Project site. I now know where you are coming from. Jane Regan has done some good stuff and some not so good stuff and occasionally, questionable stuff. I consider the article of hers that you referenced in the latter category.

    There are at least two incorrect statements made by Ms. Regan in her article of which I think readers should be made aware. There were NOT thousands of anti-Aristide people in the street prior to the coup. This was one of dozens of US-fabricated stories that were fed to the press to make a coup palatable to us folks here in the US. Colin Powell, as Secretary of State, publicly inflated the numbers of “rebels” led by Guy Philippe and Louis-Jodel Chamblain and lied about their location. Powell contacted former congressman Ron Dellums and told him to tell Aristide that the “rebels” were “coming to kill him” and the US would not do anything to help him. Since Aristide knew that the “rebels” were in the northern part of the country and not near Port-au-Prince, Powell’s game was recognized for what it was – trying to scare Aristide into resigning. When that didn’t work, thirty US Special Forces soldiers were ordered to the Aristide home accompanied by US Deputy Ambassador, Luis Moreno. Aristide was forced at gunpoint to board a plane and dumped like a sack of potatoes in the Central African Republic. It was a kidnapping.

    Regan’s statement about beheadings is a bald-faced lie. There was not a rampage by pro-Aristide supporters that included beheadings and sniper attacks. It was Group 184 (elite group formed to promote removal of Aristide) leader, Jean-Claude Bajeux, who came up with this idea to capitalize off of graphic violence in Iraq and use the name, “Operation Baghdad” to demonize Aristide supporters. No, it was the Haitian National Police who were busy committing summary executions in the poorer neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince whose residents are largely supporters of Aristide..

    And finally, the Haiti Democracy Project in Washington, DC. was created through funds from the International Republican Institute (the primary source for soft coups) and its purpose was to serve as a public relations team for reactionary Haitian “civil society” groups (mainly elite business people) seeking to overthrow Aristide.

    Let’s just say, I trust the eye of the young Haitian journalist, Wadner Pierre.

  • Jean

    The Jane Regan article was posted on the Haiti Democracy Project website, not published there. So what? If NACLA, where the article was originally published, made its articles available to non-subscribers, the link could have been posted to their website. At any rate, irrelevant.

    As someone of Haitian descent who has visited Haiti many times over the years (including in early 2004), I can say that it is true there were not thousands of anti-Aristide supporters of the streets. There were TENS OF THOUSANDS in the demonstration I saw in January 2004. There’s no fabrication in that at all. Regan’s statement about beheadings, also, is not at all a lie but the honest truth of what Aristide’s supporters in Haiti were doing at the time. Anyone who was in Haiti in 2004/2005 can attest to this. Violence begets violence.

    Anyway, “Magbana” appears to have drunk the pro-Aristide Kool Aid a little once too often

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