Toronto Haiti Action Committee

Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

Toronto Haiti Action Committee - Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

In the News: Haitian lawyer accuses Montreal mayor Coderre of lying about Aristide ’04 ouster

by Andy Blatchford, with files from Associated Press. Originally posted at The Prince George Citizen

Denis CoderreMONTREAL – A prominent Haitian human-rights lawyer is calling on former federal cabinet minister Denis Coderre to apologize for allegedly lying about Canada’s involvement in the ouster of the Caribbean nation’s president 10 years ago.

Attorney Mario Joseph made the request Thursday during a visit to Montreal that coincided with the anniversary of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s removal from office on Feb. 29, 2004.

At the time of Aristide’s expulsion, Coderre was the Liberal minister responsible for French-speaking countries such as Haiti.

Coderre, who was elected mayor of Montreal last November, says he has nothing to apologize for.

Joseph, who has represented the ex-president, alleged that Coderre lied in the days before Aristide’s removal from office when he said Ottawa did not want the Haitian leader to leave.

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In the News: Secrecy shrouds Canada’s role in Aristide’s ouster from Haiti

by Sue Montgomery. Originally printed in the Montreal Gazette February 28, 2014

MONTREAL — Ten years after Haiti’s first democratically elected president was removed from his country in the middle of the night and dumped in Africa, Canada’s role — and that of Montreal’s current mayor — has been shrouded in secrecy.

Aristide in South AfricaJean-Bertrand Aristide, the former priest from Haiti’s slums who is reviled by the elite minority and revered by the poor masses, claims to this day he was blindfolded and forced to sign a letter of resignation before being airlifted out and dropped in the Central African Republic.

The United States, Canada and France all claim he left voluntarily. They say they told Aristide that no one would come to help him — despite the trio’s signed commitment just four years earlier to do so — and that he, his family and supporters would be killed.

“In some ways, the competing stories are a distinction without a difference,” says Brian Concannon, a lawyer with the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. “It is hard to say that in that situation he had a meaningful choice.”

It was another blow to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — made destitute by two centuries of racism, greed, revenge and a series of inept and corrupt governments backed by the United States. The Caribbean nation, which shares an island with the better-off Dominican Republic, has had 22 constitutions since winning its freedom in 1804 and lived through 32 coups — 33, if one counts the 2004 ouster of Aristide.

Now, Haitians want an apology from Canada, and particularly Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.

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The real story about Canada’s role in Haiti

by Yves Engler. Originally posted at Canadian Dimension

Photo by flicker-user: pmwebphotos.

Photo by flicker-user: pmwebphotos.

Step one for everyone trying to make the world a better place should be listening to those they wish to help.

This is certainly true in the case of Haiti, a long-time target of Canadian ‘aid’. But, while Haitians continue to criticize Ottawa’s role in their country, few Canadians bother to pay attention.

After Uruguay announced it was withdrawing its 950 troops from the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti last month, Moise Jean-Charles, took aim at the countries he considers most responsible for undermining Haitian sovereignty. The popular senator from Haiti’s north recently told Haiti Liberté:

Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are not the real occupiers of Haiti. The real forces behind Haiti’s [UN administered] military occupation — the powers which are putting everybody else up to it — are the U.S., France, and Canada, which colluded in the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d’etat against President [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide. It was then they began trampling Haitian sovereignty.

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In the News: Aristide supporters protest in Haiti

Originally posted in The Guardian

Thousands mark anniversary of ex-president’s ousting in 1991, with some calling for current president to resign.

Port-au-Prince protestRiot police in Haiti have broken up an anti-government demonstration by thousands of people to mark the anniversary of the ousting in 1991 of the former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

A handful of protesters responded by setting ablaze barricades that blocked a major thoroughfare through the heart of downtown Port-au-Prince.

Critics of the current president, Michel Martelly, gathered under a heavy police presence on Monday morning and marched through the capital’s shanties, all Aristide strongholds. Some demonstrators demanded that Martelly resign because of corruption allegations, while others protested over the absence of elections. Riot police fired teargas at the demonstrators after they left the approved route.

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In the News: Haiti a step closer to having army again

by Trenton Daniel, Associated Press, Sept.16, 2013

Army project of Michel Martelly 4In a small ceremony in the farming village of Petite Rivere de L’Aritibonite, Defense Minister Jean-Rodolphe Joazile greeted the first 41 recruits who recently returned from eight months of training in Ecuador. They will be the first members of a national military force that the government of President Michel Martelly wants to revive.

Joazile said they will spend three months working alongside Ecuadorean military engineers among the rice fields in central Haiti to repair roads and work on other public service projects in their impoverished country, which was hit by a devastating earthquake three years ago.

“Haiti’s needs are not in the infantry but in technical service,” Joazile said in an earlier interview. “The country is in a state of reconstruction. We need mechanics.”

Almost all of those in the new unit are recent high school graduates. They include 30 soldiers, 10 engineers and one officer and will report to the Defense Ministry. They won’t carry weapons for now but could carry handguns, in three to four years, if either the recruits pay for the weapon themselves or the government receives financing to do so, Joazile said in an interview last week.

“If the authorities give them permission, it’s not a problem,” Joazile said.

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In the News: After Aristide Testifies to Investigating Judge: Massive March Signals Lavalas Movement’s Resurrection

by Kim Ives. Originally posted at Haiti Liberté

Well over 15,000 people poured out from all corners of Haiti’s capital to march alongside the cortege of cars that carried former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide back to his home in Tabarre from the Port-au-Prince courthouse he visited on May 8.

Fanmi Lavalas Thousands more massed along sidewalks and on rooftops to cheer the procession on, waving flags and wearing small photos of Aristide in their hair, pinned to their clothing, or stuck in their hats.

Led by Fanmi Lavalas party coordinator Maryse Narcisse through a gauntlet of jostling journalists, Aristide had entered the courthouse (the former Belle Époque Hotel) at exactly 9:00 a.m., the time of his appointment to testify before Investigating Judge Ivickel Dabrésil. Aristide had waited with Narcisse in a car outside the court’s backdoor for about 45 minutes. It was only the second time that Aristide had left his home (and the first time publicly) since returning to Haiti on Mar. 18, 2011 from a seven-year exile in Africa following the Feb. 29, 2004 Washington-backed coup d’état which cut short his second government.

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