Dr Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Former President of Haiti
19 January 2011
I would like to thank the government and the people of South Africa for the historic hospitality, deeply rooted in Ubuntu, extended to my family and I.
Since my forced arrival in the Mother Continent six and a half years ago, the people of Haiti have never stopped calling for my return to Haiti. Despite the enormous challenges that they face in the aftermath of the deadly January 12, 2010 earthquake, their determination to make the return happen has increased.
As far as I am concerned, I am ready. Once again I express my readiness to leave today, tomorrow, at any time. The purpose is very clear: To contribute to serving my Haitian sisters and brothers as a simple citizen in the field of education.
The return is indispensable, too, for medical reasons: It is strongly recommended that I not spend the coming winter in South Africa’s because in six years I have undergone six eye surgeries. The surgeons are excellent and very well skilled, but the unbearable pain experienced in the winter must be avoided in order to reduce any risk of further complications and blindness.
So, to all those asking me to return home, I reiterate my willingness to leave today, tomorrow, at any time. Let us hope that the Haitian and South African governments will enter into communication in order to make that happen in the next coming days.
United to the Haitian people, once again my family and I express our sincere gratitude to the government and the people of South Africa.
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