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.
Jean-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.
Continue reading In the News: Secrecy shrouds Canada’s role in Aristide’s ouster from Haiti
From the Black is Back Coalition Conference, January 23-24, 2010
Published Feb 11, 2010
WE, the members of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations, following our Conference on January 23rd and 24th, 2010, where we discussed at length the current situation in Haiti, demand:
- The removal of all foreign military troops in Haiti including those from the United States, Canada, Europe and the combined imperial forces of the United Nations.
- The return of President Jean Bertrand Aristide from forced exile in South Africa and the restoration of democracy in Haiti.
- Reparations be made to Haiti by France as repayment for the billions of dollars that Haiti was forced to pay France following the struggle for the abolition of slavery and the creation of the First African Republic in the Western Hemisphere on the 1st January 1804. We also demand that the United States makes reparations to Haiti for its brutal and unjust occupation of Haiti from 1915 – 1934 that culminated in the looting of the Haitian Treasury. We also demand that the United States provide reparations to Haiti for its constant interference in Haiti’s domestic politics that has undermined the economy. This should include the cancellation of debt that totals approximately $1.3 billion, much of which was accumulated during the U.S. backed Papa and Baby Doc eras.
- The release of all Africans from Haiti who are being imprisoned in Detention Centers throughout the world.
- The repudiation of the Wet Foot/Dry Foot Policy that unfairly discriminates against Africans from Haiti and the establishment of an open door policy that allows Africans from Haiti to enter the United States, and any other country, unfettered.
- An automatic removal of the $80 Temporary Protective Status (TPS) fee that is associated with the application for this status. This fee is an economic barrier to the 100,000+ Africans in Haiti who are eligible for this status.
- The immediate removal of trade, aide and loan restrictions by the World Bank and other international financial institutions that impose restrictions on growing food necessary for development. This includes restrictions on production on domestic rice and other agricultural products that Haiti can do for herself.
- The immediate removal of maritime restrictions that keep out neighboring countries of CARICOM and Latin America from providing assistance to Haiti