by Andy Blatchford, with files from Associated Press. Originally posted at The Prince George Citizen
MONTREAL – 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.
Continue reading In the News: Haitian lawyer accuses Montreal mayor Coderre of lying about Aristide ’04 ouster
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
by Anthony Fenton.
For Canada, Disappeared Haitian Leader is an ‘Unworthy Victim’
Two years ago today, one of Haiti’s most tireless and well-known political and human rights activists, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, was kidnapped. He has not been seen since and has presumably been killed; for now, he remains ‘disappeared,’ both literally and figuratively – his body has yet to surface, and the media and the self described ‘friends of Haiti’ (Canada, France, the U.S.) refuse to report on or press for an investigation into his abduction.
Chomsky and Herman defined the dynamic of ‘worthy and unworthy victims’ in their still-relevant, standard-bearing tome, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media:
A propaganda system will consistently portray people abused in enemy states as worthy victims, whereas those treated with equal or greater severity by its own government or clients will be unworthy.
Continue reading Canada’s view of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine
Imagine if the U.S. were to hold elections after the Republican Party had rounded up Senator John Kerry and other prominent Democrats and thrown them in jail without charges, while waging a campaign of violence and political assassinations in all “blue states.” To hold Haitian elections under present conditions would be comparable to this, according to one of the panelists at the launch of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee (THAC).
For the THAC launch event on August 4, prominent Haiti solidarity activists addressed a crowd of 80 people as Toronto joined the ranks of other Canadian cities (Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Halifax) that are home to active groups calling for an end to the repression being carried out in Haiti by an illegitimate Canadian-backed government.
Continue reading Murdering the poor: Canadian tax dollars at work