by Jacques Depelechin
In the name of solidarity with Humanity, with Haiti, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide must be allowed to return to Haiti and contribute to the process of healing people who continue to be tortured, humiliated, killed simply because they succeeded to free themselves from the tyranny of slavery.On January 14 2010, two days after the earthquake, former President Clinton published a letter in Newsweek magazine, spelling out the reasons why he felt a special attachment to Haiti and, therefore, why he was appealing to the international community to help Haiti deal with the earthquake and its consequences.
Most singularly, he silenced his own role in preparing the ground for the kidnapping of President Aristide in 2004, under President George Bush. For President Clinton and ALL of his ideological, political, financial allies, Jean Bertrand Aristide was perceived as a continuation of what was set in motion from 1791 through 1804. Here is how President Clinton understand why Haiti cannot fix itself:
Why is Haiti so special to me? Haiti is completely unique in our hemisphere because of its history and culture. There are other French Caribbean islands, but none of them have Haiti’s particular Creole influence. None of them feature Haiti’s distinctive mix of West African religious and cultural influences, the most visible of which is the persistence of the voodoo faith, which is practiced alongside Christianity. Unfortunately, ever since the first slave revolt by Haitians in 1791, the country has been beset by abuses caused from within and without. It has never been able to fulfill its potential as a nation.(emphasis added)
For Clinton, Jean Bertrand Aristide is seen in the same light as, say, Patrice Lumumba in the DRC, or Nelson Mandela (called a terrorist when he was not yet canonized). The hypocrisy of speaking of democracy while preventing Fanmi Lavalass, Jean Bertrand Aristide and others from participating is worse than criminal.
In 2004, the only head of state who was present at the bi-centenary of Haiti’s revolution was President Thabo Mbeki. Why has he become silent? Why are the South African and Brazilian governments so adamant in keeping Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a disguised imprisonment?
It is not too late for President Clinton to apologize to the people of Haiti in the same manner that he apologized to Rwanda for having failed to stop the genocide. It is not too late for the United Nations, the USA, France, Canada, South Africa and Brazil to acknowledge their errors in opposing democracy in Haiti.
Let President Jean-Bertrand Aristide return home, let him be free, let him exercise, fully his democratic rights as a Haitian citizen, without any restrictions.