By IRA KURZBAN
firstname.lastname@example.org Feb 15, 2011 MIAMI HERALD
The Haitian government has issued a diplomatic passport to former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. This is long overdue; Aristide has wanted to return ever since he was forced into exile in 2004.
There is no justification for him not to; he is a Haitian citizen, charged with no crime; and the Haitian constitution explicitly prohibits compulsory political exile. Aristide, The N ew York Times noted during his first exile (1991-1994), “won Haiti’s first and only democratic election overwhelmingly,” followed by a “seven-month tenure [that] was marked by fewer human-rights violations and fewer boat people than any comparable period in modern Haitian history.”
He wants to return home, as a private citizen, and assist in Haiti’s relief effort. He has repeatedly said since 2004 that he wishes to return home to work in the field of education. His two Ph.D.s – one in psychology and the other in African languages – and his history, including seven years teaching in South Africa and the establishment of a medical school and university at the Aristide Foundation are testament to his long involvement in education.
The ball is now in South Africa’s court. Even though Aristide has every right to return under Haitian and international law, documents recently revealed by Wikileaks show that the U.S. and the Brazilian governments have pressured the South African government to keep Aristide there. The United States imposes its will, as the most powerful nation on Earth, to keep in distant exile the deposed president of one of the weakest. Former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, meanwhile, walks free, gives press conferences and makes ceremonial visits around Haiti.
The return of Duvalier – accompanied by former death squad leader Louis Jodel Chamblain as his security chief – to Haiti last month revealed the stark double standard in U.S.-Haitian relations, one that harkens back to a shameful era, when the U.S. government propped up the brutal Duvalier regimes for decades. The danger is not only from his impunity, but from the threat of a re-legitimization of Duvalierism. Haiti now stands on the verge of a precipice; an extreme right-wing political turn – one that openly favors the rich and despises the poor – lies below.
The U.S. government is not a neutral spectator to this situation – this is clear from Obama-administration statements more opposed to the idea of Aristide’s return than to Duvalier’s ongoing presence. Even worse, the United States has been pressuring the Haitian authorities into arbitrarily allowing kompa singer Michel Martelly (who is known to have supported Duvalier in the past, and who got the support of just 4.5 percent of registered voters) to proceed to an elections run-off against former first lady Mirlande Manigat (who received 6.4 percent support from registered voters).
Considering what is known of the right-wing proclivities of each, this could be akin to Haiti’s equivalent of a presidential race between an unpopular Republican and an unpopular Tea Party candidate, with no Democrat allowed to compete. Contrary to last week’s media reports, however, the electoral authorities have not yet made a final decision on the elections runoff. It has now emerged that only half of the Electoral Council members actually signed onto the statement announcing Martelly’s advancement; a majority is required.
Ultimately, it is the right of the Haitian people – a right enshrined in Haiti’s constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – to decide their own political destiny. New first-round elections, including Fanmi Lavalas and all eligible parties this time, are the only democratic way forward. Aristide should also be allowed to return to Haiti. No foreign power – whether the U.S., South Africa, or others – has the right to impede his return. Contrary to what the State Department appears to suggest, by reversing a grave violation of constitutional order when Aristide was ousted, democracy will be strengthened when he comes back, not weakened.
Ira Kurzban was the former general counsel for the government of the Republic of Haiti from 1991 to 2004. He is currently representing former President Aristide.
As usual, Kurzban is marching to a different drummer, one that is out of step with the reality of things.
Let’s stop peddling the garbage that Aristide was the first democratically elected president in Haiti’s history. There have been five others including, believe it or not, François Duvalier.
If Aristide wanted to return, he never applied for a passport. This has been done within the last couple of weeks, not before. He could have flown back to Haiti with his expired passport, or no passport at all, as Jean Claude Duvalier did.
His tenure of 7 months was marked by fewer human rights violations……. Mr. Kurzban, what planet are you from. There were countless human rights viuolations, the most flagrant being the use of Pere Lebrun, a gasoline soaked tire that is placed around a victim’s neck and ignioted with a wooden match. Dozens were given Pere Lebrun, adapted from South Africa, including presidential candidate Sylvio Claude, on September 29, 1991. The FBI state that their investigations show that Aristide ordered the assassination of Roger Lafontant, on the night of September 29, 1991.
I refer you to Ambassador Ernie Preeg’s 1984 monograph on the Caribbean Basin Initiative in which he said: “It can honestly be said that the Jean Claude Duvalier presidency is the longest period of violence free stability in the nation’s history…” This was written for the University of Miami. Look it up.
I was there from 1980 – 1986 and one could travel anywhere, day or night, in complete and total safety. There were tourists. There was investment, There was infrastructure. Literacy rates were increasing and child mortality rates were improving.
These are simple, irrefutable facts.
It is also an irrefutable fact that Democracy has seen a constant decline in all of these areas since the departure of Duvalier. There must be a lesson here??
Jodel Chamblain has nothing to do with the Duvalier security. This is coordinated by retired Colonel Christophe Dardompre who was illegally jailed during the Aristide/Preval presidencies.
Duvalier travels the country because he is welcomed wherever he goes. He was mobbed, by thousands, during his recent visit to Leogane.
Aristide may enjoy the same welcome, when he returns.
Let’s get off this Rich and Poor crap, Kurzban!! You don’t give a diddly for the poor, having taken something like $20,000,000 from Haiti in legal fees.
You are now focused upon 15% from the $6,100,000 frozen in Switzerland, a part of Simone Duvalier’s charity. This does not belong to Jean Claude and he suggested it be released to quake victims on January 15, 2010, three days after the disaster.
Duvalier’s attorney wrote you a letter, suggesting an agreement to release these funds for the benefit of Haiti’s poor and you have not even had the decency to reply. In fact, during a recent conversation with Ginger, a New York Times reporter, you denied receipt of this letter.
You are not only a bum, but you are a liar!
Lavalas should be included in the elections. It is not Duvalier, who has blocked their participation. Instead, it is Aristide’s partner, Rene Preval. There must bge a message here.
I agree – absolutely – with your comments about the election. Martelly, and Manigat, were at the bottom of the polls, the real polls and not the Preval/Boulos generated ones. Martelly and Manigat are being forced upon the Haitian people when, in fact, it was Jean Henry Ceant and Charles Baker who should be in the run-off.
Unfortunately, even when you are working on a valid point, your information is fatally flawed. You say half the CEP signed off on the election when in fact, only one person signed and this was the Chairman. One out of nine is not the absolute majority required by the Electoral Law.
You see, even I can sometimes agree with bums and liars….not often, but sometimes.
Give Jean Bertrand Aristide a break and stop embarrassing him with stupid propaganda.
15 thoughts on “In defense of Aristide-Added COMENTARY By Haitian-Truth”
Thank you Ira to helping us to get Aristide back to Haiti to pay for his crimes.He will be in good shape.
Welcome back Titid! The mountains of deaths under your management will welcome you and you will pay for what you have done with them.
There will be no place for you and Preval to live in Haiti.Your days are known. Believe me. we are not going to play with you both.No body, even the guys and lawyers around the world could save you.
You have used the Popular Justice System to kill and murder people, by the same way, we are going to welcome you as well.
Whenever you come, both of you will pay for your capital sins.Forget about your supporters, we are going to use them to serve you a very special shower.
The country will be freed from those devils for ever.
Welcome to pay back what you owed us. The list of your victims is so long, but, you and your accomplices will pay for each people you ordered to kill and assassinate under you governments.
I am not going to play with none of you and your associates at all.You will be treated as Adolf Hitler’s supporters.You have to pay us by your own blood.
Amen, Amen, and Amen…
Duvalier or his regime killed thousands of Haitians. That is undeniable. It is like denying the holocaust in face of overwhelming evidence. Duvalier is Haiti’s shameful, murderous past. Surely you cannot say Aristide killed more? Sure, Haiti had more security under Duvalier but so did Sadam Hussein’s Iraq.And Afghanistan under the Taliban. In any case, I am sure Aristide could win any free election against Duvalier or Baker.
As for literacy rates, those were probably in French yet most Haitians know no French. It was only after Duvalier that Creole was recognized. Surely total literacy will not be achieved until either all Haitians know French or Creole attains the leading position corresponding to it’s number of speakers. The latter is easier done than the former.
No, Haiti should focus on it’s future but that will include Lavalas. Sorry, you cannot keep down 90 per cent of the people for ever, not that all those are for Aristide but most of the poor are. There must be a deal a la Lula. More dignity and money for the wretched poor, and then the filthy rich can get even richer. A win win solution but this does not mean the sweatshop job economy envisioned by Clinton and his ilk.
It is completely clear that there were more murders under Aristide, and the amount of money stolen far surpasses anything Duvalier did. Duvalier’s former wife is responsible for more theft than Jean Claude.
I fail to see how clear it is. Just look at the Wikipedia article on Papa Doc for starters. It mentions that up to 30,000 Haitians were killed by his regime. As for Baby Doc, the Wikipedia article says this:
After assuming power, he introduced cosmetic changes to his father’s regime and delegated much authority to his advisors, though thousands of Haitians were killed or tortured, and hundreds of thousands fled the country. He maintained a notoriously lavish lifestyle (including a state-sponsored US$3 million wedding in 1980), and made millions from involvement in the drug trade and from selling body parts from dead Haitians while poverty among his people remained the most widespread for any country in the Americas.
The Wikipedia on Aristide article mentions criticism about Aristide but does not mention that he or his kind murdered thousands of Haitians. Are the Wikipedia contributors wrong or is Elizar D? How is it clear that there were more murders under Aristide? I have not found a single source that says that Aristide killed more than the Duvaliers. Some people claim that only about 100,000 people died in the Holocaust despite overwhelming evidence. Perhaps this is the case for Duvalierists who deny the murder of thousands of their fellow countrymen. In a free election, would the Haitians vote for Aristide or Duvalier. Why? We all know the answer.
So Wikipedia is the all truth? That is pathetic. Anyone that has half a bit of experience in such things knows that anyone can add and delete information on those pages. Wikipedia itself states that it is not totally accurately vetted information in it’s disclaimer, but you likely never read that far.
I am not interested in getting into a “My team is better than your team” slugging match. They both committed crimes, and they BOTH want to see Haiti improve. They are not the problem- we are. there should be no sides.
One must separate Francois Duvalier from Jean Claude.
The Jean Claude Duvalier period was one of peace, law and order.
In the 8 months of Aristide’s first presidency, there were 27 recorded cases of necklacing. I don’t recall one during Duvalier.
Literacy is literacy. Doesn’t matter if it is Urdu, Chinois, French or Creole.
Unless people are willing to bury the hatchet – and not in each other’s heads – there will be no future and the future is what counts.
It should be pointed out that the reference to Wikipedia needs some light shed on it, because it is taken out of the context of the big picture.
Aristide is alive, therefore capable of managing, editing, and correcting his Wikipedia page.
Papa Doc is dead, and therefore unable to manage, edit, or correct his Wikipedia page.
Jean Claude may very well be unaware that such a thing even exists.
Regardless of the details, Wikipedia is a totally useless reference in this matter.
I would like to see if either Elizar D or Jean Paul have anything to say about this.
Also, Jean Paul stated that 30,000 is the quoted amount in Wikipedia, then goes on to say 100,000.
Why do you immediately contradict the very reference material (wikipedia) that you are using as the basis of your attacks.
Perhaps you should slow down and think things through a bit more.
I am not sure who the people would vote for, between Aristide and Duvalier.
Having said that, I was in Leogane when Duvalier made an unexpected visit. He was mobbed by very happy people who just wanted to touch him. I was in Leogane, when the popular candidates visited and none, I repeat none, received the welcome Duvalier received.
Duvalier had no security with him.
I have never seen Aristide travel anywhere without heavy, heavy American security because he did not trust his fellow Haitians.
Perhaps there is some sort of message here for anyone with an open mind.
We were expecting Aristide’s return, but he has made Lavalas supporters look like fools when he promised a return this week and then remained in South Africa.
Perhaps he is afraid of the reality that exists. He and Preval are guilty of many crimes. If Aristide has the guts to come back, he may find his welcome anything but welcoming. Some nuts have filed invalid complaints against Duvalier. Some more serious nuts might file real and serious complaints against Aristide/Preval before long.
Time will tell as we wait and see.
Sorry, I accidentally put in a negative. Instead of
It is equally undeniable that Aristide’s supporters did not kill pro-Duvalierists
It is equally undeniable that Aristide’s supporters did kill pro-Duvalierists
I hope this change is made, after all, it IS true.
Please put in my posting prior to the one I posted at 3:39. That posting was to correct my little mistake. If you don’t, my last posting is out of context and can be taken as an attack on Aristide which was not my intention.
Your requested posting does not exist on this end. I suggest a second attempt. Perhaps it did not go through.
In reference to Franc’s posting of February 16, 2011 at 9:12, he mentioned that I quoted the 30,000 figure of Haitians killed in the article on Papa Doc and he was apparently confused by the 100,000 figure. I stated
“Some people claim that only about 100,000 people died in the Holocaust despite overwhelming evidence.”.
This figure does NOT refer to Papa or Baby Doc. It refers to the Holocaust wrought by Nazi Germany against Jews and other minorities such as the Gypsies. There have been other events since World War II that have been referred to as “holocausts”, namely the 1994 Rwanda Holocaust and some people even refer to the mass killings carried out by the Khmer Rouge as the “Cambodian Holocaut”. In the media and historical essays, the holocaust carried out by the Nazis is of such scope and horror that it is referred to, without adjectives, as “The Holocaust”. I find it amazing that I have to actually explain this.
I make use of the term Holocaust as there are some crackpots who claim that “only” 100,000 people died in the Holocaust despite overwhelming documentary evidence in addition to eyewitnesses, some of whom are still living. For me, denying that the Duvaliers killed thousands and thousands of Haitians is akin to denying the Holocaust (the one wrought by the Nazis in case someone needs a reference).
Wikipedia might have its faults but they are fairly strict when it comes to controversial figures and the Duvaliers and Aristide are certainly controversial. The source cited in the Wikipedia article, is the Library of Congress Studies, December 1989 and would seem to be an impeccable source. There is also Peter Hallward’s well-documented book but that would be non-kosher to pro-Duvalierist types. It is a well-attested fact that both Duvsliers killed many thousands. That is too well-documented to be denied. It is equally undeniable that Aristide’s supporters did kill pro-Duvalierists. Nonetheless, there is no source that I am aware of that will affirm that Aristide or his supporters killed more Haitians than the Duvalier régime and their supporters. Yes, there were brutes that killed people with Pere Labrune (necklace) killings but, while 27 or 50 necklace murders are too many, it is far lower than is the case for Duvalierists who killed far more Haitians. Nowadays, it is useless to argue about who killed how many and how often. Eventually, there is going to have to be a deal between both left and right in Haiti.
The ultimate solution for Haiti is a South African solution with a touch of Lula da Silva. That is, there would be majority rule (the Haitian poor would have the main say since they are the overwhelming majority) but the minority (the whites, mulattoes and rich black Haitiian elite) could be left alone once they at least join the 20th century. They would be needed to create wealth and run businesses. The emphasis should be put on agriculture, not sweatshops for Andy Apaid and his ilk.
Yes, it is time to bury the hatchet but it is also time for there to be real democracy with every party able to participate. If Duvalier was able to show up in Léogâne with happy crowds, I am sure they would be happier with Aristide. This could be proven or disproven by having a look at the election results since 1990 and the number of participants.
Aristide never once traveled in Haiti as President without the company of extremely heavily armed protective forces with him. Duvalier went with his wife. No security forces. Just recently, he did this again with amazing turnout. Will Aristide? No, he keeps canceling his arrival dates and weaseling to get his diplomatic passport so he can enjoy immunity. Duvalier arrived on an expired Haitian passport.
Both are to face courts sometime. Which one has the most integrity with his approach to facing the charges? Who is there now, with no Diplomatic Immunity?
I also notice President Obama traveling with heavy secret service and security around him…what is that suppose to mean?
It means that people want to kill him, or that there is a fear that this will occur. That should be obvious.
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