- He's lived in exile since US marines forcefully ousted
him at gunpoint on February 29, 2004. Efforts to help him return followed,
what he's wanted for eight years today, the anniversary of his abduction.
- On February 25, San Francisco's Bay View and other publications
ran attorney Walter Riley's article titled, "Prominent anti-apartheid
movement veterans call on South African government to assist Aristide in
returning to Haiti now," saying:
- Noted figures wrote "South African President Jacob
Zuma an open letter 'in hopes that (he'll) assist' former (President) Aristide
and his family (return) to Haiti 'as soon as possible.' " Among them
- -- Randall Robinson, Trans Africa Forum's founder;
- -- Jesse Jackson;
- -- Danny Glover;
- -- British MP John McDonnell;
- -- Dick Gregory;
- -- Jack Healey, Human Rights Action Center's founder
- -- Jack Heyman of San Francisco's International Longshore
and Warehouse Union, who refused to unload ships with South African goods
in the 1980s;
- -- Selma James, widow of famed author/historian/essayist
CLR James, one of his notable books titled, "The Black Jacobins"
about Haiti's liberating revolution;
- -- Massachusetts State Representative Byron Rushing;
- -- Women of Color/Global Women's Strike's Margaret Prescod;
- -- civil rights attorney Walter Riley, Haiti Emergency
Relief Fund (HERF) chairman and John George Democratic Club co-chair.
- Their letter in part read:
- "We write in the hopes that you can assist the Aristides
in making their transition as soon as possible. The situation in Haiti
remains dire, and the Aristides have expressed their willingness to help
Haiti rebuild, through education initiatives and in other desperately-needed
areas. Many people in Haiti have been greatly inspired by the news of the
issuance of (his) passport..."
- Delaying his return would be a major "disappointment
to a people that have already experienced a long list of tragedies, disasters,
and heartbreak....(We) support the efforts of the South African government
to assist President Aristide and his family in quickly returning home.
And we hope to see (him) in Haiti very soon."
- What Looked Imminent Is Now Delayed
- On February 27, New York Times writers Pooja Bhatia and
Damien Cave headlined, "Return of Aristide to Haiti Appears to Have
- Weeks after receiving his diplomatic passport, "unresolved
security and logistical concerns" delayed him. Aristide's lawyer,
Ira Kurzban, accused Washington and France of obstructing his efforts to
return. On February 18, Haiti's Foreign Minister, Marie Michelle Rey, said
she had no contact with her South African counterpart.
- On February 19, Kurzban wrote her, asking that:
- "appropriate dialogue (be initiated) with the government
of the Republic of South Africa to insure President Aristide's immediate
return to Haiti....I am inquiring as to what steps you have taken....to
resolve (his) return to Haiti. As you are well aware, President Aristide
is not simply another citizen returning to his country. You are well aware
of the circumstances in which he was forced to leave Haiti notwithstanding
his position as the democratically elected President at the time. His forced
trip to the Central African Republic and his current stay in South Africa
are well documented."
- "I know that certain countries have voiced concern
about (his) immediate return (meaning America). We know, however, those
concerns are without foundation and that the President's return would be
a joyous occasion for the vast majority of Haitians. Many Haitian citizens
have already gone to the airport in anticipation of his return."
- "The idea that Aristide can simply get on a plane
and come back to Haiti ignores the fact that....(t)here are security concerns
and powerful governments....have already expressed a desire to keep him
out of the country," especially ahead of the March 20 runoff elections.
- Meanwhile Haiti's Prime Minister, Jean Max Bellerive,
said Aristide "can go home whenever he wishes," ignoring the
need for pre-arranged security and America's long-time opposition. Revealing
his complicity with Washington, he added, "This country needs to be
rebuilt and that needs to be the priority right now," despite knowing
Aristide's inspirational presence would be a boon, not bane to reconstruction.
- Earlier on February 8, journalist Lucy Komisar told Radio
Metropole that former Teleco executive Jean Rene Duperval would testify
against Aristide on bogus corruption charges in return for immunity from
involvement. In a February 19 letter, Duperval called the charges spurious,
- "I formally deny these accusations as false and
say to the Haitian nation that I am not cooperating and did not make any
deal with anyone. I take this opportunity to reiterate my firm determination
to defend myself against charges brought against me."
- A previous article exposed Komisar as a liar, hired by
the Boulos family bankrolled pro-coup Haiti Democracy Project (HDP) to
vilify Aristide, accessed through the following link:
- In earlier articles, she was caught red-handed making
spurious charges, destroying her credibility as a legitimate journalist.
- As of now, Aristide awaits approval to go home, unable
to without proper arrangements and pre-arranged security, befitting a former
head of state. Political activist Patrick Elie, formerly part of the Aristide
and Preval governments, blamed Fanmi Lavalas for delay, saying the groundwork
hasn't been prepared for "somebody who is a living symbol," then
- "I won't sit back and let him become a martyr,"
meaning assuring his safety ahead of time is essential, given dark forces
opposed to his presence, the same ones responsible for exiling him in 2004.
They're not shy about using violence to get their way, making security
a top priority.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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