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Allow Aristide to return to Haiti now

January 13, 2010

Editorial by Kevin Pina, Haiti Information Project

Ever since this march in Port au Prince on March 3, 2004, three days after what he called the “coup-napping” that stole President Jean Bertrand Aristide from the vast majority of Haitians who love and support him, the people have continued to demand his return. – Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Haiti is facing one of its most severe challenges after a large earthquake rocked the capital yesterday destroying most government buildings and killing possibly thousands. Now more than ever the people of Haiti need hope for the future and, as Haiti’s ambassador to Washington, Raymond Joseph, said yesterday on CNN, “We need unity to meet the challenge of this crisis.”

That unity must reach beyond the nasty and vindictive politics that have divided this tiny nation since the ouster of President Jean Bertrand Aristide in February 2004. Haiti needs all the help she can get to provide the population with hope so that they might rally to mobilize against endemic despair in this darkest hour.

The U.S. and the international community must stand aside and end their role in keeping Mr. Aristide out of Haiti where he is needed now more than ever. Most analysts agree that Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas remain wildly popular among the majority of the poor in Haiti, who are in all likelihood among the hardest hit in this crisis.

President Jean Bertrand Aristide
Haitian President Preval can no longer afford to continue his policies of exclusion and political patronage that have sought to dismember the Fanmi Lavalas party and keep Aristide away from Haiti. All Haitians are needed in this trying time and there could be no greater symbol of hope and unity in Haiti right now than allowing Mr. Aristide to return from exile in South Africa to participate fully in relief and recovery efforts.

The international community must step aside and allow all Haitians to mobilize their efforts to overcome this latest tragedy that is certain to test the courageous and resilient spirit of the Haitian people over the next days, weeks and months. Allowing Aristide to return to his homeland would provide the strongest signal yet that the international community and the Preval government are truly interested in what is best for the Haitian people in their hour of greatest need.

The Haiti Information Project (HIP) is a non-profit alternative news service providing coverage and analysis of breaking developments in Haiti and is the winner of the Censored 2008 Real News Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. To learn more, visit or email

11 thoughts on “Allow Aristide to return to Haiti now

  1. jay vitroli

    Dear Mr. & Mrs. Ratcliffe, thank u so much for mentioning the return of Aristide; i believe urs is the only site that mentions that. Wasn’t u.s./un responsible 4 kidnapping Haiti’s Prez.? Under clinton or bush and now ms. clinton is allegedly going to send help? I find ur site 2 b best informed. Didn’t preval turn against lavalas? What has happened to Haiti and Haitians in this quake is a horrific tragedy; they have already been thru so much. My heart goes out to the people of Haiti.

  2. carol harvey

    Mary, Shortly after I posted the video below and did a Facebook post about how returning Aristide would be the best thing for Haiti right now, I received your e-mail alert from the Bayview with Kevin Pina saying the same thing. It WOULD be the best thing for Haiti right now in this terrible beyond-tragic catastrophe, but the Powers That Be would probably not do it. Thanks for this e-mail.

    Carol Harvey

  3. Pertti Lindroos

    Help all we can, but if Haiti is to thrive it needs the US to leave it alone and return Aristide to the country

  4. P.C.

    Are you people serious? Aristide is complete parasitic garbage who has done nothing for Haiti but problems. Aristide and Prevale need to get the hell out and actually let someone who is competent, educated, and oh yes, not a CROOK!

  5. Marie

    P.C. is right, who the hell wants Aristide to be president unless they are just as uneducated, unsophisticated, and a crook like him and Prevale. Pretty much all of them did not help Haiti but leach off the poor, manipulate the masses, and pocket the taxes.

  6. John Holmstead

    Call the State Department at (202) 647-4000 and ask for the opinion line. Tell the State Department that all Haitians are needed to mobilize to overcome this tragedy. The US and the international community must stand aside and end their role in keeping President Jean Bertrand Aristide out of Haiti. He should be allowed to return from exile in South Africa and participate in recovery efforts.

  7. Pertti Lindroos

    Aristide was deposed by the same people that put Batista in power in Cuba. Let him return and give hope again to the Hatians.

  8. Ana

    “The same people who lied to you about Iraq lied to you about Aristide! If a 5th grader can figure out when they are being fed lies which were logically impossible to believe why do adults believe the lies promoted by Bush & Papa Bush and Corporations & MSM? To keep US businesses paying 35 cents per day to Haitians in sweat shops making investors filty rich.

    “Paul Farmer reports from Haiti

    Aristide’s elevation from slum priest to presidential candidate took place against a background of right-wing death squads and threatened military coups. He rose quickly in the eyes of Haitians, but his stock plummeted in the United States. The New York Times, which relies heavily on informants who can speak English or French, had few kind words for him. ‘He’s a cross between the Ayatollah and Fidel,’ one Haitian businessman was quoted as saying. ‘If it comes to a choice between the ultra-left and the ultra-right, I’m ready to form an alliance with the ultra-right.’ Haitians knew, however, that Aristide would win any democratic election, and on 16 December 1990, he got 67 per cent of the vote in a field of 12 candidates. No run-off was required.

    The United States might not have been able to prevent Aristide’s landslide victory, but there was plenty they could do to undermine him. The most effective method, adopted by the first Bush administration, was to fund both the opposition – their poor showing at the polls was no reason, it appears, to cut off aid to them – and the military. Declassified records now make it clear that the CIA and other US groups helped to create and fund a paramilitary group called FRAPH, which rose to prominence after a military coup that ousted Aristide in September 1991……..

    In October 1994, under Clinton, the US military intervened and restored Aristide to power, with a little over a year of his term left to run. Although authorised by the UN, the restoration was basically a US operation. Then, seven weeks after Aristide’s return, Republicans took control of the Congress, and influential Republicans have worked ever since to block aid to Haiti or burden it with preconditions.

    The aid coming through official channels was never very substantial: the US gave Haiti, per capita, one tenth of what it distributed in Kosovo. It is true that, as former US ambassadors and the Bush administration have recently claimed, hundreds of millions of dollars flowed into Haiti – but not to the elected government. A great deal of it went to the anti-Aristide opposition. A lot also went to pay for the UN occupation, and Halliburton support services. There was little effort to rebuild schools, the healthcare infrastructure, roads, ports, telecommunications or airports.”

    See “Atistide and The Endless Revolution” and stop believing the lies the Bush administration and their Media goons created.

  9. Marl Corgan

    Are some of you people relatives of Aristide or just plain crazy. Idiots don’t know they are are idiots so I can’t ask but just presume you are one. Authorities in the United States and Haiti say former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide expropriated hundreds of millions of dollars before he left the Caribbean nation in 2004. Unless you yourself are getting some of these millions of dollars of United States taxpayers money it is impossible for me to understand why you want this thief anywhere except in jail.

  10. Guy

    Aristide couldn't lead, but he could preach violence "gave them what they deserved” The tired smelled good, isn’t it? If he confessed what he was saying before, he should be allowed to return from exile and participate in recovery efforts.
    Haiti is a good country to live if they collaborate together. Our good jobs are in Haiti and our Doctor shouldn't work at the store or cleaning dishes, they should work in their careers in Haiti. When we are travel and work another country, they don't respect Haitian people even though they got a Doctor degree from Haiti. All Haitian people need to be conscientiousness and ask God for forgiveness. It's only God can provide a good leader for Haiti. I hope Haitian people will change and make Haiti reborn again.
    Thank you all…

  11. Guy

    Update from Guy…
    Aristide couldn't lead as a priest, but he could preach violence "give them what they deserve and the tired smells so good…“. If he confessed what he was saying before, he should be allowed to return from exile and participate in recovery efforts. However, if we want you to remember all those emaciated … is the knowledge that if we forget them, we too shall be forgotten. …If we focus on all the negative, all we'll notice is the pain around us.

    Haiti is a good country to live if they collaborated. Our organic foods are in Haiti and our Doctors shouldn't work at the store or cleaning dishes from other countries, they should work in their careers where they were born. When we are traveled and worked for another country, they didn't respect Haitian people even though they got a Doctor degree from Haiti. Before anything else, we need to be conscientiousness and ask God for forgiveness. It’s only God can modify and provide a good leader for Haiti. I hope that God will change the situation for us and make Haiti reborn again.

    Thank you all…


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