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Five hundred people packed an Oakland church to welcome Dr. Maryse Narcisse, presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The event kicked off a week-long speaking tour of California that took her to Scripps College in Los Angeles County, the UCLA School of Public Health and the National Lawyers Guild annual dinner in San Francisco.
When Bill and Hillary Clinton married in 1975, a friend gave them a trip to Haiti for their honeymoon. The Washington Post reported: “Since that honeymoon vacation, the Caribbean island nation has held a life-long allure for the couple, a place they found at once desperate and enchanting, pulling at their emotions throughout his presidency and in her maiden year as secretary of state.”
During my last trip to Haiti this June with a delegation of students and human rights observers, we were exposed to the raw violence of the ongoing forced dispersal of the poor. On May 31, the Martelly regime intensified a process – in the name of “eminent domain” – of violently evicting the poor from their homes in downtown Port-au-Prince and then physically destroying their homes and businesses.
The Feb. 29, 2004, kidnapping and coup d’état began a brutal ongoing U.S.-U.N. occupation that aimed to suppress Haiti’s people’s movement and roll back the hard-won democratic gains since the ouster of Baby Doc Duvalier in 1986. Soldiers from other nations, including Ecuador and Brazil, later joined this occupation army, named MINUSTAH, which currently numbers 9,357 uniformed personnel.
In what is clearly a continuation of the Feb. 29, 2004, U.S. instigated coup d’etat against Haiti, former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been called before Martelly’s handpicked government prosecutor Lucmane Delile in what is widely believed to be an attempt by Martelly, the U.S. and France to wage a campaign of political persecution against Aristide, Fanmi Lavalas, and the democratic process and progress in Haiti.
"I was at his (President Aristide's) house, we heard a roar of shouts of joy, and then over the walls people started coming in, pouring into the courtyard of the house when they saw the car. People were accompanying the car as many as three miles from the airport to his house," relates Pierre Labossiere of the jubilant welcome that greeted the Aristides on their return to Haiti ending seven long years of exile for them and brutal repression of the people they had to leave behind. Pierre tells the story of the Haitian people and how their never-say-die spirit continues to inspire the world.