Four days before the 26th anniversary of the first US instigated coup against Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristede, Pierre Laboissierre, Co-founder of the Berkeley-based Haiti Action Committee, describes the emergence of the Lavalas movement and of a priest of the people, Aristede, as their leader.
In this interview, Laboisierre takes the listener back into the history of Haiti’s revolution the success of which threatened all of the slave holding regimes including the United States and the icon of its own “revolution,” Pres. Thomas Jefferson, himself a slaveholder.
Laboissiere refers back to Haiti being forced by the colonial powers to reimburse the French plantation owners for the loss of “their” land; the occupation by the US military from 1915 to 1934; the rise of the US backed dictator, “Papa Doc” Duvalier and an army that was used to suppress the people, along with the special police, the Ton Ton Macoutes; but he leveled much of his criticism at the “socialist” Brazilian president, Lula da Silva, whose soldiers, as part of the UN’s occupying force, have massacred Haitian civilians, and the president of Ecuador whose army is currently providing training for the “new” Haitian army to replace the one that Aristede had disbanded in 1994.
He points out that despite the reversals, despite the behind the scenes domination by Washington of Haiti’s political system, the people of Haiti continue to resist and continue taking their protests to the streets.