Aristide goes to South Africa

Just got Aristide’s statement in the mail. He’s leaving Jamaica to go to South Africa. It’s actually a nice statement. Read it, read between the lines. And know that the battle for Haiti’s future isn’t over yet.

Statement by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
May 30, 2004
Kingston, Jamaica

As my family and I prepare to leave Jamaica for South Africa, I once again thank Prime Minister Patterson, the people of Jamaica and the entire Caribbean family for hosting us during this very special time. We extend this heartfelt appreciation on behalf of the Haitian refugees as well. For them too it’s a special time.

When have we ever seen a democratically elected president leave his rightful place against his will as it happened on February 29, 2004? It’s a special time. When did we ever see powerful hands set fire to a house then prevent the people inside from leaving? It’s a special time.

Since February 29, 2004, the level of suffering has dramatically increased in Haiti. While on one side thousands are being killed for supporting their elected government, on the other side, more than 2,000 people lost their lives because of the ecological disaster that we all recently witnessed. We stand in solidarity with the residents of Mapou, Font Verette, Jimani, and with all Haitians and Dominicans directly affected. We express our profound condolences to all those who lost a mother, father, husband, wife, child, relative or friend in this tragedy. Again, a special thanks to the Jamaican government and to all those who have answered the humanitarian call of these victims.

Claro, me siento en profunda communión con mis Hermanos y Hermanas de laRepública Dominicana. De nuevo, un abrazo fraternal a todas las víctimas mientras buscamos como seguir expresando esa solidaridad, dado que Haiti y la República Dominicana son dos alas del mismo pájaro.

As we prepare this return to the mother continent, we thank President Mbeki, the people of South Africa, the Member Nations of the Organization of African Union. After two visits to South Africa, it will now be our temporary home until we are back in Haiti. Of course the Haitian situation must be normalized; peace must be restored through democratic order. The solidarity shared by South Africa, CARICOM and the Organization of African Union to promote peace and democracy in Haiti crystallizes the world-wide African unity that will continue to flourish.

Wherever we are, always united, we will continue to promote peace. This, more than ever , is what the world needs today. We must all work for peace, not war. We must all work for a better life in a world where four-fifths of the population consumes only one-fifth of the world’s resources. And we must all work for the full respect of this democratic principle: one person one vote. Peace is linked to freedom. May the spirit of our 200 years of independence guide us in this special time.


Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.