Saturday, March 19, 2011

Haiti Celebrates President Jean Bertrand Aristide's Return

Haitians celebrate Aristide's return

2011-03-19 11:44

SANO DOMINGO, March 18 -- Hundreds of Haitians on Friday celebrated in the Haitian capital the return of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who had been in exile in South Africa since seven years ago.

According to information reaching here, when Aristide arrived in Toussaint Louverture airport, the people went there to welcome him, so the streets of Port-au-Prince were full of cars and people choiring joyful slogans to support him.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah) deployed a large number of security forces in the city in order to avoid violent actions.

Outside the airport, it was set a stage where Aristide gave a speech, where he talked about the grave poverty situation, the drug trafficking, the political instability and the social exclusion in Haiti -- problems which he said have to be solved for the country to recover its peace.

Aristide urged the Haitians to "end with the exile and coups," to be united for reconciliation, and thanked the Cuban government for the medical assistance to Haiti during the cholera epidemic last year.

Aristide arrived in Haiti, accompanied by his wife, his two daughters and U.S. actor Danny Glover.

Aristide was president for few months in 1991 after the downfall of Duvalier. He reclaimed presidency in 1994, and ruled from that year to 1996 and from 2001 to 2004.

He went to exile in South Africa on Feb. 29, 2004 due to a internal armed conflict and the international pressure.

His return came just two days before Sunday's presidential runoff in Haiti.


Women of Haiti welcome Aristide

The Guardian, Saturday 19 March 2011

Among the supporters welcoming President Aristide (Jean-Bertrand Aristide defies US by heading back to Haiti, 18 March) are thousands of women who claim his return to Haiti as a culmination of their determined seven-year struggle.

A statement by "women in tent cities, in sweatshops, market women and small vendors", members of Oganizasyon Fanm Vanyan (Brave Women's Organisation) quickly garnered international support. They protested: "Since 2004, women have been facing increasing hardship, terrible living conditions, verbal abuse, lack of shelter, and then a devastating earthquake and no assistance from the government ... They take away all our rights: to housing, to send our children to school, to work, to vote."

Expressing their hope for change, they describe having had "to manage for many years without Titid [Aristide], without Mildred [his wife and colleague] ... we need them now so that together we can look for solutions."

On 14 March Hillary Clinton's state department tried to stop the Aristides' return: "We encourage the South African government, as a committed partner to Haiti's stability, to urge former President Aristide to delay his return until after the elections." In endorsing George Bush's coup against Aristide, Clinton does a disservice to women and to pro-democracy people everywhere.

Even now we hear of last-minute attempts by the US to delay the plane bringing Aristide from South Africa. No further outside interference with the sovereign rights of the Haitian people, including their right to welcome home their chosen leader, should be allowed.

Andaiye, Red Thread, Guyana

Laura Flynn, Aristide Foundation for Democracy

Danny Glover, Actor and activist

Selma James and Nina López, Global Women's Strike UK

Pierre Labossiere and Robert Roth, Haiti Action Committee

John McDonnell MP

Margaret Prescod, Women of Color/GWS, US

Walter Riley, Attorney, Chair, Haiti Emergency Relief Fund

Jerry Acosta, national senior rep, Utility Workers Union of America

Niki Adams, Legal Action for Women, UK

Rev Francis Ackroyd, Minister of Vine United Reformed Church, UK

Pat Albright, Eric Gjertsen, Phoebe Jones, Mary Kalnya and Dean Kendall, GWS Philadelphia

Rev Sir John Alleyne, Church of England

Pat Alviso, US

Dr Therese Ballet-Lynn, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Juliana Barnet, Actively Building Community

Nancy Berlin, California Partnership

Diana Block, California Coalition for Women Prisoners

Lynda Brewer, May Hampton, Sabreen, Shabazz, Atlachinolli and Janet Tezcacoatl, DCFS Give Us Back Our Children

Rev Richard Byrd

Graham Campbell, Scotland

Eve Campbell

Andria Efthimiou-Mordaunt Msc

Sister Joan Faber (RSCJ)

Cinzia Filoni (Italy)

Roberto Flores PhD

Synthia Green, San Francisco

Andy Griggs

Shauna Gunderson, California

Pam Hall, Sidney Ross-Risden and Monica Showalter, GWS, Los Angeles

Peter Hallward, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University, London

Marti Harris

Tom Hayden, Director, Peace and JusticeCenter

Dr Gerald Horne, historian and author

Hank Jones, SF8/Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR)

Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Jim Lafferty, Executive Director National Lawyers Guild, LA Chapter

Maggie Leigh

Mhic McGlashan

Jeff Merrick, air force veteran

Benedict Mchau, Tanzania

Susan Mortell

Peter and Gail Mott, co-editors, Interconnect

Sameena Munir

Nell Myhand, Women of Color/GWS, San Francisco

Rev Paul Nicolson, Zacchaeus 2000

Kiilu Nyasha, host of Freedom is a Constant Struggle

Professor HI Pilikian

Virgilio Ponce, France

Willie & Mary Ratcliff, San Francisco BayView National Black Newspaper

Giorgio Riva, Payday men's network

Maggie Ronayne, Lecturer at the National Universityof Ireland, Galway

Rev Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, Church of England

David Soori

Dale Sorensen, Task Force on the Americas

Elizabeth Stravoravdis

Ruth Todasco, Every Mother is a Working Mother

Sister Judy Vaughan, CSJ, Alexandria House

Jane Welford

Sam Weinstein, Utility Workers Union of America

Tanja Winter, Activist San Diego

Shirley Yee, San Francisco

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, PhD College Lecturer & Human Rights Activist

No comments: