Haiti Action Committee Denounces the Attempted Assassination of Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide Photo courtesy of HaitiInfoProj
See also: Video footage of Aristide supporters just prior to assassination attempt. Video courtesy of Wendy Joseph Lerisse
Yesterday, there was an assassination attempt against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president. President Aristide had been summoned to appear as a witness in a court case. While returning from court, his motorcade was attacked by armed Haitian police. A number of people were injured in the attack. Mass protests against the police broke out immediately.
In the wake of the electoral coup which installed Jovenal Moise, a right-wing protege of former president Michel Martelly, as Haiti’s new president, there has been a marked increase in repression directed against grassroots activists.
This attack on President Aristide signals a new stage of terror in Haiti. It harkens back to the days of the Duvalier dictatorships. Human rights activists and all supporters of democracy in Haiti need to condemn this attempted assassination and demand that those who committed this act be brought to justice.
Former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide greets thousands of supporters in Port-au-Prince 3-20-17 Photo courtesy of Getty Images
ASSASSINATION attempt against former president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide by Haitian National police “BIM” units
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and FANMI LAVALAS were in the streets today, protecting the former president from the murderous Brigade d’intervention Motorisee or (BIM) unit of the Haitian National Police, responsible for the 3/20/2017 assassination attempt on the former president’s life. Note that their uniforms say SWAT, just like the militarized police that kill Afrikans in the U.S. Photos are courtesy of the Haiti Information Project
Displaying their usual murderous arrogance, U.S./UN trained and supervised Haitian National Police Brigade d’intervention Motorisee (BIM) units attacked the motorcade and supporters of former president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a blatant but failed assassination attempt.
According to eyewitness accounts and reports on Radio Timoun, the former president’s car was fired on as he responded to a fake court summons that we now know was a trap.
Thankfully, hundreds of thousands of people had mobilized to accompany the much beloved former president to the courthouse, and were able to foil the assassination attempt.
The court’s “invitation” was for former President Aristide to appear as a witness in a case that he has nothing to do with. The case in question appears to be a frame up of Jean Anthony Nazaire, one of the defenders of the national palace who was gravely wounded during the failed U.S. instigated, December 17, 2001, coup d’etat against President Aristide, led by the recently arrested drug running/money laundering, and fraudulently elected ex-senator Guy Phillipe.
There was a great deal of concern that the 10:00 a.m. Monday morning, 3/20/2017 court appearance, though innocently perceived, was a continuance of the state sanctioned persecution of President Aristide and FANMI LAVALAS.
There was therefore, a great deal of concern for the former president’s safety. Many suspected a nefarious purpose behind these repeated excuses to constantly drag him through Haiti’s (in)justice system. As it turns out – again – the instincts and experience of the people were true. As the former president’s car arrived, police opened fire into a huge crowd.
Massive protests against police are gathering in Port au Prince, Haiti in response to the attack on former president Aristide’s motorcade.
Reports are that several supporters and security guards were gravely injured.
FANMI LAVALAS is calling for calm and to avoid police.
Now, more than ever, we must remain vigilante.
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Also watch Kevin Pina’s latest documentary “Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits”: http://bit.ly/eWFDLd
Few Haitians, scholars and historians have had the opportunity to hear and study the full speech of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on September 27, 1991. The speech was mired in controversy after Raymond Joseph, current Haitian ambassador to Washington D.C. but then Publisher of the right-wing newspaper Haiti Observateur, released a slanted translation. The translation was circulated by Ellen Cosgrove, the political officer of the U.S. Embassy in 1991, to the international press as proof that Aristide supported “pe lebrun” or necklacing with burning tires doused with gasoline. Other translators and scholars have criticized Joseph and the U.S. for that slant countering that Aristide’s reference to “tool” and “smell” were colorful Kreyol metaphors describing Haiti’s constitution. They say this only becomes clear when heard in the context of the entire speech.
The political context of the speech is equally important as it follows an attempt by the Duavlierists and Roger Lafontant to overthrow Aristide’s government in a coup only three months earlier. Aristide was caught between plots by Duvalierists aligned with Haiti’s wealthy elite and the violent reaction and impulses of the Haitian masses to decades of brutal repression known as dechoukaj.
The military coup that overthrew Aristide began on September 29, 1991, two days after he delivered this speech. The Joseph translation of the speech was handed out by Ellen Cosgrove to the press on October 7, 1991 during a visit by the Organization of American States (OAS) to Haiti.
This speech would be referred to many times, including in the present context, to justify keeping Aristide out of politics and the violent repression of Haiti’s poor masses represented by the Lavalas movement.
Kevin Pina and the Haiti Information Project (HIP) now offer for history the complete unedited speech in Kreyol as it was videotaped that day in Sept. 1991.