It is nearly two years since the joyous return of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, his wife and colleague Mildred Trouillot, and their two daughters, to their homeland of Haiti. Tens of thousands of people followed President Aristide’s car as it drove through the streets to his home, and then climbed over the walls to continue an emotional and heart-felt greeting for Haiti’s first democratically elected president. In his speech at the airport, President Aristide focused on education and the importance of inclusion for all Haitians in the process of restoring democracy.
Since his return, President Aristide has done exactly what he promised to do – reopen the University of the Aristide Foundation’s Medical School. On September 26, 2011 the Medical School once again opened its doors — this time to a new group of 126 future Haitian doctors. Seven years after the school’s forced closure by the U.S.-orchestrated coup in 2004, and four months after the return of President Aristide to Haiti, medical education resumed at UNIFA. Just this fall, UNIFA began accepting candidates for a new nursing school. And this is just the beginning of a determined initiative to improve health care for Haitians, particularly with the ravages of the cholera epidemic sweeping the country.
Yet President Aristide is again under attack. He has been summoned to appear in court this Wednesday, January 9th, as part of an investigation into Lafanmi Selavi, a home for street children that Aristide organized in 1986. Some former residents of the home now claim that Aristide owes them money, among other unfounded and fabricated charges. The prosecutor in this current investigation was a key member of the GNB, the right-wing network that helped direct the 2004 coup against Aristide’s democratically elected government.
This court summons is the latest twist in the continuing campaign to undermine both President Aristide and his political party, Fanmi Lavalas. Twenty-one pro-Lavalas activists and musicians have been jailed without charges since December 16th, after taking part in a demonstration commemorating the 22nd anniversary of Pres. Aristide’s election in 1990. This was followed by a court summons to seven Lavalas grassroots leaders and activists for speaking out against the arrest of the 21. And now the court summons President Aristide.
This is no surprise. The Haitian government of Michel Martelly came to power after a staged “election” in which Fanmi Lavalas, the most popular political party in Haiti, was banned from participation. Martelly has embraced Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the brutal former dictator, who lives freely in Haiti and has just been granted a diplomatic passport. Human rights organizations estimate that Duvalier and his father, Francois “Papa Doc”, ordered the deaths of 20,000 to 30,000 Haitian citizens during their 29-year rule. While Duvalier has been “cleared” by the Haitian government of human rights charges, Aristide and the Lavalas movement remain targeted.
Enough is enough. We call on the Haitian government to withdraw the summons against President Aristide and to free the 21 activists now jailed in Haiti. We also call on the United Nations occupying forces in Haiti and the U.S. State Department to cease their attacks against President Aristide and the Lavalas movement.
Demand an end to the attacks against President Aristide and the Lavalas movement!
Ministry of Justice and Public Security
Ministre de la Justice et de la Securité Publique
Jean Renel Sanon
18 avenue Charles Summer
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/Dear Minister
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Washington DC 20520
Sent by Haiti Action Committee
www.haitisolidarity.net and on FACEBOOK