We Will Not Forget. THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF LAVALAS IN HAITI by Laura Flynn and Robert Roth, published by the Haiti Action Committee
(Includes lists of achievements by subject)
In February 29, 2004, the constitutional government of Haiti was overthrown, bringing Haiti’s ten-year experience with democracy to a brutal end. Orchestrated by the United States, France and Canada, the coup forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile and removed thousands of elected officials from office.
A year after the coup, the Haitian people continue to demand the restoration of democracy. On September 30, 2004, tens of thousands of Haitians took to the streets of Port-au-Prince. Braving police gunfire, threats of arrests and beatings, they marched while holding up their five fingers, signifying their determination that Aristide complete his five-year term.
On December 1, 2004, while then-Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Haiti to express support for the coup regime, Haitian police massacred dozens of prisoners in the National Penitentiary who had staged a protest over prison conditions. Despite this repression, more than 10,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Cap-Haitien on December 16, 2004, calling for the release of all political prisoners and the return of their elected president. On February 7, 2005, thousands more once again demonstrated in Port-au-Prince and other cities, raising the same demands.
Why are Haitians so insistent on Aristide’s return? Why have they been so resolute in their opposition to the coup and the subsequent U.S./U.N. occupation? Answering these questions requires a close look at what actually occurred during the years of democratic rule in Haiti.
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