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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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President Aristide disbanded the military when he returned to office and has a police force of only 5,000 for

a country of 8 million people. The United States aborted its efforts to support and train the new police force

and currently has a ban on selling guns and equipment to Haiti.

 

 

Books on the Caribbean

Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.

C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938)

Edourad Gissant. Caribbean Doscourse (2004)  /  Barbara Harlow. Resistance Literature (1987)

Josaphat B. Kubayanda. The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire (1990)

 

Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.  Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001)

David P. Geggus, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.  University of South Carolina Press, 2001.

Jean-Bertand Aristide. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters 

Condemns Violence in Haiti

Calls for State Department to Support 

the Democratically-Elected Government of Haiti

& Denounce Andre Apaid

 

February 11, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- Today, at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called for the State Department to support the democratically-elected government of Haiti and denounce Andre Apaid. She made the following statement:

Yesterday, I returned from a trip to Haiti, where I observed the escalation of political violence that occurred over the weekend. This was my second trip to Haiti so far this year. I am deeply concerned about the growing violence organized by the so-called opposition and what now appears to be gangs in the northern part of the country being supported in their violent activities by this so-called opposition.

Unfortunately, the opposition, led by Andre Apaid, under the banner of the Group of 184, is not simply a peaceful group trying to correct the problems of the government. Andre Apaid is a Duvalier-supporter, who allegedly holds an American passport and obtained permanent resident status in Haiti through deceptive means. Andre Apaid is ferociously adamant about forcing Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first democratically-elected President in the history of Haiti, out of office.

Andre Apaid is the owner of fifteen factories in Haiti. He has been accused of tax evasion, operating sweatshops and being a President Aristide-hater. The so-called peaceful protests led by Andre Apaid and his Group of 184 are responsible for defying the rule of law as it relates to parade routes, notification of protest actions, and other laws that are normally respected in any democratic society. The protests he organizes have become increasingly violent. Police officers are confronted, property is damaged, and roads are blocked. It is my belief that Andre Apaid is attempting to instigate a bloodbath in Haiti and then blame the government for the resulting disaster in the belief that the United States will aid the so-called protestors against President Aristide and his government.

Andre Apaid refuses to negotiate despite the fact that the State Department, the Organization of American States and many other organizations are now supporting a proposal put forth by CARICOM. Andre Apaid continues to use inflammatory language, denounce President Aristide, refuse to negotiate and demand that President

Aristide leave his democratically-elected presidency. His so- called opposition group has accused President Aristide of everything from corruption and drug trafficking to support for paramilitary activity. When asked for documentation, they have not been able to produce anything more than rumors, innuendos and allegations.

President Aristide disbanded the military when he returned to office and has a police force of only 5,000 for a country of 8 million people. The United States aborted its efforts to support and train the new police force and currently has a ban on selling guns and equipment to Haiti. This policy effectively denies Haitian law enforcement officers the essential equipment that they so desperately need to maintain order and enforce the rule of law.

President Aristide has given the United States special authority to assist with drug interdiction efforts by allowing the United States to interdict drugs in Haitian waters. The government of Haiti does not have the resources needed to wage a tough and consistent war against drugs, and the President of Haiti is begging the United States for assistance to eliminate drug trafficking.

President Aristide is pursuing a progressive economic agenda in Haiti. Under his leadership, the Haitian government has made major investments in agriculture, public transportation and infrastructure. On February 7, 2003, the government doubled the minimum wage from 36 to 70 gourdes per day, despite strong opposition from the business community. There have also been a number of reforms to prohibit trafficking in persons and protect the estimated 400,000 children from rural villages who work as domestic servants in households in the cities.

President Aristide has also made health care and education national priorities. More schools were built in Haiti between 1994 and 2000 than between 1804 and 1994. The government expanded school lunch and school bus programs and provides a 70% subsidy for schoolbooks and uniforms. The maternity wards of eight public hospitals have been renovated, and hundreds of Haitians are being trained as physicians. Twenty new HIV testing centers will open around the country during the next two years. All of this is being accomplished despite a continuing embargo by the IMF and the World Bank.

The so-called opposition is supported by many of the same people who were content with the brutal dictators of Haiti's past. These are the same people who enriched themselves on the backs of the poor in Haiti for so many years with the support of the United States government. These people do not want a strong president like Jean- Bertrand Aristide, who will force them to pay their taxes and provide decent wages to their workers.

Last Thursday, armed gangs took control of the Gonaives police station during a five-hour gunfight and set the mayor's house on fire. Since then, these gangs have set fire to the police stations of Gonaives, St. Marc and Trou du Nord. In St. Marc, they sealed off the city by dragging tires, debris and logs across the main roads and setting them on fire. The armed gangs have seized nearly a dozen towns in the past week, and at least 40 people have been killed.

Unfortunately, these gangs appear to be obtaining support from the so-called opposition in the hope that their attacks will help to fuel other attacks in other parts of the country and eventually a coup d'etat in Port-au Prince. This is clearly an attempt at a power- grab. Unfortunately, the same forces that fashion themselves as the opposition also have control over the broadcast media in Haiti. They have used the power of the press to discredit President Aristide and disseminate false information to the international press about the situation in Haiti.

The nations of CARICOM are trying to assist the people of Haiti to end the violence and resolve this crisis peacefully. The CARICOM proposal includes an outright rejection of a coup d'etat in any form and requires that any change in Haiti must be done in accordance with the Constitution of Haiti. CARICOM calls upon the opposition in Haiti to ensure representation on the Provisional Electoral Council so that the Council can begin to prepare for the holding of elections. 

CARICOM also calls upon the international community to provide economic support to Haiti. Economic assistance, including assistance from the United States, is essential to alleviate the suffering of the people of Haiti and build a foundation for political stability and economic growth.

The State Department must denounce Andre Apaid and the Group of 184 and must answer this question: How can the State Department remain silent while Andre Apaid, who allegedly holds an American passport, creates so much dissension, disruption and violence in this small, impoverished country?

The State Department must use its influence to help stabilize Haiti, provide assistance for health, education and infrastructure development, and discourage Haitians from building boats and rafts to get to American shores.

Finally, the international press must discontinue the practice of repeating rumors and innuendos and begin to spend quality time learning the truth and writing the truth about what is really going on in Haiti.

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters is Co-Chair of the House Democratic Steering Committee, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Committee on Financial Services. Following the 2000 U.S. presidential election fiasco, Congresswoman Waters was named Chair of the Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Electoral Reform. 

Prior to being elected to the United States Congress in 1990, Congresswoman Waters served in the California State Assembly for 14 years, where she rose to the powerful post of Democratic Caucus Chair. She has been a key leader in the presidential races of Edward Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, and Bill Clinton. 

She was a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in the United States, was a key figure in Congressional efforts to restore democracy to Haiti in 1994, and continues to be a no-holds barred voice for justice and democracy at home and abroad. 

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The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World 

Reviewed by Mimi Sheller

Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804

A Brief History with Documents

By Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies. As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 14 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: Maxine Waters Condemns Violence in Haiti    Maxine Waters to Colin Powell       Maxine Waters on Haiti  Delegation to Aristide  Amnesty International on Haiti