Books on the Caribbean
Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New
York: The Viking Press, 1967.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Caribbean Doscourse (2004)
/ Barbara Harlow.
Resistance Literature (1987)
Josaphat B. Kubayanda.
The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime
Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.
Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry
David P. Geggus, ed.
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.
University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a
Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization
* * *
They Had to Crush Aristide
Haiti's elected leader was regarded as a threat by
France and the US
Aristide was re-elected president of Haiti in November 2000 with
more than 90% of the vote. He was elected by people who approved
his courageous dissolution, in 1995, of the armed forces that
had long terrorised Haiti and had overthrown his first
administration. He was elected by people who supported his
tentative efforts, made with virtually no resources or revenue,
to invest in education and health. He was elected by people who
shared his determination, in the face of crippling US
opposition, to improve the conditions of the most poorly paid
workers in the western hemisphere.
was forced from office on Sunday by people who have little in
common except their opposition to his progressive policies and
their refusal of the democratic process. With the enthusiastic
backing of Haiti's former colonial master, a leader elected with
overwhelming popular support has been driven from office by a
loose association of convicted human rights abusers, seditious
former army officers, and pro-American business leaders.
obvious that Aristide's expulsion offered Jacques Chirac a
long-awaited chance to restore relations with an American
administration he dared to oppose over the attack on Iraq. It's
even more obvious that the characterisation of Aristide as yet
another crazed idealist corrupted by absolute power sits
perfectly with the political vision championed by George Bush,
and that the Haitian leader's downfall should open the door to a
yet more ruthless exploitation of Latin American labour.
you've been reading the mainstream press over the past few
weeks, you'll know that this peculiar version of events has been
carefully prepared by repeated accusations that Aristide rigged
fraudulent elections in 2000; unleashed violent militias against
his political opponents; and brought Haiti's economy to the
point of collapse and its people to the brink of humanitarian
look a little harder at those elections. An exhaustive and
convincing report by the International Coalition of Independent
Observers concluded that "fair and peaceful elections were
held" in 2000, and by the standard of the presidential
elections held in the US that same year they were positively
then were they characterised as "flawed" by the
Organisation of American States (OAS)? It was because, after
Aristide's Lavalas party had won 16 out of 17 senate seats, the
OAS contested the methodology used to calculate the voting
percentages. Curiously, neither the US nor the OAS judged this
methodology problematic in the run-up to the elections.
in the wake of the Lavalas victories, it was suddenly important
enough to justify driving the country towards economic collapse.
Bill Clinton invoked the OAS accusation to justify the crippling
economic embargo against Haiti that persists to this day, and
which effectively blocks the payment of about $500m in
what about the gangs of Aristide supporters running riot in
Port-au-Prince? No doubt Aristide bears some responsibility for
the dozen reported deaths over the last 48 hours. But given that
his supporters have no army to protect them, and given that the
police force serving the entire country is just a tenth of the
force that patrols New York city, it's worth remembering that
this figure is a small fraction of the number killed by the
rebels in recent weeks.
of the reasons why Aristide has been consistently vilified in
the press is that the Reuters and AP wire services, on which
most coverage depends, rely on local media, which are all owned
by Aristide's opponents. Another, more important, reason for the
vilification is that Aristide never learned to pander
unreservedly to foreign commercial interests. He reluctantly
accepted a series of severe IMF structural adjustment plans, to
the dismay of the working poor, but he refused to acquiesce in
the indiscriminate privatisation of state resources, and stuck
to his guns over wages, education, and health.
happened in Haiti is not that a leader who was once reasonable
went mad with power; the truth is that a broadly consistent
Aristide was never quite prepared to abandon all his principles.
of all, he remained indelibly associated with what's left of a
genuine popular movement for political and economic empowerment.
For this reason alone, it was essential that he not only be
forced from office but utterly discredited in the eyes of his
people and the world. As Noam Chomsky has said, the "threat
of a good example" solicits measures of retaliation that
bear no relation to the strategic or economic importance of the
country in question. This is why the leaders of the world have
joined together to crush a democracy in the name of democracy.
March 2, 2004
Guardian / Peter
Hallward teaches French at King's College London and is the author of
Absolutely Postcolonial email@example.com
* * * *
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.
* * *
* * * *
Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a
collection of fourteen essays by scholars and
creative writers from Africa and the Americas.
Called one of two significant critical works on
Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late
1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of
Carter G. Woodson and
Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as
well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations
were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early
essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish
medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an
historical context for understanding 20th-century
creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone
writers, such as Cuban
Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist,
Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the
significance of Negritude in Latin America. This
collaborative text set the tone for later
conferences in which writers and scholars worked
together to promote, disseminate, and critique the
literature of Spanish-speaking people of African
descent. . . .
Cited by a
literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the
field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which
most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
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.
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
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
* * * *
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