As a Haitian American, a student of political science and international affairs, a Georgetown University alum, and a US citizen, I was extremely offended by your most recent press release regarding the current situation in Haiti. Either you have been deceived about the situation by your political allies in Haiti or you chose ignorance. Either way, I believe it necessary that you as a US Congresswoman get your facts straight before you issue press releases. Your logic sounded equivalent to that of those grasping onto power in Haiti, afraid they will lose their opportunity to personally gain from their positions of power, attacking the opposition and journalists who speak out against them.

If I recall, the right to free speech and free assembly are cornerstones of democracy and yet in your argument to further democracy in Haiti, you attack those that try to organize peaceful demonstrations or those that speak their opinions on the radio.  Even if radio stations were owned by opposition leaders and even if their statements could be interpreted as “rumors” as you state, is that enough to justify murdering journalists, burning down radio station antennas to interrupt service or beating radio station owners
into submission? Is this what you advocate?

Unfortunately, in your press release, you not only align yourself with a corrupt politician and beneficiary of drug trafficking but go so far as to join him in twisting the fundamentals of democracy for his own benefit.

If you preach democracy, practice it. Not only in the US but in Haiti as well. Hold leaders responsible for their actions even if they were “the first democratically elected President”.  Your arguments fail to recall that Aristide was voted into power with only 5% of the population turning out for elections and that his Lavalas party swept the Parliament in elections that were deemed fraudulent by international observers. Is this who you chose to align yourself with? Look beyond color and class rhetoric for a moment and see the truth. Don’t be ashamed that the Congressional Black Caucus made a mistake by aligning themselves with Aristide-admit your mistake as so many Haitians now have, own up to it and try to resolve the problem with the best possible outcome for the people of Haiti in mind, not one person or one party within Haiti.

Finally, be careful how you attack individuals. You so quickly attacked Andy Apaid for owning businesses in Haiti falsely labeling them “sweat shops” and automatically damaging his credibility because he is successful in business and because he is American. Andy Apaid supplies 4,200 Haitian people with jobs. And, the Haitian constitution (Article 11) allows for Haitians such as Andy Apaid to obtain Haitian passports. I am weary of your personal attacks and the motives behind them. Can’t I as easily damage your credibility by asking the true nature of your ties with Aristide? Haven’t you received financial donations from Haiti’s “first democratically elected President”?

I urge you to rethink your position and your press release.

Haitian Americans will not forget.


Deena LaMarque