Originally: The Planning of Another Haitian Revolution


An obscure conference last weekend at a Catholic institution in Washington, D.C., could spell trouble for Haiti in this election year. For the organizers aimed at “mobilizing” the Haitian masses against the interim government and the Minustah, as the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti is called. The final goal is the “physical return of President Aristide” who, they contend, was “kidnapped” on February 29 of last year by America in collusion with France and Canada.

Trinity College, part of Catholic University of America, in the Northeast section of the capital, was the venue for the February 4-6 “Bwa Kayiman Conference,” a hate-fest that intended to reenact the uprising of black slaves in Haiti on August 14, 1791 that took place at a Catholic High School. At “Bwa Kayiman,” or “Crocodile Woods” in the Creole language, a voodoo ceremony on the evening of that day was presided by Boukman, the voodoo priest of Jamaican ancestry, who is credited with infusing his followers with the courage to begin the guerrilla war that culminated 13 years later with the independence of the first Black Republic in the world. The French colonialists were decimated in a violent struggle that laid to waste the most flourishing colony of Napoleonic France.

At Trinity College, where Father Edmond Aristil offered “blessing prayers” and director of foreign affairs at Trinity, Robert Maguire, welcomed the approximately 60 conferees, there was no huge black pig to sacrifice, as in the original “Bwa Kayiman.” But at the conclusion Sunday afternoon of the ominous event, there was the “symbolic red wine,” as the organizers themselves wrote, to be tasted by all who pledge allegiance to fight for the return of “constitutional government” in Haiti, i.e. Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Former Deputy (“congressman”) Bolivar Ramilus of Cote de Fer in southeast Haiti, played the part of Boukman as he mumbled incantations while the “faithful” moved about in a large circle with a vessel in the middle filled with a brown-like liquid simulating the blood that sealed the first “solidarity conference” more that 200 years ago.

During the two-day conference, several left-wing experts expounded on various themes of the struggle. There were sessions on the “impact of the coup d’etat on the Haitian peasants and the unions led by Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine.” Mr. Pierre-Antoine is an employee of the Lavalas regime who now demonstrates alone on Wednesdays in front of the Haitian embassy in Washington. Mr. Aristide’s lawyer, Ira Kurzban, and a representative of Church World Services, Joan Maruskin, dealt with American immigration policy toward Haitian refugees. An immigration lawyer and so-called human rights investigator, Tom Griffin, elaborated on his recent, biased report on human rights conditions in Haiti. The last Communication minister of the Aristide government, Mario Dupuy, weighed in as the Joseph Goebels of Hitler, who was ingenuous about telling a lie, repeating it so often it became the truth.

Many of the lies repeated at the conference were to be found in a so-called “Declaration of Porto Alegre on Haiti,” named after the Brazilian city where it was issued at the “World Social Forum” held last January 26-31. The declaration, passed out to all comers, asserts, among other things, that in 1990 a “large grass-roots movement hoisted Aristide to the presidency with the support of 80% of poor Haitians.” (Until now, the ballyhooed 67% victory could never be confirmed, because the popular candidate was acclaimed president by the masses on the streets the day after the election, before all of the votes were counted.) Other big lies: “On February 29, 2004, American troops kidnapped President Aristide and exiled him”; “thousands of people have been killed during political demonstrations organized by workers and grass-roots organizations,” and “at least 700 political prisoners are in Haitian jails.” And so on.

Based on these lies and more, the “Porto Alegre” document calls for America to “cease its stranglehold of Latin America and the Caribbean” and declares the “solidarity” of the signers “with the governments and people of Venezuela and Cuba.”

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” goes the saying. No one should dismiss the determination of the modern “Bwa Kayiman revolutionaries,” who also pledge to carry out the struggle through the news media. Moreover, they intend to create mayhem in Haiti during this election year. Interestingly, Catholic priest Gerard Jean-Juste, who recently visited Mr. Aristide in South Africa, announced that Lavalas will not participate in upcoming elections to give Haiti a democratic government. Understandably so, because the charter of the Lavalas Family party, published in 2000, states that the “permanent national” head of the party is Jean-Bertrand Aristide and he “cannot be replaced unless he dies or resigns.”

That complicates matters for several former Lavalas heavyweights who say they intend to participate in the elections this year. In that case three or four offshoots of Lavalas will spring up soon in attempts to corral the vote of the majority of poor Haitians who considered Mr. Aristide their messiah.

Will the new Lavalas leaders become the targets of the “revolutionaries of Bwa Kayiman,” who oddly enough are being cuddled by certain luminaries in America? And is the Catholic Church again providing the Aristide supporters the springboard, as in 1990, to assault power – by violence this time?

It is said that those who don’t learn from past mistakes are bound to repeat them.