Invite you to help launch Dan Whitman's new book


Friday, February 11, 2005, 5:30–8:00 p.m.

at the

DACOR Bacon House, 1801 F St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

RSVP | About the author | About the book | Excerpts | Table of Contents | Praise | Orders | Sponsors

Reasons for attending:


Natalie Hill at CCD, (202) 789–9771 or click here


François Jean at the Haiti Democracy Project, (202) 588–8700, or click here

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About the author

Whitman holds a Ph.D. in French (Brown University), and served for the
U.S. State Department in Denmark, Spain, South Africa, and Haiti. In
Washington he was Cultural Coordinator in the Africa Bureau, and
Program and Coordination Officer for the European Bureau. He is now
deputy director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Africa Bureau,
Department of State.

His forty articles range in topic from current affairs, African culture,
and profiles of Europe to cultural leaders on three continents. They
have appeared in Musicus, Parabola, The New York Times, The Foreign
Service Journal, The Strad,
and Research in African Literatures, among
other publications..

His books are Kaidara, a presentation and study of a thousand-year-old
African folk epic; Madrid Inside Out, a guide to residence for foreigners
in Spain; and One Step Up, a manual for buyers of stringed instruments.

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About the book

Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince in
1999–2001, Daniel Whitman believed that the three elections of 2000
could advance Haiti's democracy and its development from the bottom
rung as poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. He was wrong; they
did not. Local supremacists killed, torched and rushed to fraud while
foreigners forgave and even blessed the electoral debacles without posing
the resistance even of meaningful public comment.

However, seeds also germinated to make Haiti one day fit for its
inventive, humor-loving and too-often betrayed people. The effort was
kept alive largely by Haiti's gritty journalists, going into hiding when
necessary for their survival, but newly organized in October of 1999 into
a tenacious and daring national federation. The nationwide Haitian
Press Federation advanced against all odds, and held eight regional
meetings which changed political discourse forever in Haiti.

The country now enters a post-Aristide interlude. A Haiti Chronicle
offers recent context for understanding Haiti's current crisis, and

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Jean-Bertrand Aristide came; he liberated; he turned bad; he left for unknown horizons on February 29, 2004. He received extraordinary amounts of aid — much of it personal — from foreign governments. When those governments asked blandly and condescendingly that he behave better, he turned enfant terrible, offering them a vulnerable smile, waiting for their airplanes to leave his airport, then cracking down with ever greater severity on his own people. Often the victims of the killings, beatings, and destruction of property were taken totally at random . . .

As the rebels closed in on Port-au-Prince in February of 2004, the U.S. government unilaterally proclaimed Aristide as the “free and fairly elected president of Haiti,” brushing aside prior statements to the contrary by the U.N., OAS, EU, and the previous White House, NSC and State Department. In response, Haitians dusted off their ingenious word plays for the world to note, saying “Colin pa we’l” (Colin didn’t see it).

They proceeded to greet a group of two hundred or so “rebels” enthusiastically on their sweep from Cap-Haïtien to Port-au-Prince in February of 2004, seeing them as liberators all the way. As the Haitian witticism had it, retreating police were called on the carpet by their boss, but answered, “But Sir, we were weak and he outnumbered us!”

From the chapter, “The Crocodile of the Route de Delmas”

Jean Dominique made mincemeat of any interview guest he did not like. Recklessly perhaps, I took up the gauntlet and went on his program with him February 8, 2000.

Dominique. “Your congressmen keep coming here to visit. Why all this sudden interest in Haiti? Are they mere visits or are they . . . ?

Whitman. “We’re trying to help, not take the place over.”

Dominique. “Some suspect that you are trying to do just that: Take us over.”

Dominique tried leading me down the alley of the U.S. Government having a dog in the Haitian race coming up.

Whitman: “I vow we have neither a Satan nor a Saint in this race. We want only for Haitians to be able to express their preferences freely and without intimidation.”

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Table of Contents


How it Happened

Getting Ready

May-July, 1999

Jockeying: The Horse Falters

Getting There

Man Versus Pig


July to October, 1999

My First Issue



The Golden Age

October, 1999 to February, 2000



On the Road

The Crocodile of the Route de Delmas

Things Fall Apart

February to May, 2000

Back Tracking

Tin Ear

Nails in the Coffin

Rome Burning


May 21



Léon Manus

June, 2000

"Manus, Not Minus"

Léon Manus, June 21, 2000

The Lavalas Fist

April to November, 2000

"Hell Hath No Fury . . . "

The Hornet Dozes

Other Side of Obstinacy



December, 2000 to July, 2001

December, Bloody December

Breakfast and Tony Lake

The Eight Points

FRAPH Docs, Fusion International, and Two New Presidents

"Haïti Cherie"

Time of Troubles

"And So it Goes . . . "

Tableaux Vivants

What I Learned



What, Whither, Why Haiti?

On Haitian Intransigence

A Note onVodou


A Short Comment on Haitian Art

The Rich Creole Language

A Personalized Bibliography

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"This book by Daniel Whitman is gripping—on the one hand,
because he describes events with an undeniable passion for irrational
facts, experienced in a world of marvels; on the other hand because few
American writers have gone to the lengths he has in exploring the Haitian universe with a vision that is as clear, and as profoundly human."

President, Haitian Press Federation


"This is the first book to explain clearly what has happened in Haiti
over the last few years. The violence is chronicled, catalogued, and
dissected. The fear it spread over a largely defenseless population is
revealed. If you want to know what it was like to experience day by day
the unfolding of a major U.S. policy debacle, read this book, the only
one to convey the enormity of the disaster that overtook Haiti during
1999–2002. A splash of cold water especially for sectors in American
politics who have averted their gaze for so long. This book removes the
last excuse for them to do so."

James Morrell
Director, Haiti Democracy Project
Washington, D.C.


"If you want to understand contemporary Haiti, the real Haiti
beneath all the cant and propaganda, then the single best book to
read is Dan Whitman's fascinating A Haiti Chronicle."

Jeffrey Paine, author of Re-enchantment, Father India, and The
Poetry of Our World


"Dan Whitman's fascination for Haiti and its people has led to this
remarkabale account of events which, like others, have marked our
country's two hundred years of turbulent history. This is a testimony of
courage—courage to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth."

Marie Lourdes Elgirus
President, Fondation Femmes en Démocratie (Vital Voices, Haiti chapter)
Founder and Coordinator, Toussaint-King Center for Nonviolence in Haiti

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New Book Availability Notification from TRAFFORD PUBLISHING

Title: A Haiti Chronicle: The Undoing of a Latent Democracy, 1999–2001
ISBN: 1-4120-3399-3
by: Daniel Whitman
price: US$37.96 (US$)

Local rulers in Haiti crashed their own three elections of 2000, with
foreign governments' compliance. Meanwhile, a national press federation took
root and changed forever Haitian political reporting and dialogue.

To order this book, click here. This book is now available for purchase.


In USA & CANADA please call:
Call toll-free: 1-888-232-4444
Offices are open 9am - 5pm PST

In EUROPE please call:
+44 (1270) 252-889
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Order Department
Trafford Publishing

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Robert R. LaGamma

Executive Director

Council for a Community of Democracies

1801 F St. N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20006

phone (202) 789–9771 | fax (202) 789–9764

James Morrell

Executive director

Haiti Democracy Project

2303 17th St., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20009

phone (202) 588–8700 | fax 588–8711

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