At a press conference last Tuesday ousted Haitian President Jean-Bernard Aristide described the fate of his supporters in Haiti as a “Black Holocaust” orchestrated by the United States and France. From Pretoria, South Africa, where he sought asylum, Aristide told reporters that a “huge Majority” of Haitians want him back and those who speak otherwise are “mental slaves.”
Since a political coup that forced him to flee the country in February of 2004, Aristide has repeatedly declared that he was kidnapped by the United States and France in an attempt to direct the politics of Haiti. Aristide says that he is still the legitimate president of the Caribbean country but has not stated whether or not he will enter himself as a candidate in the Presidential elections which have been promised to take place this fall in Haiti.
Although Aristide plans to return to Haiti “whenever conditions permit” he says that restoring constitutional order is another issue altogether. The Associated Press reported Aristide as saying that “there could be no free democratic elections in the troubled country until thousands of his Lavalas party members are freed from jail or allowed to return from exile.”
Aristide called for the immediate end to the “repression” occurring in Haiti that he says is responsible for the 10,000 deaths since his forced departure. “This should culminate in free, fair and democratic elections organised in an environment where the huge majority of Haitian people is neither excluded nor repressed as they have been up until today”.
When questioned about the term “Black Holocaust” uses to describe Haiti’s current conflicted state, Aristide charged the United States as well as France and the United Nations of racism in “suppressing the voices of majority of Haitians.”
“They elected their president and then the coup happened, and it is almost as if it were nothing. They are dying to have free and fair elections and it is almost as if it were nothing,” he said. “Racism is behind a black holocaust in Haiti. More than 10,000 of my supporters have been killed in the past year.”
Since his removal in 2004, the United Nations have remained present in Haiti in an attempt to quell political gang violence concentrated mainly in the capital, Port-au-Price. Faced with a series of jolting scandals and accusations, the U.N.’s mission in Haiti has gathered much negative publicity in the past few months.
In the wake of Haiti’s most recently successful political coups, many remain avid Aristide supporters and consider him the legitimate leader. “Aristide became Haiti’s first democratically elected president in December 1990. He was overthrown by a coup in 1991; restored to power by U.S. troops in 1994; and elected president again in 2000. Associated Press.