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17570: San Fran Bay View: Haiti needs you now + Douglas Poem (fwd)
From: JD Lemieux <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Haiti needs you now
Tensions rise as Bicentennial approaches
On the eve of Haiti’s bicentennial anniversary, the Haiti
Action Committee urges the people and the governments of
the U.S. and France to take a firm stand in support of
constitutional democracy in Haiti.
In San Francisco, supporters of a free and democratic Haiti
are urged to join a demonstration on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at
the French Consulate, 540 Bush St., from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.,
to demand that France repay its $21.7 billion debt to the
people of Haiti. France took this money from Haiti as
“reparations” for slave owners after Haiti freed itself
from French rule.
The world’s first Black republic, Haiti was founded in 1804
when an army of slaves overthrew Napoleon’s best troops.
Ever since, for the ensuing 200 years, these world powers,
France and the U.S., have continually interfered with the
freedom of Haitians to control their country.
In Haiti, the past three weeks have seen a series of
anti-government demonstrations calling for the violent
overthrow of the elected government. Some of the
demonstrations have been led by escaped prisoners convicted
of crimes against humanity, by Duvalier supporters and by
former despised and brutal military and coup leaders.
Anti-government protestors have thrown rocks, swung clubs,
attacked government buildings and shot bullets into
pro-government crowds, killing and wounding several people
in drive-by shootings. They have also threatened
journalists and sacked a radio station.
Haitians supporting the constitutional government have
taken to the streets by the tens of thousands throughout
the country to protect their hard-won but still nascent
democracy. They reject any non-electoral solution to the
The overthrow of an elected government is unacceptable
under democratic principles, including the charters of the
Organization of American States and the United Nations. Yet
the U.S. and France have covertly and overtly supported –
and funded with millions of dollars - the very forces now
calling for the destruction of Haiti’s democracy.
The U.S. and French governments should immediately and
forcefully reiterate their support for Haiti’s Constitution
and elected officials. Both should make it absolutely clear
that their governments will not support any group
advocating violent or anti-constitutional change in Haiti.
They should ensure that no U.S. or French funds support any
group engaging in or supporting violent activities. They
should investigate and prosecute any activities on U.S. and
French soil that support unconstitutional change in Haiti.
As the Haitian people prepare to celebrate the 200th
anniversary of their victory over slavery, the U.S. should
embark on a new partnership with Haiti based on respect for
the sovereignty of our oldest neighbor nation. It must be
guided by the fundamental principles of democracy. The
Haitian people came out in record numbers to elect the
current government of Haiti, and that vote must be
Take action today!
l Call Secretary of State Colin Powell, (202) 647-4000, and
the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince,
011-509-222-0200/0354/0269/0327, or fax 011-509-223-1641,
and urge support for the democratically elected government
of Haiti and legislative elections mandated by Haiti’s
l Call the French consulate general in San Francisco, (415)
397-4330, and Ambassador Jean-David Levitte at the French
embassy in D.C., (202) 944-6000, fax (202) 944-6166, and
urge them to respect Haiti’s bicentennial celebration and
support the Campaign for Restitution. People around the
world have demanded that France repay Haiti $21.7 billion.
l Contact your representatives and senators in Congress,
(202) 224-3121 or www.congress.org, and ask them to issue a
statement supporting democracy in Haiti and intervene to
end the development assistance embargo against the Haitian
l Urge your Congress members to support legislation by
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, HR 3386, “New Partnership for
Haiti,” and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, HR 1108, “Access
to Capital for Haiti’s Development Act.”
l If you belong to an organization or a faith community,
issue your own statement supporting Haiti’s democracy and
honoring the Haitian Bicentennial.
l Write a letter to the editor of your local daily
newspaper about the situation.
l Plan a trip to Haiti to demonstrate your solidarity with
the Haitian people and to celebrate the Bicentennial.
For more information and news, visit
Inspired by the high price paid by Haiti’s revolutionaries
for the sake of freedom, Frederick Douglass, who was
appointed consul general to Haiti in 1889 and lived there
for two years, left a lasting appreciation of his love and
respect for Haiti in his poem “Until She Spoke.”
Until She Spoke
Until she spoke, no Christian nation had abolished Negro
Until she spoke, no Christian nation had given to the world
an organized effort to abolish slavery.
Until she spoke, the slave ship, followed by hungry sharks,
greedy to devour the dead and dying slaves flung overboard
to feed them, ploughed in peace the South Atlantic,
painting the sea with the Negro’s blood.
Until she spoke, the slave trade was sanctioned by all the
Christian nations of the world, and our land of liberty and
Men made fortunes by this infernal traffic, and were
esteemed as good Christians, and the standing types and
representations of the Savior of the World.
Until Haiti spoke, the church was silent, and the pulpit
Slave-traders lived and slave-traders died.
Funeral sermons were preached over them, and of them it was
said that they died in the triumphs of the Christian faith
and went to heaven among the just.
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