Aristide Did Not Resign

Aristide Did Not Resign


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



The fact each of the documents was done in Haitian Creole makes them important,

Freeman said. “If he (Aristide) were addressing the international community,

he would use an international language, either French or English,” he said.



Kansas University Professor Asked to Translate Aristide’s Statement

Resignation Letter Written in Haitian Creole


By Jennifer Byrd


The director of the Kansas University Institute of Haitian Studies was called upon Monday by the U.S. Department of State to translate the controversial resignation letter of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

KU’s Bryant Freeman, a specialist in the Haitian Creole language, said Aristide’s letter never said, “I am resigning.” The U.S. Embassy in Haiti translated a key passage of the letter as: “Tonight I am resigning in order to avoid a bloodbath.” Aristide, who is now in exile in Africa, has said he was kidnapped and denied resigning his post. Freeman translated the controversial passage as: “Thus, if this evening it is my resignation which can prevent a bloodbath, I agree to leave … ” Mary Ellen Gilroy, director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs at the State Department, contacted Freeman to see if he would do a translation of the document. “I didn’t have a dream I would actually have the original thing,” Freeman said. Freeman said he was called by the State Department because he and Gilroy had worked together in Haiti and he is a recognized expert on the Haitian language. He’s working on the fifth edition of his 55,000-word, Creole-English dictionary. Freeman has studied Haitian history, language and culture for more than 45 years. Freeman said he did not know what the State Department was planning to do with his translation of Aristide’s letter, but he said he thought the document would be historically significant. “I think this is one of the three most important historic documents in the history of Haiti,” Freeman said. Freeman said the other two historic documents include a letter from the French emperor Napoleon in 1791 calling for the slaves in Haiti to put down their arms, and a 1793 letter by French Commissioner Sonthonax freeing the slaves in Haiti. The fact each of the documents was done in Haitian Creole makes them important, Freeman said. “If he (Aristide) were addressing the international community, he would use an international language, either French or English,” he said. “Creole is the language of direct, honest discourse between people in Haiti. He was trying to communicate with his people.

Source: The Lawrence Journal-World, March 11, 2004

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Organizational Petition on Haiti As organizations and institutions working for global justice


Dear friends and supporters of Haiti We are all deeply troubled by the daily horrors of civil unrest in cities across Haiti costing the lives of hundreds and thousands of Haitians. The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Haiti by  a superpower like the US is a dangerous precedent. We need to send a clear message to the Bush Administration that such actions are unacceptable and we will hold accountable those responsible for these acts of injustice. You will find below a petition letter that expresses our sentiments of outrage on the act by the US government to depose the leader of a sovereign state. President Jean Bertrand Aristide is the choice of the Haitian people and only they should have the final say on electing their leader. We ask you to sign the petition asking for immediate and unconditional re-instatement of President Aristide of Haiti. We are also demanding an investigation into the role of the Bush Administration in its violation of international laws. We will use this letter to support current demands for Congressional investigation. Congressmembers Barbara Lee and John Conyers, along with 24 of their colleagues have proposed the TRUTH Act, which calls for such an investigation. (Non-profit organizations need not be concerned about violating the “advocacy on legislation” clause of their 501.c(3). The petition does not mention this or any other specific Bill before Congress) At this time, we are only asking for organizational endorsement of this petition. Please fill out the form below as completely as possible and clip and paste to send to: For more information on current conditions in Haiti, please visit: Walter Turner & Kevin Danaher Global Exchange, San Francisco, CA Reverend Dr. J.Alfred Smith Sr. Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, CA Pierre Labossiere Haiti Action Committee, Berkeley, CA Nunu Kidane & Gerald Lenoir Priority Africa Network, Berkeley, CA Dale Sorenson Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas Marin, CA

*   *   *Text of Petition Below


Organizational Petition on Haiti As organizations and institutions working for global justice: – We denounce the US government for its role in the coup overthrowing the democratically elected government of Haiti and the forced removal of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from his elected office by the United States military. – We are outraged at the imprisonment of President Aristide in the Central African Republic, where he was held virtually incommunicado under house arrest for two weeks. We oppose any attempt that seeks to restrict President Aristide’s freedom of speech and movement. This act of “regime change” sets a dangerous precedent for the world and has a particularly destabilizing effect on Latin American countries. This US-engineered coup in Haiti is unethical and immoral and in clear violation of international and federal laws, for which the Bush Administration should be held accountable. We demand a Congressional investigation into the Bush administration’s removal of a foreign country’s leader from power. We join CARICOM and Africa Union in condemning this removal of a democratically elected president. This is not the first time the US government has acted in direct military retaliation against governments who differ from its economic and political policies. Finally, we strongly question the role of the “free” press in its biased coverage of events in Haiti. Corporate media legitimizes the new government appointed illegally by the United States and France, and continues to report that President Aristide left voluntarily, when in fact he was forced out of office through coercion, specifically by threats to the safety of his followers. For the above reasons, we demand: -The unconditional and immediate return of President Aristide to Haiti in order to serve out his term of office until 2006. Respect the vote of the Haitian people. – A congressional investigation into the role of the US government in the deliberate destabilization of the Haitian government and the implementation of the coup. – An immediate end to the repression and daily attacks on Lavalas supporters and those demanding the return of President Aristide. – Support for Haitian refugees, including Temporary Protective Services (TPS) to refugees from Haiti who are fleeing the terror of their home country. In conclusion, we are alarmed by the Bush Administration’s audacity in forcibly removing an elected President from office in total disregard of international norms and laws. We are highly concerned by the overall negative image of the US in global politics. As progressive members of the global community, we strive to co-exist with people and governments of the world in total respect for their sovereignty, which precludes coercive military attacks on foreign countries and their elected officials.

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The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World 

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update 5 January 2012




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