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The New Haitian Revolution: Resistance to U.S. & U.N. Occupation

by Ross Plesset Monday, Oct. 10, 2005 at 2:35 PM
vonpooka@yahoo.com

". . . Why Haiti has been persecuted for the last 200 years? Because it is an affront to the colonial powers to have slaves rise up and defeat them. It is a bad example. [Applause.] There are a lot of lessons to be learned, and they don't want it ever to happen again. [Applause continues.]" -- Margaret Prescod, Pacifica Radio

The New Hait...
haiti0605.jpg, image/jpeg, 476x295

"Haiti became the first Black Republic in 1804 when its enslaved people defeated Napoleon's
army, the most powerful of its day, and abolished slavery. Ever since, Haiti has stood for Black
liberation and the liberation of oppressed people everywhere. Haiti offered Simon Bolivar(1)
refuge, guns, and other supplies and led the way for the abolition of slavery throughout the
Americas. The colonial powers have punished Haiti ever since.
."
-- Porto Alegre Declaration on Haiti, January 2005

(An almost-complete transcript of this event follows the article.)

Los Angeles, June 16th, 2005: In the wake of President Jean Bertrand Aristide's forced removal
from Haiti on February 29, 2004 and on the eve of highly-dubious elections in Haiti, a panel
of distinguished guests gathered at the Holman United Methodist Church to discuss the dire
situation.

Margaret Prescod of Pacifica Radio and the Women of Color in Global Woman's Strike
moderated the discussion. Among the guests was Pierre Labossiere of the Haiti Action
Committee. "I feel that this kind of solidarity--us getting together with each other as we are
tonight--is so important," he said. "This is what allows us to share information, to touch base
with what's going on in our lives, with each other, with our homelands, with our corners
of the world."

Also present was Lucie Tondreau, a Miami-based activist, who helps Haitian refugees, speaks on
Hatian radio, and is a member of both Veye-Yo and the Hatian American Grassroots Coalition. "I
will start talking," she said early on, "and as I go along, you're going to realize that I will speak
faster and put some French words in as I'm getting passionate in what I'm saying."

The third guest was Ira Kurzban, President Aristide's lawyer and former attorney for Haiti. "Mr.
Kurzban assisted in major prosecution of human rights violators in Haiti," said Prescod in
her introduction. "He also recovered funds stolen from the Republic of Haiti in a number of cases
against former dictators of that country [raises voice] and was initiating a claim for
reparations against France [applause] at the time of the 2004 coup. [Applause continues for
several seconds.]"

"First of all," said Kurzban, "I just returned from South Africa, and President Aristide has asked
me to extend his greetings and his appreciation for everybody up here and everybody in the
audience who has continued to support democracy in Haiti in a very, very trying time. I was very
encouraged by my trip to South Africa because as you know, the South African government
recognizes President Aristide as the president and has used their considerable diplomatic power
and support to do everything they can to bring President Aristide back to Haiti."

One of the issues discussed during the presentation was what does the U.S. government and
Haiti's ruling elite have against Aristide? "Most of the business owners in Haiti are making
millions out of the masses' blood," said Tondreau. "It is why they would never let a progressive
government run the country, especially like President Aristide did: ask[ing] to raise the
wages to decent salaries and better conditions of work."

Furthermore, "Aristide belonged to a poor family, Aristide is not a good-looking man, they didn't
like his mouth, they didn't like his nose, his skin was not fair enough. Therefore, the bourgeois
did not want somebody like that to become their president. They contributed millions of dollars
to achieve the first coup d'etat."

"Here was President Aristide building schools," said a passionate Labossiere. "[He] built twice
the number of schools in nine years than had ever been built in the first 190 years of our history.
Where did this money come from? You see, we had the Haitian military that was set up by the
U.S. government when they [occupied] Haiti in 1915 through 1934. And that military wasn't
there to help the Haitian people, it was there to repress the Haitian people. So when President
Aristide returned to office in 1995, he said 'Enough of that.' He disbanded the Haitian military
with everybody approving, pushing him to do it. The military used to have 40% of the national
budget. The savings from that got invested in schools, building health care centers, building
cooperatives for the peasants to increase food production. This is what was going on in Haiti.
Now is that such a crime?"

The United States apparently thought so. Kurzban described how element within the U.S.
government had tried for years to get rid of Aristide. "On September 30th, '91 there was a coup in
Haiti," he said, "largely financed by the elite in Haiti. But on the day of the coup, there were
United States military forces in Haitian military headquarters. George Herbert Walker Bush was
the president, the secretary of defense was Dick Cheney, the head of the joint chiefs of staff was
Colin Powell. So in many respects, it's no mistake what happened in 2004. And in many respects,
there are elements that made what happened in Haiti very similar to what happened in Iraq to the
extent that this was an effort to complete the work that George Bush, Sr. had done in trying to
end popular democracy in Haiti."

Kurzban continued, "After the coup in '91, the first thing that happened was a sustained
campaign of disinformation. I always thought I was a pretty sophisticated guy who had been
active in politics for many years and [had been] a lawyer. I was just shocked. I really feel that in
many respects I was very, very naive about what our government does because I've witnessed it,
and I witnessed it almost on a daily basis for over 10 years. The Central Intelligence Agency and
the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) did not want popular democracy in Haiti. They never
wanted it, just like we're seeing now in Venezuela, just like we saw under Allende in Chile and
Arbenz in Guatemala. And they were going to do everything they could to make sure that this
was not going to happen in Haiti. One of the things I think they learned after Allende in Chile
was that they were not going to make whoever they got rid of a hero among either the people on
the left or progressive people here in the United States. And what began in '91 was a sustained
disinformation campaign against President Aristide that continues to this day. As soon as the
coup took place on September 30th, 1991, what you read in the newspapers--in the Los Angeles
Times, in the New York Times, in the Washington Post--was that Aristide gave a speech saying
that people should necklace and kill people, and that somehow was what brought on the coup.
That was intentional, it was leaked by the intelligence services to their friends in the various
newspapers in the United States.

"What they didn't report, of course, was who was behind the coup, how it happened, why it
happened, what the involvement of the elite was at the time, [and] what the involvement of the
United States government [was]. It's now 13 years later, [and] there has never been any reporting
in United States papers about what the involvement of the United States government was in the
first coup against President Aristide, let alone the second coup. There's nothing. Believe me, I've
collected every single newspaper article about Haiti since 1991. They're in boxes in my office
stacked up to the ceiling, and there's nothing in there that will tell you anything about what the
United States' role was in the 1991 coup. [They] also don't say very much about what happened
after that.

"Several thousand people were killed almost immediately after September 30th, 1991. George
Bush, Sr. stopped sending Haitians [in boats] back to Haiti for one week and one week only after
September 30th. When you compare that to after people were slaughtered in Tienanmen Square,
the same George Bush allowed 325,000 Chinese to remain permanently in the United States. His
response to what was going on in Haiti was, 'We'll just stop interdicting people for a week.' And
after that, they began to send people back."

Kurzban credited President Bill Clinton for returning Aristide to Haiti in 1994. Unfortunately,
the CIA and DIA imposed harsh conditions on the Haitian leader. "Even though Aristide came
back," he continued, "he came back under a plan that forced him basically to do two things: one
was to adopt a neoliberal plan for Haiti, which has basically destroyed the Haitian economy. And
secondly, to accept the fact that he was only coming back for a year-and-a-half. Even though he
had only served eight months as president, the United States government, even under Clinton,
took the position, 'We recognized you as president while you were [in exile] in the United States,
so you only get another year as president in Haiti.' And those were the conditions under which
President Aristide was brought back. He abided by those conditions, and actually in Haiti we had
the first successful transition from one democratic president to the second democratic president,
when President Preval came into office. When President Preval came in, the United States
government engaged in the same kind of tactics that they did when Aristide came back, which
was to do everything to undermine the government."

Kurzban described the reelection of Aristide in 2000 and how it was distorted by the international
media. "[B]y 2000, Haiti had an election," he continued. "They first had an election in May of
2000, and then they had an election [for president] in November of 2000. In May of 2000, 30,000
candidates ran for 7,500 positions in Haiti. Every position, at the lowest level of government to
the highest level of government--with [the] exception of the president's office and some
senators--there was an election. And in that election the Lavalas party [Lavalas is Haitian Creole
for "flash flood." It is the name of Aristide's movement, which flooded the nation. Source: the
Porto Alegre Declaration on Haiti of January 2005] won overwhelmingly. Over 80% of all the
seats taken at the local level and at the national level were won by Aristide's party, Lavalas. The
response was, and you would have read this if you followed Haiti, that this was a flawed, and
some papers said fraudulent, election.

"Let me you tell you about that election. The Organization of American States said it was a free
and fair election. Their criticism of those 7,500 positions [concerned] eight senate seats. No one
on an international level has ever contested 7,492 other people who were elected--who, by the
way, today have all been thrown out of office. All of them. When Latortue [Haiti's new de facto
leader] came in and the U.S. Marines came in [in 2004], all of them were thrown out, even
though they were all democratically-elected. Forget about Aristide, all the others were thrown out
[and] they were all democratically elected.

"So the contest [in 2000] was over eight senate seats. One of those was not even a member from
Lavalas; the other seven were members of Aristide's party. Within two weeks of Aristide coming
into office--he wasn't president at the time of the election--he wrote to the Organization of
American States and said: "Let's redo this election. Let's redo the seven senate seats." They
totally ignored it. They continued to proceed as if it was a flawed or fraudulent election to use
that as an excuse to totally strangle Haiti economically.

"By the way, of all the reporters in America, the worst reporter on Haiti is here in Los Angeles.
She [Carol Williams of the Los Angeles Times] has written things that are totally fraudulent.
I've been at demonstrations where there was 100,000 people; she said there was 5,000 people
there." It is not surprising, then, that the voter turnout in Haiti and strong support for Aristide
was grossly underreported by the American media.

"They used all of that to develop the most fierce economic embargo against the poorest country
in the Western Hemisphere," Kurzban continued. "They got the World Bank to stop giving
money to Haiti, the Inter-American Bank to stop giving money to Haiti, the European Union
stopped giving money to Haiti, the United States government stopped giving money to Haiti."

Tondreau described how media and government lies helped pave the way for the second coup
against Aristide on February 29, 2004. Tondreau: "The difference between the coup d'etat that
took place on February 29, 2004 and the coup d'etat that took place back on September 30, 1991
is that in 1991 they tried to convince you that it was needed. In 2004, they worked [with] your
brain for three years showing you how much of a devil Jean Bertrand Aristide is and the Lavalas
movement. Therefore, when the coup d'etat took place, everybody [thought]: 'Yeah, he needed to
go. He was killing people left and right, he was selling drugs. The president had his bag of drugs
on his back walking around and selling crack in the corners.' [Laughter.] Reading the newspapers
here, that's all you were hearing."

Labossiere also lambasted the media for their handling of the violence that resulted from the
coup. "The way I hear them being talked about, chimere, 'crazy folks,'" he said, "you have the
feeling that each time you hear about the brothers and sisters being killed in Haiti by the U.N.
forces, by the Haitian National Police, you feel as if the L.A. Times [and] the New York Times
are clapping, celebrating their murder. I'm brutally honest with you: that's the feeling I'm getting,
not a sense of outrage."

He also described how the media is ignoring the strong pro-Aristide sentiment among Haitians.
"Almost every week you have big demonstrations taking place in the streets of Port au
Prince calling for the return of Aristide," Labossiere said. "You don't hear about those. The
people have said they have voted, and they want their votes respected. The Haitan police
ambushes them and shoots them down and many times with the U.N. being present.
[The atrocities against the Haitian people are described further in the transcript following this
article. Also, you can read current stories at www.HaitiAction.net.]

"So brothers and sisters as we are here today, people in Haiti aren't taking this coup d'etat laying
down. They are marching, they are demonstrating, they are demanding the return of their
duly-elected president. This wasn't a coup d'etat against President Aristide alone; it was a coup
d'etat that also wiped out the 7,500 local and national elected officials. All of them were kicked
out by this coup d'etat. It was a coup d'etat against a people's democracy, led by countries that
pretend to be in the vanguard of democracy: the U.S., France, and Canada."

Tondreau saw hope in the resilience of the Hatian people. "I want you to know that the struggle is
very strong," she said. "Imagine a group of people with no sophisticated weapons [that] are able
to maintain the resistance for over a year. Although over 10,000 people have been killed, they are
still strong. There are demonstrations full of people, and they are keeping the resistance going
and demanding for the return of President-Elect Aristide.

". . . [T]he masses have come together. While Cite Soleil was barricaded for three-and-a-half
weeks by the International Police Force and the U.N. forces, killing them left and right,
preventing them from going out, the people from Bel Air marched with rice, beans, oil, water,
juice, and brought them to their brothers in Cite Soleil. [Applause.]

"There is a saying in Haiti that goes, 'I would rather die standing than [continue] living on my
knees,' and this is the same lesson of 1804 that the Haitian people have given to the world. It is
that same lesson that is going on today. And I'm urging all of you to learn from that lesson.
Today it might be applying to Haiti, tomorrow it might be some other country. As we have told
the people from the CARICOM, 'When your neighbor's beard is on fire, you sprinkle yours with
water.' Because those countries that are supporting the coup d'etat, we don't know what will
happen to them tomorrow. If we allow it in our backyard, it will come to our front porch
tomorrow. That is why I believe every progressive person should put themselves together to
denounce what's going on in Haiti today."

She elaborated on the parallels between Haiti's rebels of 200 years ago and the current resistance.
"In November of 1804, the Haitians defeated the army of Napoleon Bonaparte with nothing,"
she explained. "At that time the army of Napoleon was the most sophisticated army in the world.
They had the most sophisticated weapons to ensure that the slaves stayed enslaved.
[Nevertheless, the Hatians] were able to defeat that. Today in neighborhoods like Bel Air and
Cite Soleil, they are just reenacting what [they were] doing before the independence of Haiti. . . .
Since cell phones can be traced and bugged, they effectively use the drums and other ways of
communication to pass on messages. . . . So they are using the same things that they used 200
years ago, and it's working. They are still there; they were able to defeat the National Police.
They are still able to maintain their heads high against the United Nations that are there. So 1804
is being reenacted today."

Another issue discussed was the elections planned for Haiti on October 15, 2005. "What they
intend to do is to have a completely fraudulent election in Haiti," said Kurzban. "This is
something that's very important for all of you to push the press on, push the government on, and
push publicly on. . . . I'm reminded of what happened in Iraq. On the day of the election in Iraq,
what was the first thing you heard? Seventy-two percent of the people voted. That was what
came out over the news wires. Then it turned out that only 42% voted, and the Sunnis didn't vote,
and so forth. In Haiti, no matter how many people vote, you're going to hear that 60% or 70% of
the people voted and that this was a big success. And they're going to show you some picture that
Carol Williams of the Los Angeles Times is going to have a reporter take of 100 people standing
in a voting booth saying that this was a big success.

"Let me tell you about the statistics right now: four point five million people were registered to
vote under Aristide and under Preval. A hundred and thirteen-thousand people are registered to
vote now, and that's if you believe the statistics of the Latortue government. That means that less
the three percent of the people eligible to vote are currently registered to vote. And the Haitian
people have spoken loudly and eloquently about how they regard this as a complete and total
sham.

"Secondly, the CEP (Provisional Electoral Council), the governing body that was set up under
the constitution but is now run by people who are self-anointed because they were never elected
and never legitimately appointed, have decided that there will only be 600 polling places in Haiti.
Under Aristide and Preval, there were 13,000 polling places. Where do you think this election's
going to happen? It's going to happen in Hatianville and among the elite in Haiti. They're going
to have those people elect themselves, and they're going to anoint somebody as president.
And that's what the United States wants. The only question remaining is, how are they going to
picture this as a big success?"

He continued, "The United States government's vision of Haiti is to have the ex-army running the
police without [saying] it's the army, having an election where an elite comes in and decides to
bring back the army. If Andre Apaid and his friends win the election, the first thing they're going
to do is vote to reconstitute the Haitian Army, and the United States is perfectly happy with that.
That's what we want." (For more recent and up-to-date comments by Kurzban regarding
Haiti's upcoming election, see:
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/12829012.htm)

Throughout the evening, there were various calls for action by the speakers. "Only you can stop
it," said Labossiere. "I'm sick and tired of those politicians who make those decisions and those
policies to murder people. But yet, five-10 years later, they write beautiful books and say how
wrong they were. And when they write those books, they sell them for a lot of money. They don't
turn the money over to the families of their victims. They take the money [and] they pocket it
again. And then everybody gives them press time [and says] 'Oh, that person is so great!' We
need to rise up against it.

". . . There's a lot we can do. The brothers and sisters in Haiti count on your involvement. Each of
you, contact 10 others. Let them know what's going on, give them the website, make a copy of
this beautiful article and all the materials that are here [e.g., We Will Not Forget the
Achievements of Lavalas in Haiti (see: http://www.haitiaction.net/news/wwnf/2_28_5.html )].
And then, with those numbers, we can call the L.A. Times, call the New York Times, and
demand that they do the right thing and set up a picket line in front of their places [applause].
And I want to urge you to support our dear sister, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, [applause]
because she has been really, really fantastic, and also Margaret, the Global Women's Strike, my
brother Ben Guillory, the Coalition for Democracy in Haiti, and so many others. Please, let us
close ranks and move together. And whenever you see something in the L.A. Times, don't
believe it. [Laughter.] Check out our website, check out the Global Women's Strike website for
corroboration, call brother Edore, call myself, call Margaret, and Lucie here so you can
corroborate whatever you hear. Don't believe nothing that the boss tells you because the boss is
not in your corner [applause]."

"Even if you can't get out to meetings regularly," said Prescod, "I think it's a great idea to go and
picket outside the Los Angeles Times."

One question that came from the audience concerned the motives behind the foreign intervention
in Haiti. "Remember that Haiti, under President Boyer, had to pay the debt of independence(8),"
answered Tondreau, "and this is the money that Aristide was asking France to reimburse the
people of Haiti. Remember that France and Canada were in a cold-shoulder war with the United
States for not taking part in the Iraq invasion. One way that they could make amends was to put
themselves together to destroy Haiti. France took part in the 'coup-d-napping' [i.e., coup d'etat +
kidnapping] of President Aristide because how dare somebody like Jean Bertrand Aristide go and
ask for restitution and reparations! Remember, right after the 'coup-d-napping,' Mr. Latortue went
to France and told President Chirac: 'You don't owe us any money. That restitution thing, forget
it.'

The motives of the United States' meddling were not so easily defined. However, "it's clear to me
that what this has always been about is stopping popular democracy," said Kurzban. "The
United States government does not want popular democracy in the Western Hemisphere, period.
They don't want it in Venezuela, they didn't want it in Guatemala, they didn't want it in Chile,
they didn't want it when Michael Manley was in Jamaica, they didn't want it in Grenada. They
just don't want it. The people who run [this] policy in the United States have generally [been] the
hard-liners. Obviously it's gotten much, much worse, but traditionally it's always been the
hard-liners in the Defense Department, in the intelligence agencies, and in the State Department.

"They felt very threatened by Aristide's election. They didn't expect it; they were shocked that
Aristide won in 1991. They expected Marc Bazin to win. Marc Bazin is a typical American
candidate: he got educated in the United States, worked for the World Bank, [he was] the kind of
technocrat, the kind of Latortue-person that the United States virtually lifted from Boca
Raton, Florida and put in Haiti. He's never been elected to any office in Haiti, and they brought
him in thinking he was like a technocrat who was going to solve Haiti's problems, who had had
very close ties with U.S. intelligence agencies. That's our model for all of Latin America and for
the Caribbean. So I believe, after doing this 13 years, that's the 'why.'"

Towards the end of the event, Don White of the KPFK Board gave some thoughts the oppressed
people in the Western Hemisphere. "[T]he people of the south and the people of the Caribbean
are showing us the way here in the United States," he said with gusto. "We're learning what it is
to resist. [Applause.] We're learning what it is to stand up and say, 'No more.' And in El
Salvador, we see the same thing and in Honduras [and] in Bolivia, were the indigenous people
have brought down two presidents [applause and shouting] while we're still putting up with the
same one! And in Venezuela, [applause] where a 100,000 people surrounded the palace and said,
'Bring our president back.'

"But tonight we're focusing on the people of Haiti. We see now that it's the poor, it's the
campesinos, it's the indigenous, it's the people of color, it's the working class that is really
standing up to neoliberalism, to war, and to trade policies that eke more misery among the poor.
What we're seeing in Haiti is a reflection of how in the world today, the poorer you are, the
braver you are; the more vulnerable you are, the bolder you are. Here in the United States we've
gotten kind of comfortable, but in Latin America [and] in the Caribbean, we're seeing [that] the
more danger you face in your political activity, the more militant you become in the face not only
of adversity but in the face of death."

This event can be purchased on DVD for $3.00. E-mail: Ralph@justicevision.org or phone:
213/747-6345, or request the Haiti Forum DVD at http://orders.justicevision.org/
Article and transcript (see below) by Ross Plesset Photo by M. Showalter

Special thanks to LA Sound Posse and Lucie Tondreau and Margaret Prescod for clarifications.
Thanks also to Global Women's Strike.



(ALMOST) COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

MARGARET PRESCOD: Good evening. I would like to thank you all for coming. . . . There's
really not a lot that I want to say by way of background because you will get a lot of that from our
speakers. But many of you know that in addition to the activist work that I am doing, and I am
from Barbados in the Caribbean, and Haiti is very close to our hearts, not only in the Caribbean
region but throughout the Black Diaspora. It has always stood for black liberation and the
liberation of oppressed people throughout the world. It was Haiti that made the way for
emancipation of slaves throughout the Americas [applause], not only in the Caribbean region.

Also, what a lot of people may not know is that Haiti, after the revolution, gave refuge to
Bolivar(1), who was struggling of the liberation of Latin America. They not only gave refuge to
Bolivar, but they also gave equipment and supplies [for him] to return to work for the liberation
of Latin America. So the Haitian Revolution has [made] been a tremendous contribution, and
of course the Haitians have been punished ever since.

SPECIAL GUESTS, INCLUDING SHARMINI PERIES OF VENEZUELA

Before we get started, I wanted to acknowledge a few special guests that are with us this evening.
All of you by now know that there has been a revolution in Venezuela. [Applause.] It is a
black and brown revolution [applause] led by a man who is of Afro and indigenous descent,
President Hugo Chavez, and he's under attack regularly in the racist, corporate-owned media
owned by the opposition in Venezuela. They call him Sambo. That sound familiar to you all?
[Audience shouts "Yeah."] President Chavez says: "You can call me Sambo, but I'm proud: I
have African blood in my veins. I have indigenous blood." So he just gets on with it. And we
know that the Bush administration has a huge problem with Venezuela: it is the world's
fifth-largest producer of oil, so they got a problem. You know what I'm saying? There's also a
huge water reserve in Venezuela, there's natural gas, there's gold, there are diamonds. And
President Hugo Chavez has made it very, very clear that he's very serious not only about outreach
and unification of the Americas, but when he says El Caribe ("the Caribbean region") for the first
time I actually feel that this is a leader in Latin America that actually means it. So we're very
delighted to have with us this evening the Foreign Relations Advisor/the International Relations
Advisor to President Hugo Chavez, Sharmini Peries(2).

[Peries rises from her seat in the front row, and the audience applauds.]

Also, I think Mr. Ben Guillory of the Robey Theater is here. Ben, are you here? [He stands up.
Applause.] Many of you know [that] the Robey Theater did that wonderful trilogy of the Haitian
Revolution(3). The Robey Theater was founded by Mr. Ben Guillory and Mr. Danny Glover, and
they have just been so wonderful in getting information and support out on Haiti. So please go
onto their website [www.Robeytheatre.com/main.htm] and look for all the wonderful work that
the Robey Theater is doing here in Southern California.

PRESCOD INTRODUCES PIERRE LABOSSIERE

So, having said all of that, I would now like to turn our attention to our main speakers. . . . I don't
even know how to introduce Pierre Labossiere because he is such an inspiration for me. He is
one of the most modest people I think I have ever met and has one of the biggest hearts that I
have ever met. And as quiet as he's [kept?], Pierre Labossiere is playing and has played a crucial,
crucial role, not only in the organizing to get the word out about what is happening to his
precious homeland in Haiti, but he is in daily, constant contact with those on the ground who are
at the forefront of the resistance. He gives his all, he really does, and he doesn't really like to
speak about that. He has been a tremendous inspiration to those of us in the Global Women's
Strike Women of Color, those of us doing the work in the Caribbean region.

Pierre just came back from Guyana, where he gave a keynote address at a conference
commemorating the assassination of Walter Rodney [see: http://www.rodney25.org/] that took
place in Georgetown just recently. Nevertheless, he took the time to come down from Northern
California to be with us this evening. I would really like you to give a very, very warm
South-and-throughout-Los Angeles welcome to Mr. Pierre Labossiere. [Standing ovation and
prolonged shouts and applause.]

PIERRE LABOUSIERE: Thank you so much brothers and sisters. It's so wonderful be with you.
I want to thank my dear sister Margaret for this introduction. Gosh, I have a lot to try to do to
deserve all of this [laughs].

PRESCOD: He will. He already has.

LABOSSIERE ON THE TRIBUTE TO WALTER RODNEY

LABOUSIERE: Thank you so much. And I am so happy to be with you and with my dear sister
Lucie and all of you brothers and sisters here today. It was very troubling for me to be in Guyana.
I didn't just get up and do it. I'm kind of a homebody, but my sister said, Pierre, you must go." I
had the good sense to say, "Man, when the sisters tell you you must do something, you better
do it!" [Laughter.]

It was great, and I'm so glad I did go. It was really phenomenal. I've always admired Walter
Rodney, our dear brother. His phenomenal [writings] [inaudible] have opened the history of the
Guyanese working class and so many other things. I remember when he got killed how very sad I
was indeed. His passing left a big void for all of us internationally, not just in the Caribbean. So
it was so moving for me to be there with his family, with many brothers and sisters throughout
the Caribbean, from England, from many parts of the U.S., and Canada to commemorate his life.
Also, we went to his grave site. The highlight for me was to be at the house of Forbes Burnham,
who has been reported as being behind the assassination of Walter Rodney. So [at] the
commemoration on Saturday night there was a band playing right there. That's where people got
to celebrate Walter Rodney's life. It was something else. People showed me the spot where
Forbes and some of his henchman were actually waiting for word that Walter Rodney had
been killed by the bomb. And [that's] the place [where] they were celebrating. But 25 years later
people were there in that place celebrating the brother's life, and nobody really remembered
Forbes Burnham for other than the killer that he was. So it was quite a moving tribute.

I felt so close to my brothers and sisters, and that's why I feel that this kind of solidarity--us
getting together with each other as we are tonight--is so important. This is what allows us to
share information, to touch base with what's going on in our lives, with each other, with our
homelands, with our corners of the world.

THE MEDIA MISREPRESENTS HAITI (LABOSSIERE)

[While] speaking to some of the brothers and sisters in Guyana, they told me that the side of
Haiti I was giving them they had never heard before. Some of them had, but generally what they
hear is the stuff from BBC. According to BBC, Lavalas, the people's movement for democracy, is
a bunch of savages, people who are killing people. "Aristide is a thief, he's a drug dealer, he's a
murderer [and] everything else." So I brought several of these booklets [We Will Not Forget the
Achievements of Lavalas in Haiti (see: http://www.haitiaction.net/news/wwnf/2_28_5.html)]
with me. I said, "Brother, sister, read this." You see, it's very important that we share our own
stories with each other. When we look at the Tarzan movies, we see that Africa is a place were
people are savages running wild. And now I understand how those atrocities of the slave trade in
the Middle Passage [described at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/AiA/part1/1narr4.html] were made
possible and how people all over the world in general went along with it. The way they presented
us Africans, the lies that they presented made people feel that no matter what they did to us as
a people was justifiable. And in [living?] the situation in Haiti today, I understand now. I was
always asking myself, "How could it have been possible for people to let this holocaust go on and
on and on for centuries?" Then we get to Germany [during] World War II, and 6,000,000+
people were slaughtered, and the whole world, in general, stood by and let it happen. Then they
go and say, "Never again, never again, never again." But then it has happened in Rwanda.
Everybody sat there and let it happen. In the White House they had meetings talking about the
definition of genocide for three weeks. Meanwhile, 2,000,000 people were being slaughtered.

I'm saying all this because it relates to what's going on in Haiti. I know many of have watched
movies about Lumumba, but it's happening right now. The reason why many of us aren't standing
up in outrage--present company excluded--is because we don't get the information. This thing
that's going on in Haiti has got me so riled up that now I call out the L.A. Times, the New York
Times, all of the [media sources] who I feel have led the way for these atrocities to be taking
place and for people not to respond in outrage.

So it's very important, and I want to thank KPFK, particularly Margaret Prescod, for the work
that she's been doing [applause] because she's bringing out the truth to us.

The way I hear them being talked about, chimere, "crazy folks," you have the feeling that each
time you hear about the brothers and sisters being killed in Haiti by the U.N. forces, by the
Haitian National Police, you feel as if the L.A. Times [and] the New York Times are clapping,
celebrating their murder. I'm brutally honest with you: that's the feeling I'm getting, not a
sense of outrage.

THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF ARISTIDE AND LAVALAS (LABOSSIERE)

Having gone to Haiti several times in [recent] years, I say: "My God! These brothers and sisters
were building schools; they were forming cooperatives, trying to have food production so they
could feed their kids; going on strikes demanding a higher wage so they could pay for their kids'
education." That was their crime? Their crime was to vote for a group of people who they
felt presented a better program on how to make life better for them? So that's a crime! That's a
death sentence!

STRUGGLES FOR DEMOCRACY IN HAITI, PAST AND PRESENT (LABOSSIERE)

In 1987, as they [the people] lined up to vote, they were murdered by the Haitian military with
weapons supplied by the U.S. government. That murder went on while the people were waiting
in line to vote, so that was a death sentence carried out immediately. Many of them didn't even
commit the crime of voting yet, but they [the murderers] figured that because they were poor
people, they knew which way they were going to vote, so they decided to kill them.

So we get to 1991, when the people again massively came out and voted for their choice,
President Aristide, the Lavalas movement. What happened? Seven months later they were
mowed down, they were murdered again. Over 5,000 people murdered. This time [in 2000]
people came out again [and] voted massively. Three years later close to 10,000 people have
[now] been murdered in a little over a year. This is what's going on, but we don't get that. Many
of them are children, many of them are the elderly, young men...

I was talking about the U.N. role in Haiti. We can go back to the early 1960s in the Congo.
Remember Patrice Lumumba? [See: http://home.earthlink.net/~anbl/lumumba.html ] That's the
blueprint of what's going on today. The peacekeepers are working along with the murderous
Haitian police. And they claim they are shooting bandits, well, who are the bandits?
Nine-year-old kids! A 15-year-old girl who went to buy coffee for her mom, and she
was killed by bullets. They come into those neighborhoods, [and] people live in those
neighborhoods, not animals, not wild beasts. But they projected to the world, "Oh these are
chimeres, these are Lavalas." And by the way, let me tell you, the word chimere is a very
derogatory term. Chimere is a French word; it means "when you have problems, you are angry,
like working people." It was coined by a right-wing fellow in Haiti, named [inaudible], who
pretended to be leftist. [He] has been supporting and preparing the coup d'etat for a long time,
and the Haitian people know who this guy is. So he was the one who coined that term. And
now you have the L.A. Times and the New York Times using that derogatory term to project our
people as if they are wild beasts. That justifies their murder. When they [say], "The police came
through this neighborhood and did this, and bandits or chimeres were killed," then that makes
you [think]: "Oh well, they were wild anyway. They deserved to die." You may not admit it, but
that's how you feel. That's how it's written to make you feel.

Many of those brothers and sisters I know. A good friend of mine from the north, the mayor of
Milo, is a man who put together nine schools in a place that never before had any schools made
available for the children of the poor. This brother is still in hiding. What crime has he
committed? To have education for the people?

U.S., FRANCE, AND CANADA AND THE 2004 COUP D'ETAT (LABOSSIERE)

So what has happened with the coup d'etat? The U.S. government, the French, government and
Canada--very nice, mellow Canada [laughter]--organized a meeting over a year before the coup
to plan the whole thing. Canada is very involved in providing the police trainers who are training
the murderous Haitian police, through this mission called CIVPOL. CIVPOL is Civilian Police
Training. Basically the Haitian police [oppress] our brothers and sisters demonstrating in Port au
Prince.

Almost every week you have big demonstrations taking place in the streets of Port au Prince
calling for the return of Aristide. You don't hear about those. The people have said they have
voted, and they want their votes respected. The Haitian police ambushes them and shoots them
down and many times with the U.N. being present. Now the Canadians are training the Haitian
police. These are not guys that just stood out[side] and said, "Come one, come all." These are the
former Haitian military who have murdered our brothers and sisters in 1991. They are the ones
who, while President Aristide was in office [in 2001, 2002, and 2003] have conducted raids
throughout the countryside along the border with the Dominican Republic and murdering whole
families. You never heard about this before. In one family alone they killed about five or six
people including a 14-year-old. We have the pictures on our webite, www.HaitiAction.net. This
is the kind of stuff that the press here, New York Times, L.A. Times, has been completely silent
about. So this how they desensitized us and made the way for the coup d'etat that's taking place.

So brothers and sisters as we are here today, people in Haiti aren't taking this coup d'etat laying
down. They are marching, they are demonstrating, they are demanding the return of their
duly-elected president. This wasn't a coup d'etat against President Aristide alone; it was a coup
d'etat that also wiped out the 7,500 local and national elected officials. All of them were kicked
out by this coup d'etat. It was a coup d'etat against a people's democracy, led by countries that
pretend to be in the vanguard of democracy: the U.S., France, and Canada.

Also, they were aided by many so-called NGOs. NGOs is Non-Governmental Organizations.
They received money from the European Union.

ARISTIDE'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS (LABOSSIERE)

Here was President Aristide building schools. [He] built twice the number of schools in nine
years than had ever been built in the first 190 years of our history. Where did this money come
from? You see, we had the Haitian military that was set up by the U.S. government when they
invaded Haiti in 1915 [and occupied it] through 1934. And that military wasn't there to help the
Haitian people. It was there to repress the Haitian people. So when President Aristide returned to
office in 1995, he said "Enough of that." He disbanded the Haitian military with everybody
approving, pushing him to do it. The military used to have 40% of the national budget. The
savings from that money got invested in schools, building health care centers, building
cooperatives for the peasants to increase food production. This is what was going
on in Haiti. Now is that such a crime?

So what's going on now is that the people of Haiti have not forgotten what their movement,
Lavalas, means to them. So they have continued to take to the streets to demand the return [of
President Aristide], and they are being killed. I spoke to a sister yesterday. She told me [that]
she's deep in hiding because now they are out getting the wives of activists, and two of [her
friends] were murdered. And they were after her to murder her. This is the stuff that's going on.

CALL TO ACTION (LABOSSIERE)

Only you can stop it. I'm sick and tired of those politicians who make those decisions and those
policies to murder people. But yet, five-10 years later, they write beautiful books and say how
wrong they were. And when they write those books, they sell them for a lot of money. They don't
turn the money over to the families of their victims. They take the money [and] they pocket
it again. And then everybody gives them press time [and says] "Oh, that person is so great!" We
need to rise up against it. . . . There's a lot we can do. The brothers and sisters in Haiti count on
your involvement. Each of you, contact 10 others. Let them know what's going on, give them the
website, make a copy of this beautiful article and all the materials that are here. And then, with
those numbers, we can call the L.A. Times, call the New York Times, and demand that they do
the right thing and set up a picket line in front of their places [applause].

And I want to urge you to support our dear sister, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, [applause]
because she has been really, really fantastic, and also Margaret, the Global Women's Strike, my
brother Ben Guillory, the Coalition for Democracy in Haiti, and so many others. Please, let us
close ranks and move together. And whenever you see something in the L.A. Times, don't
believe it. [Laughter.] Check out our website, check out the Global Women's Strike website for
corroboration, call brother Edore, call myself, call Margaret, and Lucie here so you can
corroborate whatever you hear. Don't believe nothing that the boss tells youbecause the boss is
not in your corner [applause]. If he tells you something's good for you, generally it's bad for you.
If he tells you something's bad for you, it's good for you. Take the opposite view of whatever they
put out.

Thank you. [Shouting and applause.]

PRESCOD INTRODUCES LUCIE TONDREAU

MARGARET PRESCOD: I'm now very, very proud to introduce to you Lucie Tondreau. Lucie is
a talk show host on Haitian radio. She's a community leader who's participated in several forums
as host or moderator in the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, St. Kitts; [and] also
at Harvard Law School; Tulane Law School; and recently in South Africa, under the invitation of
the University of South Africa.

Alongside the Father Jean Juste in Haiti, she has dedicated herself to the struggle, providing the
education and helping the Haitian refugees to assimilate into the new world of the United
States in Miami, where she is based. She also volunteered in literacy class where she learned the
syntax of her native language, Creole.

Her efforts in helping with the assimilation of Haitians in Miami was recognized by an
organization called Outstanding Young Women in America [and] several community
organizations in South Florida, Canada, and New York. Lucie continues to fight in Florida for
the ghastly treatment of the refugees detained at Krome Detention Center in Florida and the fight
for the true democracy in Haiti.

Also, adding a few things to her official bio.: Very soon after the coup, there was a meeting that
was called in Barbados of activists throughout the Caribbean region--actually, that was the
first time I met Lucie--and listening to her, and hearing her description of herself as a chimere(4),
I knew immediately that this was a voice that needed to be heard. Part of the work that we're
doing in the Women of Color Network in the Global Women's Strike is to precisely make sure
that grassroots voices in Haiti are getting out and are moving around in the Caribbean region and
also here in the United States.

Also, for the trip I recently took, Congresswomen Waters's delegation that was coordinated by
Yvon Kernizan out of New York [with] the support of Lovinsky, just a remarkable human rights
activist out of Washington DC, Lucie was part of that as was Ira Kurzban. And Lucie was always
vigilant, always making sure that everything was taken care of. No one was going to pull
anything on Lucie. She speaks her mind and always makes the way for the grassroots. She also
has been a tremendous inspiration, and I'm so delighted and honored to be able to introduce to
you my chimere sister Lucie Tondreau.

[Standing ovation.]

LUCIE TONDREAU: Good evening. Thank you Margaret for this wonderful presentation, and
thank you to the Women of Color in the Women's Strike movement, and thank you to all the
cosponsors who have worked so hard for having me here today, and Pierre and Ira.

I will start talking, and as I go along, you're going to realize that I will speak faster and put some
French words in as I'm getting passionate in what I'm saying. What we are here to present to you
tonight are not fictions; they are a reality, sad reality, but a reality of the first black country that
had been independent, a country that has paid dearly for daring [to rise up against]...[pauses] the
white people? What do you call them? [Laughter.]

LABOSSIERE: Colonialists.

TONDREAU: ...the colonialists [laughs] [and] paving the way for freedom for all black people
throughout the world.

THE 2004 COUP (TONDREAU)

The difference between the coup d'etat that took place on February 29, 2004 and the coup d'etat
that took place back on September 30, 1991 is that in 1991 they tried to convince you that it was
needed. In 2004, they worked [with] your brain for three years showing you how much of a devil
Jean Bertrand Aristide is and the Lavalas movement. Therefore, when the coup d'etat took place,
everybody [thought]: "Yeah, he needed to go. He was killing people left and right, he was selling
drugs. The president had his bag of drugs on his back walking around and selling crack in the
corners." [Laughter.] Reading the newspapers here, that's all you were hearing. And listening to
those people from Group 184, it's like President Aristide himself, after he was kidnapped on the
29th of February of 2004, had two huge suitcases of money and was walking out of here to get on
the plane wherever they were taking him.

HISTORY OF HAITI (TOUNDREAU)

Haiti effectively has been independent for 201 years, but we need to understand that for 201
years, we've had five percent of the population, the bourgeois, taking everything that belongs to
Haiti, that has refused to invest in Haiti, that has refused to pay taxes, that has considered the
masses as things, that has maintained child slavery in Haiti. Five-year-old children work as
slaves for 18-year-olds. Usually they have been raped, [and] they have no right to go to school.
And it would go on from generation to generation. With the Lavalas movement after the
departure of Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986, things started to change in Haiti. And the masses,
through the theology of liberation that then-Father Jean Bertrand Aristide was telling people, it is
not okay to live like that. And don't believe anybody who's telling you: "It's okay to be poor now;
when you die you will be rich. Let's try to have a better life right now. Let's demand to have a
better life right now!" [Applause.]

We've had what we call the traditional politicians in Haiti that were lifetime candidates to the
presidency, who had not worked with the masses of Haiti. Well, the people did not want to vote
for any of them because they had no credibility. And when Father Aristide [became] a candidate
for the presidency of Haiti, it was like New Year's Day for us. The markets closed, everybody
went and registered to vote, and that's how we had Jean Bertrand Aristide as the first
democratically-elected president of Haiti.

But he was shifting to the left, [and so] the United States did not like President Aristide. They
wanted a gentleman called Marc Bazin to become the president of this country. And Aristide was
not accepted by the bourgeois either because Aristide belonged to a poor family, Aristide is not a
good-looking man, they didn't like his mouth, they didn't like his nose, his skin was not fair
enough. Therefore, the bourgeois did not want somebody like that to become their president.
They contributed millions of dollars to achieve the first coup d'etat.

[The] second coup is the same scenario as what's going on in Venezuela. The bourgeois, the
media, the NGOs, most of the people that are getting paid to demonstrate against Jean Bertrand
Aristide, and the international press has been biased in reporting what has been taking place in
Haiti. I had not set foot in Haiti for 13 years, and I was hearing so many things from Haiti,
knowing that from the bottom of my heart, [and from] working for so many years with the
grassroots people in Florida and by extension people in Haiti, I couldn't believe what I was
hearing. I had to go to Haiti and see for myself, and between hearing and seeing, it was two
different worlds. You were hearing [that] Haiti was like the wild, wild west: you would get to the
airport, and they were shooting at you. [I] get to Haiti and I see roads being built, public places
for the children to play, schools, hospitals, clinics, and universities. And people were still
complaining: "Well, this guy has to go. He has not done anything." I have to give it to them,
though, because the Lavalas government did not do good public relations in letting people
know of their realization. It wasn't until this little booklet [We Will Not Forget the Achievements
of Lavalas in Haiti (see: http://www.Haitiaction.net/news/wwnf/2_28_5.html)] came out [that]
many people found out what they have done, and those who have been to Haiti were able to see
physically the realization.

Before the coup d'etat--it was a "coup-d-napping," a kidnapping and a coup d'etat. We call it a
"coup-d-napping" [laughter]--I was in Haiti, and I was able to witness stacks of bodies at the
national morgue in Haiti, young guys killed with their hands behind their backs. They were
supporting Aristide. I was able to witness first-hand a young man being shot, and as he was going
down, he died with his hands up saying "five years." The people of Haiti have voted for a
president [to stay in office] five years.

Some people in Haiti died in 1987 for their rights to vote because they believed in democracy,
democracy that countries like the United States, France, and Canada have told us that we should
have. But what type of democracy do they want from us when each time we go to the polls and
vote [for] a president, and then they go and remove that president because they don't like him? I
would like to see us here go into Washington and kidnap Bush because we didn't elect him. Did
you elect Bush? [Laughter and applause.]

PRESCOD: Hell no! [Laughs.]

TONDREAU: I did not! We understand that although the elections have been stolen twice in the
United States, nobody is going to go the White House and kidnap Bush and take him to the
boondocks of Central Africa and tell him that "Hey, you are not welcomed in the United States."
We have learned that you vote for somebody for four years here, five years in the instance of
Haiti; you wait your turn; and then you try to defeat that person. Well, it seems like the definition
of democracy for the Americans, French, and Canadians is not the same as the definition of
democracy in small Caribbean countries like Haiti.

Today, because of that democracy, women are being raped. And we have the return of the death
squad of FRAPH [pronounced "frap"], the same death squad, that during the first coup d'etat,
where killing people left and right. They are the ones that, as Pierre mentioned earlier, are part of
the police forces. They are the ones that for the three-and-a-half weeks after the they have
barricaded Cite Soleil [were] shooting at the people [as] if they were pigeons or roosters.

Today we have the forces from Canada training our police, [saying] that they're trying to
professionalize the police. Before the kidnapping of President Aristide, they were accusing the
masses of having heavy weapons, that they were the ones killing everybody. After the coup
d'etat, it was still the masses, the people from Bel Air, from Cite Soleil, from Martissant. They
were doing all the kidnapping in Haiti. But guess what? When they kidnap in this country, those
kidnappers know exactly how much money you have in your bank account, in your savings
account, [and] where to get you. As far as I'm concerned, the masses of Haiti do not have
computers in Bel Air, they don't have computers in Cite Soleil, they have no access to bank
accounts. How would they know after they kidnap you how much money to ask for? But yet each
time they go and do things like that, they're saying it's the bandits, and of course all the bandits
come from Cite Soleil. Two weeks ago, a woman was killed because she had participated in a
demonstration asking for the return of President Aristide.

HAITI'S BOURGEOIS (TONDREAU)

Something you must know about the bourgeois in Haiti when any of them come to you and try to
sweet talk you: work factories [like those owned by] Andre Apaid, make the people work 17
hours a day and pay them 67 U.S. cents a day. So this is the type of democracy they want for us
in Haiti(5). When you have somebody like Reginald Boulos, who has killed so many children
because of some type of cough medicine he introduced in the market of Haiti that was poisonous,
and he's still going unpunished in Haiti, and he's telling Mr. Latortue, the de facto prime minister
of Haiti, that if [the] international police force is unable to take care of the insecurity of Haiti,
they have their ways to take care of it(6). When reports are coming from Haiti telling you that
people from political parties are organizing crime in Haiti and try to blame the masses on it, you
have to ask yourself questions. When the National Police Force goes to Cite Soleil and to Bel Air
and forces a father to rape his daughter and forces a son to rape his mother, you have to ask
yourself some questions about the type of democracy they want in Haiti.

HOPE (TONDREAU)

But out of all this bad, what we've learned [is that] the masses have come together. While Cite
Soleil was barricaded for three-and-a-half weeks by the International Police Force and the
U.N. forces, killing them left and right, preventing them from going out, the people from Bel Air
marched with rice, beans, oil, water, juice, and brought them to their brothers in Cite Soleil.
[Applause.]

There is a saying in Haiti that goes, "I would rather die standing than [continue] living on my
knees," and this is the same lesson of 1804 that the Haitian people have given to the world. It is
that same lesson that is going on today. And I'm urging all of you to learn from that lesson.
Today it might be applying to Haiti, tomorrow it might be some other country. As we have told
the people from the CARICOM, "When your neighbor's beard is on fire, you sprinkle yours with
water." Because those countries that are supporting the coup d'etat, we don't know what will
happen to them tomorrow. If we allow it in our backyard, it will come to our front porch
tomorrow. That is why I believe every progressive person should put themselves together to
denounce what's going on in Haiti today.

THE U.S.'S RACIST POLICIES TOWARD HAITIAN REFUGEES (TONDREAU)

We should put ourselves together also to denounce the racist policy of the Bush administration
towards the Haitian people living here in the United States. We've been asking for temporary
protective status for the Haitians. In Florida there's only two [refugee groups] that come by boat,
it's Haitians and Cubans. Today it's okay for the Cubans to come, but it's not okay for the
Haitians to come. Today the State Department is telling U.S. citizens not to go to Haiti, but yet
they are deporting Haitians on a daily basis. And I think our voices should make the
difference in denouncing what's going on in Haiti and also what's going on here in the United
States.

Thank you.

[Applause and shouting.]

PRESCOD INTRODUCES IRA KURZBAN

(Kurzban's portion of the event was broadcasted in Los Angeles on Sojourner Truth with
Margaret Prescod (KPFK 90.7 FM) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 and is available at
www.PacificaRadioArchives.org (phone: 1-800-735-0230).)

MARGARET PRESCOD: We have one other speaker, and then we'll get on to the discussion. Ira
Kurzban is a partner in the law firm of Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger and Tetzeli of Miami,
Florida. He's received national recognition for his human rights work in the United States and
abroad. He was the first recipient of the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Award, presented by the Chief
Justice of the Florida Supreme Court for his work in assisting Haitian refugees entering the
United States. He is also the recipient of the Lawyers of Americas Award for his work on behalf
of human rights in this hemisphere given by the University of Miami. In 1986, Mr. Kurzban was
selected by Newsweek magazine, in their commemorative issue on the 100th anniversary of the
Statue of Liberty, as one the 100 American heroes for his work on behalf of immigrants. He was
also named an honorary fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School for his work on
behalf of refugees and immigrants.

He has continued his human rights work abroad through his representation of the government of
the Republic of Haiti until the coup of 2004. As General Counsel in the United States for the
Republic of Haiti from 1991-2004, Mr. Kurzban assisted in major prosecution of human rights
violators in Haiti. He also recovered funds stolen from the Republic of Haiti in a number of cases
against former dictators of that country [raises voice] and was initiating a claim for reparations
against France [applause] at the time of the 2004 coup. [Applause continues for several seconds.]

He's also an adjunct faculty member in Immigration and Refugee Law at the University of Miami
Law School and Nova University School of Law and has lectured and published extensively in
the field. He's the author of Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook, the most widely used
one-volume immigration source in the United States.

And I must say, I had heard of Ira Kurzban, [and] I've interviewed him on the show. He, as I
mentioned earlier, was part of the emergency delegation that went to Haiti attempting to go
to the penitentiary where Prime Minister Neptune is illegally held and on hunger strike. When we
exited the plane, I noticed that Congresswoman Waters stayed on board with Ira, and I thought
it was a security measure. I thought, "Well, the U.S. embassy is here to meet with
Congresswoman Waters, and it's some security thing." After waiting around for some minutes
and finally Ira and Congresswoman Waters emerged from the plane, we were told that the
Latortue regime in Haiti has refused entrance to Ira Kurzban, and no legal reason was given. The
American embassy just said, "Well, it's coming from the highest quarters." Ira Kurzban was
not allowed to travel with us to go to the penitentiary to visit Prime Minister Neptune. He was
escorted back and put on a plane back to Miami. That's how dangerous they consider this man to
be. However, when we returned to Miami, Ira was there to greet us at the airport and to get the
news of what happened.

I'm really delighted to welcome to Los Angeles Ira Kurzban, attorney for President Aristide.
[Applause.]

IRA KURZBAN: Let me first say that when they deported me from Haiti, I said, 'Well, they've
deported Haitians from the United States for years, so it's about time that they evened the score.'
[Laughter.] Except this [deportation] I believe was actually done by the U.S. embassy as much as
the Latortue government.

A MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT ARISTIDE (KURZBAN)

First of all, I just returned from South Africa, and President Aristide has asked me to extend his
greetings and his appreciation for everybody up here and everybody in the audience who has
continued to support democracy in Haiti in a very, very trying time as Pierre and Lucie have told
you. [Applause.] I was very encouraged by my trip to South Africa because as you know,
the South African government recognizes President Aristide as the president and has used their
considerable diplomatic power and support to do everything they can to bring President Aristide
back to Haiti. They are working very closely with other countries in Africa and in the Western
Hemisphere to try and ensure that democracy is returned to Haiti, that we have meaningful
elections in Haiti, and that the president is returned. [Applause.] And we hope that that's going to
happen.

U.S. MEDDLING IN HAITI PRE-2004 (KURZBAN)

Like my friends up here on the panel, this is a very emotional subject for me. I've really spent my
entire career working to try and obtain democracy in Haiti. Obviously the events o
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Part 2 Ross Plesset Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005 at 8:13 AM
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