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Friday, January 15, 2010

Exiled Former Haitian President Aristide Wants to Return to Haiti - Video 1/15/10

Here is video of exiled former Haitian President Jean Bertrand-Aristide today saying he is prepared to return to Haiti and assist the people of the country in dealing with the devastation left by the 7.0 Earthquake that took place there earlier this week. Aristide is currently living in exile in South Africa.
Haiti's former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, exiled after a rebellion against him culminated in US intervention that he claimed was a “kidnapping”, has offered to return to his country.

“As far as we are concerned, we are ready to leave today, tomorrow, at any time to join the people of Haiti, to share in their suffering, help rebuild the country, moving from misery to poverty with dignity,” he said, having called reporters to a hotel next to Johannesburg’s international airport – South Africa offered him a haven after he was ousted in 2004. . . .

But his return is unlikely to be welcomed by the current government of Rene Preval, a former ally of his, and it was not clear whether he was waiting for permission to come back from the authorities, or would travel unilaterally. He declined to take questions after making his announcement.

Mr Aristide, 56, was the Caribbean nation’s first democratically-elected leader, drawing his support from the masses – he is a former priest whose liberation theology struck a chord in the poorest country in the Americas and he is still popular in some quarters.

The ‘offer’ is likely to be seen as opportunistic, particularly as natural disasters have at times been key catalysts for political change – the peace deal between separatist rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh and the central government in Jakarta followed the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, while the Sandinista rebellion in Nicaragua was fuelled by anger over the Somoza government stealing from the relief effort after a devastating earthquake in 1972. . . . MORE
Aristide, a former Catholic Priest, has also been linked to Voodoo worship, which is very prevalent among the people of Haiti. In fact, he declared Voodoo to be an officially recognized religion in 2004:
(Posted 10/1/2003) - In late April, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic priest, declared voodoo an officially recognized religion. It's a move that some Christians in the chronically poor nation of 7.5 million people say is an ominous sign.

"The government said they are going to turn the country entirely to voodoo. The Christians say we are going to turn the country totally to the Lord Jesus Christ," said Jean Berthony Paul, founder of Mission Evangelique du Nord D'Haiti.

The decision means, among other things, that voodoo marriage ceremonies will have equal legal standing. Voodoo venerates a mixture of African gods and Catholic saints and practices spiritism. Haiti ended its recognition of Roman Catholicism as the state church in 1987.

Pastors and missionaries in St. Marc organized a rally on August 14, a key voodoo holiday, to counter the witchcraft they say voodoo involves. Missionaries have also circulated unconfirmed reports that a child was abducted from the town hospital to be made a voodoo sacrifice.

They fear Aristide is planning to renew a 200-year-old national "pact with the devil" on January 1, 2004. Many Haitians credit the country's independence to voodoo. . . . MORE
Somehow, I don't think Mr. Aristide is really what the people of Haiti need to build a strong and prosperous nation.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times did an in-depth report on the role of Voodoo in Haitian Society, and former President Aristide's connection to it back in August of 2003: Haitians Hail the President of Voodoo.

Hat Tip: Free Republic member "caww"


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