Aristide, 1 year later

Exclusive Interview with Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Pretoria
By Claude Ribbe

Paris, February 21, 2005

Just a few days before the 1 year anniversary of his controversial departure from Haiti, Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide was willing to give me an exclusive interview in Pretoria in which he explains his situation in South Africa and offers his opinion on events which have taken place in Haiti since he left Port-au-Prince. From this filmed interview I have produced an 11-minute documentary entitled: "Aristide, 1 year later".

Accompanied by his wife and very well protected by South African security services, Mr. Aristide seemingly sound and relaxed, maintains that he was the victim of a "kidnapping", and for the first time explicitly revealed that he was threatened by two French emissaries whose names he did not hesitate to reveal.

A few weeks before his departure, these persons visited him at the National Palace.  According to Mr. Aristide their threat was very blunt: "either you resign or you would be killed!" Mr. Aristide makes it clear that their true intention was to kill him: "I am alive today, but that was not their wish".

Calmly refuting the accusations made against him in numerous media, Mr. Aristide stated that he "was used to this type of defamation where the guilty systematically brandish lies as if one tree could hide the forest"".

Based on reports of humanitarian organizations, Mr. Aristide who proclaims his absolute hostility to violence, elaborated on the 10,000 assassinations perpetrated since his departure and went so far as to speak of a "genocide" against some of those who elected him to power, the excluded who the former colonizers "grudgingly refer to as chimères". According to him just the idea of Haiti's bicentennial created an irrational panic among the countries that had enslaved Africans. And it's from this that emerged all the destabilizing maneuvers that led to his departure, from a misinformation campaign to a veritable media lynching and "character assassination". This well orchestrated operation with the participation of "rebels" as one of the episodes of the plot was financed by an estimated budget of $120 million US dollars.

He sees the "neo-colonial" notion to place Haiti under a protectorate being floated by the former slave powers as ill advised and unreasonable.

He says that "sometimes when one is a racist they believe that Blacks cannot see further than whites.  They are surely mistaken in this view."

For Mr. Aristide, sending French armed forces on Haitian soil on the very year of the bicentennial of the independence of the first Black republic, which successfully resisted napoleon's efforts to reestablish slavery, is an act of pure and simple pathology.

He is certain that not just for the Haitian people but for the 14 countries of Caricom as well as the 53 countries of Africa, which after close to one year have refused to recognize the "defacto government" imposed by foreign powers, he remains the sole guarantor of democracy and the constitution.

Mr. Aristide reminded us that "even though I am not physically in Haiti, I remain the President of the Republic of Haiti". When asked about an eventual return to his country, Mr. Aristide says that he is confident of this and furthermore he is open to dialogue, even with those who are "guilty". He noted that some discussions are actually taking place through the Republic of South Africa and the President of the African Union, Mr. Konare who traveled to Haiti for such discussions on December 16, 2004 at the invitation of the "defacto government".

Mr. Aristide assures us that "I will be in Haiti, at the opportune moment" and "before too long, within the framework of a negotiated agreement, or through dialogue so that free, fair, and democratic elections can be held as mandated in the Haitian constitution."

HLLN Note:  Above is an English translation, done only for HLLN's educational and informational purposes, of an interview by famed Afro-French journalist Claude Ribbe, of President Jean Betrand Aristide where he names two high level French emissaries who threatened him to either resign or get killed. Pres. Aristide again identifies them as French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin's sister, and the French Foreign Minister's appointee, Regis Debray. Click on Video link given below in the French original of the interview and to hear these revelations.


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