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Let Aristide Return!

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Let Aristide Return! - by Stephen Lendman

On February 29, 2004, US marines abducted him at gunpoint, airlifting him forcibly to the Central Africa Republic. It was one of Haiti's darkest moments, losing its beloved leader, reelected President in 2000 with 92% of the vote. For over six years, he's been exiled in South Africa, wants to return, and on January 19, wrote an open letter, thanking his host country and their people for welcoming him hospitably, saying:

Since forcibly abducted, "the people of Haiti have never stopped calling for my return....Despite the enormous (post-quake) challenges that they face....their determination to make the return happen has increased."

"As far as I am concerned, I am ready....today, tomorrow, at any time. The purpose is very clear: To contribute to serving my Haitian sisters and brothers as a simple citizen in the field of education."

Returning is also vital "for medical reasons: It is strongly recommended that I not spend the coming winter in South Africa because in 6 years I have undergone 6 eye surgeries. The surgeons are excellent and very well skilled, but the unbearable pain experienced in the winter must be avoided in order to reduce any risk of further complications and blindness."

Aristide is ready to come any time, and hopes Haitian and South African officials let him. Of course, Washington controls all Haitian affairs. The Bush administration ousted him in 2004, militarily occupied the country with proxy Blue Helmet paramilitaries, banished him abroad, and thus far Obama won't let him back. One word from him changes everything. So far it's not forthcoming.

He's been treated maliciously, victimized by Washington's intolerance to democracy, abroad and at home. It's time public outrage demanded better, including in Haiti, the region's poorest, most oppressed nation, the rights of their people entirely denied, including having their beloved leader back home with them.

New York Times Coverage of Haiti under Aristide

After Washington's February 29, 2004 middle-of-the-night coup ousted him, a Times March 1 editorial lied, saying:

-- he resigned;

-- letting marines abduct him "was the right thing to do;"

-- they only came after "Mr. Aristide yielded power;"

-- he "contributed significantly to his own downfall (because of his) increasingly autocratic and lawless rule;" and

-- he manipulated the 2000 legislative elections and didn't "deliver the democracy he promised."

Malaciously false on all counts. Under Aristide, Haiti had its only freedom since successfully liberated in 1804, turning slaves into citizens for the first time.

On January 19, Times writer Ginger Thompson headlined, "Aristide Says He Is Ready to Return to Haiti, Too," saying:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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