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General News    H2'ed 11/16/16

Did Trump's Visit to Little Haiti Help Him Win Florida?

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It was the American people's intervention that prevented the annihilation of Trump. Haitian activists were pivotal in this. We ask that Trump do for us what we helped do for him, when he gets into office. He must stop the elitist establishment in Haiti from destroying the people's most popular candidate, whoever that turns out to be on November 20, 2016 in Haiti. ~~Ezili Danto Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

It was the middle of September 2016 and the Haitian Sentinel ran a story about Donald Trump meeting with the Haitian-American community in Miami. Looking back, after an election that has upended both the Republican and Democratic parties, this meeting at the publicly funded Little Haiti Cultural Center was a seminal event that may have had a direct impact on Florida voters.

Trump was well behind in polling and it looked as if his chances of winning the Presidency were slim to none. It seemed an almost futile meeting for the Haitian-American community leaders who welcomed Trump to La Petite Haiti. The former Senate President of Haiti, Bernard Sansaricq, gave an impassioned account of Clinton Foundation abuses in Haiti, including drug money smuggled to lobbyists in cornflakes boxes, while Trump listened quietly. An industrial barrel, painted in the red and blue colors of the Haitian flag, doubled as a table in the front of the small room in the cultural arts center, a few blocks west of Biscayne Boulevard. The setting was a far cry from the opulence of Mar-a-Lago, just a short drive up the coast.

The litany of Clinton Foundation abuses and failures in Haiti were all too familiar for many with knowledge of events since the 2010 earthquake. A plague of cholera, rigged elections, $13 billion in reconstruction aid that vanished, and a gold mining contrac t tied to Hillary Clinton's brother, were well known and well covered even before WikiLeaks exposed the inner workings of the Clinton Foundation. Still, the list of U.S. abuses in Haiti was not resonating with Americans, despite extensive coverage by the "paper of record," the New York Times.

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In a three-sentence comment that reads like a lament, the Haitian Sentinel put the legacy of the Obama/Clinton years and the U.S. installation of Michel Martelly as President on the table.

On the 5th anniversary of the 2010 earthquake, January 12, 2015, Haiti's parliament would fall for not having organized elections to renew lawmakers. Haiti went from a democracy of 5,000 elected officials, to a totalitarian regime ruled by Martelly in just 5 years. Martelly would be ousted without a successor on February 7, 2016 and the facts are, the next United States president, whether it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be sworn-in before Haiti has a legitimately elected president.

Haitian-American activist Ezili Danto thinks the September meeting was the day that Trump was handed the election. In fact, the day before the election, Dantà predicted that Trump would win, despite polls that showed him losing in a landslide. In an interview with Megyn Kelly after the election, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that senior staffers were "the walking wounded," in the last days of the campaign due to the "avalanche" of personal attacks that flowed from the media. Certainly no one, not even the Trump campaign, expected or had predicted the outcome, except for a confident Danto.

So, what happened at the meeting in Little Haiti that opened the door for Trump in the all-important state of Florida so he could go on to win the Electoral College and become the 45th President-Elect of the United States? Did something more, something psychological, influence the electorate referendum against the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the mainstream media, both conservative and liberal? Donald Trump ran under the Republican flag, but he was always closer to Bernie Sanders than Mitt Romney.

Not mincing words, Dantà thinks that Trump's victory was indeed a psychological victory for the Haiti victims of what she calls the triumvirate of the "Bush dynasty, Clintons, and Obama-- going back to the end of the U.S. supported Duvalier regime."

The timeline of Haitian history, beginning with the 1492 landing of Christopher Columbus on the island of Hispaniola is one of occupation and subjugation by foreign powers. Flash forward to "modern" events and 1956 when Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier seized power in military coup and was elected president a year later. By 1964 Duvalier has declared himself "President for life" and established a dictatorship protected by the heinous Tontons Macoutes militia. His son, Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) succeeded him at the ripe age of nineteen and also declared himself president for life.

After Baby Doc fled Haiti in 1986, a governing council replaced him. By 1988 Leslie Manigat became president, but was ousted in a coup led by Brigadier-General Prosper Avril, who installed a civilian government under military control. History may appear tedious but Americans need to understand more than the isolated world they inhabit of like minded "friends" on social media.

The 1990 election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti's first free election put Washington and the administration of George H.W. Bush on edge. Noam Chomsky wrote, "Washington was appalled by the election of a populist candidate with a grass-roots constituency just as it had been appalled by the prospect of the hemisphere's first free country on its doorstep two centuries earlier."

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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