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Entrevista exclusiva de Democracy Now! a Jean-Bertrand Aristide

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Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family were flown by the South African government back to their home in Haiti after seven years in exile Earlier last week, just before their journey, President Obama called South African President Zuma to try to prevent the trip. The South African government said they would not bow to pressure. And so, the Aristides boarded the flight in Johannesburg that the South African government provided, and on Thursday night they left for Haiti. In this Democracy Now! exclusive, I was there on the journey through Dakar, Senegal, to refuel, the only reporter on that flight. Today we bring you the first part of our global broadcast exclusive conversation with the former Haitian president as we flew over the Atlantic approaching Haiti. President Aristide, it’s an historic day for you, as we are about to land in Port-au-Prince. You are ending seven days of exile—seven years of exile in South Africa. What are your thoughts as we come closer to your country? I’m sure that the Haitian people are celebrating an historic day, an historic day for themselves, which includes myself. They always said, "Dignity, dignity, dignity." This day brings dignity to them, to the country. When we remember the conditions of our forefathers when they were brought from Africa to Haiti, which was slavery, so no freedom, and they fought to have freedom. Today, the celebration of dignity is also a reflection of freedom, freedom in the mind and the heart, before we have freedom all over the world. The significance of the bridging of these two countries, Haiti and South Africa? You met with President Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, while you were there? We met several times. And the first time we met was when he came out of prison, before the elections took place in 1994 [inaudible] in the U.S., and then I went to South Africa for his inauguration. From that day to today, he remains a great man, not only for South Africa, for Africa and African descendants, but for everybody —a man of dignity who fought for freedom. Democracy Now! was in Haiti the last year, and I was also there in 1995, when you returned to Haiti after the first coup, and remember hearing the news that you were going to dissolve the military. There’s discussion now of restoring the military. What are your thoughts about that? Well, I can, as I said, from my position as a simple citizen, investing in education, continue to talk about human rights. If you are a police, you respect the rights of the people, and the people respect your rights, as well, because you are a human being. With a police force, respecting the rights of the Haitian people, ones who are moving, slowly but surely, from misery to dignity —to poverty with dignity that was a very slow move, from misery to poverty with dignity. But if we decide to go back, when we had an army of 7,000 soldiers controlling 40 percent of the national budget, that would mean we are headed back to misery instead of doing something to move from that misery to poverty with dignity. When we remember how many people were killed by the then-army, do we want to go back to have the same,∏ moving from the same to worse, when we know that the victims are still suffering —the fathers, mothers, friends [inaudible] who were killed? ...and they still don’t have justice. When we teach, when we educate, we focus on human rights, the rights of every single citizen, and we also avoid structures which can violate human rights instead of protecting human rights. The future of Haiti must be linked to the respect of the rights of every single citizen. You’re coming back after seven years of exile that came out of a coup in 2004. I was on the plane with you when the delegation came to the Central African Republic to return you back to the Western hemisphere. At the time, you described it as a U.S.-backed coup, that you were kidnapped. Can you talk about what happened then, what led to your being ousted and in exile from your country? I think the past seven years gave an opportunity to everyone to see the truth, and it became obvious what happened, and everyone who wants to know can see the truth. Those who refuse to see it, I cannot oblige them to see it. When you make a mistake, it’s a mistake. If you decide to continue making the same mistake, then it’s worse. A mistake was made, that was that coup. People who want to make it better must understand that illiterate people are not dumb, the Haitian people are not dumb. The majority of us can be illiterate, but they are bright people. They understand. And we have so many people around the world who also understood what happened. They may not have power to change it, but they know. And what we need now is to put hands together— Haitians, true friends of Haitians all over the world to help Haiti moving from where we are, because where we are seven years after the coup is much more worse than what we had before the coup. So, time is telling us that it was a mistake. We must recognize it, and we must transcend to put hands together and to change life. That’s a must. You said everyone knew what happened. Tell us what happened. Maybe one day I will talk about it, but if you don’t mind, if you allow me, today I would prefer to concentrate and to focus on the positive. The positive is your presence, the presence of the members of the delegations, like Ira Kurzban, who started fighting for the Haitian people years ago; Danny Glover and others. Those who cannot make it, like Representative Maxine Waters, like Randall Robinson and so many others, they want to keep moving forward with the Haitian people. And that positivity can be reflected through their commitment to help Haitians. And Haitians are the first saying, "We are not begging for cents. We are just trying to do our best with dignity and welcoming friends who want to accompany us." So, today, it’s a great day, because this is a day of hope, where we know we should not let people kill our collective hope And we know that with dignity, peace, solidarity, we will move from this great day to a better one. That was former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, on board the plane for his historic return to Haiti. We were about an hour out of Port-au-Prince flying over the Atlantic. To see the full documentation of our trip, you can go to the website

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Democracy Now! Productions
Views: 519
Posted by: democracynowes on Mar 30, 2011

El ex presidente haitiano Jean-Bertrand Aristide y su familia volaron el viernes gracias al gobierno sudafricano de vuelta a su hogar en Haití, tras siete años en el exilio. Poco antes del viaje, el presidente Obama llamó al presidente sudafricano Jacob Zuma para intentar que evitara el viaje. Pero el gobierno sudafricano declaró que no cedería a las presiones, así que la familia Aristide tomó el vuelo en Johannesburgo el jueves por la noche. Amy Goodman, presentadora de Democracy Now!, fue la única periodista que los acompañó durante el viaje.

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