If Duvalier Can Return to Haiti, Why Can’t Aristide?

If Duvalier Can Return to Haiti, Why Can’t Aristide?

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Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, whose return to Haiti is demanded daily by his people – he was kidnapped Feb. 29, 2004, in a U.S.-engineered coup and has since lived in South Africa – wrote the following letter to the South African and Haitian governments seeking to return home. But, asks Ezili Danto, who forwarded his letter, “If Duvalier can, without trouble, travel on an EXPIRED Haitian passport, why can’t President Aristide do the same?”

Whereas Haitian authorities have refused to renew the passport of President Aristide, they renewed the passport of deposed dictator Jean Claude Duvalier without opposition in 2005. It has since expired. (See “Haiti – Politic: The Haitian government refuses to renew the passport of Aristide.”)

I would like to thank the government and the people of South Africa for the historic hospitality, deeply rooted in Ubuntu, extended to my family and me.

Since my forced arrival in the Mother Continent six and a half years ago, the people of Haiti have never stopped calling for my return to Haiti. Despite the enormous challenges that they face in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, their determination to make the return happen has increased.

As far as I am concerned, I am ready. Once again I express my readiness to leave 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.

The return is indispensable, too, for medical reasons: It is strongly recommended that I not spend the coming winter in South Africa because in six years I have undergone six 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.

So, to all those asking me to return home, I reiterate my willingness to leave today, tomorrow, at any time. Let us hope that the Haitian and South African governments will enter into communication in order to make that happen in the next coming days.

United to the Haitian people, once again my family and I express our sincere gratitude to the government and the people of South Africa.”