Ezili Danto

Ezili Danto
August 01
Ezili Dantò is an award winning playwright, a performance poet, author and human rights attorney. She was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in the USA. She holds a BA from Boston College, a JD from the University of Connecticut School of law. She is a human rights lawyer, cultural and political activist and the founder and president of the Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN). She runs the Haitian Perspectives on-line journal and the Ezili Dantò Newsletter. Ezili’s HLLN is the recognized leading and most trustworthy international voice in Haiti advocacy, human rights work, Haiti news and Haiti news analysis. HLLN’s work is central to those concerned with the welfare of the people of Haiti, Haiti capacity building, sovereignty, institutionalization of the rule of law, and justice and peace without occupation or militarization. Ezili Dantò is also an educator who specializes in teaching about the light and beauty of Haitian culture; the Symbolic and Archetypal Nature of Haitian Vodun; the illegality and immorality of forcing neoliberal policies on Haiti and the developing world... Since the UN-imported cholera outbreak on October 2010, Ezili' HLLN has insisted that environmental clean-up, clean water and sanitation are the only permanent solution to stop the UN cholera spread. Zili Dlo is a humanitarian project that provides free clean water. For more go to the Ezili Danto/HLLN websites at http://www.ezilidanto.com/ and http://www.ezilidanto.com/zili

FEBRUARY 10, 2010 4:04PM

Haiti has its own rebuilding plan:US/UN Stop blocking Relief

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US must STOP blocking Haitian relief : 80% of Haiti's population live OUTSIDE of Port au Prince: Haiti is not the Republic of Port au Prince where the internationals congregate. Haiti already has its own REBUILDING plans

Democracy Now interview with Danny Glover: Former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide “Mystified” at U.S. Resistance to His Return , Feb. 10, 2010 (mp3)
Video - Press Conference:
If Obama can do it why can't Preval? (Text)
by Kevin Pina, HIP, Feb. 9, 2010

Haiti has its own rebuilding plans: The US/UN Stop blocking Haitian Relief

As we examine this rush to rebuilt DESTROYED Haiti, let's remember the earthquake destroyed 70% of Port au Prince but 90% of Leoganes and Petit Goaves. All eyes are on Port au Prince in a way it never was when Gonaive was destroyed TWICE, once in 2004 and then in 2008. Why? Because Port au Prince is where the major government offices, the foreign embassies, Haiti universities and, especially the Haitian Oligarchy and 45,000 US foreign nationals and other foreign nationals congregate.

But, as the media drenches itself in their "Haiti is destroyed, needs complete rebuilding" sensationalist spiel. Let us remember Haiti is NOT buildings. Haiti's soul is its PEOPLE, it's history, its culture of resistance and resilience. Haitians are historically immune to adversities. Always have been. Nou La! And we're still here.

Yes with an unthinkable, gut-wrenching half-a-million people probably crushed to death by the earthquake. Yes some have lost all their family, friends, work colleagues. Yes, and with another 500,000 living, breathing suffering Haitians in desperate, desperate need of medical attention and over 1 million displaced and in need of water, food, shelter, nurturing, medical and trauma counseling. But Haiti is all its people. It's not foreigners, foreign embassies, foreign NGOs, UN programs, USAID's vision for Haiti, their media spins, self-serving narratives and constant stories of Haitian corruption as if Haiti's corruption was somehow worst than US or European government corruption.

Families outside of Port au Prince ARE taking in their relatives from Port au Prince. Out of 10 million, there are two and a half million shattered sentient beings in Port au Prince, but 8 million Haitian people outside of Port au Prince are very much ALIVE and right at this very moment, rebuilding their families, re-uniting separated souls and ready to take in whatever humanitarian help comes from compassionate people who want to help them help themselves to recover and REBUILD a new Haiti. A Haiti where people don't go hungry and foreign policy doesn't strum dependency and destroy the people's voice in their own democracy.

Why is everyone rushing to ignore these Haitians?

They are competent, alive and more motivated than any international saviors, than the UN, than Paul Farmer, than Bill Clinton, than George Bush, than the Red Cross, Americares, World Vision, World Food Aid Program, CARE International, et al. With the little they have, they are already taking care of their own and themselves, as usual.

In all these "marshall plans," all these plans, plans, plans for rebuilding Port au Prince, WHERE are the Haitians of Kafou, Site Soley, La Saline, Croix Des Bourquet, Leoganes, Petit Goaves, Cap Haitian and the rest of Haiti who've been pushing to change the paradigm for Haiti WITHOUT militarization, without foreign ownership, without NGO charity dependency, without foreign meddling, for decades after decades? Where is the Haiti who only wants solidarity of its more powerful neighbors, not paternalism. Where is the re-memberment of no less than two centuries resistance to Western re-colonization and becoming a US/France client state?

Where is the acknowlegement that the forcibly removed, democratically elected president of Haiti , along with Haitians, from all the professions, already HAVE put together a plan for a private/public partnership to REBUILD Haiti, back when Haiti was free and that said information is outlined, as well as, what Haiti's resources/riches are to finance this rebuilding, in a book called "Investing In People: Lavalas White Book under the direction of Jean-Betrand Aristide (Investir Dans L'Humain)? (See, Oil in Haiti, the economic reason for occupation  and, Ezili's HLLN 14-Points for the Voiceless in Haiti: Sovereignty, Disaster relief, Rebuilding with Dignity and Human Rights.)

Four million Haitians abroad should NOT be blocked because the United States has unilaterally decided to use the occasion of the earthquake to take over Haiti's ports, airports and stop commercial flights into Haiti for its own purposes. This hinders these millions upon millions of Haitians abroad from entering Haiti with resources, authentic and DIRECT help for their families, their people, their homeland.

Those displaced and those taking on relatives in their outback hometowns ought to be assisted and empowered, not prevented from seeing their own flesh and blood with more resources who want to go to Haiti and help them without military guns in their faces, US draconian policies preventing legal residents from leaving Haiti and especially without the disrespect of occupation in Dessalines' land.

Haiti has no major security issue and doesn't need 20,000 US soldiers. The militarization of Haiti and emergency relief must end. Haiti sovereigny and Haitian self-determination respected. The blockage by the US of Haitians entering Haiti MUST stop. 80% of Haiti's populations live OUTSIDE of Port au Prince. Haiti is not the Republic of Port au Prince where the internationals congregate.

Here are articles and critical statements from these articles to underline these points. See below and at, With capital in ruins, northern Haiti struggles ; Danny Glover on DemocracyNow -Former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide “Mystified” at U.S. Resistance to His Return ; and, If Obama can do it then why can't Haiti's Preval?; The Kidnapping of Haiti by John Pilger; and, “Haiti: Killing the Dream”: Excerpt of Documentary on Centuries of Western Subversion of Haitian Sovereignty. Listen to excerpt of Democracy Now, Feb. 10, 2010 coverage.

"if Obama could reach across party lines to invite Clinton and Bush to work for Haiti during this crisis, then why can't Preval do the same by inviting Aristide to return? (If Obama can do it then why can't Haiti's Preval?);

" Before the earthquake, Port-au-Prince absorbed masses of impoverished Haitians who left the outlying provinces in search of better economic opportunities; it also attracted thousands of students and fortune seekers. Now, many of those same people are returning home en masse...Families are generous ... they share what they have...Even if the house is small, they always find a place to put someone affected by the catastrophe." (With capital in ruins, northern Haiti struggles.)

"...there’s a stalemate right now as to why he can’t return in some capacity. Wouldn’t it be—wouldn’t it be, I think, appropriate for him to be there at this particular moment, as the Haitians go through this suffering, but also to be—in some capacity, work with the reconstruction of Haiti, as well? You know, we know that at some point there has to be some unifying force. The government has been devastated by this. The government also only receives a small portion of the aid money that goes there. Less than a cent, that it goes there...

But I think it’s very key that there’s a plan for Haiti. And we have to begin to—as progressives and people who are concerned about Haiti and have been concerned about Haiti, we have to begin to build some sort of consensus, a movement around the Haiti that the Haitians envision. The plan is not what the Haitians envision. Of course, it’s never been what the Haitians envision, from the outset of its independence. But we must be there to support what their plan is. And certainly, their plan is a plan in which there’s reconstruction where Haitians participate in that.

We’re not past the immediate crisis. There’s no doubt about that. People are still without food, without water, without—you have the rains coming. You have the potential of hurricanes coming. All those things. Real soon. We’re not past that. It’s important for us to kind of continue, to begin to lobby, to pressure Congress, to—and John Conyers has been very good, and members of the Black Caucus are very good. Maxine Waters has been very good—to pressure them to make sure that the Haitians’ voice is in the process, this building process. Not only that, but those needs, those needs that are met, the immediate needs, medical needs, etc., are dealt with. You know, we do not want the militarization of Haiti. We do not see a Haitian as a protectorate where it relinquishes its own sovereignty. The important thing is that Haitians be a part of this whole process. And certainly, my opinion—and I’m saying my opinion—President Aristide, or should one say Father Aristide, however you want to put it, has a central role and a key role to play in that process...(Danny Glover on DemocracyNow -Former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide “Mystified” at U.S. Resistance to His Return ); and,

"...The theft of Haiti has been swift and crude. On 22 January, the United States secured “formal approval” from the United Nations to take over all air and sea ports in Haiti, and to “secure” roads. No Haitian signed the agreement, which has no basis in law. Power rules in an American naval blockade and the arrival of 13,000 marines, special forces, spooks and mercenaries, none with humanitarian relief training.

The airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is now an American military base and relief flights have been re-routed to the Dominican Republic. All flights stopped for three hours for the arrival of Hillary Clinton. Critically injured Haitians waited unaided as 800 American residents in Haiti were fed, watered and evacuated. Six days passed before the US Air Force dropped bottled water to people suffering thirst and dehydration.

The first TV reports played a critical role, giving the impression of widespread criminal mayhem. Matt Frei, the BBC reporter dispatched from Washington, seemed on the point of hyperventilation as he brayed about the “violence” and need for “security”. In spite of the demonstrable dignity of the earthquake victims, and evidence of citizens’ groups toiling unaided to rescue people, and even an American general’s assessment that the violence in Haiti was considerably less than before the earthquake, Frei claimed that “looting is the only industry” and “the dignity of Haiti’s past is long forgotten.” Thus, a history of unerring US violence and exploitation in Haiti was consigned to the victims...." (The Kidnapping of Haiti by John Pilger.)

"...These people are too dumb to write their own Constitution, I have to do it for them...- Franklin D. Roosevelt (“Haiti: Killing the Dream”: Excerpt of Documentary on Centuries of Western Subversion of Haitian Sovereignty , Listen to excerpt of Democracy Now - Feb. 10, 2010 coverage.)

Ezili Dantò of HLLN
February 10, 2010

Haiti Documentary - Nou Pito Mouri Kampe (We Would Rather Die Standing)

With capital in ruins, northern Haiti struggles
By David Agren
Catholic News Service, Feb. 10, 2010

MILOT, Haiti (CNS) -- Fresnel Vildor studied civil engineering in Port-au-Prince until the Jan. 12 earthquake leveled his private university. His "well-built" home withstood the magnitude 7 quake, but he was left with no place to study, no food, no water and no money.

After five desperate days and no signs of imminent improvement in Port-au-Prince, he boarded a bus with more than 100 other passengers for a 24-hour trip -- nearly three-times the usual duration -- to his hometown, Milot, in northern Haiti.

Vildor arrived with nothing more than the clothes on his back, but he considered himself lucky: He was able to move in with his parents and five siblings.

"For me, things are OK," Vildor said. "Some friends in Port-au-Prince that had their businesses and houses destroyed; they're in tough shape."

Vildor was among the masses fleeing Port-au-Prince for the outlying provinces in the days and weeks after the earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital.

The earthquake left little damage in northern Haiti, but prompted an influx of injured, homeless and unemployed former residents of Port-au-Prince, along with those who have family ties to the region.

That influx has strained scant resources and incomes in a part of the country that has long been neglected by the central government and has been heavily dependent on Port-au-Prince to provide both public- and private-sector services.

"We have many people coming from Port-au-Prince to our diocese ... and we don't know how long they will stay," Bishop Chibly Langlois of Fort Liberte told Catholic News Service.

How long those people stay depends on the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince, a city that has so dominated national life that trips to the capital are necessary to carry out routine bureaucratic procedures such as obtaining a passport.

Before the earthquake, Port-au-Prince absorbed masses of impoverished Haitians who left the outlying provinces in search of better economic opportunities; it also attracted thousands of students and fortune seekers.

Now, many of those same people are returning home en masse. The exact size of the influx and the impact on northern Haiti has been hard to gauge, however.

Jean-Bernard Simonnet, owner of Cormier Plage resort, said the influx of people and the collapse of the capital has led to shortages of some food items and fuel and complicated routine business procedures, such as banking, in the north. Prices for many items have increased, and the already high unemployment rate is expected to skyrocket, he said.

Bishop Langlois said shortages of food already were "the big problem" in his diocese before the earthquake; international aid programs had been responsible for feeding many of the hungry in northern Haiti. The earthquake, he said, only worsened the food situation.

"For some families, they don't have the ability to welcome so many people and now they have to give them food," Bishop Langlois said.

Father Joachim Roboam Anantua, a parish priest in Milot, described a similar situation in his community. He said local Caritas chapters had recently received additional food aid to distribute from Catholic dioceses in the Dominican Republic and international aid organizations, "but it's still not enough."

"We need more food, more clothes, more materials of any kind," he said.

With the central government in ruins and much of the international relief efforts focused on Port-au-Prince, Father Roboam said family has become a safety net for millions of Haitians.

"Families are generous ... they share what they have," Father Roboam said. "Even if the house is small, they always find a place to put someone affected by the catastrophe."

Nicolas Antoine, who works as a tour guide in Milot, said his family took in a relative from Port-au-Prince.

"There's the same amount of food, but now there's an extra person," he said.

Vildor, the engineering student, said food has not been an issue for his family. But he, like many Haitians, said his life is on hold as he awaits news if private universities will reopen, allowing him to complete the single semester remaining in his engineering studies.

"It doesn't depend on me," he said. "It depends on the owner of the university."



If Obama can do it then why can't Haiti's Preval?
by Kevin Pina, HIP, Feb. 9, 2010

Port au Prince, Haiti - HIP — Haiti’s monument to the constitution is a tall black shiny obelisk that sits on Rue Capois down the street from the Le Plaza Hotel where most of the upscale journalists including CNN stay while in Haiti. Jean-Bertrand Aristide inaugurated the monument in 2002 during a very different time in Haitian history. It would have been unthinkable to have nearly 20,000 US Marines in the country authorized to shoot to kill even during a national crisis such as this. One frail and elderly woman forced to live among hundreds of thousands of people in makeshift camps that have sprung up throughout the capital since the January 12 earthquake explained, “If Titid [Aristide] were here it would be different. They wouldn’t need all those soldiers. He would come down here with us…to be with us and we’d have food and water. He would work with us with his own hands to clean this mess up.”

February 7 is an auspicious date in Haiti history. It was on that day in 1991 that Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was sworn into office. He became the country’s first and thus far last head of state to realize the dreams of the poor majority to have one of their own in the seat of power. Aristide’s February 7 inauguration has been celebrated ever since even at the cost of lives as during the time of the Latortue regime following the second coup against his government in 2004. Haiti’s president was ultimately forced to accept refuge in the Republic of South Africa at the invitation of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki and he continues to live there today.

So it was no accident that in the midst of the mounting human toll and suffering resulting from the quake that the people of Cite Soleil held a press conference on Sunday, February 7, 2010 in front of the monument of the Haitian constitution. While denouncing the corruption surrounding the distribution of aid their central message was to ask that Jean-Bertrand Aristide be allowed to return from exile in South Africa to participate in the reconstruction of Haiti. They asked a very simple but poignant question, if Obama could reach across party lines to invite Clinton and Bush to work for Haiti during this crisis, then why can't Preval do the same by inviting Aristide to return? It’s a question that’s certain to continue to circulate and resonate in these massive makeshift camps of the hundreds of thousands of homeless masses especially as Haiti’s rainy season approaches and the fear of mounting disease continues to grow.

©2010 Haiti Information Project


Actor, Activist Danny Glover: Former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide “Mystified” at U.S. Resistance to His Return

Actor, activist, and TransAfrica forum chair Danny Glover joins us just after returning from South Africa where he met with the ousted former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Glover reports Aristide wants to come back to his country five years after his ouster in a U.S.-backed coup, but the Obama administration hasn’t dropped the U.S. stance of blocking Aristide’s return to the Western hemisphere. (Click here for complete article.)



The Kidnapping of Haiti by John Pilger, Jan. 28, 2010

Forwarded Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

Haiti: Killing the Dream”: Excerpt of Documentary on Centuries of Western Subversion of Haitian Sovereignty

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