[News] Haiti - Stop the attacks against the Lavelas Movement
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 29 13:47:29 EST 2014
WE STAND WITH OUR SISTER A STATEMENT FROM HAITI ACTION COMMITTEE
STOP THE ATTACKS ON MYRLANDE LIBERIS-PAVERT AND THE LAVALAS MOVEMENT
On Friday, January 17, it was reported by news agencies that a Haitian
judge investigating the assassination of Jean Dominique, a crusading
Haitian journalist who was killed in 2000, recommended the indictment of
former Senator Myrlande Liberis-Pavert, a founder and former director of
the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, along with eight others.
No legal documents to sustain these charges have been made public. From
press accounts it appears that the only "evidence" in the case is the
testimony of a single informant, a former member of Haiti's security
forces who was convicted on drug trafficking charges in the United
States in 2005.
By contrast, Myrlande Liberis-Pavert, who maintains her innocence, is
one of the most beloved leaders of the Lavalas movement, someone who has
fought for a democratic Haiti, and for the rights of Haitian women and
children, since she was a teenager. We believe the attempt to link her
in any way with the murder of Jean Domenique, a pro-democracy journalist
who was a vocal critic of both the Haitian elite and the U.S. role in
Haiti, is defamation, pure and simple. The attack on her is an attack on
the grassroots movement in Haiti. We denounce it in the strongest
Ms. Liberis-Pavert has dedicated her life to the poor of Haiti. Her
father was murdered by the Tonton Macoutes, the dreaded paramilitary
death squads of the dictator, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. As a
teenager, she was an active member of the congregation at St. Jean
Bosco, a center of Haiti's struggle to end decades of rule by the
Duvaliers and the Haitian military. She was a founding member of SAJ
(Solidarite an jen) the youth movement that helped lead the national
student strike which finally overthrew Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier
Myrlande worked closely with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from
1994-2004 at the palace, and then as the administrator of the Aristide
Foundation for Democracy. An educator throughout her entire adult life,
she founded dozens of schools, administered several literacy campaigns,
and helped open community stores that benefited hundreds of thousands of
people throughout Haiti. She has been a leading advocate for the rights
of women and for women's education and economic empowerment. Ms.
Liberis-Pavert was elected to the Senate in 2000, representing
Port-au-Prince on the Fanmi Lavalas ticket. The target of numerous death
threats, she was forced into exile during the violent 2004 coup that
overthrew the democratically elected Aristide government.
The public defamation of Ms. Liberis-Pavert continues a pattern of
slander and attack aimed at those associated with Fanmi Lavalas. The
goal is to undermine Fanmi Lavalas, the most popular political party in
Haiti, as the country approaches new legislative elections and to
continue to tarnish the image of President Aristide himself.
Since Aristide's return, he has led the reopening of the University of
the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA). On September 26, 2011 the Medical
School once again opened its doors -- this time to a new class of 126
future Haitian doctors. Today, there are over 600 medical students, more
than 200 nursing students and a new group of law students. And this is
just the beginning of a determined initiative to improve health care for
all Haitians, which has become even more urgent now with a cholera
epidemic still sweeping the country.
The Haitian government of Michel Martelly came to power after a staged
"election" in which Fanmi Lavalas was banned from participation.
Martelly has embraced Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the brutal former
dictator, who lives freely in Haiti and recently occupied a place of
honor at the January 1st 2014 Haitian Independence Day celebrations.
Human rights organizations estimate that the Duvaliers -- "Papa Doc" and
"Baby Doc" -- ordered the deaths of 20,000 to 30,000 Haitian citizens
during their 29-year rule. While grassroots leaders and activists are
targeted, "Baby Doc" is allowed free rein in the country he terrorized
for so many years.
Myrlande Liberis-Pavert is our sister. We call on the Haitian government
to end this inquisition against her and the Lavalas movement.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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