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Canadian Crimes in Haiti: Beyond Complicity

By Fenton, Anthony | Canadian Dimension, September-October 2004 | Go to article overview

Canadian Crimes in Haiti: Beyond Complicity


Fenton, Anthony, Canadian Dimension


In light of the graphic and well documented human-rights reports coming out of Haiti*, the Canadian government has a number of serious questions to answer. Namely, if "order has been restored" since the "resignation" of President Aristide, then why have several thousand Aristide supporters been killed, while tens of thousands more have been forced to flee, forced into hiding, or imprisoned after February 29?

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None of this context has found its way into the corporate media, owing to the general whitewash of Haiti's reality. While the historical record might prove otherwise, it is doubtful that Canada has ever been so heavily implicated in an illegal intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean as it has in the case of Haiti.

On January 17, 2003, Canada hosted a meeting, the "Ottawa Initiative on Haiti," where the coup was discussed and preliminary plans for it were shored up (L'Actualite, March 15, 2003). This meeting was hosted by Denis Paradis, then Minister for Latin America and La Francophonie, and was attended by several high level diplomats from the EU, France, El Salvador, the OAS and the United States. A follow-up meeting, this time with a White House official in El Salvador, was attended by Marc Lortie a couple of months later.

While the Liberals were planning the Haiti coup, they were also debating whether or not to participate in the illegal Iraq war. Evidently, Chretien was "pre-emptively" mending fences over the decision not to participate. All along, the U.S. knew that Canada (and France) would play an instrumental role in their imperial redux into Haiti.

Paul Arcelin, self-styled "intellectual author" behind the "rebel uprising," met with Pierre Pettigrew on February 5, just weeks before the coup. Why was Pettigrew meeting with a known coup-plotter? What was this meeting about? Days after the coup, Arcelin told the Gazette's Sue Montgomery that he had discussed "the reality of Haiti" with Pettigrew, who "promised to make a report to the Canadian government." Pettigrew, who is no stranger to Haiti given that his riding is home to the highest concentration of Haitian-Canadians in the country, had to have known about Arcelin's criminal past. In 2003, Arcelin was arrested along with Guy Philippe for plotting one of several coup attempts. While denying this at the time, and getting released by Dominican authorities, Arcelin admitted to Montgomery that he had for two years been plotting "10 to 15 hours a day" to overthrow Aristide with Philippe.

Not a single mainstream publication has challenged the "official" position on Haiti. Accordingly, the public has no idea of the atrocities being carried out in their names.

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