DOZENS of people assembled outside the US embassy in London yesterday to mark the 25th anniversary of the first democratic elections in Haiti.
The event both celebrated the resounding victory of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in December 1990 and told the United States to “get out of Haiti” amid the country’s 2015 elections.
Feminist author Selma James described her meeting with Mr Aristide and his wife on the day of his election, when she happened to be in Haiti.
“Lavalas, their party, means ‘The Flood’,” Ms James told the crowd. “We saw the flood.
“Hundreds and hundreds of people, most of them young people, crowding into the house — before the car arrived, with the car and after the car — and it was an hour or so before he actually could walk from the car to the front door and always with a smile on his face.
“The first thing that Ms Aristide said to me was: ‘This victory — they can’t take it back’.”
The Global Women’s Strike co-ordinator added that the faces of Haitians “bore the stamp of the revolution as if it happened the day before, in fact, as if it was happening on that day.”
She demanded that the US get its hands off Haiti in 2015, where President Michel Martelly now rules after a second coup that deposed Mr Aristide in 2004.
“The debt that we owe to Haiti is an international debt,” Ms James said.
“Defending Haiti, in fighting alongside Haiti, we defend ourselves — we do it for ourselves.”
On the London protest, Global Women’s Strike was accompanied by the All African Women’s Group, the Payday Men’s Network and Caribbean Labour Solidarity (CLS).
“Got to tell the Yankees: Get out of Haiti, get out of the Caribbean, let people have their
destiny,” said CLS president Luke Daniels at the rally.
Haiti’s ongoing parliamentary and presidential elections go into the final round on December 27.
But campaigners have labelled the whole process a sham as the US is accused of having funded the elections with a reported budget of $30 million (£20m).