Open letter to Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Califo

Fritz J. Pierre - April 3 2009, 12:36 AM

Barbara Lee, California Congresswoman
US House of Representatives
2444 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

From: Fritz J. Pierre
PO Box 26812
Tucson, AZ 85726
Email: fritzjpi at

Honorable Congresswoman,

On behalf of the proud people of Haiti, I thank you for the interest you have always shown to this country which is the Champion of Freedom in comparison to the USA which is the Champion of Democracy.

I am also grateful for your sponsorship of the Bill initiated by your colleague, Congresswoman Maxine Walters, to the House in favor of Haiti which has been hit successively by four devastating hurricanes not long ago.

So far from my native land, I have always been interested to know what is going on in Haiti, this country with which I share a visceral connection.

A few weeks ago I was surfing the Net and stopped my browser on a Haitian site In its news page of February 6th, 2009 mentioned a Bill that you initiated on January the 28th of this year to the House of Representatives.

You have proposed to set a commission in order to inquire among other objectives the role played by the US Government in the resignation of the Haitian president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, in February 2004. wrote that your initiative is supported by the following democratic Representatives: Dennis J. Kurinick of Ohio, Charles B. Rangel of New York, Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania, Corrine Brown of Florida, Donald Payne of New Jersey, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and Mike Honda of California.

In the same paragraph stated that among the supporters of your Bill some are known for having particular ties with the former president Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Furthermore, wrote that your Bill directly named the departure of President Aristide as a coup and consequently you have proposed a commission of ten members who will be chosen by the leaders, Democrats and Republicans from the House of Representatives, to carry out the investigations.

The work of the above mentioned commission should not last more than 18 months.

This is in short a partial extract of the news page of dated February 6th, 2009.

Honorable Congresswoman Lee, giving is a very good thing but knowing what to give and when to give is a different thing.

Your support of the Bill initiated by Congresswoman Maxine Walters was a very good thing.

But a few months after that and knowing how devastating the four hurricanes were for some Haitian communities, you asked for such a commission of investigations, I think the timing is bad and the purpose can not serve the Haitians who need everything now to live worthily.

It is known that the "big countries do not have friends; they have only interests".

Ironically Haiti is a small country and when this Lady gives she gives generously without any interest.

Even the USA has benefited from the generosity of Haiti.

Many free slaves from Haiti participated in the battles for America's independence.

They fought in Savannah and many of them paid the supreme price.

They died for that independence that Americans are so proud of. Less than tree decades later, the slaves of Haiti realized a prowess themselves in defeating the most powerful army on earth at this time, the French army of Napoleon and to declare their independence on January 1st1804.

In certain ways, I can say, Haiti was betrayed by its friend.

America maintained commercial trade with Haiti but refused to recognize Haiti's independence.

In abolishing slavery Haiti became a "bad example" for slave holding countries, among them the USA. Also, the USA did not want to annoy France which had just lost its most prosperous colony, Haiti named at this time " La Perle Des Antilles---The Pearl of the West Indies".

The Haitian independence is one of the reasons that pushed France to sell Louisiana to the USA. Nevertheless, we had to wait almost sixty years to see the great American President Abraham Lincoln grant Haiti diplomatic recognition.

He sent Fredric Douglas to Haiti as his Consular Minister in 1862.

After its independence the generosity of Haiti went to the South American continent.

The president Petion welcomed with open arms in Haiti two noted abolitionists Bolivar and Miranda.

In order to free, among other countries, Venezuela and Colombia the Haitian president, who was a genial military strategist, advised Bolivar and Miranda, gave them money, weapons, and soldiers without asking anything in return.

I am not a historian, not a diplomat; I am a sociologist who tries to explain some collective behaviors or some events from their causes or motivations.

In an operational language, we call the causes independent variables and the events or effects dependent variables.

But in social science the same causes do not produce exactly the same events or effects.

Between the causes and the events or effects many other factors can appear to modify what we could expect.

When those factors appear we call them intervening variables.

In my understanding three independent variables determine the American diplomacy towards Haiti.

The three American motivations relative to Haiti are: 1) interests, 2) geo-strategy, 3) the Monroe Doctrine.

From those components it is easy to comprehend the American diplomacy towards Haiti.

In 1804 the American government had more interest to be friends with France than to recognize Haiti as an independent country.

In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson ordered the US marines to occupy Haiti for geo-strategic reasons.

The Haitian President Francois Duvalier ruled Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. That corresponds also to a segment of the cold war period.

Francois Duvalier took advantage of this period to establish a dictatorial regime in Haiti and to eliminate physically his political opponents in making them appear as "communists".

Because the opponents were "communists" Duvalier had the power to kill them freely and the US administrations did nothing to stop the atrocity in its own backyard.

Probably Duvalier was defending the interests of America, indeed Champion of Democracy.

When Francois Duvalier died in 1971 his nineteen year old son Jean Claude succeeded him and maintained the power until February 1986. A period of unrest and instability has followed with military coups, bloody aborted elections, ephemeral governments, embargo that has impoverished the Haitian middle class and rivalries among the international community.

We had to wait until 1996 to see Preval inaugurated as president and finish his five year term in 2001. Aristide came to power a second time. His re-election was a little bit tinted, suspect, and most of the political parties in Haiti disputed his legitimacy.

There was even a parallel government in Port-au-Prince in order to contest Aristide's power.

Later on the majority of the middle class, the college students, the upper class, and the disbanded Haitian army wanted to remove Aristide.

Even on the "sacred day" of the Haitian Bicentenary of Independence, January 1st, 2004, people were on the street asking Aristide to leave.

Soldiers of the Haitian army that Aristide had disbanded during his first presidency rearmed themselves and occupied many important police stations.

Some troops were marching upon the Capitol and Aristide resigned on February the 28th, 2004. Did the president resign voluntarily or was he forced to resign?

I do not know. Was there a coup?

I do not know.

Only one thing I know for sure, President Aristide made a monumental mistake.

His sin could not be redeemed.

His request could have a domino effect.

The Haitian president had the courage to ask the French administration of Jacques Chirac to give back to Haiti the colossal fortune of 150 million francs that France took from Haiti as indemnity for its independence.

That was happening in 1838 and Haiti spent decades paying this indemnity to France.

In this situation Haiti could not allocate any money to its development.

That was a pity! In asking France for restitution of the money to Haiti Aristide had the rashness to open Pandora's Box and to close it France had to get rid of Aristide.

At this junction the Monroe Doctrine finds its application: "The American continents belong to America".

So, France could not invade Haiti in order to oust Aristide.

Now Honorable Congresswoman, you can guess the rest on your own. But if you need a hint begin your investigation by asking questions to the former French administration because in 2004 I was living in Haiti and I had the necessary background to understand what was happening.

Before I leave you Honorable Congresswoman Lee, let me thank you again for your interest in Haiti which is needy for real friends and I know you are one of the few. It is not necessary to remind you of the situation in Haiti, perhaps you know it better than me now. What I know is Haiti is currently like a moribund.

This proud and generous Lady is dying and she needs some intensive care. Haiti does not need anybody to do anything for its past sometimes glorious sometimes painful.

The sons and daughters of Haiti are interested in what can be done to save their mother Haiti and not in the proposal you have initiated in the House last January.

A commission of ten members like you have proposed to work for 18 months will cost too much money to the American tax-payers.

The investigations to bring to light the circumstances of President Aristide's departure and the Bush administration's involvement in that same departure will not be profitable for Haiti and will not be profitable for the new American administration either.

President Obama wants to look forward and he wants to focus on things that the American People really want and for which they have voted for last November.

Our confidence in President Obama is complete and it is our obligation as "black people" to help him succeed and when the time for evaluation comes the critics and later on the historians will see him not as the first black American president but as a great and excellent American President.

My Regards,

Fritz J. Pierre

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