“We never had that democracy. It’s like putting a seed on the ground. We never see it grow because someone keeps coming and steps on it.”
Garry Auguste, former member, Haitian National Police
Haiti Betrayed reveals how Canada colluded with the United States and France to topple the democratically elected government of Haiti. Seven years in the making, Brière’s film meticulously reconstructs Canada’s role in the coup d’état of February 29, 2004, the immediate bloody aftermath and the manipulated elections that followed.
Haiti became the world’s first independent black republic in 1804. It presaged the modern human rights movement by ending slavery following the final defeat of Napoleon’s army of reoccupation.
In February, 2004 Haitians were celebrating the bicentennial of that extraordinary achievement when the US, Canada and France landed troops in Haiti. They removed the president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, in a pre-dawn raid on his home and exiled him to Africa. The elected legislature was also eliminated. This is the first time Canada has played a strategic and military role alongside the U.S. in the removal of a democratically elected government.
Against great odds, Haitians elected three broadly popular governments between l991 and 2004. These governments improved health, education and the rule of law even while under siege by powerful local elites and their US and Canadian allies.
Haiti Betrayed tells the story of a countrywide people’s movement for a more just and equitable society. It is a searing indictment of the role of Canada in derailing that movement and the aspirations of Haitians for a better life.
Haiti is in the throes of a popular uprising against the corrupt and authoritarian current government, installed with the support of Canada and the US. Brière’s film reveals that the seeds of the current crisis were sown in the coup d’état backed by Canada seventeen years ago, part of a long history of foreign interference in Haiti.
Elaine Brière / Haïti / 2019 / 90′
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