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Podcast: Haiti's colonial past still burdens


Haiti issueOur current issue takes a look at Haiti two years after the 2010 earthquake. Phillip Wearne, author of its leading article, argues that Haiti’s disastrous humanitarian situation– and any solutions that we find to its problems– can only be understood in the context of its fascinating history. He argues that since Haiti’s revolution made it the first free country in the Americas, it has been the victim of a calculated and concerted effort by colonial powers to undermine the economy and impose foreign domination and that this effort continues today and needs to be stopped before any true progress can be made.

In part one of this special edition of the Radio NI podcast, Phillip joins Mario Joseph, Haiti’s leading civil and human rights lawyer, and Anne McConnell, coordinator of the Haiti Support Group. They will be talking to Nyan Storey about the historical context and root causes of the deprivation we see in Haiti today, and how they should be taken into account in the search for solutions. (In part two, they discuss the problems facing Haiti today, and the solutions available.)

Mario Joseph is the head of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Haiti’s leading organisation of Civil and Human Rights Lawyers. He was the chief prosecutor in the Raboteau Massacre trial in 2000, which led to the conviction of fifty-seven defendants, including the top military and paramilitary leadership of Haiti’s 1991-1994 de facto dictatorship. Mario and the BAI are now involved in litigation involving hundreds of cases of human rights abuses by powerful vested interests against poor and vulnerable people in Haiti.

This podcast will also be an opportunity for listeners to hear the rich and beautiful Haitian language, which is an oft-forgotten achievement of Haiti’s people, and just one part of the identity they forged as they became independent from colonising nations. This will give ordinary Haitians the opportunity to understand the podcast.

This Podcast was made possible by the Haiti Support Group, a leading international advocacy group for Haiti based in London, who have been fighting for the rights of the Haitian People for many years, and will continue to do so. To learn more about the HSG, go to http://www.haitisupportgroup.org/.

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