Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7: A symbol of the rejection of dictatorship

Press release

February 7: A symbol of the rejection of dictatorship

Collectif contre l’impunité/Collective against impunity 

Platform for legal action against ex dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier et al with support from human rights organizations: 

Ecumenical center for human rights (CEDH) 

Kay Fanm (Women’s house)    

Haitian women’s movement for education and development (MOUFHED) 

National human rights network (RNDDH) 

Communication: Centre œcuménique des droits humains (CEDH)

February 7, 1986, when the Duvalier dynasty is overthrown, is the end result of many long and terrible years of struggle that cost the lives of thousands of Haitians.

After the brutal repression of November 28, 1980, which had particularly targeted the press, the population is once more excluded. The flame of resistance is revived in 1984 by young people, in particular those of the city of Gonaïves, who express their rejection of the hereditary presidency and the absolute power that it entails: «Down with poverty for life! Down with unemployment for life ! Down with torture! Down with dictatorship!» It is the outrage of wounded young people that brings the last blows to a regime which still dares to transform the only library in a city into barracks for the Tonton macoutes. 

The rejection of impunity, for the crimes perpetrated against three schoolboys, Jean-Robert Cius, Makenson Michel, and Daniel Israël, shot down during the November 28 1985 demonstrations in Gonaives, spearheads riots throughout the country. «The criminals who murdered the three boys should be arrested, tried and condemned as well as those who ordered to open fire on the population, even if it is one of the highest authorities of the State.»

These young people aspired to finally «see duvalierism uprooted forever.»

28 years after this victory over terror and obscurantism, it is again necessary to confront and stop the official return of duvalierism. It is again necessary to fight the will to ensure impunity for those who imposed silence and fear on our land, for those who systematically put in place that diabolical machine to  degrade, torture, assassinate, violate, exile, dispossess, and make so many disappear. They want to make today’s young people believe that the so called «Duvalierist revolution» was carrying ideals of freedom, fulfillment and progress. They want to disguise history in claiming that the regime ─anchored in the arbitrary, in savage brutality, oppression, the cult of personality, the domestication of the institutions and terror─ was no different than any government. 

The Collective and others, here in Haiti and elsewhere, are determined to continue to reject the unacceptable. In the name of truth and justice; in memory of our innumerable victims; in homage to the resistance of all the young people who, throughout these 29 years of dictatorship, went to the frontline to defend our right to freedom. To reject the unacceptable is to keep alive the spirit of February 7. 

Duvalierism was a tragedy for Haiti!  Impunity cannot be the destiny of Haiti!

Port-au-Prince, February 7, 2014

Daniele Magloire