Exiled Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been cleared to move back to his home country, and will be accompanied by actor Danny Glover.
After seven years of exile in South Africa, Aristide will be allowed to return to Haiti after being forced from power during a rebellion in 2004.
Danny Glover, chairman of human rights group TransAfrica Forum, says: “I am going to South Africa to show our solidarity with the people of Haiti by standing at the side of the leader they elected twice with overwhelming support: President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. People of good conscience cannot be idle while a former dictator [Duvalier] is able to return unhindered while a democratic leader who peacefully handed over power to another elected president is restricted from returning to his country by external forces.”
The Haitian people have constantly decried the way then-President Aristide was abducted and removed from the country by powers from outside of Haiti. Haitians have continually called for his return and under Haitian law no Haitian can be in exile. As the nation tries to rebuild from the January 12, 2010 earthquake, it is of paramount importance that citizens of the world support it not just with material assistance but also in strengthening the democratic process.
“Aristide’s return is in the best interest of the people of Haiti. If the United States obstructs the people’s wishes, it will once again be siding with repressive, unrepresentative system. Just as the U.S. administration has belatedly supported the people in North Africa it must now draw the same conclusion in Haiti,” states TransAfrica Forum President Nicole Lee.
South African officials have stated Aristide will return prior to the Haitian elections this weekend. Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s return will further strengthen the democratic process in Haiti not weaken it. It will serve as a reminder to the Haitian people that they have the right to have their democracy truly realized.