A democracy demonstration in Haiti. Photo submitted

Film criticizing Canada’s role in Haiti coming to Nelson

Haiti Betrayed director will be present to answer questions


Amnesty International will be presenting the documentary film Haiti Betrayed on Friday, February 15 at 7 p.m. at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, 701 Ward Street (at Silica).

The Canadian director, award-winning documentary filmmaker and photographer Elaine Brière will be present to answer questions.

The point-of-view documentary tells the story of the rise of a grassroots movement for democracy in Haiti after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, and how Canada became directly involved in the derailment of the movement.

“We never had that democracy,” says Garry Auguste, former member of the Haitian National Police. “It’s like putting a seed on the ground. We never see it grow because someone keeps on coming and steps on it.”

The film shows how Canada, in contravention of international law, allied with the U.S. and France to overturn the democratically elected government in Haiti in 2004. This brought an end to a decade of democracy in Haiti and progressive reforms for the impoverished majority. It was the first time Canada had played a strategic and military role in the removal of a democratically elected government.

“In 2009 I accompanied my partner — Nelson’s David Putt — to Haiti to work on clean water development projects in some of the rawest slums in Port-au-Prince. Like most Canadians, we had bought into the dominant narrative of Haiti as an almost ungovernable, failed state,” says Brière.

“We’d been led to believe that President Aristide’s being sent into exile in 2004 was for Canada only a rescue mission done for humanitarian motives, providing much needed assistance in a sorry Haitian drama.”

They came to learn otherwise.

Entrance is by donation, with a suggestion of $10.

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