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Statement by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Written by Jean Bertrand Aristide
May 31, 2004, South Africa

How grateful we are for this opportunity to thank President Mbeki, the Government and the People of South Africa, and the Member Nations of the Organization of African Union, for writing this new and unforgettable chapter in African history!

(In Zulu)

- Good evening!

- We are happy to be here in South Africa.

- Thank you so much for this warm welcome.

I once again thank the entire Caribbean family, Prime Minister Patterson and the People of Jamaica for hosting us during this past two months. And a special thanks, or - sigila migi migi - to the Central African Republic, the land of zo kwe zo, where we spent the first two weeks in exile. We salute the support of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus in this historical journey.

In the second half of the eighteenth century, the Haitian Revolution led to the emergence of the first Black State in the New World, ending some three hundred years of political monopoly in the Caribbean and marking the beginning of a new era in Caribbean history.

For the first time, Blacks had State Power to make the Caribbean life free, human and acceptable.

The Haitian Revolution was the only successful slave revolution in history.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let us remember this: A good number of the slaves who fought in the Revolution were born here in Africa, had served in African armies prior to their enslavement and arrival in Haiti.

In the decade before the Revolution, French ships had transported over 224,000 slaves from Africa; 116,000 (or 51%) came from the Angolan coast and 55,000 (or 25%) from lower Guinea.

Two hundred years after, we also remember the Father of that Revolution, Toussaint L’ouverture who was arrested and sent to Europe.

Today, instead of Europe, we are welcomed in Africa, our mother continent, our temporary home until we are back in Haiti. Of course, the Haitian situation must be normalized; peace must be restored through democratic order.

The solidarity shared by South Africa, CARICOM and the Organization of African Union to promote peace and democracy in Haiti crystallizes the world-wide African unity that will continue to flourish.

(In Zulu)

- We wish development and success to Africa

- We love Africa!

- Peace to Africa!

Thank you.
Last Updated ( Friday, 04 June 2004 )

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