In defense of Aristide, From His Attorney Ira Kurzban

President Aritside's attorney Ira Kurzban posted an op-ed in the Miami Herald titled: "In defense of Aristide." Many people read it and commented on it...


Ira Kurzban President Aristide's Attorney

Read what Ira Kurzban had to say and reply with your comments...

Here it is... as posted in the Miami Herald

The Haitian government has issued a diplomatic passport to former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. This is long overdue; Aristide has wanted to return ever since he was forced into exile in 2004. There is no justification for him not to; he is a Haitian citizen, charged with no crime; and the Haitian constitution explicitly prohibits compulsory political exile.

Aristide, The New York Times noted during his first exile (1991-1994), "won Haiti's first and only democratic election overwhelmingly," followed by a "seven-month tenure [that] was marked by fewer human-rights violations and fewer boat people than any comparable period in modern Haitian history." He wants to return home, as a private citizen, and assist in Haiti's relief effort.

He has repeatedly said since 2004 that he wishes to return home to work in the field of education. His two Ph.D.s - one in psychology and the other in African languages - and his history, including seven years teaching in South Africa and the establishment of a medical school and university at the Aristide Foundation are testament to his long involvement in education.

The ball is now in South Africa's court.

Even though Aristide has every right to return under Haitian and international law, documents recently revealed by Wikileaks show that the U.S. and the Brazilian governments have pressured the South African government to keep Aristide there.

The United States imposes its will, as the most powerful nation on Earth, to keep in distant exile the deposed president of one of the weakest. Former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, meanwhile, walks free, gives press conferences and makes ceremonial visits around Haiti.

The return of Duvalier - accompanied by former death squad leader Louis Jodel Chamblain as his security chief - to Haiti last month revealed the stark double standard in U.S.-Haitian relations, one that harkens back to a shameful era, when the U.S. government propped up the brutal Duvalier regimes for decades.

The danger is not only from his impunity, but from the threat of a re-legitimization of Duvalierism.

Haiti now stands on the verge of a precipice; an extreme right-wing political turn - one that openly favors the rich and despises the poor - lies below. The U.S. government is not a neutral spectator to this situation - this is clear from Obama-administration statements more opposed to the idea of Aristide's return than to Duvalier's ongoing presence.

Even worse, the United States has been pressuring the Haitian authorities into arbitrarily allowing kompa singer Michel Martelly (who is known to have supported Duvalier in the past, and who got the support of just 4.5 percent of registered voters) to proceed to an elections run-off against former first lady Mirlande Manigat (who received 6.4 percent support from registered voters).

Considering what is known of the right-wing proclivities of each, this could be akin to Haiti's equivalent of a presidential race between an unpopular Republican and an unpopular tea tarty candidate, with no Democrat allowed to compete.

Contrary to last week's media reports, however, the electoral authorities have not yet made a final decision on the elections runoff. It has now emerged that only half of the Electoral Council members actually signed onto the statement announcing Martelly's advancement; a majority is required.

Ultimately, it is the right of the Haitian people - a right enshrined in Haiti's constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - to decide their own political destiny. New first-round elections, including Fanmi Lavalas and all eligible parties this time, are the only democratic way forward.

Aristide should also be allowed to return to Haiti.

No foreign power - whether the U.S., South Africa, or others - has the right to impede his return. Contrary to what the State Department appears to suggest, by reversing a grave violation of constitutional order when Aristide was ousted, democracy will be strengthened when he comes back, not weakened.

Ira Kurzban was the former general counsel for the government of the Republic of Haiti from 1991 to 2004. He is currently representing former President Aristide.

Not to swing you the wrong way but one person posted the following on the Miami Herald website:

"Like a true dedicated and expensive lawyer, Mr. Kurzban is worth every penny to his client Mr. Aristide. As a Haitian citizen however, I would like for him to answer how much he is getting paid"

LOL... Foget what he said... What do you think?

Reply with your comments

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All Comments (27)

Jeanstm says...

Things are suppose to be like that for Haiti.The world must have a balance.

What aristide is pushing for is a dream..

far from now..

but for now it's ok like that.The way the world system works is country like Haiti has to respected his roll in the game. Promblem is the since of life that's what animated

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Frantz Dorismond says...

since his first tenure in office,
President Aristide had proven that he was an angry individual since the beginning of his residency.

he had threaten

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Frantz Dorismond says...

This is a fact that aristide has the right to go back to to Haiti, as the constitution of 1987 prescribes it, but he should understand that he should face contitutional charges of article (45)of not respecting the judiciary decisions in the Roger Lafontant case and charges of inviting foreign arm forces thru the UN Letters that he sent in 1994 for his return to power under the cover ofrestoring democraty to haiti, as well as facing Muder charge for his neigbor, Mr. Gonzales that didn't want to sell his PROPERTY to him and that, Mr Aristide annexed to his by destroying the border the same day of that man's

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Jean Pierre Alexandre says...

Dr D,
Duvalier(papa doc) was a genius in managing Haiti affairs inland and abroad with the little we believe we had, please with no help from foreigners.

Less than 6 million at that time or 50 million if you want now, did or wouldn't makes no difference when you know about managing.

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Dr. D says...

Let me say that you're quiet a jack ass by comparing the Haiti of the Duvaliers with the Haiti of Mr.Aristide.

When the Duvalier first came to power, there was less than 6 million people in Haiti and most of the population used to reside on the outskirt of the country, proud with what they had to offer to main land. But your big uncle Duvalier senior, in order to celebrate his so called revolution took the peasant from their community, brought them to Port-au-Prince so he can prove his popularity.

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Dr. D says...

Let me say that you're quiet a jack ass by comparing the Haiti of the Duvaliers with the Haiti of Mr.Aristide.

When the Duvalier first came to power, there was less than 6 million people in Haiti and most of the population used to reside on the outskirt of the country, proud with what they had to offer to main land. But your big uncle Duvalier senior, in order to celebrate his so called revolution took the peasant from their community, brought them to Port-au-Prince so he can prove his popularity.

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Bernard says...

Jean Claude left Haiti 26yrs ago, when he left we had an army, we had hospitals that were fully functional, we had a fire dept., we had tourism, we had security, you could walk the streets and not fear being mugged or kidnapped.

what happened to Haiti?

it was under Aristide that tha farmers abadon the land and went to Port au prince and built all those bidonville all around the city, under Aristide Haiti became A CESSPOOL, AN UGLY NATION that no one wanted to visit, while next door the Dominican Republic kept rising in stature.

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Mitch says...

I appreciate your reply and your upward approach towards our situation.

I beg to differ with you in many ways but I will try as much as I can to lift up the dialog in a way that can dignify both of us despite our opposing views.

My understanding of the game is not and should not be a total surrender to what the new colons dictate.

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Dr. D says...

Why are we debating the return of Aristide?

The man was unfairly taking away from his hometown, his country, because he did not allowed the "sans-pideur" bourgeois in Haiti to have their way. Aristide was not perfect, he made plenty of mistake, but somehow i have a deep feeling that he was truly concern about wealth distribution in Haiti and that for me is the key to Haiti's poverty.

Aristide is not the problem of Haiti dear friends, we are. Until we learn to accept each other's choices, likes, way of life etc...., we will not be able to move forward.

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Miejo says...

Ricardo you know that, we must educate the people! with no EDUCATION what do you expect?

we must stand up and educate the hatians and you will see the

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