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7822: A Letter From Michèle Montas to her Late Husband, Jean , Dominique (fwd)
From: Max Blanchet <firstname.lastname@example.org>
BROADCAST BY RADIO HAITI ON MAY 3, 2001
May 3, 2001
An open letter to my husband, Jean Léopold Dominique
Good morning Jean,
A year ago, we resumed our broadcasting after one month of silence, because
we had promised you this on that terrible 3rd of April.
Yes, we had promised you, we the survivors, to continue your work, we had
promised to check your murderers, promised to keep standing this station
that you had so painfully and passionately built amidst gunfire and exile
but also through the new discovery of people and things, which was your
This morning, May 3 2001, International Day of Freedom of the Press, I know
that you would have taken stock of events as you did periodically in order
to mark our periods of confusion and disarray.
One year after your assassination, where are we?
For many months, just as they did with you each morning, people whom I do
not know and who do not know me have been calling me daily to comment on
current events and express their confusion and disarray with the same words
as if they were a leitmotiv, "This is why they killed Jean. Had he been
alive, this would not be happening."
Have they assassinated you because you were able to put your fingers in the
wound of the real crises? Have they assassinated you because you were
unmasking the actors of a false political crisis, made up of a fierce battle
for power at any price in which all means and low blows are acceptable?
You had already dismissed the masks of this false crisis, denouncing certain
disastrous human and strategic choices made within the Fanmi Lavalas party,
which systematically excluded people from the broader Lavalas movement, MOP,
PLB or the independent sectors, who might have ensured that the critical
serum of participation, justice and transparency would continue to irrigate
a movement which, in 1990, was the hopes of hundreds of thousands of
Haitians. In the meantime - to be sure since 1996 - there has been the
venom of betrayals and suspicions. But the dangers that you had stressed
would result from a short-term strategy aiming at the blind conquest of
power while systematically pushing aside the agenda of real change have led
to what you had predicted - yes, at the time, they had called you a
Cassandra. Today, a political party theoretically controlling the totality
of power, from the ASECS to the presidency, sees its hold over the state
apparatus challenged by opposition political parties with a meager capacity
to mobilize and organize and which are betting more on the support of the
international community than on their own political strength. Yet, a more
fundamental challenge is emerging from the diverse fissures that threaten to
cause the implosion of the party in power.
Paradoxically, as in the case of OPL before them, after having obtained
elected posts in the context of a movement's victory, certain senators,
deputies or mayors from Lavalas are flexing their muscles and testing their
capacity to block government action by using a few screaming individuals and
burning tires - allegedly to intimidate the opposition, but in reality to
scare the government. In a weak State, incapable of providing the most
elementary services for the population, they are illustrating their capacity
to create chaos in the city and to withdraw at will their paid screamers.
Their capacity, as well, to immobilize parliament at will by making it
impossible to achieve a quorum, as in the good old days of the politics of
the vacant chair. Certain recently-registered events were directly
encouraged, it is reported, by the government to counter the opposition, as
in Hinche in order to stop a demonstration by a solid peasant organization,
Yet, how do we explain the violent deployment of popular organizations, when
a Convergence demonstration was barely able to turn out a few dozen
demonstrators in front of the OAS offices in Pétionville? Are we talking
about members of Fanmi Lavalas in the pay of the Convergence, are we
witnessing an attempt to silence all critical discourse, or is it the
stupidity of small-minded strategists?
Were you assassinated, Jean, because you were able to decode, despite the
apparent incoherence, the stake in these ferocious batttles? Beyond the
political battles aimed at 2006, is it about the short-term control of the
executive branch, caught as it is between the anvil of the international
community and opposition parties and the hammer of popular demands?
How, otherwise, can we understand certain actions which seem to defy all
logic? The government requests of the Assembly of Governors of the IDB in
Chile the reopening of its line of credit, while at the same moment,
demonstrators claiming to be members of Fanmi Lavalas break windshields and
Were you assassinated, Jean, so that you would not point to these ambitions
for power that cannot even wait for this first false crisis involving Fanmi
Lavalas and Convergence to be "negotiated?" Were you assassinated, Jean,
because you saw too far and too clearly? There is word of the creation of a
parallel party, which would keep in suspense militarily -- oh pardon me! -
simply keep in suspense, the government. There is word of last-chance
negotiations, not between Fanmi Lavalas and the Convergence, but among the
factions of Fanmi Lavalas. Today, the party in power, incapable as it is of
getting rid of its own filth early enough, is in the process of imploding,
perhaps endangering the very life of the head of state.
What about justice in all of this? For I hear rumors of a tentative "deal"
over your assassination, Jean, in spite of commitments, at the highest
level, that the perpetrators and those who masterminded the murder will be
judged no matter who they are. What sort of "deal," and between whom? For
what purpose? Today, we state loudly and clearly that certain things are
indefeasible and non-negotiable, for over your body and around you,
thousands are saying today: "Enough is enough."
Before you were silenced, you had denounced for a long time the unnatural
alliances that led us to this situation, unholy alliances not only between
victims and former torturers but also between those aspiring to positions of
power and the fierce and proven enemies of democratic principles, including
the moneyed interests who inspired the coup d'état. These alliances that you
had denounced are budding and blossoming, all tendencies and parties
included, in the midst of the Convergence as well as within Fanmi Lavalas.
Beyond the chic presence of Duvalierist barons in many political and
diplomatic parlors, beyond the red and black flags waved by Convergence
demonstrators yesterday, you often spoke to me of your concerns regarding
the general rise of a certain "macoute" mindset, of orchestrated violence,
which sooner or later would crush, as during the time of the coup d'état,
the timid progress achieved towards participation. With fierceness, you
stressed, beyond the headlines of most media, the attempts by a peasant
association to administer an irrigation system here, or the
internationally-financed projects aimed at managing the water supply in
popular neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince there, or the sewing of school
uniforms contracted by the Ministry of Education to tailors' associations.
You had once asked the question, "who is afraid of participation?" Had you
imagined that elected officials would meddle in the meetings of
associations, that mayors with guns in hand would prohibit "unauthorized"
We know that they assassinated you, Jean, because you had the credibility to
say NO to politicians of all stripes, greedy for power and money; NO to
violence; NO to corruption; NO to exclusion; NO to impunity.
What should give you hope today, my marathon runner, is the fact that one
after another, organizations of this civil society, from the cities and the
countryside, are brandishing you as their flag bearer, are themselves saying
NO; that beyond petty political interests, more and more voices are
clamoring, in the name of a country bled white and in the process of
balkanization and collapse, for a nation more just, more decent, and more
Good day, Jean, on this 3rd of April, International Day for Freedom of the
(Translated to the English by Max Blanchet)