please consult also www.mogulus.com/akasantv where excerpts from the conference are now being broadcasted. More to come over the coming weeks...
FROM BC Holmes:
Mar. 4th, 2009 at 9:20 AM
So, like, I mentioned that this past weekend I went to Ottawa. This event was called The Ottawa Initiative 2009, and there are two prior events that are important to understand to fully get the point of the conference.
The more recent of the two events is that, five years ago, on February 28th/29th, 2004, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced out of Haiti.
But more importantly, in the last week of January, 2003, Canada hosted a gathering of policy-makers. This gathering is the original Ottawa Initiative. L'actualité reported:
The last weekend of January, a secret meeting was held in Ottawa and on the edges of Meech Lake in Gatineau Park. Canadian Secretary of State for Latin America, Africa and La Francophonie, Denis Paradis, invited representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Economic Commission (EEC) and the Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie to a "brainstorming session" on the Haitian tragedy. France had delegated Minister for Cooperation Pierre-Andre Wiltzer, the American Secretary of State had sent two high-ranking officials, and El Salvador, its foreign minister, Maria Da Silva.
The group convened by Denis Paradis (and which is currently code-named the "Ottawa Initiative on Haiti") is not prepared to wait for the 2005 elections to see regime change. In fact, the international community would resolve this issue before January 1st, 2004 and the bicentennial of the oldest republic in the Caribbean.
No members of the Haitian government were invited to this summit, it's worth noting. And shortly after this article appeared, the Canadian government denied that the summit discussed overthrowing Aristide. Linda McQuaig later noted in her book, Holding the Bully's Coat, that despite the denial, the Canadian government kept close tabs on public response to the L'actualité article. And, shock of shocks, regime change did come to Haiti very close to the originally-predicted schedule.
So now, five years later, a group of Haiti activists in Ottawa decided to host a summit to talk about Canada's complicity in the 2004 coup.
Photo (credit www.delacruzphotography.com): Author of "Brother I am Dying" Edwidge Danticat addressing the audience of the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti 2009 conference, joining by Videoconference, live from Miami. Sat. Feb. 28, 2009
Front row panelists (from left to right): Jean Candio (former Haitian parliamentarian), Raymond Dubuisson (expert in statistics), Marguerite Laurent (President of Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network), Michel Chossudovsky (University Professor)