By Elaine Brière, Cinema Politica, December, 2020
Haiti Betrayed reveals how Canada conspired with the United States and France in 2003 to topple the democratically elected government of Haiti. Seven years in the making, Brière’s film meticulously reconstructs Canada’s role in the events that culminated in the coup d’état on February 29, 2004 and the bloody aftermath that followed.
Haiti founded the modern human rights movement by ending slavery, after defeating Napoleon’s army of reoccupation. In 1804 it became the world’s first black republic.
In February of 2004, two hundred years later, Haitians were celebrating the bicentennial of that extraordinary achievement when the US, Canada and France landed troops in Haiti and removed the president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, in a pre-dawn coup d’état.
This is the first time Canada has played a strategic and military role in the removal of a democratically elected president.
Against great odds, Haitians elected three broadly popular governments between l991 and 2004. These governments improved health, education and the rule of law even while under siege by powerful local elites and their allies in the international community.
Haiti Betrayed tells the story of a countrywide, people’s movement for a more just and equitable society. It is a searing indictment of the role of Canada in derailing that movement and the aspirations of Haitians for a better life for decades to come.
With Haiti now in the throes of a new popular uprising against corruption and authoritarianism, Brière’s film shows that the roots of current crisis can be found in the coup d’état backed by Canada sixteen years ago.
"We never had that democracy. It’s like putting a seed on the ground. We never see it grow because someone keeps coming and steps on it."
- Garry Auguste, former member Haitian National Police
Posted Dec. 26, 2020