Directed by Elaine Brière ∙ 2020 ∙ Haïti ∙ 90'
"We never had that democracy. It’s like putting a seed on the ground. We never see it grow because someone keeps on coming and steps on it."
- Garry Auguste, former member, Haitian National Police
As Canadians, we are told by politicians and the mainstream media to take pride in our international reputation as peacekeepers and defenders of democracy. But there is a dark side to our foreign policy—a policy that has thwarted the Haitian people’s struggles for freedom and self-determination over the last two decades.
In 1986, Haitians united in a cry for a new kind of society. Emerging from years under the brutal dictatorship of former President Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, they dreamed of a government that would serve the poor and bring an end to impunity. And between 1991 and 2004, Haitians managed, against all odds, to elect a succession of governments committed to realizing this dream. The pro-democracy movement’s efforts, however, were ultimately derailed by powerful local elites and their international allies.
HAITI BETRAYED reveals how Canada, once seen by Haitians as a constructive partner, conspired with the United States and France in 2003 to topple the democratically elected socialist government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Seven years in the making, Elaine Brière’s film meticulously reconstructs Canada’s role in the events that culminated in the United Nations-sanctioned coup d’état on February 29, 2004, and the bloody aftermath that followed. HAITI BETRAYED is a searing indictment of Canadian leaders’ complicity in the continued oppression of this long-suffering nation.
With the country 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 nearly two decades ago.
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