Amy Wilenz's amateurish opinions on Haiti, continue to be printed

Jan 27, 2011

Ezili Danto’s Note:

Re: Amy Wilenz’s article on the Nation.

Folks, I doubt, the Nation will publish the entirety of our comments, if at all, on Amy Wilenz’s article “Haiti Not for Amateurs” published by the Nation today.

It’s simply annoying to keep hearing this mainstream chorus that half of the Haiti population don’t remember the Duvalier horrors because they were not alive then. How do they know this? Did they poll half the Haiti population to find this out? I didn’t live under Duvalier’s tyranny, but I got it, just from the fear I grew up with on the tone of voice, the fear I grew up with on the faces of my cherished aunts, my cousins, my mother, my father, my grandparents who DID live under a Haiti where there was no freedom of expression or assembly. No human rights one could count on. I still can reach in and feel their fear, their terror since a child. They’re fear for me, even now, that, as a lawyer I step up to authority figures comes from their lives under Papa and Baby Doc. And what about the other half of Haitians in Haiti that do remember or the almost four million Haitians in the Haiti Diaspora that have NO PROBLEM remembering because, back then, their choice was to get killed or go into exile?. These clueless media folks repeating these facile statements add to the screams I hear, add to the lies that Haitians lack humanity, for who could not remember the horrors inherited as our legacy – the narrative we live everyday to replace? These so-call “Haiti expert” so destroy my nerves, I wrote to comment for those of us who didn’t live under Duvalier but who bore the repercussions anyway in the image of Haiti the Duvalier dynasty promulgated, that lives on in our cultural and even genetic memory by the fear and terror many Haitians still have for authority figures, the bottomless fear and bitterness some of our parents transmitted to us every day of our childhood. In RBM – Memoir of a Poet,, I wrote: “Father had left Haiti, but Haiti had cast a shadow and locked him inside.” That shadow affected, affects our lives as Haitians wherever we are in the world, ale wè si nou te leve an Ayiti …

It is critically important that those fake progressives who help sell-out our people’s struggle do not suddenly start to rehabilitate themselves over our heads when they see the tide turning to further co-op the long Haiti movement for freedom, social justice and self-determination, while our dead remain without justice, our living deeply traumatize, wounded and without human rights, basic services, dignity and Haiti sovereignty.

For the Ezili Network, here are the comments made about the Amy Wilenz article on the Nation:

Comment # 2 by Ezili Dantò of HLLN

I managed to finish this Wilenz dribble (“Haiti Not for Amateurs” ) and sufficed to say this opinion of Wilenz that “Duvalier’s return caused a teeny little dust devil to twirl along the streets of Port-au-Prince, stirring up memories of detention, torture, starvation and death, but arousing little in terms of popular support.” is just another huge Wilenz disconnect. Haitians are in SHOCK. How many more times must we die?

How evil is the evil that would not see the horror Haitians feel about the return of Duvalier, but would write that Haiti need someone strong who would go against privatization, the NGOs and the foreigners destroying local employment and domestic production. Say it and then opine that Preval is not strong enough to take on the NGO and international community, say it and then say if Aristide returned he would “raise a political whirlwind so strong that UN forces, constrained by international opinion, would hesitate to try to beat it back.” Isn’t that what Haiti’s poor, wounded, sick, excluded and abandoned majority needs Ms. Wilenz? Someone like President Aristide, strong enough to stand up to the international community, their sweatshop development, NGO false aid and resource/mine/environmental pillages? Or, is your personal problems with President Aristide who gave you access that allowed you to write the Rainy Season, so huge they overshadow you reading your own text here?

Comment # 1 by Ezili Dantò of HLLN

Indeed, Haiti is not for amateurs and Ms. Amy Wilenz, who created her Haiti resume on the strength of one book and her past personal relationship with President Aristide is nothing if not a rank amateur with an ax to grind. And she has used ink to do so in major US papers – expounding in great detail about the “the personal and political flaws” of President Aristide, whom she is now just remembering is a symbol, or as she puts it here in this article the “stand-in for the Haitian people.”

Since before the 2004 deportation of President Aristide to Africa by France, US, Canada, Ms. Wilenz had, like many bitter coup d’etat Haitians blamed the failure of President Aristide to cut through 200-years of structural violence against the masses by the Oligarchy and Western imperialist powers in the 7months he had the first term, or the 1year given in 1995 to set up elections or the 3years from 2001 to 2004 he barely survived – Ms. Wilenz was so disappointed that Aristide did not face down, like in a Lalaland 2-hour TV fairy tale, these powerful forces of the wealthy to change the effects of centuries of social and economic exclusion. So, Ms. Wilenz, as “Haiti expert” joined the State Department chorus that Aristide, in the embattled and limited time he was allowed in office, was a dictator similar to the terrorist Duvalier and that Haitians are their own worse enemies, not the Haiti Oligarchy that owns 90% of Haiti’s wealth and act as overseer for the United States and world corporatocracy.

Oh no, examine Ms. Wilenz’s articles since 2003 at the very least, and you will see the blood on her hands – the truth may have stopped the US/UN sponsored slaughters in Site Soley from 2004 to 2006 in an effort to stop the demand for the return of President Aristide. No, Ms. Wilenz was not into that truth. She was busy writing about how the Aristide “gangs” were Haiti’s most pivotal problem. That’s like saying the urban gangs in Los Angeles are America’s most pivotal problem. But that’s what Wilenz and the rest of the mainstream media did and that helped to install and entrench the bloody U.N. occupation that eventually brought Haitians cholera, infecting over 200,000 and killing 4000 innocent Haitians. The disservice Ms. Wilenz and her other mainstream media counterparts have done to the poor Haiti masses pushing against the return to dictatorship, the exclusion of the people, cannot be overstated. Today, due to their half-truths and outright lies, the US and France feel no compunction about allowing Jean Claude Duvalier back to Haiti. The ground was prepared by “Haiti experts” like Ms. Wilenz, who today still write that the US/UN sponsored Nov. 28, 2010 elections-without-an-electorate is some positive step towards Haiti democracy!

Anyways, I can’t get through Ms. Wilenz lies. I stopped reading the article when she wrote: The fighting for position in the ongoing election is mostly about who will control the valves on the stream of post-earthquake reconstruction dollars—in the billions—that are supposed to arrive once a new president is seated; not one of the major candidates is widely popular, although Michel Martelly, a compas bandleader whose music is well-known in Haiti’s urban centers, has a broad fan base there.”

Please readers, the facts are that all three of the candidates in the fraudulent elections that excluded Haiti’s masses are Duvalierists. Martelly the staunches in the pact and once a member of the Ninjas who roamed the streets with Toto Constant and Louis Jodel Chamblain, shooting President Aristide’s street children with impunity. And you better believe Ms. Wilenz already knows this. Just as she knows very well that international reconstruction dollars are not to benefit the Haiti majority but the donors themselves. Haiti is the place where the moniker of US benevolence or NGO benevolence is just that – a ruse to turn public dollars into private profit for USAID/State Department cronies. Foreign aid, NGO dollars, build up the opposition to Haiti justice and democracy, supports impunity like the return of Duvalier, not economic justice or national domestic interests of Haiti. That $10billion reconstruction funds is there – if it’s ever collected – to service not Haiti top politicians in this fraudulent election (Martelly, Manigat or Celestin) as implied by Wilenz here. But to service Bill Clinton, the UN and the country donors at the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission who have TOTALLY disenfranchised the majority of Haiti. The IHRC allows whoever becomes Haiti’s president in these fraudulent elections just a veto power. That’s it.

Haiti in under their legal protectorate. They, not the Duvalierist Haitian puppets are in line to control the earthquake reconstruction millions. Ms. Wilenz just makes more monies and get more published if she continues that colonial narrative about how more corrupt and greedy and violent and insidious Haiti leaders, not foreign leaders plundering Haiti’s misery, are.

Fact is Ms. Wilenz’s self-appointed title as “Haiti expert” has been used to get positions and funding and to garner the approval of the right-wing policymakers in the US and the middle class NGO benefactors of the trickle down funds – both Haitian and foreign – to press their poverty pimping “charity business” in Haiti for seven years now.

For years, Haitians have come to Ezili’s HLLN – a Haitian-led justice network – and asked that we respond to Ms. Wilenz misinformation and colonial narrative as expressed in her various articles, her racist and condescending “the enemy of Haiti is within Haiti” lies.

We’ve abstained until last week when one of our members requested we publish their comments arguing against Wilenz opinion (at “Haiti: Bringing Back Baby Doc” ) on how Haiti can’t get democracy right, implying that Haiti’s masses are not ready for participatory democracy.

Then today we read this “Haiti is not for amateurs” Wilenz article in the Nation, where the worst amateur on Haiti, continues her obfuscation of the truth with double-speak like: “Many parties were kept out, including the popular party of Haiti’s first freely and fairly elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who has been living in exile in South Africa since a coup backed by the international community forced him from power in 2004. Many see post-Duvalier Haitian politics as a back-and-forth between the forces who support Duvalier, a prototypical right-wing strongman, and those who support Aristide, theoretically a leftist prodemocracy leader. Although this analysis is grossly simplistic, it is also partly true.”

Partly true, Ms. Wilenz? Pray tell which part is not true. The one where you and the mainstream media painted President Aristide as a violent, corrupt politician who had lost the support of the Haitian population in 2004 and was taken out of office by a “popular uprising.” Isn’t that what you and the rest of the fake progressives impatient with the slow pace of uhmm US-style “democracy” and justice-for-the-poor-in-Haiti, have been writing for seven years since the 2004 Bush-the- lesser Haiti regime change? Why throw the truth in there, uhmm, partly, NOW?

Ezili Dantò of HLLN
Jan 27, 2011


For Ezili HLLN’s position of the return of the terrorist Baby Doc Duvalier, see also:

Interview Ezili Dantò, Ron Daniels on WBAI with Felipe J. Luciano, Jan. 21, 2011 (31:58).


Obama’s Change in Haiti: The Return of Jean Claude Duvalier

Interview Ezili Dantò on WBAI with Esther Armah, Jan. 19, 2011

Ezili Dantò on Return of Dictatorship (Jean Claude Duvalier) to Haiti – Interview with Mark Bebawi on, Jan. 17, 2011

Ezili Dantò on Haiti History – Interview with Martine Zhenga Volcy on Wrfg, Jan. 14, 2011 – Tribute to Haiti on one year anniversary of Haiti earthquake (35:14)

Ezili Dantò on Haiti priorities and accountability – Interview with Wiatta on Wrfg, Jan. 13, 2011


Jan 22, 2011

Amy Wilenz is Wrong Haiti’s masses do want participatory democracy

by Olivier Jarda


I have been subscribed to your (Ezili/HLLN) Listserve for a few years now and I would like to thank you for all of the great work you have done to advance Haiti’s cause.

After reading Amy Wilentz’ article “Haiti: Bringing Back Baby Doc” in yesterday’s Politico I felt the need to respond and have contacted the publication….Here is the (comment – see below).

Baby Doc Doesn’t Matter


Amy Wilentz’ article titled “Haiti: Bringing Back Baby Doc” published today in Politico uses former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier’s return to remind us that Haiti can’t get democracy right. But the article, like much of the mainstream American reporting on Haiti, ignores the following question: what have democratic elections done for Haiti lately?

Speculating on why Duvalier returned and what it might mean for his fate and Haiti’s may be entertaining but I am skeptical that it’s useful. I believe that Duvalier should be brought to justice for the grave crimes he committed, but his return has served as a distraction that is overshadowing a more important ongoing political crisis that periodically sends Haiti into chaos: the country’s inability to democratically legitimate political power. During Haiti’s two-decade struggle with democracy it has yet to elect a president that has maintained the support of both the poor majority and of the wealthy elite. This has resulted in two coups, the reinstatement of a president and several popular uprisings in the wake of electoral fraud and political corruption.

Wilentz parallels the former Duvalier regime with the current electoral crisis and asserts that a successful presidential election would have meant a win for President René Préval’s chosen successor Jude Célestin, yet it’s clear that an electoral first round free of corruption would have gone to Michel Martelly, who doubtless had more popular support than either of the runoff candidates. As usual, none of the candidates were able to secure the support of the rich and poor. An ideal presidential candidate for the Haitian elite would protect their interests while pacifying Haiti’s poor with hope for change, but the poor majority has been spotting such candidates from miles away and ostracizing them for two decades.

The dominant narrative in the US media paints electoral corruption in Haiti as a question of cronyism, disorganization, and of a lack of resources, while it ignores a more fundamental cause, the fact that Haiti’s poor will not support a leader who plans to protect the institutional elitism that hangs their country by a noose. As long as the poor continue to value and fight for their democratic right to choose a leader that will promote their interests, democracy stands a chance in Haiti, inching ever further from Duvalier.



4 thoughts on “Amy Wilenz's amateurish opinions on Haiti, continue to be printed

  1. People who have followed the struggle for justice in Haiti from The Rainy Season through Ms Wilentz’s opinion pieces to this new transformation KNOW that you are spot on, the point is not to be “professional” i.e. published at all costs, the point is to stand for justice in Haiti


  2. Dear (Ezili Dantò):

    I am please that you open yourself up and let the world affects you; there is no other way to walk in the path of knowledge. You can make things happen; if you put yourself behind them; that I believe. One of the things that I would like to see you doing is facilitate the meeting between Baby Doc, ex-president of Haiti, Jean Claude Duvalier and ex-president Jean Bertrand Aristide not for their sake, but for the sake of the country. Together they can help reconcile the two opposing classes of the Haitian society. They need to come to the table of reconciliation, not to do themselves, but to undo whatever they had done wrong to the country and against the Haitian people. Baby Doc / Mr. Jean Claude Duvalier needs to apologize for himself and for his father’s misdeeds against the country of Haiti and the people of Haiti. If anyone has harmed the Haitian people, no one has done more than his father. After their reign, they left a stain on the Haitian people that time has yet to heal and erase. If the Haitian brand had any value, the Haitian revolution, they systematically dismantled and chipped away bits by bits whatever it worth until the Haitian brand became synonymous to trash. When people want to punish Haitians, they use the word Haitian as a way to trash us and diminishing us. When he took over from his father, there was nothing left for Haitians to be proud of because all that could abase the human spirit; he used to keep himself in power. Turning friends against each other, family against each other, fear and mistrust and all that could divide the people; he used to sustain himself in power.

    Two things you need to advance your people; you need to uplift their spirit and keep them unify; these two things he systematically used against the Haitian people to keep himself in power. By pitching families against each other and keep their spirit down, he was able to maintain himself in power while the world looked down on the Haitian people, treating them like trash; he needs to publicly apologize.

    As for President Aristide, he came to power to undo whatever Baby Doc and his father have done to the Haitian people. He took it upon himself to undo and do things on his own power. God gave him a gift and put in his heart the passion do what he does, yet in his zeal, he tried to do things on his own power and exclude God out of the picture and he failed.
    “God is reconciling the world to Himself through Christ”, taken away from the devil territories and give them to us. You are not doing the work, God is; you need to recognize the fact that it is God in you doing the work of salvation. Like the people of Babel; they need to be confound, bewildered, their vision lost in translation because they want to do things on their own power. People didn’t understand any longer his vision, because God was not in it, he excluded God out of it. He too needs to apologize to the Haitian people, for giving them a hope that he should know that he alone could not fulfill.
    “The first shall be last making way for the new”
    If you are not keeping up with the changes of the times; you will be left behind; you will join the rank of those great civilizations that were, reminiscing in the grandeurs of their pasts. Where are they, the Incas of Peru, the Aztecs of Mexico; as long as you can keep up with the changes of the times; you will remain. If not, you will fade away like the others before you.


    1. Robert Noel,

      Thank you for the comment. First you must know I believe in freedom of religion and assembly, in the assets of Haiti being used to elevate the standards of the Haitian peoples lives not that of foreigners, the NGOS or the Haiti Oligarchy and in JUSTICE not charity for Haiti. There can be NO RECONCILIATION without JUSTICE. Also as a Vodouist, I no longer use the colonial name. Most of your comment is addressed by our post and links at: “Save Haiti – Annul the fraudulent Nov. 28 elections”{ at and our “Haiti message to US Embassy in Haiti: The Will of the People” at . HLLN support the Congressional Black Caucus position that the Nov. 28 elections must be annulled – that is the will of the people of Haiti.

      In terms of your statements about the European genocide, brutality and killings of indigenous inhabitants they came into contact with, including Francisco Pizarro’s horse/firepower massacre of the mostly unarmed and definitely on-foot Incas in Peru; the bloody deeds and use of firepower of Hernán Cortés against the Aztecs in Mexico – all that including the MAAFA were done in the name of that “Christ” you’re propagating. Life based on murder and genocide is not the African choice, Mr. Noel. Death is preferable for our irreducible essence is eternal. Another crossroads is at hand, already exists. Our choice as indigenous Haitians is to live free or die. You’re welcome to what you call “civilization” Mr. Noel where slavery, genocide, exploitation, man-made famine and slaughter of the poor and powerless exists in the same space as unlimited wealth, beauty, freedom and liberties. That is not what the amalgamated African tribes who became ONE at Bwa Kayiman live for, die for or are sent into exile for. We stand for universal freedom – the freedom and liberty of ALL. Death doesn’t mean the same thing to a Haitian as does to the European tribes and their derivatives. We’re here. Look without the graven images, Robert Noel and you may see. Gade byen wa wè. Nou la. Zanset yo e Timoun yo vini. Our love is stronger and survives every energy transformation. It’s our ancestral legacy as Ayisyen to not become Zonbies but stay awake, bring our light, face this darkness. One day, the whole world will bow to this courage, vision and strength. Time means nothing to those who understand they are aboriginal to the planet, depi lè marasa, lè mò e lè mistè.

      Be well, Robert Noel.

      Ezili Dantò of HLLN
      From Ezili Dantò Vodun Re-memberance
      “Our blood and suffering waters the Haitian soil, 517-years still…Never felt so much pain…Si kriye te leve lanmò, manman nou tout t ap la – If crying could raise the dead, every mother would still be alive…Jete dlo, jete dlo, jete dlo. Into the Ancestors’ hands we place all our souls… Legba ouvri baryè a pou nou. Pitit Ginen, the next part is left to us. Gade byen wa wè. Nou la. Zanset yo e Timoun yo vini. Our love is stronger and survives every energy transformation. We Are The Haitians. Nou fè yon sèl kò.” — Ezili Dantò


  3. Jesus stood with the poor, like Dr. Aristide did. Jesus would have some harsh and righteous words for the Catholic hierarchy which excommunicated JBA for advocating social justice, prosperity, religious freedom and liberty for the poor majority of Haiti… same thing was done to Père Gerard Jean-Juste. Shame on the Catholic church for betraying their religious tenets and the word of Christ their lord.

    Luke 4:16-21. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read… “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He appointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD… Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

    It sounds like Robert Noel holds a lot of anger in his heart for JBA. But didn’t JBA do the work of the lord his savior? Robert Noel should trust God to do the work in him that needs to be done so that forgiveness will be complete.

    Hoping that if there is a God and even if there isn’t, the future of Haiti will be prosperous, just and free.


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