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26596: Labrom: (announce) film re Aristide in Montreal
Thought you all might be interested in this especially living in the
PUBLICATION: Montreal Gazette
BYLINE: JEFF HEINRICH
SOURCE: The Gazette
WORD COUNT: 411
Aristide film bound to stir local passions: Montreal Haitians keen to
play up <Canada>'s involvement in troubled land when it airs
A new documentary film about the 2004 ouster of Haiti's charismatic
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has become a lightning rod for
Montreal's second-largest immigrant community.
Supporters and opponents of Aristide are to converge on a downtown
cinema tonight to see the 82-minute film Aristide and the Endless
Its controversial thesis: that Aristide's ouster in February 2004 was
the culmination of a U.S. conspiracy to destabilize Haiti, one of the
world's poorest and most crime-racked countries.
And because <Canada> played a largely unreported role in the ouster,
activists claim, Haitians living here are keen to play up its
involvement when the film airs here tonight.
Part of the week-long Rencontres internationales du documentaire
festival, the screening will be followed by a panel discussion that
includes the film's director, New York-based Swiss expatriate Nicolas
"Here in Montreal, the positions held by the pro- and anti-Aristide
factions are very, very radical, so we expect the debate to be fierce,"
said Zaire-born moderator Francois Bugingo, a Tele-Quebec host and
Activist Yves Engler of Haiti Action Montreal, one of many groups
invited to the Montreal premiere, agreed: "The word is definitely
circulating - I think the screening will be well-attended.
"I saw the film in Vancouver six weeks ago, and it's a really good
primer on what's going on in Haiti," said Engler, who'll be at the
screening flogging his new pamphlet-style book, <Canada> in Haiti:
Waging War on the Poor Majority.
What the film doesn't detail, however, is <Canada>'s participation in
Aristide's departure and its continued military presence with the
<United> <Nations> in Haiti, Engler said. "<Canada> is now taking the
lead in Haiti in the post-coup process - and it's just a human rights
Other Haiti-watchers disagree.
At CPAM-Radio Union, a north-end Montreal Haitian radio station, manager
Garoute Leblanc said countries like <Canada> have inherited Haitians'
"You can't put all the blame on the international community; people in
Haiti have a large share of responsibility, too," he said.
"Aristide made mistakes, unpardonable mistakes, that's true. But he and
the people behind him could have found a way to resolve the problems
while he was still in power."
Haitians are Montreal's largest immigrant community after Italians. They
make up 7.4 per cent of the city's immigrants: 36,280 people, according
to the 2001 federal census.
Haitians here tend to line up on two sides of the Aristide question:
They either support him or they don't.
A third, newer faction disapproves of his ouster, but opposes his
re-election should he ever return to Haiti.
Still claiming he's president, Aristide now lives in exile in South
Aristide and the Endless Revolution screens tonight at 8:15 at the
Cinema ONF, 1564 St. Denis St. A panel discussion - called Haiti in
Crisis: Is There a Way Out? - will follow about 9:30 p.m. The festival's
website is www.ridm.qc.ca
Administrative Assistant/Adjointe Administrative
Eastern & Southern Africa Division/Direction de l'Afrique orientale et