Much has been written by researchers and authors of books about the ousting of the democratically elected president of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004. Very few, however, actually lived through it.
Journalist and film maker, Kevin Pina, is one of those few foreign journalists who continues to write about Haiti and was on the ground when Aristide was forced onto a plane by the US embassy on February 29, 2004, a leap year, four years ago.
Pina first went to live in Haiti in January 1999 to produce a sequel to his first documentary about the subject “Haiti: Harvest of Hope” which was narrated by the actor Roscoe Lee Browne. He lived there for seven years including the period where the US, Canada and France funded a so-called ‘opposition’ to Aristide and paramilitary thugs entered from the neighboring Dominican Republic to seal the president’s departure.
Pina’s experience reporting from Haiti before and after Aristide’s ouster is unique and unparalleled. All one has to do is search articles he’s edited for the Haiti Information Project (HIP), a group of young Haitian journalists collaborating with him, to see the tremendous impact they have had on mainstream reporting on Haiti. There is no greater body of human rights reporting in Haiti available that comes close to HIP’s coverage of Haiti during the period of 2004-2006.
Algoma University College in Canada will be hosting Kevin Pina as the keynote speaker for Black History Month on the anniversary of the coup against Aristide and his popular movement called Lavalas. They are fortunate to have him. He is one of those rare voices who can combine an analysis of Haiti’s history with the current reality based on actual experience on the ground in Haiti.
We can only hope they record it.