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Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 20:10:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: This Week in Haiti 13:40 12/27/95 1
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.951227201006.18271C-100000@crl3.crl.com>

Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

The crisis at ENARTS

Haiti Progres, This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 13 no. 40, 27 December 1995 - 2 January 1996

(HAITI INFO) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec. 7 - Over 100 students and their supporters held a sit-in in front of the Ecole Nationale des Arts (ENARTS) all day yesterday.

Many artists came to show their solidarity with the students and professors, who are protesting the fact that the school has not received money to operate this year, and, they claimed, because Minister of Culture Jean-Claude Bajeux said it should be closed down. [See also Haiti Info v.3 #11]

Students painted a 15-part mural chronicling their struggle, beginning with 1983: Fos Kouch (False birth: ENARTS was set up to glorify the Jean-Claude Duvalier regime) through 1991-1994: Kout Ponya nan Do (Knife stab in the back: the school's direction collaborated with the de facto regime) and ending with 1995: Trayizon (Treason: the government tried to get ENARTS students to sign a bust of Bill Clinton, to be presented to him as a gift) and 1995: Asasinay Lakilti, Plan Meriken-FMI (Murder of culture, American-IMF plan.)

Interviewed last week in front of the mural, art student Ezter Pierre said students wanted to explain, step-by-step, what the governments, which always said they were doing things for the country, did to the school once they got to power.

[Bajeux] does not think it is necessary to have an arts school in Haiti, Pierre continued. For him, people should go to the home of a great painter to learn to paint, to the house of a big musician to learn music... He forgets that it is the state's role to provide an opportunity to learn for free.

Bajeux closed the school. We see clearly it is the IMF-World Bank plan, because they want the state to drop public education, said Frantz Clairvil at the sit-in. We have decided to stand up to that. We are not asking for charity. It is what is owed us!

Bajeux responded by saying he never said it should be closed, criticizing the size of the ENARTS faculty relative to the student body and by repeating that the government does not have enough money to grant ENARTS the budget it requested.

The crisis has lasted many months, and in the end, it is the students and country that pay for it. Haiti needs an institution such as ENARTS to safeguard its arts and culture.

Update: Dec. 14 - Students occupied the ministry today, demanding Bajeux resign. Earlier this week they protested at parliament. Parliament has announced an inquiry. [On Dec. 18, ENARTS students, supported by about 15 professors, set up flaming barricades during a demonstration in the capital. The U.S.- trained Haitian National Police intervened to stop the protest.--HP]