From Fri Jan 9 09:00:04 2004 Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 06:53:59 -0600 (CST) From: Bob Corbett <> To: Haiti mailing list <> Subject: 17782: Esser: First Anti-Slavery Revolution in America (fwd)

From: D. E s s e r <>

First Anti-Slavery Revolution in America

By Maria Victoria Valdes-Rodda, Granma, 8 January 2004

THE first revolution in America against slavery has just turned 200 years old. Although January 1 is the exact date for celebrating Haiti’s independence, continental forums have been paying a well-deserved tribute for the last few months to the brave republic of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who became a heroic legend back in 1804.

In the framework of the Caribbean Peoples Assembly in Haiti’s Cape in October 2003, Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel insisted that the best way of honoring that Black uprising against a colonial regime is to unite all voices against neoliberalism and the current pretensions of imperialism—disguised as a fair interlocutor of free trade agreements—to impose merciless law of the market. It is necessary, he said, to continue battling like yesterday for equality among peoples.

Guided by the slogan, Let us build our sovereign, egalitarian, equitable, just and peaceful Caribbean, in a gesture of solidarity and on account of its historical legacy, the meeting subsequently voted for Haiti as a new member of the Executive Committee, with sights set on another meeting in 2005.

The emancipating epic of our Haitian brothers constitutes one of the most splendid and notable moments of American history. Haiti’s finest sons, who emerged from the masses of slaves, had to confront and defeat the military superiority of the French colonial armies until they triumphed in the great Battle of Vertiers in 1803. It was the era of the rule of Napoleon, whose troops conquered a large part of Europe; nevertheless, the Haitian generals made them bite the dust of defeat.

These reflections, in turn, are part of the Declaration by the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAL), in relation to the Bicentennial of Haiti’s independence, published by the digital edition of Tricontinental on December 17 last year.

The text venerates the audacity of the Caribbean rebels in abolishing slavery, which was a premonitory step for a region that, shortly afterward, had the perspective of founding a diverse but united region. In that context, the text reads: The Haitian patriots not only contributed one of the most heroic chapters to the history of the continent and its hopes for the future, but also offered generous aid to the liberator Simón Bolívar at difficult moments (during the government of Alexandre Pítio, Bolívar was exiled twice to Haiti) for the revolutionary armies who would fly the flag of liberty in the lands of the rest of the great homeland.

Meanwhile, at its 11th meeting, the Sao Paulo Social Forum called for a profound and serious diffusion of Haitian realities. In particular, the issue of urgent humanitarian aid indispensable to rescuing that Caribbean nation from underdevelopment and poverty deserves a greater international sensitivity.

In reference to the current boycott imposed unilaterally imposed on the Haitian people by the United States, the Latin American fighters condemned that fascist policy which only harms children, women and the elderly. The right of every state to solve its internal affairs without foreign intervention will be the banner to raise in 2004.

The Caribbean Community of Nations, CARICOM, and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) maintained their confidence that, in the midst of its bicentennial, Haiti will manage to overcome its difficulties, as it did in its glorious past.