January 1 remains a landmark in the history of Haiti, an inspiration to Freedom Loving people around the world and the “Mecca” of black liberation.

The Haitian Revolution, started by the slave rebellion in 1791, is very often described as the largest and most successful slave rebellion that not only freed the slaves but French control over Saint-Dominique

– Haiti’s name at that time. Haiti became the first black independent country in the Western Hemisphere, indeed the first black Republic in the word and the second nation in the Western Hemisphere (after the US). It is a story of courageous men and women fighting for their freedom against the mighty military of Western Europe, France.

It was no small feat because Saint Dominique was one of the wealthiest colonies in the French empire and was thought to be one of the richest colonies in the world. It is reported that before the Revolution/Rebellion, Haiti produced 40 percent of the sugar and 60 percent of the coffee imported to Europe.

This economy of the colony of Saint Dominique was vital to France’s wealth; with slave labor they had a steady, profitable revenue stream. The slave system under the French was considered one of the harshest enforced by unspeakable violence. The Haitians were not deterred by the conditions; under brave and determined leadership, the Haitians persevered.

The fight for Liberation was no cakewalk, the price of freedom was very high. Over 100,000 blacks were killed and over 30,000 whites suffered the same fate. It was bloody and intense. Led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, the Haitians inflicted a series of defeats on the French troops and expanded the revolution beyond Haiti to conquering the neighboring Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic. He abolished slavery in the DR and named himself Governor-General over the entire island of Hispaniola.

Today, as Haiti celebrates the 216th Anniversary of Independence, it is very necessary to remind ourselves of the resilience of the Haitians, their brave and courageous people and the inspiration they provided to black people from around the world. Today, Haiti is going through some tough times, some of it is of their own making, but a large part has been on external forces and their selfish interest in Haiti, from political occupation to political interference, and economic strangulation.

This is why it is important for black people and all freedom-loving people around the world to embrace Haiti and work for its true liberation again. Haiti cannot become a failed State because then we would have failed Haiti; we all must stay engaged. As

former Member of Congress Charles Rangel reminds us, ‘Haiti is the Black Mecca’, it is the bedrock of black freedom, it is the source of inspiration and it must be revered.

There is no encouraging of corruption and the street protesters and demonstrations must be heard; it is in the tradition of Haiti to fight for the best in us. President Moise must be encouraged, especially by CARICOM Leaders, to sit with the Opposition and develop a plan with a future for all.

Haiti is in a crisis, and the best in and from Haiti must come together to bring Haiti back to its status of prominence.

President Moise characterized the country as ‘extremely poor’, but this is a country that was one of the wealthiest in the world. President Moise must muster the people and resources and pursue prosperity, instead of lamenting poverty.

These large scale protests cannot be ignored, real action is needed.

President Moise is appealing to the elites in Haiti to work with the government to pay their taxes and help create jobs. Haiti was visited on Independence Day by

US Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida, and Chair of the Senate’s Western Hemisphere Sub- Committee. He is urging dialogue between President Moise and the Opposition. Continue reading

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