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As Canadians, we often take pride in our international reputation as peacekeepers and defenders of democracy.
But there is a dark side to our foreign policy — a policy that has thwarted the Haitian people’s struggles for freedom and self-determination over the last two decades.
In 1986, Haitians joined their voices together in a cry for a new kind of society. Emerging from years of brutal dictatorship, they dreamed of a democracy that would serve the poor, listen to their voices and bring an end to impunity. And between 1991 and 2004, Haitians managed, against all odds, to elect a succession of governments committed to realizing this dream. The pro-democracy movement’s efforts, however, were ultimately derailed by powerful local elites and their allies in the international community.
Haiti Betrayed reveals how Canada, once seen by Haitians as a constructive partner, conspired with the United States and France in 2003 to topple the democratically-elected government. Seven years in the making, Elaine Brière’s film meticulously reconstructs Canada’s role in the events that culminated in the United Nations-sanctioned coup d’état on February 29, 2004 and the bloody aftermath that followed. Haiti Betrayed is a searing indictment of Canadian leaders’ complicity in the international oppression of this long-suffering nation.
With the country in the throes of a new popular uprising against corruption and authoritarianism, Brière’s film shows that the roots of current crisis can be found in the coup d’état backed by Canada fifteen years ago.