Trials and Triumphs of Haiti: An Interview With Erzili Dantò – May 2, 2009

Pic: Erzuli by Maxon via

A Jermain Ostiana 2009 interview with HLLN’s Ezili Dantò on how Curacao may learn from Haiti’s trials and triumphs.

QUESTION/Jermain Ostiana:
1. How are you going to make the Elite give up the goods, give up their fat salaries, give up their wealthy lives. Until today worldwide I haven’t seen any new approaches towards a new strategy to at least minimizing the Greed to an acceptable level so we all can live a decent life?

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent – Based on Haiti’s experience and the experience the world has suffered, the global elites will NOT stop hoarding it all out of moral conscience. Today they plunder and loot under the mask of liberalization, free market, democracy, war on terrorism, humanitarian assistance. Nothing has change from the time they plunder and enslaved to save OUR soul from eternal damnation. The elite will not give up their privileges, but Haitians “would be cut off to a (wo)/man before they would yield to the combined forces of the whole world—–in fact, if the whole world combined is against us, but it does not do anything to us…” We are STILL here! – Struggling from one generation to the next – that’s how we breathe. If it’s YOURS, take it. If you ASK for it, negotiate for it, compromise with injustice for it – you acknowledge their ownership and have lost.

QUESTION/Jermain Ostiana:
Curacao is in a transition period to become autonomous from the Dutch Kingdom. The debt of 2.5 billion Euro is going to be taken over by Holland.
Now lets say the Curacao government in a ‘Moment of Clarity’ decides to take 500 million USD, go to a financial institution triple that to 1.5 billion USD and makes a deal with Haiti. Up in Haiti they can invest that money in the people education, agriculture, health, technology so they can solidify their future. And Curacao gets fruit and vegetables, rice whatever on a structural basis with the needed agricultural assistance to learn how to plant for our own without depending on Venezuela, Columbia as now is the case. Or, the 2 billion dollars Haitians abroad wire down back to their families. If you could just bank 1/5 of that money, set up an investment management team for the people without having to beg IMF and cohorts. That would be the sound of the future. But the Curacao Elite and the Haiti Elite aren’t going to accept that.

Ezili Dantò: Your ideas of using just a portion of the $2 billion Haitians from the Diaspora send to Haiti, or monies from a friendly country (Curacao) – “in a moment of clarity” to lift Haiti out of containment-in-poverty, dependency, dominance and manufactured conflicts sounds logical and possible, IF we were living in a world of logic and science as we are told. But WE ARE NOT.

To put it succinctly, a long time ago, my father, a direct descendant of the Haitian Maroons who broke the chains of the enslaved Haitians in the plains, said to us children the ONLY way to maintain our freedom is to NEVER to use or DEPEND on the white man’s money. They own the banking system and can manipulate it, AS THEY WISH. So, forget anything that DEPENDS on their capital and capital system for the authentic development of Curacao or Haiti. It’s a hoax, a way the white man has created to mask how they harvest your labor and enslave you in DEBT, but call it CREDIT….

In the hills of Haiti, the people BARTER for centuries for what they needed to survive. Haiti would be like Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic today – where the people are rendered exotic backdrops in their own country, and butlers and maids to service Euro/US tourists and the elites that own the land… In Haiti, we may not have the materialism, but we OWN ourselves, our land, our culture, our own language, our own Gods, our own image of self.

Most Haitians do not read the New York Times, so they don’t really know how “POOR” and miserable they are made out to be. We understand that we were born to eradicate universal slavery, that our struggle will go on from one generation to the next…. We are advancing what is almost a utopia compared to the rank greed, violence and consumerism of Western barbarity. Haitians are against Bourgeoisie Freedom – that is where tyranny, exclusion, slavery co-exist in the SAME SPACE as unlimited freedom, individual rights and order.

QUESTION/Jermain Ostiana:
To your knowledge have there been any spiritual tactics to attack this problem?

Ezili Dantò: Yes, there is an underpinning Haitian spirituality. It’s called Vodun or, the extension of sacred energies. But Haitians have learned to mute it in order to survive. My generation have inherited it and we are lifting it forth….If you want to know what we stand for, what you won’t find about Haiti anywhere, Read our founding father’s ideals. Read the Three Ideals of Jean Jacques Dessalines and about the union that has NEVER wavered in Haiti.

Start with the Union that’s never wavered. Understand the Bwa Kayiman call. Then stand within and MEET the Atlantic Will for the generations to come…The Bwa Kayiman Invocation and Call, the battle cry which created the nation of Haiti, is:

E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga Bafyòti. Kanga Mundele. Kanga Ndòki.
Kanga yo!

(Ezili’s English translation: The Supreme Creator (E, e, Mbomba, e, e!), the Master of Breath shall foil the black collaborators/traitors (kanga bafyòti). Kill the tyrannical white settlers/blan strangers (kanga mundele). Bind all evil forces/sorcerers (kanga Ndòki). Stop them!

Kill the black collaborators and traitors. Kill the white colonizers and enslavers. Kill all their evil forces. Kill them!)

…The Haitian spirit is always present in Haiti’s revolutionaries. But unlike the Westerners, we are not evangelicals. Our innate self is spirit. Spirit works but its a quiet path…Your questions reflect values that are not African….

QUESTION/Jermain Ostiana:
You said something that stung me a bit: “Your questions reflect values that are not African….” I just call it how I see it and when it comes to any sort of religious or spiritual leadership. In Curacao, most of them prefer to shun from any battle to impose respect, justice for the exploited masses. If I look at Cuba I ask myself the same question, where is the leadership? Whether that be to end Castro’s reign or the US!

Ezili Dantò – We too call it as we see it. In your email, you talk about wanting a new paradigm for Curacao but advance Western development. That is, you want the master’s gone, but your idea of freedom is to live in the master’s house, to take his place. So, what new paradigm is that? For, in His house, in the edifices of His power lies His splintered and garish soul – that bourgeois soul that allows for compartmentalization, for the existence of tyranny in the same space as unlimited individual freedom for the privileged few. Haiti’s African founding fathers and mothers said that couldn’t be done. General Henry Christophe taught us Haitians that freedom meant the willingness to burn down his own palatial house and on the ashes rebuilt. If you have a house, a job, anything to protect above universal liberty and freedom, your adversaries will use it against you.

Remember the Haitian warrior cry into battle….

Curacao cannot be independent of its Dutch master’s while keeping their house intact. In their house, their spirit live – take that at all levels – physical, metaphysical, psychological, economic, social, environmental, et al… New paradigms means building from ground zero from your own SOURCE, and that means, SELF-RELIANCE. (Read – Haitian Epistemology: Lasous O M Pwale – Going back to Root as translated and analyzed by Ezili Dantò, June 30, 2008

…In terms of Obama, he was put forward by Officialdom for the continuation of Officialdom. However, we believe he has less of a vested interest in Officialdom than the other candidates presented, so we supported him. He broke down many symbols with the election. But he is in office because the global elite CHOSE him….make no mistake about that..CHOSE him to put a lovely face on their dirt and the dirt they’ve made of the world economy…But perhaps he will outwit them, perhaps. Our struggle continues whether he continues their policies or doesn’t…. The MAAFA continues, slavery into indebtedness…

QUESTION/Jermain Ostiana:
Two weeks ago Clinton was in Haiti with Ban Ki Moon and Wyclef. What did you think of that move?

Ezili Danto – Some of us were encouraged to hear President Clinton in addition to Wyclef, Ban Ki Moon, et al. would visit Haiti. But, but, then we notice the emphasis is the same ol’ same ol’ – Trade without development. Export that leaves NO CAPITAL investments in Haiti and that have failed in the past to help authentic Haitian overall progress and, in fact, led to slums like Site Soley when the foreign assembly plants pack up. Haiti needs more – as detailed in the HLLN Haiti Policy Statement for the Obama Team and Obama’s offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery –;

But, it seems trade-without-any-sustainable-Haiti-development that puts huge tax-free, duty free profits into the hands of wealthy foreigners, is their VISION of the best way to ‘help’ Haiti, IF Haiti’s electricity is cheaper and Haiti’s port are put under better management!!!

(FOR MORE INFO ON THIS FROM EZILI DANTO/HLLN’s WEBSITE AND EMAIL POSTINGS: See BBC article entitled “Ban and Clinton throw spotlight on Haiti” By Laura Trevelyan dated, Port-au-Prince, March 10, 2009
(;, stating that President Clinton and Ban Ki Moon are relying on foreign economist Paul Collier’s policy paper on Haiti, promoting low-low wage assembly plant (Sweatshop) jobs in Haiti where the Haitian workers (mostly Haitian women) would assemble US clothes, tariff free to the investors exporting said clothes into the US textile market.

“If this is the totality of the Obama Team and President Clinton’s VISION for TRANSFORMING Haiti, we-Haitians and our members at HLLN remind President Clinton that this sort of US ‘partnership’ hasn’t worked in 30-years.

President Obama, President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, ought to be looking more closely at HLLN’s policy statement, instead of this Dewine/Collier same old, same old. Haiti needs a new US-Partnership where transnational U.S. corporations in Haiti – i.e. Sweatshops – abide by Haitian
labor, human rights, minimum wage and environmental laws. Haiti needs cash crops, food and energy immediately.

Comprehensive long term solutions means fair trade with Haiti, trade that doesn’t further degrade the environment, repress workers rights or contain Haiti in poverty, ignore Haiti’s most essential domestic needs for food production. It means Haiti needs assistance in domestic agriculture, a stop to deforestation, investment in infrastructure, construction of flood-resistant bridges, roads and investment in such renewable energy as biofuels, wind turbines, solar, water and micro-hydro.

Most of all – Haiti needs food sovereignty. That means, Haiti’s most critical needs are environmental rehabilitation and increased food production and that means, as Robert Maguire wrote, in a September 12, 2008 Washington Post commentary, For Haiti, Assembly Jobs Aren’t the Whole Answer.

Haiti needs a US trade, aid and investment culture that is committed to integrating all levels of corporate responsibility – economic, social and environmental – in their entire range of operations; and, where U.S. corporations are also patronizing the informal sector of local service providers and generally not exporting all profits and capital but committing to paying equitable custom duties, not dumping assembly goods for export, or dumping subsidized US foods, but investing in mutually beneficial trade, aid and investment, with reasonable percentage of their Haiti profits put back into

Ezili’s HLLN urges that U.S. investment in Haiti focus on supporting local people-centered, self-sustaining projects to rebuild the flood-devastated, former bread basket areas of Haiti in the Artibonite valley and Plaine du Sud. According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, (FAO), the rice bowl areas in Haiti alone, are capable of producing food to feed 10 million people. Haiti has a population of 8.5 people and thus, Haiti has the capacity to feed itself. The U.S. should eschew old failed USAID and State Department policies, including voiding the CBI, OPIC, SEZ agreements, assembly plants, et al…and support this capacity for food sovereignty. For, these unfair, unbalanced and over-reaching US agreements and policies with Haiti are extremely one-sided, take morally repugnant advantage of Haiti’s weak governments, lack of strong allies and have only proven to promote famine, hunger, endless debt and political instability as evidenced by the April 2008 food riots that forced the resignation of the Alexis government in Haiti.”)


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