I’ve never been really involved in politics, but I decided to write to my representatives tonight to urge US involvement in defending Haiti. If you find the following useful, feel free to copy and paste it into letters to your own representatives.
Should you decide to do so, you should know that email is better than snail mail right now, as postal deliveries have been on suspension for some time. Go to www.house.gov/writerep/ to contact your congressman, and to www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/ senators_cfm.cfm senators_cfm.cfm to contact your senator.
Good evening. I am writing tonight to request that you join your fellow representatives in strenuously urging US and/or international intervention to preserve the democratically elected government of Haiti.
I am a freelance writer who lives in Seattle. My current project, as it happens, is a history of the Haitian revolution of 1791-1804. I am not of Haitian descent myself, but my research has made me keenly aware of that country’s long and bitter struggle for freedom. As I’m sure you know, Haitians fought alongside Americans in our war of independence. Haiti’s own revolution opened the door to this country’s acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase.
For too long has the US ignored its debt to Haiti. Fearful that its example would cause a slave revolt in the South, we refused to recognize the new nation for more than 60 years. In the early 20th century we sent an occupying force which instituted forced labor among the peasants. The US then supported the detestable Duvalier regime, legendary in its brutality.
Senator, the future of democracy in Haiti has never been at a more critical juncture, nor has our opportunity to make amends ever been more timely. I know that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s actions in office have been suspect, but the proper course of a democracy is to let the Haitians vote him out of office or to remove him by constitutional means. By contrast, the Haitian opposition, once merely stubbornly intransigent, is now hoping to achieve by violence what they could not at the ballot box.
As a representative from the state named for the father of our country – the worlds greatest democracy – I ask you to send this message loud and clear to the President and to the Secretary of State: We will not truly be democracy’s guardian until we are its staunchest ally and fiercest defender. We must defend democracy in Haiti now!
Should we, through action or inaction, allow a legitimate, democratically elected leader to fall to a coup d’etat in our own back yard, when we could so easily have prevented it, it will be to America’s lasting discredit and shame.