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Support for Lavalas Runs Deep in Haiti

posted by darren ell Geography: Latin America Haiti Topics: haiti, Aristide, Lavalas

March 7, 2007

Support for Lavalas Runs Deep in Haiti

Almost every night in Haiti I would unwind at the end of the day by walking down from my hotel to a local family's shop, buy a beer, then sit with the owner and his family, chatting about various things with them and friends that came by. Five children, two parents, two chickens, 8 chicks and a cat lived in a 200 square foot home. His farm habits came from a previous life led in the countryside, fitting the pattern of growing chaotic urbanization in Haiti. Eventually, the father asked me for financial help for his girl's education (Haiti has one of the most privatized education systems in the world, or so I was told, and so it certainly seemed). Being asked for money was common for me. I did help them and they were very grateful. Then, my second last night in haiti, after 3 weeks of chit chat, the father gave me a gift, a Lavalas Party card, with a picture of Jean-Bertrand Aristide on the front. "This is the only party in Haiti. It is the only party that has ever stood up for the poor of Haiti. Last January for the elections, I was terribly ill with a skin disease, but I got up at 4 am to walk 10 kilometers so I could vote for René Préval. It wasn't the Lavalas Party, but it was the closest thing that existed after the dictatorship of Latortue." I considered this gift to be a token of trust in me. Admiration for Aristide and the Lavalas Party runs deep in Haiti. Someone told me that many Haitians don't talk easily about politics in public because of decades of dictatorships and terror. Thinking about that, I realized the sincerity of my friend's gesture.

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