NEW GLASGOW – Catherine Hughes, a member of the Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network and River John resident, began demanding answers from the Canadian government about whether they were involved in what they call a coup d’etat in Haiti after hearing Stuart Neatby, a member of the Canada Haiti Action Network, speak on it at a 2004 ARSN meeting.
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Catherine Hughes, left, June Daley, Joel Rogers, and Margaret Greene demonstrated outside Peter MacKay’s office on Saturday, recognizing the 10-year anniversary since what they call a coup d’etat against the Haiti government in 2004.
“I was blown away by the presentation,” she said.
Saturday marked the 10-year anniversary of the removal of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Four River John residents marked the occasion with signs outside MP and Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s office.
It was also the global day of action against Stephen Harper that two of the participants were recognizing.
“I remember when the coup happened … I thought, ‘there’s something fishy about his,’” Hughes said.
ARSN believes Artistide was forcefully removed and taken to Africa after being democratically elected, and that the Canadian government were involved in the process by putting their military in the country.
Although the Liberals were in power at the time, the group says the Conservative government contributed by continuing to ignore the democratic rights of Haiti citizens.
Hughes has looked to MacKay for answers in the past during his role as Foreign Affairs Minister and Minister of Defense.
When the Conservatives came into power in 2006, she said she asked MacKay, “Why didn’t you do something?”
Since Artistide’s departure, there have been thousands of murders and rapes just in the capital alone under a repressive regime, Hughes says.
The group is demanding an apology from the Canadian government for its accused role.
“We expect justice for the people of Haiti.”
Hughes also questions why the Canadian government sent in military in 2010 when Haiti was cleaning up from the earthquake.
“They could’ve sent people to help.”
ARSN focuses on keeping up a dialogue with groups in Atlantic Canada that are working in solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean.