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Speech Inaugurating New Road
President Aristide, 2002-12-26
Haiti Democracy Project web page item #486 (http://www.haitipolicy.org)
Honorable Mayors of Tabarre and Delmas,
Distinguished Ministers of the Government,
Mr. Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan),
All friends who are here,
The First Lady and I are united to greet you 5 times, once, twice, three
times, four times, five times!
We are happy, so happy to be back home. We are happy to be with our family.
And we welcome with all our hearts all friends who came to share this moment
with us, and we warmly applaud them!
WELCOME! This moment is very important for you who live here and it is
important for the entire country. We will start this inauguration with its
beginning. It started at HAILE SELASSIE, in Delmas. We started with a warm
embrace to the Chinese [Taiwanese] Ambassador in Haiti. We cut the first
ribbon at HAILE SELASSIE, Delmas, because that's where the big new boulevard
starts. When we add to that the new road around the airport, in the north, in
the south, without forgetting Delmas 33, and the road that starts in
Pont-Rouge crossroads to end on Industrie Boulevard, before it goes all the
way to Bon Repos, that gives us a total of 20 kilometers of new road.
How much did those 20 km of road cost? They cost 1,210,000,000 gourdes. Even
though we are under an economic embargo, we scraped together what we could,
we did everything possible to be able to do this hard work! With the help of
the Chinese [Taiwanese], and with the money we got together from the State's
funds, we got the 1,210,000,000 gourdes we needed to build those 20 km of
We raise our hats for all the people who helped.
The Chinese [Taiwanese] Ambassador who is here with us doesn't speak Creole
yet. He speaks French. You, Haitian People, are good at learning languages.
You can help me thank the Ambassador in Chinese. It is very simple. The
Ambassador doesn't understand us now, so I will tell you how to say thank you
in Chinese and you can repeat it very loud. "Tchyetchye!".
In addition to those 1,218,000,000 gourdes, we spent 26,628,610 gourdes to
build those two public parks here. They are like a Christmas present. Let's
thank all the people who participated in this great work with both of our
Adding to that, the brand new marketplace cost 31,860,850 gourdes. Let's say
a beautiful thank you to all the people who worked together so that the stall
holders wouldn't be in the dust in the streets, wouldn't be under the hot
sun, but would sit in this beautiful marketplace.
To build that road, those two parks and the marketplace, we mostly used money
from the tax office. The tax office got that money together and we borrowed
money in order to do that work.(a person says: Thanks to Lavalas)
Like you say, it is thanks to Lavalas, thanks to Lavalas.
Even if there are many more roads to build, at least we started some. We will
build many other public parks, and we have started. We will also start
building more. Many markets need to be built. We started some and we will
continue. But in order to achieve the work we did, you needed to be brave!
You needed to be strong because we are under an economic embargo. And you,
the people, even though you don't give much money to do that work, I can say
that you, the Haitian People, you give more than money to help us do that
How is that? Let me explain. When you are hungry, sometimes you feel angry,
you feel like breaking things down, like destroying things. But instead of
doing that, you remain peaceful so that the work can be done. That has no
price. That's why we thank you for everything you've done so that these works
could be done.
We started the market in Cite Soleil. It is 95% finished in Linto-1, Linto-2.
The road is beautiful! We would already be finished with the public parks in
Cite Soleil if there was more peace there. That's why while I thank all my
brothers and sisters in Cite Soleil for the peace they put there, I want to
congratulate them in advance for the increased peace they will put there
still. Because sometimes, the engineers who work there don't feel very
secure, so they don't go to work. So thank you very much to all my brothers
and sisters in CitÚ Soleil for that peace. It is the same in LaSaline,
because the more peace there will be, the faster the work can be done. I want
to inaugurate beautiful parks, beautiful roads, nice marketplaces in popular
neighborhoods, especially where they are already started. Whether it is in
LaSaline, in CitÚ Soleil, in Belair, in Carrefour, or in any other areas
(Fort National, Solino), everywhere, the more peace there will be, the more
beautiful work we can do.
While we inaugurate these 20 km of road tonight, let's think of the 20 km of
road that were built between Tiburon and Les Irois, through the mountains. If
you are from the North, you know how high Mount Pilboro is. The mountain I am
talking about here, between Tiburon and Les Irois, is as high as Mount
Pilboro. For 200 years, there was no road there. And we, the Haitian State,
with the little amount of money we have, without any help from foreign
countries, we got the C.N.E. to work, the women drove the bulldozers and we
got through the mountain. I drove on the road we built. When cars drive on
that road, there are people who live between Tiburon and Les Irois who cry.
Why do they cry? Because they say it is the first time in their lives that
they see cars, it is the first time in their lives that they see cars! That
was never done for 200 years! There is no money coming from abroad because
the opposition and their allies are blocking the money outside the country.
But we do what we can to show that, whether it is about the 20 km from
Tiburon to Les Irois, or the 20 km of road around the airport, we are proud
people. When people come in the country, the first thing they see is the
airport. When they get to the airport, they must drive on a nice boulevard so
we are not embarrassed, so we are not ashamed. When they pass through here,
they must see a beautiful public park where young people are studying, where
they are learning so they become more intelligent. Like a young girl in
Tabarre said a few minutes ago, parents will be happier when they see their
children get together in the public park to share their knowledge. In that
sense, I ask everyone to stand together so that we can do more work still
throughout the 9 departments. Stand together so that what is already in place
can stay clean. The Government is counting on all the people who live near
the new roads to keep the front of your houses clean. We count on all people
who live near the roads, near the public parks, to keep them clean so that
whenever someone walks by they feel happy to see how clean we keep everything.
Don't you feel proud when you keep things clean? You certainly feel proud
when you keep things clean and we know you will do it. And I encourage you to
continue to do everything to keep the marketplace, the parks and the roads
Can you do it? Yes!
Very good! It is the first time I am here in front of you, in our
neighborhood, with the First Lady, Minouche. She will say a few words, as a
woman who lives in the neighborhood, in this town together with other women,
their husbands, their brothers, their children. Before she says those words,
I will add a thought that is important for the entire country. (Some people
ask for Minouche to talk first)
You want her to talk first?
You want her to talk first?
Do you want her to talk first?
As democracy has it, I agree, I obey.
MILDRED TROUILLOT ARISTIDE: Thank you. You ask me to say a few words, but I
know you came to hear Titid, so I will be quick, I will be quick. First, I
want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, in particular
all children in Tabarre and throughout the country. But since we are here in
Tabarre, I wish all neighbors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As
Titid said, that is the beginning of the work here. This park will not stay
as it is. It is for us in the neighborhood to take care of it so that
children, young ones can study here, can get together here, so we can have a
nice area to live in. Thank you very much for the warm welcome. Thank you. I
now give the microphone back.
PRESIDENT ARISTIDE: So here is the thought I wanted to share with you.
Whether we talk about a wide road, or a narrow one, a road built by the
Minister of Public Works, or financed by the Minister of Finance who scrapes
together what he can, whether it is Mrs. Antenor who puts a lot of energy
into those works and elsewhere in the country, or other collaborators who
participate, whether the road is wide or narrow, can a road have only one way?
No! Whatever road it is, it needs two ways. It starts somewhere and it ends
somewhere. Whether it is very, very narrow and you can only ride a bicycle on
it, or a little wider and you can drive a motorcycle on it, whether 4 cars or
2 cars can drive side by side on that road, it needs two ways. It starts
somewhere and it ends somewhere. When we think of those roads from Delmas to
the airport, let's think of peace and justice, which are the two ways of the
road that must go through our hearts, through our brains. Because without
peace, without justice, we cannot transform the country and make it a better
one! Yesterday, as we were in Lascahobas, as we were fighting for justice to
be done for the people in the Opposition who are armed, who call themselves
the armed branch of the Opposition, we gave our solidarity to the children
and family of Judge Lozama Christophe who was killed, like our other brothers
and sisters, Louisdor Dorsainvil, Sincere Joseph, Jean-Harry Sigue, Leonie
Laverne. And as we just got here, we saw an attack against the house of Jean
Dominique, who is still alive in our hearts even though he is not among us
anymore, and they killed Maxime Se´de with those heavy weapons, the weapons
of violence that don't want to see justice.
Justice must move forward like a straight road!
Justice must move forward like a car driving on a straight road!
If there is an indictment to be released, it must be released so we can know
who is guilty and who is innocent.
There must be no accomplices who keep the justice system from working as it
should be! That's what we want. In all independence, all judicial authorities
must not feel cornered, but they must continue to do their job so that
justice is established and not violence. That's what we want throughout the
country, peace and justice. Each time a Haitian drives a car on a road, he or
she will remember that it is a two-way road. Each time someone rides a horse
on a road, he or she will remember that it is a two-way road. Each time
someone walks on a road, on whatever side of the road, he or she will
remember that it is a two-way road. We want peace and justice in the country,
we don't want violence. There is a smear campaign going on in the country to
dirty the country's image. But we know we are for peace, and we will show it
is peace we want with our hands up every time it is necessary.
People who want peace in the country put your hands up for me to see, please.
5 years will give us peace. Thank you, you may put your hands down. We want
justice, we are against the darkness of injustice and we know that. But there
is a smear campaign that wants to show innocent people as guilty, that wants
to hold the Haitian people responsible for the violence, such a good people
who is such a victim, who suffers. People who want justice, without hiding,
without being embarrassed, put both hands up for the entire world to see!
Very good! Even though people don't usually praise themselves, but because it
is so true that we are people who want peace and justice, we can say that we
are champions in seeking justice and peace. Let's applaud for ourselves,
If there is justice, will we go into hiding again?
If there is peace, will we go into hiding again?
We will not hide again, we will not hide again, we will not hide again, we
will not hide again, we will not hide again.
Very good! When the Police stands with you, when all security agents stand
with you, when all good people stand together to make the road beautiful,
where will the road of justice lead us?
It will lead us directly, directly to elections!
Who would like to have elections here?
Very good! When there are elections, must there be violence?
No, must there be insecurity?
No! When there is no violence, all political parties and all independent
candidates have full security to hold meetings in complete freedom, to vote
for the people they want. And then, everyone will be happy because people who
worked hard to be very popular will be voted for. If you didn't work hard,
you won't get voted for. If you were violent, the people won't vote for you.
If you work for peace, people will vote for you because people want peace.
When there is hunger in the country, great hunger, it means insecurity in
your stomachs. We want insecurity neither in your stomachs because of hunger,
neither in the country. So, we will work in order to walk on the path of
peace and justice to get to the elections. All the young people here, people
living in Tabarre, people living in La Plaine, the 3 magistrates, I know you
would like to see more work being done. Yes, we, together with many members
of Government, the Prime Minister, other Ministers, decided to do more work
in the town of Tabarre, in Cite Soleil, in Delmas, without forgetting other
towns. There are 135 towns in the country. However, to do more and more work,
we need peace that will invite people who have money to install factories in
For example, the Chinese [Taiwanese] are installing a hat factory that will
cost US$6,000,000. All this is peace!
"Tchyetchye", that's what they tell you. They tell you "Tchyetchye". Many of
you are unemployed. Let me see if you will be too shy to answer me: all of
you who are without a job, who are unemployed, put your hands up for me to
see, please. (Many, many , many hands go up)
Thank you. Do you know how I feel?
Young ones, do you know how I feel?
I am hurt! My heart is torn, it bleeds and it gives me the shivers. I know
you are not working. But when you put your hands up like that and I see all
of them, I feel so sad, I am embarrassed and I feel that we really need more
people to understand so, that together we can establish peace in order to
have more people who come here to give you work, while the State will also
give more work.
I am in your hands. You are in my hands. All of us Haitians are in each
other's hands! And Haitians are in all Haitians' hands so that together, we
can stop violence and so that the armed branch of the Opposition can
understand that we need them so that, as Haitians with Haitians, we can reach
an agreement to set up the Electoral Council, to start the election process
to have elections to make the country a better one, where there are more jobs
and less people unemployed!
Young people, are you completely discouraged?
Young people, are you completely weakened?
Young people, are you strong?
Will unemployment make you lose all hope and give everything up?
No! Dessalines and all our ancestors went through hard times. Indian
soldiers, when they were in the indigenous army, went through hard times,
bare feet, half naked, they sweat, they were hungry, they went up and down
the mountains, they crossed rivers to fight for our independence. Today, like
them, we will fight peacefully so that, want it or not, 2004 will sit on top
of those 5 years!
Would you like to have a coup d'etat in the country?
Who do you think would like a coup d'etat in the country?
To the people who would like another coup d'etat, for their own good and for
the good of all Haitians, we tell them: never again a coup d'etat!
It will be good for them, it will be good for all Haitians. Because we want
democracy, we want peace.
I will leave now. But before I leave, I will take some of the letters, some
of the notes you have in your hands. You can give the rest to the magistrates
in order for me to get all of them tonight. To all the young people who came
from the city to be with us, to show their solidarity with us, I say thank
you very much!
I see you, I see you. Even if I can't shake hands with all of you, you know
that what would make me feel happiest would be to embrace all of you.
I send a kiss to all children in the plain and I tell you to remember that
when you are hungry, I, who live close to you and who is eating, feel your
hunger too. Even though we cannot solve your problems the way we would like
to, Minouche and I share your problems with all our hearts. Because one's
hunger is everyone's hunger. Your unemployment is our worry too. So, we will
walk hand in hand to show solidarity! That's why I invite you to hold hands
to show that solidarity between us and with everybody in the country and all
Haitians living abroad.
Do you want to have a complete chain of solidarity?
Do you want to have a complete chain of solidarity that doesn't break?
Then, hold hands together and put your hands up for me to see.
Hold hands together to walk together. All young ones who work in the
Foundation, in all Organizations in the neighborhood, all young ones who are
in Kiro, in Scouts, in all other organizations, do you want to walk hand in
Do you want to walk forward together?
Because that's what our ancestors want,
Because that's what all Haitians want,
Let's repeat with all our hearts:
We agree to walk hand in hand.
We agree to walk hand in hand.
Hurray for solidarity!
Hurray for solidarity!
Hurray for the Haitian people!
Hurray for the Haitian people!
Hurray for our dear Haiti!
Hurray for our dear Haiti!
Alone, we are weak,
Together, we are strong,
Together, together, we are Lavalas,
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide