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Canada’s Haitian Political Prisoner


Jean Candio has been imprisoned in Windsor, Ontario since December 13, 2006.

He left Haiti in March, 2004, following the Coup d’etat which culminated in the kidnapping of democratically elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He left as a result of persecution brought about against the Lavalas movement and Party by the U.S./Canadian and French installed interim government which brought back to power many criminal forces from the previous periods of dictatorship in Haiti.

In May of 2000 Mr. Candio was elected deputy in the Haitian Parliament. He represented the 2nd region of Aquin. He was elected with 91% of the vote.

Prior to the 1991 coup d’etat, Mr. Candio was a Vice-Delegate in the first Aristide government, under Prime Minister Rene Preval, responsible for education and community programs in the region of Aquin from March 2, 1991 until September 30, 1991. After the 1991 coup, Mr. Candio was forced into exile – along with most of the Aristide government – until 1994.

The 2004 coup, like the 1991 coup, was orchestrated and financed by foreign powers, specifically, in the most recent case by the governments of the U.S., Canada and France. Canada, along with the U.S. sent its troops to Haiti prior to the Coup, which eventually participated in the kidnapping of Haitian President Aristide. Canadian Forces secured the airport from which Aristide was taken out of the country by U.S. marines.

Mr. Candio was an outspoken critic of foreign interference in Haiti’s affairs, particularly of U.S. interference in Haitian politics. As a result, following the coup, his family was threatened, some of them murdered. His house was burned to the ground, while his sister was still in it.

He fled Haiti initially to the Dominican Republic and then to the United States in March of 2004.

He was living in the U.S., with his wife, from that time. From March 2006 to April 2006 he was detained in the U.S. by INS. He was released after negotiating a voluntary departure.

On December 13 he crossed the Canada U.S. border at Windsor, leaving his wife and newborn child in the U.S. while he sought refugee status in Canada, where, if successful they would follow.

At the border he immediately requested political asylum in Canada. He was detained from that time until today at the Brock Street Prison in Windsor, Ontario.

>From the time of his detention Windsor activists affiliated with the Canada Haiti Action Network, and NDP Member of Parliament Joe Comartin’s office, became informed of his presence and began visiting him and corresponding with his friends in the U.S.

The Canadian government’s justification for imprisoning Jean Candio and seeking to deport him is based not only on allegations against him as an individual. Canada is arguing that Mr. Candio was a "senior official" in a government that "engages or has engaged in terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide…"

Canada is therefore taking its brutal, anti-democratic policy in Haiti to a new level by criminalizing Lavalas – the massively popular movement that has dominated Haitian elections since 1990.

Mr. Candio can easily refute the allegations against him. He has documents (updated to September, 2006) that show he has no police record in Haiti – notwithstanding wild allegations that have been made on anti-Lavalas websites.

AMNESTY INTERNATONAL’S ROLE

Though Amnesty has not accused Mr. Candio of wrongdoing, it reported, in April, 2001, one of the minor accusations that had been made against him by NCHR (now RNDDH) – a thoroughly discredited and partisan Haitian human rights group. Canada has cited this Amnesty report as evidence against Mr. Candio. Appeals were immediately made to Amnesty asking them to state the obvious about NCHR (RMDDH) and to defend Mr. Candio’s rights. [see _http://www.canadahaitiaction.ca/article.php?id=222_ (http://www.canadahaitiaction.ca/article.php?id=222) ]

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS CASE

If Canada criminalizes Mr, Candio’s association with Lavalas it will have criminalized Haiti’s poor majority. In every election since 1990 it is the Lavalas movement that has prevailed – not through violence – but through the overwhelming support of the Haiti’s poor. Their opponents, on the other hand, have shot their way into power twice since 1990. It is Lavalas opponents – not the beseiged Lavalas governments – who have committed gross and systemic human rights abuses; yet Mr, Candio sits in jail as this is written – not the dictator Gerard Latortue, nor his Canadian allies – Paul Martrin and Pierre Pettigrew. Those who have trampled on the rights of the poor – like Gerard Latortue – are welcomed as statesmen by the Canadian government.

The audacity of what the Canadian government is attempting to do through this case speaks volumes about the failure of progressive to oppose what Canada has done in Haiti. Canadians owe it to Jean Candio, his family, and the thousands murdered, raped and driven into hiding since the coup to finally put a stop to Canada’s criminal policy in Haiti. Do not allow Canada to criminalize the victims of its policy.

WRITE TO THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT
Steven Harper [email protected]


including members of the opposition
Jack Layton [email protected]
Alexa McDonough [email protected]


Gilles Duceppe [email protected]
Stéphane Dion [email protected]


Please tell them you oppose any efforts by Canada to criminalize association with Lavalas movement or past Aristide governments. Ask them to free Mr. Candio and ensure that he is granted an open and fair refugee hearing.

WRITE TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
[email protected]
[email protected]

Ask them to state the obvious about NCHR (RNDDH) and express concern for Jean Candio’s rights. Ask them to publicly oppose any efforts by Canada to criminalize association with Lavalas or former Haitian President Aristide.

WRITE TO THE CANADIAN MEDIA

Ask them to give this story the careful, honest and detailed attention it deserves.

Please write to editors and columnists in the local and national press.
Below are some people you may consider:

Ed Greenspon [email protected]
Bill Schiller [email protected]
Marina Jimenez [email protected]

PLEASE COPY YOUR LETTERS TO

[email protected]
if you wish them to be posted on the CHAN website

TO DONATE TO MR. CANDIO’S LEGAL DEFENCE

Send an email with your pledge to
[email protected]
You will then be advised where to mail your donation.

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