M A Y 2 0 0 4 F E A T U R E A R T I C L E
by Maya del Mar
Haiti begain to fight for independence early.
Haiti just celebrated its 200-year anniversary in January. France and the U.S. were conspicuous by their absence.
Haiti was a colony owned by the French, with African slaves providing its wealth. After years of fighting and working for it, similar to the American revolutionary movement, the Haitian slaves won their freedom in 1804, and became the first ex-slave nation. Poor as they were, they have been required to pay the French indemnities each year. They have now paid the French many billions of dollars, and Aristide wanted to negotiate this situation.
The U.S. government hated the establishment of this uppity nation, and put an embargo on Haiti immediately. At that time the U.S. government was heavily embroiled in its own slavery problems, trying to accommodate the slave states, who had been threatening to quit the union from the beginning of talks in the 1770s. The U.S. has had control of Haiti ever since. They occupied it ten times during the 19th century.
The U.S. has never supported the Haitian people, although it has supported the Haitian military. I remember for most of the years of the last century, the Duvaliers, father and son, ruled Haiti with an iron hand, using the military as a tool. The U.S. was allied with the Duvalier dictators.
Jean Bertrand Aristide, a Haitian, was a Catholic priest imbued with liberation theology.
Father Aristide ministered to the poor, and tried to uplift them. I remember reading about his enormous popularity. He felt that both the church and the government were not supporting the welfare of the people, and he was determined to do something about it. (Minimum wage in Haiti was 8-21 cents an hour.)
He left the church and began full-time work as a political organizer, helping the poor to help themselves.
In 1990, Aristide organized the people to demand a democratic election, Haitis first. The U.S. had a candidate whom they expected to win. He received only 14% of the vote, in an election which everyone agreed was fair. Aristide received the remainder. American Army Sergeant Stan Goff, who was on assignment in Haiti, said that immediately the U.S. turned its back on Haiti, imposing an embargo and withdrawing all aid. They gave aid only to the opposition, so that they could use it as a propaganda tool.
Stan said he also saw the buildup for a coup, with the stockpiling of U.S. guns on the Dominican border. And after Aristides inauguration, in 1991 there indeed was a coup, led by the same people who are leading the current deposition, including FRAPPE, all of whose leaders have been trained in various parts of the world by U.S. special forces. This death squad murdered 5,000-45,000 Haitians between 1991-94, when they were in power.
Aristide was held in the U.S. from 1991-94. The U.S. allowed him to return to Haiti when he agreed to follow World Bank and IMF requirements, and to open Haiti up completely to foreign investment (as they have done in Iraq). The proven results of these policies are to make countries pooreralthough Haiti could hardly be made poorer.
This was sometimes called the "chicken revolution." One of the restrictions which was placed on Aristide was to cease shipping chickens, as well as rice, to the U.S. Chicken-exporting was Haitis major industry, with rice next, and this was a huge blow to the economy. There was no real commitment to the bettering of Haitians lives, and no serious planning to help Haitians. Quite the contrary, the backbone of Haitis economy, chicken and rice farming, was destroyed.
Despite the handicaps, Aristide has made a positive difference in Haiti. Laura Flynn worked with the Aristides for two years, creating radio stations by and for childrenso that they would have a voice. She said Aristide is gentle, humorous, kind, and deeply committed, working 16-20 hours a day.
He believes in human dignity, supports dignity in many ways for his people, and always maintains his own dignity. He can articulate the aspirations of the poor, and is intensely close to the people. One of the reasons he dismantled the military was because they were extortionists, constantly wanting money from the people they were supposed to be protecting.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, A Brief Sketch
Aristide was born on July 15, 1953. Thus he is another example of Cancer, the sign with the greatest potential for nurturing. He is a double Cancer, with Sun nearly conjunct his Cancer Ascendant. His Moon is in Virgo, and his instinctive need to serve supports his Cancer Sun well. All three of these major chart points are in receptive signs, which makes him very understanding and empathetic.
Mars conjoined his Sun and Ascendant gives him enormous drive and energy. It is natural for him to take the initiative, and he is always ready for a challenge. Moon in Virgo, the sign of common people, is the ruler of his Cancer energy. Cancer is defensive, protecting the nest, and he uses his great fighting energy to defend the people. Mars, however, tends to speak its mind, and a Sun-Mars can offend people who disagree with it. Sun-Mars is magnetic, and a leader.
Mercury in Leo is also straightforward, and firm about its beliefs. Mercury here is visionary, and wants to manifest its visions. Its a great Mercury for a drama director. Aristide was a strong, courageous director of his show in Haitiinspiring people and making life better for them.
His Uranus in Cancer also speaks to his uniqueness, independence, and outspokenness. Uranus does not tolerate authority.
Cancer is an emotional sign. Virgo is practical. But Aristide has, as well, strong intellectual qualities. Thhis is shown by the air element being dominant in his chart. Notable is North Node in Aquarius, which shows a drive to contribute positively to a better society.
Venus and Jupiter, conjoined in airy Gemini in the 11th house of ideals, show his outstanding ability to inspire others. He has a magic touch in communicating his ideals. Venus and Jupiter there, trine the ruler of his seventh house, show his partnership and friendship with his partner, his wife. They work together.
The planets in the third air sign, Libra, give Aristides personality its special mission. IC, Saturn, and Neptune in Libra closely square his Cancer planets and his Ascendant. Thus, his sense of security and his personality are both based on these fourth house planets. Libra is a sign of fairness and justice, and his desire for justice has motivated his life.
Saturn is the voice of authority, and shows where we develop our inner authority, through difficult experiences and tests. This is a destiny position, and it also shows that he must create his own authority. He cannot depend on anyone else. This is a sensitive position, and indicates a supersensitivity to criticism on his part. He has a strong need to be perfect.
Neptune with Saturn shows the ability to dreamNeptuneand to make those dreams come trueSaturn. Neptune is our cosmic channel, and Saturn is our earthiest planet, where we must attend to reality. Jeanne Avery says about a Saturn-Neptune conjunction (manifested by many born in 1953) in Astrological Aspects:
"Neptune describes the purification process. In the conjoining of Saturn, that purification has to do with the quality of responsibility. When the individual accepts his or her ultimate responsibility, he or she is free to soar into the realms of idealism. There is no one more capable of bringing better conditions into the world than one with this aspect, once he has climbed out of the pit of Saturnian limitation. He can live firmly rooted in the traditional earthbound existence while his head is in the clouds. He can find practical ways to bring concepts into reality."
Saturn feels extraordinarily responsible, and works hard. A Saturn lesson is to learn to deserve. Perhaps Aristide needs to realize this. And perhaps now he will, with the firm support of CARICOM and the Haitian diaspora in the U.S.