"We never had that democracy. It’s like putting a seed on the ground. We never see it grow because someone keeps on coming and steps on it."
- Garry Auguste, former member of the Haitian National Police
As Canadians, we often take pride in our international reputation as peacekeepers and defenders of democracy. But there is a dark side to our foreign policy — a policy that has thwarted the Haitian people’s struggles for freedom and self-determination over the last two decades.
In 1986, Haitians joined their voices together in a cry for a new kind of society. Emerging from years of brutal dictatorship, they dreamed of a democracy that would serve the poor, listen to their voices and bring an end to impunity. And between 1991 and 2004, Haitians managed, against all odds, to elect a succession of governments committed to realizing this dream. The pro-democracy movement’s efforts, however, were ultimately derailed by powerful local elites and their allies in the international community.
Haiti Betrayed reveals how Canada, once seen by Haitians as a constructive partner, conspired with the United States and France in 2003 to topple the democratically-elected government. Seven years in the making, Elaine Brière’s film meticulously reconstructs Canada’s role in the events that culminated in the United Nations-sanctioned coup d’état on February 29, 2004 and the bloody aftermath that followed. Haiti Betrayed is a searing indictment of Canadian leaders’ complicity in the international oppression of this long-suffering nation.
With the country in the throes of a new popular uprising against corruption and authoritarianism, Brière’s film shows that the roots of current crisis can be found in the coup d’état backed by Canada fifteen years ago.
About the filmmaker:
Elaine Briere is an award-winning filmmaker and photojournalist. Her photographs have appeared in the Globe & Mail, the New York Review, Canadian Geographic, Amnesty International, and Neue Zurcher Zeitung (Switzerland). She has exhibited in Holland, Sweden, Australia, Japan, the USA and the 2006 World Urban Forum. 'East Timor, Testimony' was published in 2004 by Between the Lines. Her film 'Bitter Paradise: The Sell-out of East Timor' won Best Political Documentary at the 1997 HOT DOCS! film festival. Her work is collected by the Visual Heritage Division of the National Archives of Canada and she is a recipient of the Order of East Timor.