Danny Glover: Upcoming Haitian Election an Opportunity for Self-Determination
The actor and activist discusses who he is supporting and what’s at stake for the Haitian people
SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: Welcome back. I’m speaking with Danny Glover about the Haitian elections coming up on October 9th. Thank you for joining us again Danny.
So Danny, after following Haitian politics for decades and being quite intimately involved enough to fly back to Haiti with former president Aristide from South Africa back to Haiti in 2011, your candidate of choice that represents the best interests of the people of Haiti is Dr. Maryse Narcisse. Could you tell us why you specifically support her enough to do actually a promotional video for her?
DANNY GLOVER: Well I think the fact that she’s a woman and a mother. The fact that she’s a doctor, and the fact that she’s been engaged as a powerful voice for her people. Those people who are disenfranchised. Those people who remain voiceless and have remained voiceless since the coup de tat that overthrew president Aristide. The fact that she does all that but there’s something about this moment in Haitian history. Haitian history has had dictators from the Papa Doc to Baby Doc. It has a man who provided us with a–who were controlled by the US, controlled by other foreign interest at times. But this is someone who is not controlled by that.
It’s almost like treating this moment like a rebirth or a possibility of a rebirth of all the ideals that have brought Haiti into existence in the first place. She represents that. She represents I believe the historic translation or transfer of Haitian dignity and independence and self-determination right here. Those are heavily words to words to lay on her. But her actual work methodology, her actual work over her lifetime warrants the fact that she is here at this moment and says that this is the great possibility right here in the sense to now reimagine, to now retranslate possibilities for Haitian people.
PERIES: We know being the people’s candidate in Haiti is not enough where in terms of ideal democracy we would think it’s enough but it’s really important for the person leading and president of the country to have good relations with the US. Whether we like it or not that’s some of the reality because they tend to remove people who are not friends of the United States. How do you think she would do with foreign policy of the United States and be able to maintain certain level of resources and funding and the support it needs in order to elevate the dignity of the people as you say?
GLOVER: I think, and this is not to say anything disparaging about people that we expect and people who brought some sort of positive influence to the process of politicization and unity to Haiti and some of those ideas. But what happens when a woman assumes that responsibility. Perhaps we have in Dr. Narcisse, a convener in some way. There’s a leverage and respect from that. Not to go into my own thinking too much about the psychology of a priest.
There is a psychology when a priest takes over power or has power that the people represent his flock. This is not–just my own thinking in terms of this. Because it’s his flock and because the way in which his work process, his initiation, his nuances, often could be exclusive and could exclude others from the process itself.
I believe that Dr. Narcisse has the capacity to bring others and watching her to bring, to say this is our Haiti. What are the things that we can do that only service our interest but at the same time perhaps in a new thinking that maybe is possible with American electoral politics, create a new form, a new paradigm for us? A new narrative for us?
PERIES: And as far as Dr. Narcisse’s platform is concerned, what are the issues that she stands for that you think are in the benefit of the Haitian people?
GLOVER: Certainly education one. President Aristide, created more schools than in any time in Haiti’s history. Certainly healthcare is going to be a focal point and maybe reinitiating different programs which now service these people and their healthcare. I mean maybe dealing with earthquake itself. But they’re not just on her. We don’t want to place all that on her.
What we want to find is some groundwork. Some ground where it becomes an inclusive process and we begin to hear from our own vantage point, the voice of the Haitian people. They become the determinates of what and how their country will grow. Maybe we have that opportunity. Maybe through this woman and the course of history and all that because all that plays a role in the course of history, maybe through that in some sense we find another process that certainly could be in my sense a template or an example of what’s possible. In the crisis there’s also great opportunities as well.
Certainly in this, the particular crisis, however we define the crisis of Haiti, the president the election of her provides us a great opportunity.
PERIES: And when President Michel Martelly went back to Haiti in the last elections and he was elected to be the president supported by the United States the assumption was given that he’s a businessman not to mention a musician, was that he was going to attract a lot of business and get people to invest in Haiti which is a big requirement if we are to redevelop Haiti in the interest of the people. That didn’t obviously happen because Haiti is worse off than it was when he took power. If Dr. Narcisse is to take power, she’s going to have to be able to convince people to reinvest not only businesses but other countries, international aid, as well as try to find maybe the diaspora Haitian community to come back, reinvest, believe in Haiti. Do you think she’ll be able to do all of that?
GLOVER: Let me say, I think what has happened in the world because there’s so many–because of the crisis of capitalism and that is part of what we deal with the crisis of capitalism. Part of what we deal with the crisis of the environment and the planet itself, I think that there are opportunities that don’t fit within the framework, the normal framework of investment uplifting, trickling down that we often say.
PERIES: Including international aid.
GLOVER: Including international aid. In that sense, in a real sense and I think we have to rely on that. I think we find that in various storylines and I use the word storylines in places within this country, communities within this country, I was talking to a young woman from Vermont. Vermont of just over 400,000 people is one of the leading centers for organic farming, reading centers for another way of introducing us to our relationship with nature and ourselves. Homegrown industries which have lifted the economy, tourism maybe ecotourism.
I just think that if we step aside from what we traditionally see as the process or pathway to development and not exclude that but also find other ways in which you empower people in the choice that they make. Empower people to find their own natural process of development. I think that is possible as well. I think that the opportunity for that is now.
Because we see wherever we go on the planet, we see the failure of the present paradigm right now. The paradigm that has led us into this, the tragedy that we experience right now. So I’m thinking, when I’m thinking about that, I’m thinking about all the other ways we are introduced not only to Haitian people, the Haitian people too all introduce ourselves into other ways of development. Other ways of not simply economic development but human development as well.
PERIES: In case Dr. Narcisse doesn’t succeed, is there another candidate you would consider is an important viable candidate for representing the best interest of the Haitian people?
GLOVER: Well I think the real candidate are the Haitian people. They’re the real candidate. They’re the real engine that drives this. Whatever happens from this point on, before and after the election, they’ll play a major role in the next step taken in Haiti’s future.
PERIES: Alright Danny. Thank you so much for joining us today.
GLOVER: You’re welcome.
PERIES: Thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
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