Failing Haiti: A people's cry for democracy

Film, Failing Haiti.jpg
A film documentary in progress, by Elaine Briere

Why doesn’t Haiti work?  Why do we keep hearing about this small nation and its seemingly never-ending cycle of natural disasters and political upheaval? Haiti, poor Haiti - why can’t it get its act together?

I first visited Haiti in 2009 and learned that the answers to these questions are complex and rooted in Haiti’s birth as a nation in 1804. When Haiti emerged out of the only successful slave revolution in world history, it was seen as a threat by all the colonial, slave holding powers. A few years after Haiti gained independence, France extorted reparations for its loss of slaves and territory, payments that went on until 1946.

The pattern of disastrous outside interference hasn’t changed since, only the players. As French influence declined, the U.S. stepped in, occupying the country for 19 years and propping up the regressive and dictatorial local elite.  In the last 20 years, Canada has joined as a junior partner to France and the U.S. in imposing their destructive political will and making Haiti a poster child for privatization and ‘free’ markets.

Failing Haiti is a film that focuses on the evolution of Haiti’s democracy movement and the way it has been thwarted since its inception by the powers within and without. It examines the key role of Canada, along with the US and France, in the coup in 2004 that removed the last widely supported democratic government in Haiti. This documentary, currently in production, features over 20 interviews with democracy activists and scholars, using archival footage as well as exclusive imagery acquired during the last three years. The film counters the dominant narrative of Haiti as a failed state requiring foreign management. It is important for us outside Haiti to encourage and support the popular progressive movement.

Please help us to complete this documentary. You can make a donation on the film website:

If you wish to make a contribution by cheque, including a tax-deductible receipt, please send your cheque to:
On The Ground Society for Documentary Photographers
c/o Gary Fiegehan, #5 – 1020 Chilco St.
Vancouver, BC   V6G 2R6

memo: Haiti film