Haiti Marks 210 Years of Independence


Above: the Neg Mawon statue in Port-au-Prince (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti celebrated its 210th anniversary of independence on Wednesday.

The country was the first in the Caribbean to achieve independence on Jan. 1, 1804.

Haiti President Michel Martelly and Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe began the day with a celebration in Gonaives, Haiti’s “independence city,” where the act of independence was first read on Jan. 1.

The ceremony started with a special mass at the Cathedral of Gonaives.

“210 years after we took our independence, let’s continue the fight to put our country on the road to development,” Martelly said in a statement. “In union only will we meet the challenge.”

In a statement, United States Secretary of State John Kerry, a native of Massachusetts, said he held a “special appreciation for Haiti’s journey.”

“I was proud to introduce bipartisan legislation in the Senate to help Haiti rebuild and develop in a way that creates an opportunity to emerge better off and better prepared,” Kerry said. “And that’s why I worked closely with dozens of families in Massachusetts to expedite adoptions of Haitian orphans that had already been underway before the earthquake. As Secretary of State, I will continue to make Haiti a priority.”

“The United States joins you today in commemorating the courage and spirit of independence of all Haitians as well as the ties of friendship and family that bind our peoples together,” he said.