Rene Civil Figure of Grit and Determination

Rene Civil, arrested several times for his criticism of Haiti's government, was recently released after 16 months locked up on fraudulent charges. Active in left-wing politics, member of several grassroots activist organizations, he began as head of Jeunesse Pouvoir Populaire (JPP) after President Aristide's return from exile. Civil entered ghettos of Port-au-Prince, inspiring young people to join JPP in the fight for democracy. Rene Civil provided young people, not only an education to escape the mentality of their upbringing; he also provided financial means.

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To educate and enlighten Haitian youth, Rene Civil has empowered activists to challenge any issue in Haiti's corrupt political system. He has advocated on a variety of issues facing people of Haiti. In particular, he is an impassioned supporter of the poorest Haitians. Shortly before his arrest in 2006, he gave an eloquent speech about violence among the poor, its sources and implicit impact. Violence, according to Civil, is a lack of many basic rights and necessities. It is a lack of food, of livable shelters, of being uneducated that gnaws at the souls of Haiti's poorest.

During one of Rene Civil's incarcerations in 2007, Haiti Action Committee was permitted to see him. Noting the unbearable environment he survived in, the paucity of clean drinking water, decent food, toilet and bathing facilities, and medical treatment, they saw he was in bad health. But he retained his imperishable spirit, believing in the potential of youth, who only need guidance and nurturance to discover their strength, which is Haiti's strength.

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Read more: Activist, Lavalas, Fanmi lavalas, Rene Civil, Jeunesse Pouvoir Populaire, JPP, People

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