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Le Monde du Sud// Elsie news

Le Monde du Sud// Elsie news

Haïti, les Caraïbes, l'Amérique Latine et le reste du monde. Histoire, politique, agriculture, arts et lettres.


Une interview de Gilbert Bigio autour de la communauté juive en Haïti

Publié par Elsie HAAS sur 18 Novembre 2007, 11:47am

Catégories : #2007 Peuple sans mémoire - peuple sans âme

Sources : http://www.jewishtribalreview.org/jpower.htm

[Everywhere the same story: Brazil, Mexico, Iran, wherever. Poor countries with rich Jews. AND always the subtext of trans-world Israel.]
AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD. As Haiti burns, its few Jews choose business over politics,
By Larry Luxner, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 11, 2004

“The country is very poor and there’s no business here, so the Jews don’t stay long,” said David Ades, an intellectual who works in real estate and writes political articles for Le Nouvelliste, a daily newspaper in Port-au-Prince. Ades, 71, is a Sephardi Jew whose father came from Syria and his mother from Egypt. He recently returned to Haiti after more than 20 years in Brooklyn. “After my divorce, I figured the best thing for me was to go back to my roots,” said Ades, whose two sons still live in New York ... Gilbert Bigio, the community’s de facto leader, says that at one time as many as 300 Jews lived in Haiti. “Every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, our house was completely full,” recalled Bigio, who noted that until recently all religious ceremonies were held at his home. But attendance for the High Holidays has gradually dwindled along with Haiti’s Jewish population. “The last Jewish wedding here was my daughter’s, eight years ago, and the last brit mila was that of my son, 30 years ago,” he says. Bigio, 68, lives in a big, beautiful house in Petionville, one of the few upscale neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. Behind the well-guarded house is a luxurious swimming pool and a gazebo for outdoor parties. Like most Jews who remain in Haiti, Bigio is considered extremely wealthy in a country where about 50 percent of the population is illiterate and 76 percent of children under age 5 are underweight or suffer from stunted growth. “I don’t think there’s resentment against people who are rich here,” says the retired businessman, who speaks English, French and Haitian Creole. “If you know how to manage success, people admire you instead of hate you.” Other prominent Jewish families include the Weiners, who are involved in coffee exports, and the Salzmanns, who fled Austria right before the Holocaust and remain in Port-au-Prince. These and other families helped build Haiti’s modern infrastructure and stayed on during the brutal Duvalier dictatorship, which ended in 1986 when Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was overthrown and exiled to France. “Haiti wasn’t always a poor country,” Bigio said. “When Haiti had 3 or 4 million people, everything was beautiful. But between 1950 and today, the population has nearly tripled. We suffer because Haiti hasn’t developed like all other countries around us, especially the Dominican Republic.” “If most of the Jews left,” he added, “it’s because they were hoping to live in a developed country, where their children could marry among themselves ... The family prospered in the export of cotton, cacao and campeche wood. “Most of the Jewish families in Haiti were in the textile and retail businesses,” he said. “We’re also in industry and trading. We have a small steel mill, we distribute edible oils and we work a little in banking.” Bigio also is the honorary Israeli consul in Haiti, which explains the enormous Israeli flag in front of his house — as well as his bulletproof Mercedes SUV. A few Israelis live in Haiti, including noted photographer Daniel Kedar, whose wife, Maryse Penette, is the country’s former tourism minister ... Bigio says Haiti annually imports $20 million worth of Israeli goods, ranging from telecom equipment to Uzi machine guns. There’s also an organization in Port-au-Prince called Club Shalom formed by Haitians who have studied in Israel, thanks to scholarships provided by the Israeli government. Bigio declined to discuss politics or offer a Jewish perspective on the current revolt against Aristide. “Our principle, which we respect daily, is to not mix in Haitian politics,” he explained. “Even after three generations, we are considered foreigners. So we believe that to have good relations with the government, we have to step aside. We take care of business, and let them take care of politics.”

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