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Several prominent figures from the International Anti-Apartheid movement have sent South African President Jacob Zuma an open letter “in the hopes that [President Zuma] can assist” former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family in returning to Haiti “as soon as possible.”
Signers include Randall Robinson, the founder of Trans Africa Forum; the Reverend Jesse Jackson; actor and activist Danny Glover ; British MP John McDonnell; activist and comedian Dick Gregory, who was outspoken against the apartheid regime, Jack Healey, founder and director of the Human Rights Action Center, Jack Heyman of the San Francisco International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union ,which refused to unload ships carrying goods from apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s, Selma James, the widow of famed writer C. L. R. James, author of one of the most influential books on Haiti’s revolution, The Black Jacobins and Walter Riley, Co-Chair John George Democratic Club , Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.
The letter expresses gratitude to the South African government, and people of South Africa, for hosting the Airsides. “We also heartily support the efforts of the South African government to assist President Aristide and his family in quickly returning home,” the signers state, noting that “Any delays to the Airsides’ prompt travel to Haiti would be yet another disappointment to a people that have already experienced a long list of tragedies, disasters, and heartbreak.”