Audio recordings from Radio Haiti-Inter, documenting Haitian politics and culture from 1957 to 2003 (bulk 1972-2003). Under the leadership of station directors Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas, Radio Haiti was a voice of social change and democracy, speaking out against oppression and impunity while advocating for human rights and celebrating Haitian culture and heritage. Documents sonores de Radio Haïti-Inter, documentant la politique et la culture haïtienne de 1957 à 2003 (majorité 1972-2003). Sous la direction de Jean Dominique et Michèle Montas, Radio Haïti fut une voix du changement social et de la démocratie, dénonçant l'oppression et l'impunité tout en défendant les droits humains et célébrant la culture et le patrimoine d'Haïti. Dokiman sonò Radyo Ayiti-Entè, ki reprezante politik ak kilti ayisyen soti nan 1957 rive nan 2003 (pi fò se 1972-2003). Anba direksyon Jean Dominique ak Michèle Montas, Radyo Ayitite yon vwa chanjman sosyal ak demokrasi, ki te denonse tout kalite opresyon ak enpinite pandan li te defande dwa moun epi selebre kilti ak patrimwan ayisyen.
The Radio Haiti audio collection spans 1957 to 2003 (bulk 1972-2003) and consists of open reel and cassette audio recordings. With the exception of a very small number of recordings that are restricted to protect the identities of the speakers, the entire audio collection is digitized and publicly available.
The Radio Haiti collection is perhaps the most thorough documentation of late 20th century Haitian politics and history, including but not limited to the Duvalier regime and its aftermath; the nascent democratic movement amid military rule under the Conseil National de Gouvernement in the late 1980s; the first presidency, overthrow, return, and second presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide; the aftermath of the 1991-1994 coup years during which Haiti's democratically-elected government was in exile; and the first presidency of René Préval. Radio Haiti both covered and spoke out against impunity, calling for justice for victims of human rights violations and political oppression as well as victims of corruption and corporate malfeasance. With his background as an agronomist, Jean Dominique focused in particular on the political and land rights of dispossessed peasant farmers and the need for Haiti to strengthen and support national agricultural production. Radio Haiti advocated for freedom of the press and documented repression of the independent media, covered grassroots organizations and women's rights campaigns. Radio Haiti covered international relations, including the plight of undocumented Haitian refugees fleeing to the United States or the Bahamas (so-called "boat people"), Haitian cane-cutters in the Dominican Republic and repatriations of Haitian people from the Dominican Republic, US policy toward Haiti and US involvement in Haitian politics, neoliberal reform and structural adjustment policies. Radio Haiti promoted and showcased Haitian art and culture, including painting and sculpture, literature, poetry, theatre, music, history and national heritage, and other intellectual production. They highlighted Vodou as a meaningful and important part of national culture worthy serious analysis. The station focused extensively on key moments of repression and injustice, such as the 1987 Jean Rabel massacre of peasant farmers and the 1994 Raboteau massacre of Aristide partisans by the military and FRAPH paramilitary, and on important assassinations and disappearances, including but certainly not limited to liberation theology priests Jean-Marie Vincent and Jean "Ti Jan" Pierre-Louis, and, of course, the hired killing of Radio Haiti's own director, Jean Léopold Dominique.
Radio Haiti afforded as much consideration and airtime to the voices and concerns of peasant farmers from rural Haiti, members of grassroots organizations, Haitian braceros living on Dominican bateys, and residents of poor urban neighborhoods as it did to prominent politicians and intellectuals. By reporting largely in Haitian Creole, the language that all Haitians speak and understand, Radio Haiti made media and communication truly democratic, and showed Creole could be a language of serious political and intellectual inquiry.
Radio Haiti's programming consisted of on-the-ground breaking news, reportage, extensive on-air interviews and debates (such as "Face à l'Opinion", "Pawòl la Pale" and "Forum Electoral"), news magazines (such as "Inter-Actualités Magazine" and "Inter-Face"), cultural programming ("Entre Nous") and editorials ("Le Point"). The collection was acquired as part of the Human Rights Archive.
The Radio Haiti audio tapes have been digitized and many are available in the Duke Digital Repository: https://repository.duke.edu/dc/radiohaiti. For help accessing files not yet in the Repository, or for any questions regarding recording content, please contact Rubenstein Research Services staff.
For the Radio Haiti Papers, see Guide to the Radio Haiti Papers