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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Conans Haitian History Lesson - CONAN on TBS

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[Conan Voiceover] When I heard President Trump

had insulted Haiti in the Oval Office.

The President asked,

"Why are we having all these people

"from shithole countries come here?",

referring to African countries and Haiti.

The President then went on to talk about

how they needed to bring in more

people from places like Norway.

Now I have no idea what the president

has against the people of Haiti,

but if the president doesn't like them,

they must be lovely people.

[Conan Voiceover] A day later,

I was exchanging dollars for Haitian gourde,

and before I knew it,

I was in Port-au-Prince

receiving a warm welcome and a bottle of rum.

Now this will last me this morning.

[Conan Voiceover] To understand today's Haiti,

you need to know its history.

This should only take a minute and 23 seconds.

Before the Europeans came,

Haiti was inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people.

Then the Spanish arrived, conquered the Taínos,

plundered their gold,

and brought in thousands of African slaves.

Then the French did the same thing when they took over.

Then in 1804,

Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines

led a slave revolt, defeated the French,

and the nation of Haiti was born,

but France demanded reparations,

and Haiti had to pay them 91 million gold francs.

All the while,

the poor black majority fought with the small

but wealthy mulattoes, dividing Haiti.

Until in 1915,

the US invaded to impose stability

while also removing the gold

from the Haitian National Bank.

When the US withdrew,

Haiti was led by military juntas

and mostly corrupt presidents including

Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son,

Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier who, for the next 30 years,

siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars out of the country,

and were followed by a military government,

more appointed presidents,

military rulers, an elected leader,

more military rulers, another election,

then a coup d'etat, a UN peacekeeping force,

and more contested elections.

Then a devastating earthquake which killed

hundreds of thousands of Haitians

followed by food shortages, an outbreak of cholera,

and devastation by hurricanes.

In short, the people of Haiti have been dealt

the worst hand in the Western hemisphere,

but their spirit remains intact.

I couldn't wait to get outside

and meet these wonderful people.

(audience cheers)

I just bumped into this gentleman.

Your name is?


You're very funny.

[Conan] Oh, thank you.

Yeah mean, I remember watching a clip on YouTube,

you and Kevin Hart.

And Ice Cube. Oh, yeah, Kevin Hart.

Yeah, man, and I like Kevin Hart also.

Oh, he's fantastic.

He's the other good fellow I prefer.

You know, you're much taller than Kevin Hart.

Yeah, man, I am.

He comes up to here.

He comes up to here on you.

I watch CNN.

Oh, and by the way,

on CNN, I used to watch

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

You know, I love this guy's a fan

of mine and Wolf Blitzer.

You're the only guy that likes both of us.

Most people that like him, don't like me.

Hey, how's it going?

Hey, I was watching you this morning.

How are you?

My wife made me watch you, bro.

I really appreciate you saying that.

Wait, why did you say my wife made me watch you?

It shouldn't be that way.

That makes it sound like she made you do the dishes.

I wouldn't mind if she made me do the dishes as well.

It's nice to meet you.

What's your name?

Nice to meet you, my name is James.


you love Haiti?

I love Haiti.

So, okay, let's talk about it.

President Trump used some really

awful language about Haiti last week.

He used the word shithole.

What words would you use to describe Haiti?

Well, I would describe Haiti as the backyard of America.

If it's a shithole,

then Trump should check out his backyard.

You see what I'm saying?

That's fantastic.

I haven't heard anyone say that.

According to the history of this country,

America has had a lot to do

with the condition of this country.

I mean, it may not be so beautiful.

There's trash and garbage a lot of places, but you know,

the people of Haiti are

brilliant, intelligent people, and loving people,

and well-receiving people.

Creative and also really funny.

Everyone I run into is really funny.

Haitian people,

I think that's one of their strengths

because they make a joke out of everything.

You've got a very cool, centered vibe, and I like that.

I want to emulate you.

Do some yoga.

Put some yoga into your life.


No, no, don't do that, don't do that.

Why not, why not?

Just sit here with your back straight,

and close your eyes.

Make sure you're straight, now.

Alright, and now just observe

your inhalation and your exhalation,

and get intimate with yourself, with your breathing.

Okay, I'm intimate with myself.


Just this morning, in fact.


You are better at foreign policy

than the President of the United States right now.

What's your full name?

My name is James Vergneau.

I wish James Vergneau

was President of the United States right now.

I really wish that was true.

That would be wonderful.

[Announcer] James Vergneau believes

in men washing dishes, clean backyards,

and sitting up straight while listening to your breath.

Plus, he's been endorsed by self-pleasurer, Conan O'Brien.

So please, help make James Vergneau

the next President of the United States.

My name is James Vergneau, and I approve this message.

Apparently, there's a group over here that's really angry.

They saw me, they know I'm American,

and they see my camera crew.

We're being told through our interpreter

that when Americans come here,

they only shoot the bad things, which obviously,

is not what we want to do.

Maybe you can tell them the reason I've come to Haiti

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

is because I and a lot of Americans

are angry about what President Trump said.

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

So I wanted to come here and show positive,

great, beautiful things about Haiti.

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

But I understand why just seeing an American

right now with a camera would make people angry.

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

I actually wrote a speech,

tried to write a speech in Creole,

but I can't say it very well, about my intentions here.

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

So you go ahead and tell Trump

to go find out about Dessalines.



Oh, this island, yes.

He doesn't listen to me, Trump.


Oh, this island, yes.

Trump is not my friend.

He doesn't listen.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines.

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

He doesn't listen to me, but I will try and tell him.

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

Guys, I know a way we can get Trump

to watch this message right now, okay?

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

So take care of that right now

so that we know Trump watches, and bang.

There you go.

Now, you say your message right there to Trump.

(speaks in Haitian Creole)

I'm still here, by the way, I'm just

trying to participate.

Watch what's going down.

It's just like Thanksgiving at my house.

The Description of Conans Haitian History Lesson - CONAN on TBS