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#5246: Events in Haiti (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

(Caribbean Insight newsletter, UK)

(6 Oct 00)

The assistant secretary-general of the Organisation of American States
(OAS), Luigi Einaudi, left Haiti on September 29 after failing during a
week's visit to break the deadlock between former President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party and the opposition.  He said he had not
been able to get the two sides, as well as President René Préval, to start
a face-to-face dialogue.  Both Préval and Aristide refused to take part
personally in such an encounter.  
        The OAS is said to be pushing for the opposition to accept the
results of the May 21 parliamentary elections in exchange for the FL
allowing the opposition to win the nine Senate seats to be filled at
elections on November 26.
        Foreign minister Fritz Longchamp meanwhile flew to Brussels to
plead with the European Union not to go ahead with its threat to suspend
aid in protest against fraudulent vote-counting in the May 21 elections.  
        The Conseil Électoral Provisoire (CEP) extended by a week, until
October 9, the deadline for the November presidential and senate poll. 
Aristide, who is expected to win the presidency, did not file his candidacy
by the original October 2 deadline. Virtually all opposition parties have
said they will boycott the elections.  Only four minor presidential
candidates have registered so far.
        The CEP president, Ernst Mirville, apologised for his outburst
against the opposition and the country's élite, which he had called
"repugnant."  He said he had only wanted to expose "actions aimed at
destabilising the country."
        The long-awaited trial of 58 people accused of taking part in the
April 1994 massacre of a score of people in the Gonaïves slum of Raboteau
began on September 29 in the presence of justice minister Camille Leblanc. 
Among the defendants are the former heads of the 1991-94 military
dictatorship -- Gen Raoul Cédras, Gen Philippe Biamby and Col Michel
François -- as well as Emmanuel Constant, leader of the paramilitary
organisation FRAPH, all of whom are in exile abroad.  The senior figure
among the 22 defendants in detention is the former Gonaïves military
commander, Capt Castera Cénafils, who led the attack on the slum. 
Government officials said the trial should be seen as one of the
dictatorship itself.