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#5329: Rumors of a Coup in Haiti (fwd)
People in Port-au-Prince report that the Lavalas regime has gone on high
alert over the weekend in reaction to rumors of an imminent coup attempt.
One Lavalas source cites the opposition and the Macoute sector as the forces
behind this coup. But opposition members and some independent activists
dismiss the coup rumor as a Lavalas diversion.
What does Lavalas have to gain by floating a coup rumor? The opposition
claims Lavalas is trying to create a climate whereby they can bail themselves
out of the latest round of OAS-sponsored negotiations over the May 21
elections. Others see the coup rumor as an obvious manoeuver to discredit
the democratic opposition, and to frighten people enough so that they will
come out to vote in the Nov. 26 elections. But some activists fear that this
is an excuse to crank up the repression, the way Papa Doc used to manufacture
coup rumors to flush out his opponents.
On the other hand, it is a known fact the anti-democratic elements have been
reorganizing themselves of late, with the figure of Baby Doc as leader. The
prospects for a successful coup look very strong right now, what with the
isolation of the Lavalas sector from the rest of the country (and from the
so-called international community), the crisis in the Middle East, and the
upcoming US elections. The Clinton government would be in no position to
intervene against such a coup, and a Republican White House is widely
expected to be sympathetic to a right-wing, anti-Lavalas initiative along
Whatever the reality behind this rumor, the muted press and the people of
Haiti seem to have resigned themselves to one of two outcomes: either the
extreme right will eventually carry out a coup, or Lavalas' hegemonic project
will lead to a full-blown dictatorship.