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5981: One -time Aristide Ally Speaks (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Sunday November 26 4:35 PM ET One-time Aristide Ally Speaks 
 By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press Writer 

PAPAYE, Haiti (AP) - Deep in the Haitian mountains, on a farm accessible
only by a road ground down to bedrock, one of the architects of Haiti's
crumbling democracy languishes in hiding, contemplating the ruins of the
revolution he helped create - and calling for another. Peasant leader
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste was once like a brother to Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, the former priest widely expected to be restored to Haiti's
presidency in Sunday's election. But that was before he saw Aristide as
another in a string of despots and the Lavalas movement they set up
together as the  instrument of a budding dictatorship.``We created
Lavalas to fight corruption, not to create more corruption ... We did
not create Lavalas for Haiti to become the biggest depot for drugs en
route to the United States,'' he said Saturday, interviewed at his
hiding place. ``We had come up with Lavalas to combat dictatorship, not
to create another dictatorship.''
 In this land of mystery and manipulation, claims such as these are put
forth with little proof - and they are denied by Aristide, who many
still view with admiration. But it's clear democracy has not lessened 
Haiti's crushing poverty. Political violence continues, and the Lavalas
victory in May's legislative election was widely attacked as rigged.
Jean-Baptiste, a graying 53-year-old intellectual with glasses and a
crooked smile, has been in hiding since a Nov. 2 machine gun attack on a
democracy conference in the mountain town of Hinche in which eight
people were wounded, including his brother, Dieugrand, who is
hospitalized in Cuba with a punctured lung and intestine.Jean-Baptiste
says the attack was an assassination attempt on him by Lavalas.
It was also in Hinche that Jean-Baptiste organized Aristide's first mass
rally, a 1990 spectacle that drew some 30,000 peasants. ``We put him on
a horse with a rooster under his arm,'' he recalled. ``That same     
day, he slept in my bed.'' Aristide's symbol during the election was a
rooster. They met earlier when the Catholic priest was urging fellow
slum-dwellers in Port-au-Prince to overthrow the Duvalier family
dictatorship, while Jean-Baptiste was doing similar work in the      
countryside. They became so close that ``he used to call me brother and
I called him brother back.' Some say the friendship disintegrated
because Aristide chose Rene Preval, Haiti's current leader, to run      
in his place in 1995, when he was constitutionally forbidden from
seeking a consecutive term.``When Chavannes was not given the position
he had been promised, he turned his back on Lavalas,''said Lyps Maitre,
head of a regional electoral council office.Jean-Baptiste said he
remains committed to the Papaye Peasant Movement - probably the largest
farmers' group in the Caribbean, which he started while living in exile
in Boston in the early 1970s with  a $2 million grant from the Ford
Foundation.`I believe that Haitian people have to resist this
dictatorship,'' he said. ``The Haitian people will fight for democracy.
It will continue.''