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6061: 61% of voters vote in Haiti (fwd)
From: archim <email@example.com>
Monday, November 27 - 9:00pm ET
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Rooters) - Haitians cast ballots yesterday in a
most peaceful and calm national election which had a higher percentage
of qualified voters going to the polls than was the case in the recent
United States election. An estimated 61% of the population braved the
threats and scares of the opposition groups, and voted. It was and is
unanimously believed that the former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
would be the winner.
Aristide, who was formerly the pastor of a Roman Catholic parish on
the edges of some of the slums of downtown Port-au-Prince, was
overwhelmingly-elected president of Haiti in 1989 in the first
democratic election the country has witnessed. His support comes from
the masses of Haitians who saw/see him as the one who can lead the
country out of despair and into peace and stability.
Not many months after his inauguration, Aristide was ousted in a
military coup in 1991 and was in exile for three years, most of which
was spent in the USA. As a result of strong international pressure, the
US government assisted in restoring Aristide to his elected position in
1994, returning him in what was an almost pentecostal experience.
Throngs of cheering Haitians welcomed their president back to Haiti,
standing and cheering in the hot mid-day sun outside the gleaming
palace. That day will always be memorable in the minds of those who were
there. The helicopter landing on the lawn of the palace with Aristide
stepping out to immeasurable decibels of cheers and millions of persons.
The president was back! Our president was back!
But a minority of Haitians didn't want him back! That minority had
been involved in supporting the coup against him. That very minority
which had/has been involved in keeping the masses impoverished and
suffering for hundreds of years. Aristide had asked them to pay their
taxes; but they didn't want to, so they paid the military to get rid
of him instead. Aristide wanted them to help their fellow-man, but
they wanted to help themselves. These persons were the "big"
businessmen and the "elite" bourgeois who liked the status quo which
kept them comfortable while their countrymen suffered and lived in
The election yesterday was peaceful, but the days leading up to it
were marked by violence and terroristic threats. The "opposition"
(which surely should not be spoken of in a collective term because
they are in no way united) tried to scare the people from going to the
polls. Of course they blame the violence on Aristide, but that's
rather illogical since Aristide did not need any violence to win. The
opposition groups are so divided amongst themselves that they don't
appear to be able to speak with one voice.
Numerous comments have been made about former allies of Aristide
turning against him, but it must be noticed that almost all of those
"former allies" formed other parties with themselves as presidential
candidates. Could it be that they turned because they wanted the power
and positions and felt that with Aristide they would have no chance?
That's a normal Haitian thing.
But through it all...for months leading up to the election, the
opposition and the news media and, yes, even the USA have been waging
a war of discredit against Aristide and the Family Lavalas. They
accuse him of using violence to get people on his side. They accuse
him of being behind the numerous killings of political leaders. They
accuse him of being behind all the failures of the Preval government.
They accuse him of creating the terrible economic situation which
exists in the country. Some would try to blame him for the lack of
rain if they thought they could get away with it!
But the biggest falsehood which is propagated by the news media
(and most of Aristide's opponents) is the constant statement that
Aristide is a "former Roman Catholic priest". Every news item from
Reuters or The Associated Press or Dow Jones...and even
privately-written ones, repeats the same false comment that Aristide
is a "former" priest. Aristide is not a "former" priest; he is still a
priest. He was never deposed or "defrocked" and he was married by
Bishop Willy Romulus of Jeremie, who would have been deposed himself
had he married a "former" priest without the "indult" given by the
Pope of Rome. This is a good example of "yellow journalism" and
intended to make the reader think that Aristide was a naughty boy and
got kicked out of the priesthood. Michael Norton (Associated Press
writer) who lives in Haiti knows better. Michelle Faul (Associated
Press writer) knows better. David Gonzalez of the NY Times knows
better. Carline Brice of Dow Jones Newswires knows better. Reuters
knows better. Jim Loney and Trenton Daniel and Yves Colon and Voila
News know better. But it's more "sensational" to use the "former
priest" description because it gets people thinking the way the news
media wants them to think.
The Haitian people elected the one they want as their leader;
that's democracy. Time will tell if their vote was correct. They chose
their leader and now we wait to see where Haiti will go under its new
By Eugene Seagraves
Rooters Press Writer