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6116: Victory for Whom?... (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Victory for Whom?After Aristide?s election, expatriates and investors
steer clear  By Adam Piore NEWSWEEK INTERNATIONAL

Dec. 11 issue ? Charline Lockard felt as if she were fighting for
survival from the moment she stepped off the plane. Exiting
Port-au-Prince?s international airport in August 1999, she pushed
past crowds of men demanding money. Her mother and sister waited
nervously in a friend?s car. A taxi was out of the question. In Haiti
some cab drivers rob and murder their
Haiti to marry the father of her child. But any thoughts of staying in
her native land quickly evaporated amid the escalating violence on
Haiti?s litter-strewn streets. ?I miss my husband and my country,? said
Lockard, 26, who returned to a job at a CD shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., a
month after her wedding. Haiti is too hard. Too many people die. I will
go back to Haiti only if it changes.She?s not the only one. Last week
jubilant supporters of President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide danced in
the streets to celebrate the former cleric?s latest political          
resurrection. But the crowds were noticeably smaller this time. Many
Haitians were afraid to go outside. Dozens have been killed or wounded
in recent weeks in a spate of pre-election bombings, shootings and
riots. Aristide will face daunting challenges when he assumes power for
the  third time next February. Near the top of the list will be
 fighting Haiti?s appalling crime rate and convincing skilled
expats and foreign investors to return and help revive the moribund
economy. It won?t be an easy sell. Haiti has deteriorated markedly since
Aristide stepped down in 1996. His party,Fanmi Lavalas, is mired in
controversy over charges they cheated in parliamentary elections last
May. The United  States, Europe and the Organization of American States
have frozen most aid since then. And the optimism and excitement that
accompanied Aristide?s historic 1990  victory and his restoration to
power by U.S. forces in 1994 have suffocated under growing
?There were so many times everybody thought it would get better,? said
the pro-Aristide owner of a money-wiring business in
Brooklyn who would give his name only as Betholand. ?I went back myself
to analyze the situation. I thought I could do business in my homeland.
It was too scary. People who invest money there get robbed?they get
killed.? Aristide?s base has shrunk considerably. When he won the
presidency in 1990, Haitians around the world rejoiced in their
country?s first democratic elections.Thousands returned, providing
much-needed capital and skills. But within a year a coup sent Aristide
into exile. In 1994 Washington dispatched a 20,000-strong military force
to restore him. And once again Haitian exiles rallied. But
Aristide?s promised reforms failed to materialize and the economy
tanked. In recent months many Aristide supporters have either left Haiti
or split with his party. Arlet Grandchamp, 61, is one of them.
Grandchamp fled Haiti?s Duvalier regime in the 1960s. An electrical
engineer, he participated in jubilant pro-Aristide rallies in the
early 1990s. He returned to Haiti last year and ran for Senate on the
opposition party slate. Grandchamp soon found things hadn?t changed as
much as he had thought.Last April in the northern city of Port Margot,
he took the stage to address a political rally. Before he could start,
men in the crowd fired automatic weapons into the air and yelled
that he had no right to speak. The crowd scattered. Today
Grandchamp is back in the United States, disappointed and
embittered. ?I wanted to help establish a democracy in
Haiti. But in Haiti, they don?t know what democracy is.? 
Many diplomats agree. In parliamentary elections last May, Lavalas
candidates won in a landslide. Most observers said the results were
tainted.Opposition parties boycotted the presidential elections in
protest. And instead of congratulating Aristide last week, the United
Nations released a bleak report from Secretary General Kofi Annan
to the General Assembly. He recommended that the U.N.close its Haitian
mission when its mandate expires in February, writing that the mission
could not function in a ?climate of political turmoil.? He also noted
that Lavalas has ?disregarded all calls for a rectification? of last
spring?s elections. In a news conference last week Aristide defended
his win as a victory for democracy: ?The huge majority ofthe Haitian
people expressed their right through [their]votes. Those from the
opposition who said no to the elections were free to do it, and we
respect that.
? U.N. condemnations may be the least of Aristide?s problems. Since 1996
the Haitian gourde has plunged from 15 to the dollar to about 24. In
September the price of gasoline jumped 44 percent in one day after the
government announced it could no longer afford subsidies. Haiti has
become a major hub for drug traffickers. The police force, according to
Annan?s report, is under-equipped,?demoralized and unmotivated.? Public
sentiment toward them was amply demonstrated at a pro-Aristide rally
last October. The crowd attempted to lynch a police
 Yet not all hope is gone. In New York last week, a retired hospital   
administrator named Jean Deve Pierre reminisced about his Caribbean
homeland. He left in 1964. As his  golden years approached in the heady
days of 1990, Pierre began to plan a return. By the time he retired,   
deteriorating conditions had given him pause. ?Every Haitian is attached
to Haiti. I want to spend there,live there and vote there. We are still