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6694: Events in Haiti (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

(from Caribbean Insight newsletter)

(19 Jan 00)

President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide offered on January 12 to hold
face-to-face talks with leaders of the opposition Convergence Démocratique
(CD) coalition following mediation by Hatuey Decamps, head of the Dominican
Republic's ruling Partido Revolucionario Dominicano.  Some CD leaders
however demanded that Aristide meet them on neutral ground, instead of at
his residence at Tabarre, and as a party leader, not president-elect, as
well as in the presence of foreign officials and leaders of civil society.
        Decamps said he had told the CD he was opposed to its plan for an
alternative government and that Aristide's victory was "a reality."  He had
in turn told Aristide that democracy was not about elections with only one
party taking part and having control of parliament and the legal and
electoral system.
        Threats of violence were made on January 9 by a pro-Aristide
grassroots group, the TKL of St Jean Bosco, and the pro-Aristide Jeunesse
Pouvoir Populaire, against members of a list of 129 prominent figures
proposed for a "national council of public salvation" published on an
obscure Internet website.  
        Confusing this with the unrelated CD-proposed alternative
government, TKL leader Paul Raymond warned people on the list (which
included Aristide and prime minister Jacques Édouard Alexis) to dissociate
themselves from it within three days or risk seeing "their skin used as
parchment, their blood as ink and their skulls as ink-wells," a phrase
borrowed from the fathers of Haiti's independence.
        Raymond also threatened a leading journalist, Liliane Pierre-Paul
of Radio Kiskeya, for referring to the recent elections as being "in
dispute."  An attempt was made a few hours later to burn down the station,
one of several threats against the media by Aristide supporters since last
month.  Opposition parties, civil society groups, churches and local and
foreign human rights organisations, denounced Raymond's remarks. 
Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party condemned all "violence and
inflammatory threats," including those by FL supporters.
        Justice minister Camille Leblanc issued a court summons against
Raymond for threatening behaviour, but he failed to appear on January 15,
sending only his lawyer, accompanied by pro-Aristide demonstrators
demanding the arrest of opposition leaders.