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6828: Events in Haiti (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

(from Caribbean Insight newsletter)

(26 Jan 01)

Prime minister Jacques Édouard Alexis accused the opposition of being
responsible for four pipe bomb explosions in Port-au-Prince and Pétionville
on January 19 that seriously injured two people and destroyed a truck.  He
said a man arrested after the blasts had implicated the opposition.  The
Convergence Démocratique (CD) opposition alliance denied the charge,
calling it "irresponsible" and accusing the government of "panicking."
        The CD meanwhile formally accepted President-elect Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's offer of talks to resolve the political deadlock but attached
conditions that Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party rejected.   A
group of 17 civil society organisations offered on January 18 to mediate
between the two sides, but an FL spokesman dismissed the group as being "on
the same wave-length as the opposition."
        Paul Raymond, the leader of the pro-Aristide TKL St Jean Bosco
group, who issued death threats against opposition figures on January 9,
appeared in court on January 22, but refused the judge's demand to
apologise, claiming he had made no death threats.  A top leader of the
opposition Organisation du Peuple en Lutte (OPL), Sauveur Pierre-Étienne,
was ordered to appear in court, also accused of making death threats.   The
OPL called the summons "intimidation."
        The new US secretary of state, Gen Colin Powell, told a Senate
committee on January 17 that the US would "have to engage with Aristide." 
He said US goals towards Haiti were "the same as they were 10 or 12 years
ago ? how to get that democracy and that economy started and how to keep
Haitians at home and not on the seas heading towards Florida."