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6893: Events in Haiti (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

(Caribbean Insight newsletter)

(2 Feb 01)

The first "national conference" (États-Généraux de la Nation") called by
the opposition Convergence Démocratique (CD) reaffirmed on January 27 the
CD's refusal to recognise the legislative and presidential elections of
last May and December and said it would be "illegal" for President-elect
Jean-Bertrand Aristide to take office as scheduled on February 7.  
        The conference, attended by several hundred people, said it was
postponing announcement of a "provisional government of national unity" so
as to facilitate dialogue with Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas party through
the mediation of the newly-formed Civil Society Action group (Initiative de
la Société Civile ? ISC). 
        The ISC committee seeking the dialogue included the Catholic
archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Mgr Serge Miot, the head of the Haitian
Protestant Federation, Seth Pierre-Louis, as well as former education
minister Rosny Desroches, who is president of the Haitian Foundation for
Private Education, former ambassador Guy Alexandre, who is head of the
Democractic Action (Initiatives Démocratiques) pressure group and Maurice
Lafortune, vice-president of the national Chamber of Commerce.  One CD
leader said an alternative government would be named if the ISC did not
managed to obtain an agreement between the two sides by February 6, but
another leader said there was no deadline.
        Léon Manus, the former president of the Conseil Électoral
Provisoire, who fled the country last June, called on US secretary of state
Colin Powell to help Haitians hold new general elections with all
democratic sectors taking part.
        The Darbonne sugar factory, near Léogane, reopened on January 25
after 14 years, following repairs by engineers from Cuba, whose
vice-premier, Juan Almeida, attended the ceremony along with President René
Préval.  The plant was renamed the Jean Dominique Factory, in honour of the
murdered journalist, who had campaigned against the illegal import of
ethanol which had damaged local sugar producers.
        Former finance minister (1986-87) and central bank governor
(1995-97) Leslie Delatour died of cancer in Miami on January 24, aged 53.