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6971: 7 Fevrier 2001 (fwd)
I'm a bit perplexed by Joseph Kennedy's call for support of the "8 points"
recently proposed by the Lavalas government and the outgoing Clinton
administration. Weren't these the same points that were agreed to in order to
send the 20,000 troops back in '94? Well, the troops have come and gone, why
are free and fair elections and privatization still being negotiated.
I did go to the inauguration and Joseph Kennedy was the only American
referred to by name at the affair. There were representatives from Cuba,
Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico among others(Taiwan). This
shows me that there has been a shift in Haitian alliances from a
European/United States influence to a more Central American/Hispanic
Caribbean perspective. North-South in relation to the United States rather
than East-West. Mexico, Nicaragua and Cuba of course are well known for
their populist revolutions.
In describing economic projects for the upcoming term there seemed to be
a lack of potential partners to work with the new Lavalas administration.
Aristide asked for 5000 hotel rooms and Club Med can't stay open with 400,
because of too much political turbulence.
The people in the streets were happy and those attending, in general,
were very supportive but I saw very little representation of the business
class in Haiti, mind you I might not recognize some of them even if I saw
them. Its just a general impression.
A detachment of young girls (the hope of Haiti?) came marching in, in
seemingly endless rows of three in white shirts and matching white skirts
accompanied by a military type marching band. It was beautiful to see. They
repeatedly lifted a large banner of a dove with an olive branch into the air
then threw a number of white doves into the air. Though some of the doves
plunged directly to the ground, probably from heat exhaustion, one managed to
find its way the the podium from which Aristide spoke.
Aristide was enthusiastic and flamboyant (though a couple of hours late)
and spoke in Creole,French, then English, then Spanish. The largest applause
of the day was when he introduced Joe Kennedy and when he began speaking in
Afterwards we came back to the Oloffson,(skipped the buffet at the palace)
and watched a wonderful and rare 1969 British T.V. documentary on Haiti,
which had extensive interviews in English with Papa Doc. The video was
brought to us by Greg Chamberlain, who spent a bit of time this week with his
Corbett nemesis Kim Ives. The two of them seemed to get along famously. There
were probably at least a dozen Corbetteers here last night, many of them
journalists so I'll leave the reporting to them.