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7006: The Call (fwd)

From: OLOFFSONRAM@aol.com

When I got the call I was in rehearsal. It was back in November of '95. I 
could tell from the receptionist's voice that she was concerned about 
interrupting my rehearsal so she quickly informed me that some people from 
the embassy were asking for me. I hung up and told the band I would be right 
back. I went up to the house, rinsed off my face, put on a polo shirt, tucked 
my pony tail under my shirt and headed out to the hotel. The group had 
gathered at the far end of the restaurant (table 7) though I was met by one 
person closer to the bar area. Brief introductions and handshakes were 
exchanged and without asking me to sit down they asked me if I thought there 
ought to be presidential elections in the following month (Dec. '95). Three 
of the men I recognized from the embassy, though two had recently left. The 
other two or three were from Washington. They probably had on those blue 
oxford button-down shirts.
    I told them yes, there should be presidential elections in December. I 
said that the elections had been part of the negotiation package to bring 
back Aristide with the 20,000 troops, how can they renegotiate the three 
years now? 
    I told them that Aristide can name anyone he wants and that person will 
be elected. That continuity and knowledge of the outcome will be beneficial 
to the process. I can't believe Aristide doesn't trust one person, in Haiti, 
to be president. If he can't trust one person in Haiti, we're in trouble. 
    Staying on a democratic timetable will be an important part of the 
learning process for the Haitian population. Don't start changing timetables 
at will.   
   This next presidency will probably be a toughest one. There won't be an 
easily identifiable enemy to blame for lack of progress.
     The next month we had presidential elections and Rene Preval was elected 
president of Haiti. I was a bit surprised at the backlash from the decision 
to hold the elections. It didn't seem like an emotional one to me. Aristide 
was sure angry as were some of his supporters and my personal friends. In any 
case, here we are, five years later, Preval's term has come to an end, 
Aristide is back in the palace for his five year term, and on the outside it 
looks like Democracy is more or less shaping up in Haiti. Aristide still has 
a few things to learn about wanting the whole pie in a democratic society. As 
I once told Klerjeune during the three year coup period while he was sitting 
at table 2, its not your country (Se pa peyi pa'w), its the people's country. 
  The trickiest manuverings in the coming months might be the Jean Dominique 
investigation (some people think all roads lead to Tabarre) and the call for 
immunity from investigation of a capital crime by some members of the new 
parliament. The ten disputed parliamentary seats might also be a bone that 
gets stuck in the throat. The people of course want jobs, income and 
carnaval. The potential partners need stability, security and infrastructure. 
The country itself needs environmental activism and schools (primary and 
secondary) in the provinces.
   The last of the journalists covering the recent inauguration are leaving 
today and tomorrow. Most of their stories were buried in the back pages of 
their respective newspapers......Time to get back to work.

Richard Morse