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7045: Haiti 123 on Carnaval Crisis (fwd)
Busyness News Network, 2-12-01
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 12, 2001
A carnaval crisis arose today when a coalition of Haiti's principal
opposition parties announced plans to install a parallel carnaval in this
impoverished Caribbean nation, from February 25 to 27. Previous carnavals
had been dominated by people with inexpensive clothes associated with
President Jean Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Movement, and were marred by
reports of indiscipline, celebration and loud music. The last carnaval, in
March of 2000, was largely spurned by the international community.
The coalition, called the Convergence Autocratique, represents a broad
spectrum of former dictators. They have protested irregularities in the
selection of themes for this year's Carnaval songs. According to official
counts, ten of the most popular songs ridicule the opposition, while only one
The crisis appeared to be resolved over the weekend when, under heavy U.S.
pressure, Aristide agreed to concede five songs to the Convergence during
Carnaval's parade through Port-au-Prince. That deal fell through when not
enough bands would sing in French.
The Convergence, however, insists that its concerns go deeper, to the very
foundations of Carnaval. "The Lavalas movement is a group of chimeres
(unemployed young men with no respect for their betters), lead by a
self-appointed would-be messiah," according to Convergence spokesman Louis
Garou. "The whole carnaval movement was started by a self-appointed would-be
messiah, and twelve chimeres. Both tried to disrupt the existing social
order, to give handouts to the lazy and undeserving at the expense of the
private sector and the political classes. Both would have succeeded were it
not for foreign intervention in collaboration with local elites."
Although they did not provide details, Convergence officials are confident
that they can organize a parallel event in time. It is expected that most of
the financing will come from the Inequality Reinforcement Initiative (IRI),
the Convergence's main source of support. "We will certainly consider the
proposal carefully," says IRI's Oscar Charles. "We have never limited our
involvement to traditional political activities."
The Convergence is seeking a site away from the crowds of revellers that have
plagued previous carnavals. Some have suggested the wide boulevards of
Cabaret, a coastal town that is the Convergence's spiritual capitol. Others
prefer the remote Northwest Department, where, according to IRI's Charles "we
have a long tradition of effective crowd control."
The Lavalas government calls their event "the carnaval of unity for peace,"
following the principal theme of Aristide's inauguration speech last
Wednesday. It is expected that the parallel carnaval will likewise emphasize
the themes stressed in Convergence President-designate C.N. Gorge's speech
"the return of the army and virginity."
Copyright 2001, Busyness News Network
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