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7045: Haiti 123 on Carnaval Crisis (fwd)

From: Haiti123@aol.com

Busyness News Network, 2-12-01

Carnaval Crisis

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 
criticizes Lavalas.

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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