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#4746: Grenades add to Haiti's isolation (fwd)
From: Rosann Clements <email@example.com>
Grenades add to Haiti's isolation
Monday July 31, 2000
Two grenade attacks in Port-au-Prince - on the Canadian ambassador's
residence and a United Nations' mission - have reinforced Haiti's growing
isolation from the international community.
Only one device exploded but the violence is a new source of tension between
the poorest state in the Americas and western countries which are cutting
off aid in protest at alleged electoral fraud.
The UN has expressed dismay at what it maintains are falsified parliamentary
results which gave the ruling party, Fanmi Lavalas, a landslide victory. The
last round of run-offs took place yesterday.
The first grenade exploded in the driveway of ambassador Gilles Bernier's
home on Thursday night. His car was damaged but no one was hurt. Canadian
police officers were involved in training Haiti's police after the US
invasion of 1994.
The second grenade was found the same day beside the former UN civilian
mission in Delmas, on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince. It was
detonated safely by police.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts but supporters of Fanmi
Lavalas, whose leader is the former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, have
staged furious protests against the international community's refusal to
ratify the results.
Buildings in the capital are daubed with graffiti threatening the
Organisation of American States, which monitored the polls in May and June.
The organisation has since withdrawn from Haiti.
Japan has already suspended £9m in aid this month. The EU last week began a
review that could eventually halt a £130m five-year aid package.
Both the US and Canada - Haiti's biggest donors - are threatening to cut off
remaining aid. A further £266m in international loans has been on hold for
several years awaiting the return of a reconstituted parliament.
Haiti's opposition has accused Fanmi Lavalas and Mr Aristide of attempting
to return the country to a dictatorship. Mr Aristide, a former priest, is by
far the most popular politician and is expected to be the runaway winner in
the November presidential elections.