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#4759: U.S. Halts Haitian Program (fwd)
Thursday August 3 1:30 PM ET U.S. Halts Haitian Program
By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - The United States, which has threatened to
cut aid to Haiti if dubious election results are allowed to stand, has
shut down a training program for the Caribbean nation's fledgling police
force.A U.S. Justice Department spokesman confirmed Thursday that the
program was closed this week, but declined to say why. The party of
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his chosen successor,
President Rene Preval won an overwhelming victory in the elections, the
first round of which were held in May. But the results have been called
into question, and the United States, Canada and the European Union -
Haiti's biggest foreign donors - are threatening to cut assistance.
Opposition politicians have accused Aristide, who is favored win
presidential elections later this year, of using the police to further
his ambitions, and the chairman of Haiti's electoral council said police
helped stuff ballot boxes to fix the elections.U.S. instructors had been
training a police force with the hope of building a democratic Haiti.
The program began after a 1994 U.S. military intervention restored
Aristide, whom the army had ousted. Under the program, some 5,000 police
officers have been trained at a cost of $72 million. But hundreds of
officers have been weeded out on charges ranging from excessive use of
force to drug-dealing and murder.