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6047: Aristide's victory party crashed by critics (fwd)

From: Nancy Dorsinville <ndorsinv@hsph.harvard.edu>
Aristide addresses the media during a news conference Monday in

November 28, 2000

CNN Web posted at: 7:02 PM EST (0002 GMT)

In this story: 

Opposition blasts election results

Aristide's character questioned

Annan recommends shutting U.N. mission

U.S. sees serious problems in Haitian voting

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti -- Public euphoria accompanied Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's victory in 1990 when he became Haiti's first freely elected
president. Now, as the former priest prepares to reassume the presidency
of this impoverished Caribbean nation, many believe he is capable of
almost any manipulation. 

With six of nine districts reporting, Aristide had 91 percent of the vote,
the electoral council announced Tuesday. The electoral council said
turnout for Sunday's elections was 60.5 percent. 

All major opposition parties boycotted Sunday's vote, and Aristide ran
against six unknown candidates seemingly too scared to campaign. 

Aristide's detractors charge him with rigging elections, inciting street
violence and even bombings, and intimidating challengers. They believe he
fixed votes in May to pick up Senate seats for his party and rigged his
own reelection. 

Opposition blasts election results
"Since 1995 ... every so-called election has been a farce staged by the
Lavalas government to install one party, one-man rule," said Evans Paul,
an opposition leader. 

Paul alleged Monday that "ballot boxes were stuffed" in Sunday's
presidential elections and "the results were fabricated to save face." 

Some members of Haiti's opposition said they plan to come up with an
alternative to a government run by Aristide 

"What we have in mind is to sit down with other opposition parties and
civil organizations and work out a national democratic alternative,"
Sauveur Pierre Etienne, spokesman for the 17-party opposition alliance
Convergence, said Tuesday on private Radio Metropole. 

Aristide said Monday he would welcome the opposition into his Lavalas
party government. The opposition spurned that offer. 

Aristide's character questioned
Aristide once wore polyester and worked out of a sweltering slum office.
He now dons Italian suits and lives in a mansion guarded by mercenaries.
Soft-spoken and reclusive, Aristide insists he stands for "peace" in a
land that has never known it. 

"We don't know where Aristide stands. A priest cannot become a president
and keep his halo," said artist-actor Mathieu Painvier, 40, who voted for
Aristide in 1990. 

It was during his earlier years, when he bravely spoke out on behalf of
the poor, that raised Aristide to the top of his nation. 

He gave fiery Creole sermons against the Duvalier dictatorship and
benefitted from the mystique of priesthood in Haiti, where the clergy are
seen as having supernatural powers and an utter devotion to their flock. 

Now 47 and married, Aristide has two children and lives on a 40-acre
(16-hectare) estate in suburban Tabarre. 

No one denies that Aristide has worked hard as a leader, establishing
literacy classes, a food cooperative, a children's shelter and an
educational television and radio station. Still, Haitians disillusioned by
the squabbling and dysfunctional political leadership continue to endure
extreme poverty, corruption and rampant crime. 

And he faces charges of being aloof and authoritarian. 

"Aristide believes he is God and that he is above everybody else," said
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, ex-ally turned bitter rival. "He surrounds
himself with people who adore him." 

Annan recommends shutting U.N. mission
U.S. Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommended on Tuesday the United
Nations shut down its mission in Haiti aimed at training police,
monitoring human rights and elections and coordinating international aid. 

In a report to the General Assembly, Annan said the operation should close
when its mandate ends on February 6. He said it was underfunded and could
not function properly in a "climate of political turmoil." 

The Civilian Support Mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym of
MICAH, was created a year ago by the 189-member assembly to help
strengthen the impoverished Caribbean nation's fragile democracy and
encourage long-term financial support. 

It absorbed other specialized units to help reform the country's justice
system, train its police, monitor human rights and help organize elections
as well as oversee international aid projects. But it began with few staff
until this summer when donors began to meet its $23 million budget. 

Annan said interested governments, which include the United States, have
denied the unstable Haitian government aid and channeled assistance
through grass roots organizations. 

"The swings of international assistance from government to nongovernmental
organizations and back, according to the legitimacy of the government of
the day, have disrupted long-term development in the past," Annan said.
Eventually, he said only the government could enact measures to reduce
poverty and induce reforms. 

But Annan said Haitian authorities had failed to address political
concerns of donors, who in turn prevented the nation from gaining
financial help from international institutions. 

However, he said some discussions had begun among donor governments, the
U.N. Development Program and others with the aim of setting up a program
"that is commensurate with the country's political realities and
absorption capacity." But he gave no details on how this would evolve. 

Annan in the report said the political polarization of Haiti, which had
paralyzed the government, had a devastating impact of human rights and
political stability. 

But he said the opposition's hope that Aristide's party, which had the
support of the urban poor, would disintegrate under international
isolation prevented it from making any compromises. 

"The consequences of this attitude can be seen in Haiti's political
stalemate, soon to enter its fourth year," he said. "Its costs can be
witnessed in the increasingly desperate situation of the country's poor,
unprotected from the impact of external factors." 

The United Nations began large operations Haiti in March 1995 with a
6,000-member peacekeeping force. The troops replaced a 22,000-strong
U.S.-led force that restored Aristide to power after he was topped by a
military dictatorship in 1992. 

U.S. sees serious problems in Haitian voting
Meanwhile, the Clinton administration has nothing good to say about the

The reason is administration disgust with Haiti's refusal to address
"serious irregularities" that gave Aristide's Lavalas Family Party a big
margin in legislative elections last May, State Department spokesman
Philip Reeker said. 

Officials also had concerns about Sunday's balloting, noting that all
major opposition parties boycotted the election. 

A statement Monday by Reeker did not mention Aristide's name nor did it
outline future prospects for U.S.-Haitian relations. 

The U.S. Congress recently banned any U.S. assistance from being channeled
through the Haitian government, codifying an existing situation. 

The Clinton administration has been treating Haiti like a charity case
lately, supporting programs run by private voluntary organizations in
health, education and agriculture. 

Reeker suggested that U.S. ties to Haiti would continue to focus on
people-to-people relations as opposed to official contacts. 

"The United States will continue to engage and support the Haitian people
in pursuing our mutual interests, which include strengthening democracy,
improving respect for human rights, eliminating poverty, stemming the flow
of drugs through Haiti to the United States and addressing sources of
illegal migration," Reeker said. 

A U.S. invasion force of 20,000 helped reinstate Aristide to power in
1994, three years after he was deposed in a military coup. Although
Aristide turned over power to an elected successor in 1996, his stock here
has fallen sharply because he is linked to electoral and other abuses that
have occurred since then. 

Of particular concern were the May 2000 elections, in which the United
States and the Organization of American States said there were serious
procedural irregularities in balloting for senators. 

"Responsibility for remedying electoral flaws still resides with Haitian
authorities," Reeker said. He added that low voter turnout and
pre-election violence are strong indicators of the need for reconciliation
among all sectors of Haitian society. 

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.