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6485: Haiti's Aristide Promises Reform (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Haiti's Aristide Promises Reform
The Associated Press, Thu 28 Dec 2000
WASHINGTON (AP) — Haitian President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide has
promised President Clinton a long list of political, economic and
administrative changes that could, if implemented, signal ``a new
beginning for Haiti's democratic future,'' the White House said
Thursday. Aristide, returning to office after a controversial election
victory, first made the pledges in meetings last week with U.S. special
envoy Anthony Lake, a White House statement said. Lake is a former U.S.
national security adviser.
The White House said Aristide repeated his commitment to reform in a
letter to Clinton, promising to rectify election problems; create a
credible election council; enhance U.S.-Haitian cooperation on narcotics
trafficking; professionalize the police, military and judiciary;
strengthen democratic institutions; and protect human rights.
Aristide also promised to begin a new dialogue with international
financial institutions and to negotiate a new agreement with the United
States for the return of illegal Haitian emigrants. Aristide was
re-elected with 92 percent of the vote in an election many critics
dubbed a sham. Runner-up Arnold Dumas had just 2.4 percent, each of the
other five candidates even less. Aristide's Lavalas Family party also
made a clean sweep of nine contested Senate seats, giving it all but one
seat in the upper house. It won 80 percent of seats in the House of
Assembly in May, June and July, legislative elections that opponents
charged were rigged. Aristide became Haiti's first freely elected
leader in 1990 in voting that ended almost 200 years of dictatorship.
After only seven months in office, he was ousted by the army in a bloody
The military government unleashed a reign of terror until 1994, when
U.S. troops invaded and restored Aristide. Constitutionally barred from
serving a second consecutive term as president, Aristide reluctantly
handed power to successor Rene Preval.