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6976: President pledges to rebuild Haiti,despite international , Isolation (fwd)
From: nozier <email@example.com>
Aristide Returns to Power __President pledges to rebuild Haiti,despite
international isolation______By Richard Chacon, Boston Globe Thursday,
February 8, 2001
Port-au-Prince, Haiti -- Pledging widespread reforms and cooperation
with opposition parties to lift his desperate country out of its
economic and political nightmares, Jean- Bertrand Aristide took power
yesterday as Haiti's president, amid chants of joy from adoring
supporters and continued snubs from most of the international
In an inaugural speech, Aristide called for Haitians to remain united
behind his Lavalas Party government and for opposition members to work
with his administration, rather than against it. He also urged other
countries -- including those that have withheld millions of dollars in
aid, pointing to fraud over last year's elections -- to show faith
and patience with Haiti's pace of rebuilding. "We renew today our
determination to invest in humanity as we fix all of our problems," said
the 47-year-old former priest.
As Aristide received his presidential sash, throngs of his loyalists
danced in the streets and sang improvised lyrics marking his
long-awaited return. Paul Jean Labase held a pro-Aristide sign with a
real human skull on top. Labase, 32, said the skull was that of his
brother Frantzo, who he said was killed two years ago by thugs for
yelling, "Long live Aristide."
Pointing to the skull, which he dug up yesterday to commemorate
Aristide's return to power, Labase said: "We've been in misery, and now
we ask for love, peace and nonviolence. Only Aristide can help us find
But the enthusiasm was tempered by the absence of foreign dignitaries.
No heads of state attended the inaugural celebrations. The United States
sent only its ambassador, and many European countries didn't send any
delegations as a sign of disapproval over Aristide's initial rejection
of a runoff in widely disputed May 2000 legislative elections.
Concern lingered over a dispute between Aristide and a rebellious
opposition alliance, which has promised to form its own provisional
government. Aristide pledged to use dialogue rather than force to deal
with the opposition. He said, "We must get
along because we are all children of the same mother."
Aristide also offered a series of national reforms, including building
new public schools, strengthening roads and electricity systems, and
creating an independent court in each of the country's 565 townships.