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7006: The Call (fwd)
When I got the call I was in rehearsal. It was back in November of '95. I
could tell from the receptionist's voice that she was concerned about
interrupting my rehearsal so she quickly informed me that some people from
the embassy were asking for me. I hung up and told the band I would be right
back. I went up to the house, rinsed off my face, put on a polo shirt, tucked
my pony tail under my shirt and headed out to the hotel. The group had
gathered at the far end of the restaurant (table 7) though I was met by one
person closer to the bar area. Brief introductions and handshakes were
exchanged and without asking me to sit down they asked me if I thought there
ought to be presidential elections in the following month (Dec. '95). Three
of the men I recognized from the embassy, though two had recently left. The
other two or three were from Washington. They probably had on those blue
oxford button-down shirts.
I told them yes, there should be presidential elections in December. I
said that the elections had been part of the negotiation package to bring
back Aristide with the 20,000 troops, how can they renegotiate the three
I told them that Aristide can name anyone he wants and that person will
be elected. That continuity and knowledge of the outcome will be beneficial
to the process. I can't believe Aristide doesn't trust one person, in Haiti,
to be president. If he can't trust one person in Haiti, we're in trouble.
Staying on a democratic timetable will be an important part of the
learning process for the Haitian population. Don't start changing timetables
This next presidency will probably be a toughest one. There won't be an
easily identifiable enemy to blame for lack of progress.
The next month we had presidential elections and Rene Preval was elected
president of Haiti. I was a bit surprised at the backlash from the decision
to hold the elections. It didn't seem like an emotional one to me. Aristide
was sure angry as were some of his supporters and my personal friends. In any
case, here we are, five years later, Preval's term has come to an end,
Aristide is back in the palace for his five year term, and on the outside it
looks like Democracy is more or less shaping up in Haiti. Aristide still has
a few things to learn about wanting the whole pie in a democratic society. As
I once told Klerjeune during the three year coup period while he was sitting
at table 2, its not your country (Se pa peyi pa'w), its the people's country.
The trickiest manuverings in the coming months might be the Jean Dominique
investigation (some people think all roads lead to Tabarre) and the call for
immunity from investigation of a capital crime by some members of the new
parliament. The ten disputed parliamentary seats might also be a bone that
gets stuck in the throat. The people of course want jobs, income and
carnaval. The potential partners need stability, security and infrastructure.
The country itself needs environmental activism and schools (primary and
secondary) in the provinces.
The last of the journalists covering the recent inauguration are leaving
today and tomorrow. Most of their stories were buried in the back pages of
their respective newspapers......Time to get back to work.