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7911: Haiti: Aristide's first 100 days assessed: promises not kept .... (fwd)




From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

1.   Haiti: Aristide's first 100 days assessed: promises not kept, political
crisis

Haiti: Aristide's first 100 days assessed: promises not kept, political
crisis
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; May 16, 2001

Text of report by Haitian Metropole radio on 16 May

While the outlook for a quick solution is fading away following the failed
OAS-Caricom [Organization of American States - Caribbean Community] mission,
the president of the republic will reach his first 100 days in office this
Thursday, 17 May. On 7 February, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was very hopeful
about his economic development programme. Now it is time to carry out an
assessment. Journalist Wendel Theodore makes the following comments:

[Theodore - recording] Former President Rene Preval has made no statement
since transferring power to Aristide on 7 February. Preval used to spend
most of his time in the provinces to escape the political turmoil. The
former head of state kept a low profile in order to leave the field open for
his successor. Thus, Aristide will complete his first 100 days of his
presidency with the promises for change that he made on 7 February not kept.

We are still far from Aristide's slogan: We must agree together. The only
political and personal satisfaction which the head of state is proud of is
the international recognition of his presidency. Indeed, he spoke of victory
after his participation in the Summit of the Americas in Quebec where the
heads of state and government of the hemisphere were in attendance, apart
from Cuba.

At the same time, Aristide has not yet managed to get rid of the political
crisis resulting from the 21 May elections. The regional leaders remind him
of the urgency to resolve the electoral crisis, which has a negative impact
on Haitian democracy. In this way, the meetings that failed between the
Lavalas Family [FL] and the Democratic Convergence, the multiple efforts of
the Civil Society Initiative Group [GISC], the seventh failed OAS mediation
attempt, which was reinforced by Caricom, are obvious signs of the
persistence of the political unrest.

We are far from the planned boosting of the economy. The budget deficit
already exceeds 1bn gourdes. The inflation rate increases every day. Fiscal
revenue is catastrophic, according to the minister of finance. The exchange
rate of the gourde to the US dollar is stagnant. According to economists, it
is a clear sign of a worrying slowdown in economic activities. Furthermore,
an IMF assessment mission left unsatisfied with the government's economic
performance.

We are far from the thousands of jobs that were promised. On that matter,
the tough work capable of providing many jobs has not yet begun. The
partnership between the private and public sectors, which was envisaged and
which is essential for creating jobs, takes time to be realized. We are far
from the materialization of the promises made by the presidential transition
committee before 7 February.

In that context, the great measures that were announced by the energy
committee have just melted away like snow in the sun. The problem of
electricity distribution is more and more difficult for the current
government, which is trying more or less to find some relief. The president
of the republic has a lot of work to do, because time is running out. The
international aid which is essential for the country's development is still
lacking because of the persistence of the political impasse. Time is running
out but it seems that Aristide will spend his term managing the crisis just
as Rene Preval did.

Source: Radio Metropole, Port-au-Prince, in French 1145 gmt 16 May 01

/BBC Monitoring/  BBC