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8033: Events in Haiti (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide reiterated on May 16 that there was no
question of re-running last year's parliamentary and local elections or
altering "what the people have decided." He made no mention of his earlier
offer to shorten the four-year term of the current Chamber of Deputies by
half. A spokesman for the ruling Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party said only the
deputies themselves could decide to do this, leading to speculation that
the offer had been dropped. The opposition Convergence Démocratique (CD)
had rejected the proposal. Aristide accused the opposition of being
responsible for the political crisis which was blocking more than $200
million in foreign aid.
FL supporters attacked an opposition meeting in Les Cayes on May 21
and looted a food warehouse belonging to a CD spokesman and former deputy,
Jean Gabriel Fortuné, who was arrested. They also heavily damaged a
peasant cooperative belonging to another anti-government group.
UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said on May 18 he regretted the two
sides has still not solved the crisis. He noted that the release of aid to
Haiti could reinforce moderate and modernising elements in the FL and
encourage respect for democracy and human rights, while withholding it
could push political figures to take more extreme positions.
At least 20 people were killed, 12 of them in slum areas of
Port-au-Prince, in heavy rains and flooding in mid-May.