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9142: Haiti Celebrates Democratic Accomplishments (PRNewswire) (fwd)
Haiti Celebrates Democratic Accomplishments Ten Years After Coup D'Etat;
Victims of the Coup Honored by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Haiti has proven that
democratic governments can bring long-term benefits to its citizens, despite
repeated efforts to undermine the free will and political expression of the
Haitian people. This weekend, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will travel
to the Artibonite Valley, north of the capital, to remember the victims of
the 1991 coup d'etat. As this weekend marks the ten year anniversary of this
violent military coup, launched on September 30, which brought down Haiti's
first-ever freely elected government, a retrospective reveals that during the
intervening years two successive democratically elected governments have
indeed made significant and long term gains in areas that matter most to one
of the world's poorest nations. From maternal and child health to the war on
illegal drugs to basic infrastructure, Haiti's democratic governments, now
under the leadership of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, have persevered in
moving the country forward. Nevertheless, challenges remain and the
government continues to appeal to the international donor community to join
in the fight against poverty.
The violent military government that ruled Haiti through torture and murder,
and which exiled the first ever freely elected President, Jean- Bertrand
Aristide on September 30,1991, defied the free will of the Haitian people and
attempted to once again rein terror down on the innocent citizens of Haiti.
Aided by the United States, democracy was restored when President Aristide
was returned to Haiti in 1994. The anniversary of his exile is a reminder to
the Haitian people, and to the world, that vigilance of democracy is required
to carry out free elections, and have full participation in the progress and
future prosperity of their country.
Haiti has witnessed democratic transitions from the government of re-
instated President Aristide through the administration of President Rene
Preval that began in 1996, and again, through the successful election of
President Aristide in November 2000. These peaceful transitions of power
have engendered passion and active commitment to democratic ideals by the
people of Haiti. The government, in turn, is committed to deliver and
sustain benefits and rights to its citizens that come with democratic
governments, such as the guarantee of freedom of religion, the end of a state
monopoly on the telecommunications industry, government respect and adherence
to labor union collective bargaining, and the appointment of women to high
posts including the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of
Finance, director of a national bank and Departmental Police Director.
Through the leadership of President Aristide and former President Rene
Preval, Haiti has evolved greatly since the re-establishment of democracy.
Particularly influential has been the visionary leadership of President
Aristide, who received the 1996 UNESCO prize for human rights education.
Notwithstanding it will take the commitment of the entire international
community to bring Haiti's basic living standards on par with the rest of the
Haitians abroad are making their commitments to growth and recovery by
sending upwards of $500 million in remittances annually, demonstrating their
support for the government and its development of a democratic society. Net
private transfers from Haitians abroad grew rapidly by 12% in fiscal year
2000 overtaking export earnings for the first time.
Newly found stability and security in Haiti has ensured that Haiti can once
again become an attractive vacation option. Hilton Hotels has agreed to
build a new hotel for visitors near the Port-au-Prince International Airport.
And recently, through an organized cruise tour, several prominent Americans
visited the country's historic landmarks.
Despite economic challenges, Haiti continues to achieve advances in quality
of life, economic opportunity, and national infrastructure that include:
* 400 kilometers of major & minor roads that have opened previously
inaccessible agricultural areas
* Construction of 50 artificial lakes stocked with millions of fish
revitalizing the aquaculture industry
* Decrease in drug transshipping from 13% to 8% in 2000 according to U.S.
* The establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit to combat money
* Improvements in the educational system resulting from allocation of
20.8% of national budget (2001-2006) to education.
* The Literacy rate has been raised by 30%.
* Hot lunches served to 700,000 children per day.
* 13.7% of budget (2001-2006) devoted to healthcare
* 2000 - 2001: Vaccination campaigns against polio (2 million doses) and
measles (600,000 doses).
* Renovation or construction of more than 40 health clinics, hospitals, &
* Port-au-Prince international airport & access roadways renovated.
* Reform of the judicial system.
* Graduation of more than 100 new judges & prosecutors.
* National Police Academy created & trained first civilian police force.
* Built and renovated 38 courthouses, 17 police stations, prisons, & a
These are but a few of the major advances in Haiti, since the establishment
of Democracy under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. With the help of the
international community and the continued vigilance of her people, Haiti's
future is more promising today than ever.
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SOURCE Government of Haiti
CO: Government of Haiti
09/27/2001 16:17 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com