[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

9595: Haiti-Unrest (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>


   PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 15 (AP) -- A general strike organized by the
political opposition shut down much of Haiti's second-largest city
Thursday, while slum dwellers in the capital set up barricades to protest
the lack of government services.
   In the north-coast city of Cap-Haitien, home to more than 100,000
people, the two-day general strike closed schools, government offices and
most businesses. Banks remained open.
   Late Thursday afternoon, a small group of pro-government demonstrators
and politicians was chased away from the streets by rock-throwing
opposition supporters. But no one was injured during the first day of the
strike, which the 15-party opposition alliance Convergence organized to
protest the policies of President Jean Bertrand-Aristide.
   "The country is dying. We're fed up with this government," said Rev.
Milton Chery, the Convergence spokesman, speaking by telephone from
Cap-Haitien, some 81 miles west of the capital.
   The independent radio station Venus reported that about 80 percent of
the businesses in Cap-Haitien were closed.
   Cap-Haitien is plagued with garbage-filled streets and lack of running
water. Electricity is only available for a few hours on some days.
   In the past week, there also have been small Convergence-led
demonstrations in Petit-Goave and Gonaives, coastal towns west of the
   Convergence is one of two protest movements that have sprung up in
Haiti's provincial cities.
   The other is led by grass-roots activists of the governing Lavalas
Family party, who have demanded the resignation of the premier, Jean-Marie
   Both accuse the government of corruption and ineffectiveness.
   The government's inability to provide basic services in the face of
extreme poverty also has caused unrest in the slums of the capital,
   On Thursday morning, the highway connecting the capital to suburban
Carrefour was blocked by slum dwellers protesting the lack of electricity,
water and telephone service. Flaming tire barricades also were set up on
the road to the suburb of Delmas.
   The government blames the economic difficulties on the international
community and the opposition. Foreign donors have blocked some $500 million
in aid to Haiti because of the government's standoff with the opposition
over flawed local and legislative elections last year.
   Aristide's Lavalas Family won 80 percent of the contests in what the
opposition says was rigged balloting.
   Foreign donors have said they will not release the aid until results are
revised, but the opposition and the government have not been able to reach
an agreement on new elections.