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a6: President Aristide Addresses Nation from Palace after Coup Attempt (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

December 17, 2001
Contact: Michelle Karshan, Foreign Press Liaison
Tel.: (011509) 228-2058


Hours after heavily armed commandos stormed the National Palace in what was 
to be a failed coup attempt, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, with numerous 
members of the government by his side, addressed the nation with what he 
called his "message of peace" calling on the nation to "walk straight on the 
road to democracy and to continue to mobilize peacefully under the flag of 

Referring to the brutal coup d'etat period from 1991-1994 in which 5,000 
Haitians were killed, 100,000 forced to take to the high seas, thousands 
maimed and raped, and 300,000 internally displaced, President Aristide said, 
"Haitians will never go into hiding again.  The period of the coup d'etat is 

President Aristide addressing all Haitians said, "I say to the Haitian people 
continue to mobilize peacefully, in all of the country, continue to mobilize 
peacefully, respect the rights of political parties, respect the rights of 
journalists, respect the rights of each and every citizen, respect the rights 
of all people without distinction."  President Aristide denounced the 
violence that occurred against an opposition office during the day.  

Earlier in the day the Minister of Culture and Communications, Guy Paul, 
spoke to the nation urging the population to remain calm, practice peaceful 
resistance and urged all to respect the rights of others.

Yesterday, President Aristide celebrated the anniversary of the December 16, 
1990 elections, in which he was elected president by an overwhelming majority 
in Haiti's first democratic elections. On this occassion President Aristide 
inaugurated a park he named the Park of Peace in Saint Martin, a popular 
neighborhood in Port-au-Prince.  Until yesterday this area was absent of any 
public parks or recreation areas for its densely populated residents.  
President Aristide visited Saint Martin in June to lay the first stone in the 
construction site and promised that the park would be completed timely.  The 
public park includes a playground, which until a couple of years ago was 
unheard of in Haiti.

During yesterday's ceremony President Aristide called for peace, and respect 
for human rights and praised all journalists for their hard work and 
contributions to the nation.