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a6: President Aristide Addresses Nation from Palace after Coup Attempt (fwd)
December 17, 2001
Contact: Michelle Karshan, Foreign Press Liaison
Tel.: (011509) 228-2058
PRESIDENT ARISTIDE ADDRESSES NATION FROM THE NATIONAL PALACE AFTER FAILED
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.