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a38: QUAGMIRE OF HAITIAN POLITICS (fwd)
From: Carl Fombrun <email@example.com>
( Published in the Haitian Times, New York, N.Y., online edition 19 December - 25 December, 2001)
> CARL'S CORNER (firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.fombrun.com fax: 305 270-3799)
> Quagmire of Haitian Politics
> I woke up at 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17, to learn about the attempted coup
> President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A group of armed men had taken over the
> National Palace in Port-au-Prince at about 2 a.m. By Monday afternoon, the
> palace was back in the hands of the government. In the meantime, many
> travelers were stuck in Miami and the grapevine was working full blast, as
> One of those stranded travelers was Gerard Pierre-Charles, coordinator of
> Organisation Populaire Lavalas and member of the Convergence, which is part
> of the opposition against the Aristide regime.
> Pierre-Charles' plans to leave Miami on Monday were derailed after his
> was canceled. He was in Florida as a guest of the Organization of American
> States, which held a conference on various problems facing Latin-America,
> the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami.
> Pierre-Charles said that what happened in the wee hours of Monday was a
> organized by the Aristide administration. The government action was an
> to strengthen its grip of power and take revenge on its enemies,
> Pierre-Charles said.
> He claims that Aristide took this opportunity to burn down opposition
> headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitian and in other towns and to
> journalists. Pierre-Charles' home and a research facility were destroyed by
> mobs. It's rumored that opposition leaders such as Serge Gilles and K-Plume
> have or will experience similar damage.
> Since early Monday morning, Aristide supporters in Little Haiti lined up on
> Miami's 54th Street, protesting the attempted coup.
> Marie Thérèse Guilloteau, Haitian general consul in New York, accused Guy
Philippe, an ex-police officer in Port-au-Prince and exiled in Dominican
> being the leader of the palace attack. Philippe called Radio Carnivale in
> Miami from the Dominican Republic, to deny that he had anything
> to do with the attempted coup. He said he is still against Aristide, and
> if he was involved, the coup would have been better coordinated and would
> have succeeded.
> One does not know what to believe with all these theories and accusations
> flying around.
> My conclusion: The United States is too immersed in its search of terrorist
> suspect Osama bin Laden to give Haiti a second thought. Haiti's
> disaster will be largely ignored by the superpowers, especially America.
> More violence and more boat people heading to Florida are in the cards.
> numbers have increased 20 percent this year, according to the U.S. Coast
> Accept it or not, Aristide won the presidency. The elections were the best
> that could be expected in Haitian history, regardless of the
> The problem involves the unwillingness of many Aristide supporters to
> the opposition, but Aristide himself has made some concessions.
> Whatever opinion one may have of Aristide, let's face the indisputable fact
> that he is the idol of the masses. As part of a loyal opposition, I dare
> that the political game must change from "Ote-toi que je m'y mette" to "A
> chacun/chacune son tour aux urnes." ("Move out so I can get in" to "Each
> his/her turn in a fair and free election.")
> The Aristide administration is paralyzed and 8 million people are starving.
> The economic aid should be released immediately.
> According to a Dec. 17 editorial in the Chicago Tribune, "The U.S. ought to
> pressure the parties into an early resolution of Haiti's political impasse
> that economic aid can begin to flow. Compassion should be a compelling
> argument for the United States - and if not compassion, certainly
> Carl Fombrun can be contacted at email@example.com, http://www.fombrun.com
> by fax at (305) 270-3799.
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