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a714: President Aristide calls for end to international aid sanctions




From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>


Haiti: President Aristide calls for end to
international aid sanctions
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Feb 9, 2002



[Unidentified announcer] President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide chose to celebrate the first year of his
presidency in Leogane. Several thousand peasants from
all over the country responded to his invitation.
President Aristide used the engagement to continue to
walk side by side with the peasant sector, a sector
that has always been neglected. The following are
excerpts from Aristide's speech:

[Aristide - recording] During the past 200 years, did
they ever love the peasants?

[Crowd ] No.

[Aristide] During the last 200 years, did they ever
like those people whom they call big toes?

[Crowd] No.

[Aristide] During the past 200 years, did they ever
like the poor?

[Crowd] No.

[Aristide] When you smell of sweat, do they like to
get close to you?

[Crowd] No.

[Aristide] When you are not well dressed, do they like
to get close to you?

[Crowd] No.

[Aristide] When you do not have a lot of money to
drive expensive cars, do they like to get close to
you?

[Crowd] No.

[Aristide] No. They get you to stay away from them and
they treat you like peasants. As for me, I swear and I
am swearing again always to remain united with you and
to be faithful to you. [Applause] When they persecute
me, I stay cool [preceding word in English], because I
know that it is you that they are persecuting.

If they had not persecuted you for 200 years, would
you still be in this misery? If they had not
persecuted you for 200 years, would your children stay
here, without going to school? If they had not
persecuted you for 200 years, when your children are
sick, wouldn't you be able to buy medicines for them?
If they had not persecuted you for 200 years, would
you have to walk in and breathe all that dust in the
street?

No, it is because they do not like you. I know that
and you know that, too. When they took their weapons
and went to the National Palace to try to kill me, I
knew very well that it is you they wanted to kill. And
I accept that with courage.

[Unidentified correspondent] Several local bands came
to liven up the scene in Leogane on this occasion, in
the presence of First Lady Mildred Trouillot Aristide,
several government officials and legislators. [End of
recording]

[Announcer] The head of state issued a call to all the
opposition leaders to cooperate with him in order to
ask the international community to lift the sanctions
imposed on Haiti.

[Aristide - recording] Unfortunately, during the last
year, some of our brothers and sisters let themselves
fall into the trap of hidden hands, which caused them
to persecute other people with their mouths, with what
they said, in the way they criticized and persecuted
others with their mouths, and the way in which they
perpetrated violence on people's ears with lies and
disinformation.

Fortunately, I understand the game and you understand
the game, too. And that is the reason why, as head of
state, I come to tell you, all you intelligent people
who did not let yourselves be affected by provocation
in the past year, not to let yourself be affected by
provocation in the year that has just started.
[Applause]

Yes, that is it. Do not let yourself be affected by
provocation. The small group that is persecuting the
peasants, that is persecuting the people when they
either receive money from the white people to plot to
overturn the car or when they accept money from the
white people to tell lies about the people in order to
discourage the people, then today I come to tell them
on behalf of all the Haitian people that I am also
their president. My arms are open wide for you.
Together we can work wonders so that the country may
go forward...

Caricom met the other day, as I told you before. And
what did they decide? Did they ask the international
community to lift or maintain the embargo? Was it a
good request that they made? Do you agree with that?

[Crowd] Yes.

[Aristide] Are you going to say thank you to Caricom
again?

[Crowd] Yes.

[Aristide] Very good. [Applause] The Haitians who are
asking the international community to maintain the
embargo against the country, will you say thank you to
them in advance for the way they also are going to
ask, just as Caricom did, for the embargo to be
lifted?

[Crowd] Yes.

[Aristide] Should we say thank you to them in advance,
because we believe that they are going to do so, too?

[Crowd] Yes.

[Aristide] Do you believe that they will do so or not?

[Unidentified woman] They will not do it.

[Aristide] Let us look at an example and I suppose
that is what the Haitian people would want, too. We
ask our Haitian brothers, who would like to understand
today how we agree for them to sit and talk with us
and ask for all we have just said, that is, for the
money to be unblocked, while at the same time, the
state will continue to make a number of efforts to
ensure that everything that should be respected is
respected.

For example, human rights, human rights should be
respected. Those who are in authority should respect
civilians. Those in power should serve everybody,
without ever using the power to abuse others. And
everybody in all the 565 communal sections should feel
that we are brothers and sisters. They ought to say,
for instance, this year I am a mayor and I am going to
serve you.

[Correspondent] President Aristide discussed the
expenditure by the government last year.

[Aristide] For infrastructure, the government spent
460.2m gourdes in 2001. For lodging: 68m gourdes.
Education: 269.9m gourdes. Health: 52.3m gourdes.
Agriculture: 148.9m gourdes.

Add all those figures together and you will see how
much money we spent last year. And we would have spent
even more than that if some people had agreed to
support us so that the money would not be blocked. It
is like sugar cane. When squeezed, it gives juice. But
if people hadn't set fire to the sugar cane fields to
cause them to dry up, we would have obtained even more
juice. Last year, we would have had more money to
spend and could have done more than that. [End of
recording]

Source: Radio Nationale, Port-au-Prince, in Creole
1400 gmt 8 Feb 02

/BBC Monitoring/  BBC.



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