Aristide's Former Ally May Be Turning Away

Post Reply
Michel Nau_

Post by Michel Nau_ » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:01 pm

Aristide's Former Ally May Be Turning Away
Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, 2006-02-20

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Robert Manuel doesn't say much, but his omnipresence at the side of President-elect Rene Preval speaks volumes about the next head of state's newfound independence.

Manuel was national security chief in the first years of Preval's 1996-2001 presidency but was forced to resign after a crackdown on drug traffickers netted some loyalists of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who served as president before and after Preval. Manuel fled to Central America under threat of assassination, and the drug gangs pressed their point by killing the man expected to succeed him, Jean Lamy.

Preval was regarded by many analysts as an Aristide puppet during his term in office, and they viewed the pressure to replace Manuel as a humiliating act of interference. But now Aristide i
s the one living in exile, and in bringing Manuel back, Preval appears to be sending a message that Aristide shouldn't count on an invitation to return home any time soon.

Timothy Carney, acting U.S. charge d'affaires, was ambassador to Haiti during Preval's first term. He recalls the now 63-year-old agronomist as someone who prefers to surround himself with capable lieutenants rather than toadies.

"The popular view is that he was held down and held back by Aristide because Aristide couldn't brook any possible rival," Carney said. The Feb. 7 election "showed two things:

First, that Preval is his own man, and

second, it marked the reality of Aristide being a man of the past."

As the ballots were counted, the Provisional Electoral Council worked out a compromise to overcome problems with an inordinately high number of blank and invalid ballots, a redistribution tha
t allowed Preval to garner more than 50% of the vote and avoid a runoff. Since then, the reclusive victor
has been talking with friends and foes alike as he explores potential Cabinet appointments.

Among those with whom Preval has met were Haitian Chamber of Commerce President Reginald Boulos; peasant leader Jean Chavannes Jeune, who ran a distant fourth in the election; and activist Rene Monplaisir from the Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince, the capital.

Tensions between Haiti's slum-dwelling masses, who supported Aristide and Preval, and the business elite frequently roil its politics. But representatives of diverse communities have spoken publicly of the need for the next government to include a broad spectrum of society.

Some in Haiti's small class of successful industrialists have already joined forces with Preval. "He's going to be one of the best presidents of Haiti because he listens to people," said Pierre Leger, a producer of plant oils and employe
r of 27,000
farmers in the southern region of Les Cayes.

Others predict that the business community will collaborate with Preval, recognizing that to do otherwise would perpetuate the political paralysis and economic decline that have made Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Half the country of 8.5 million is illiterate; 70% or more are unemployed; and schools, roads and hospitals have fallen into ruins.

"When you have such a polarized society, elements of the private sector are very important," said Lionel Delatour, a founder of the Center for Free Enterprise and Democracy think tank. "Mr. Preval has some reaching out to do, but there is also an interest and a commitment on the part of the private sector to reach out to Mr. Preval." Those holding the reins of industry have an interest in helping steer Haiti out of its traditional confrontation between rich and poor, Delatour said.

But that legacy cannot be overcome and national recon
ciliation won't even be attempted if Preval succumbs to pressure from some elements of his constituency to let Aristide return from exile, he said. "If he does try to bring Aristide back, Preval will not finish his presidency," Delatour predicted. "I think Mr. Preval is smart enough not to do that."

Preval's alliance with Monplaisir, a young Aristide loyalist with influence among the armed militants agitating for the ousted president's return, suggests the president-elect has been working to shift their focus to other objectives. Monplaisir has expressed in recent radio interviews the need for the new government to work with the business elite to create jobs and repair the country's ravaged infrastructure.

Diplomats say they have been clear that Aristide's return would be regarded as a destabilizing influence that would discourage aid donors as well as foreign investors.

Preval has "always given fishy
answers when asked about Aristide, but up to a certain moment he couldn't say publicly what he told us," said the ambassador of a South American country, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He was pointing out to us that most of his projects and initiatives were
abandoned by Aristide" when Aristide succeeded him. That was among the reasons Preval withdrew from political life after his
term ended.

"Preval was humiliated by Aristide. He fired all of his advisors and stopped his reforms," a United Nations official observed, speculating that the president-elect has no real interest in bringing back a fiery populist who clamors for the spotlight.

Delatour said that Preval isn't obligated to allow Aristide to return, even if many Haitians voted for him with that expectation. "A politician's first job is to get elected," he said.
Preval surrounded himself during his low-key campaign with foreign-educated advisors, many with
ties to other political factions and the private sector.

Analysts expect to help him build bridges among the communities that Aristide always sought to keep separate.
Even Preval's biggest doubters acknowledge that he should be given a chance to demonstrate what he can do as leader now that he's out of Aristide's shadow.

"He's already spent five years in power and didn't do very much. I really don't expect very much from him now, either. But I'm hoping to be very wrong," said Charles Henri Baker, a garment factory owner who finished third in the presidential race.

"Since he has been chosen to be president again, for my country's sake I hope Mr. Preval can show us another view of what he can do."

Ezili Danto
Posts: 197
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 11:57 pm

Préval's Silence Obscures Quiet Bid to Reunite Haiti

Post by Ezili Danto » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:54 am

[quote]
THE NEW YORK TIMES

Préval's Silence Obscures Quiet Bid to Reunite Haiti

By GINGER THOMPSON
Published: February 20, 2006

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 19 — President-elect René Préval, who rose to power as a champion of this country's poor masses, attended his first victory party among its elite.

René Préval has yet to go before the nation he was elected to lead.

It was a Friday-night, garden-side, happy-hour kind of affair in a mansion near Pétionville, a mecca for this country's glitterati, with lots to drink, lots of laughter, and performances by popular Haitian musicians.

But when the hostess invited Mr. Préval, a reluctant politician, to address the group, he introduced several carefully chosen backers to speak for him. Two were leaders of Fanmi Lavalas, the principal po
litical party of the poor. Then he called two men whose designer clothes and light complexions marked them as sons of the upper classes.

Reaching for one another across the gaping divides between class and skin color that have crippled this former slave colony for most of its 202-year history, the young men and Mr. Préval hugged, bringing a roaring ovation from the crowd, and a glimpse of the how Mr. Préval envisioned his second presidency.

"You see, everyone," Mr. Préval said, beaming, as if he might finally get used to the spotlight, "I am going to reconcile Haiti."

It was as close to making an acceptance speech as he has come since Thursday, when he was declared the winner of an election for president that had threatened to plunge this country, the most volatile in the hemisphere, back into crisis. Mr. Préval, a 63-year-old Belgian-educated agronomist who was president from 1996 to 2001, has not yet officially addressed th
e nation, and he has not yet granted interviews.

But parties like the one on Friday showed Mr. Préval quietly at work on the glaring challenge of ending the devastating hostilities between the rich and the poor — starting with repairing some of the damage he had just done to that cause. [/quote]
Was it Preval who committed electoral Fraud!!! Had custody of ballots that turned up missing, burnt, dumped in garbage, ballot boxes stuffed with blanks!!! These journalists' audacity are beyond the pale...pun intented

[quote]Last week, he charged the authorities with fraud in elections whose credibility was considered crucial to strengthening Haiti's stumbling democracy. Now he, too, faces questions about the legitimacy of the back-room deal brokered by foreign diplomats that ended the possibility of a runoff and made him the victor.[/quote]
And the beat goes on, on and on, don't stop for n
obody...right HDP, right Michelnau?

[quote]He has held a battery of private meetings and conversations with the same opponents whom he called enemies on national television last week.

The angry protests that paralyzed cities across the country, forcing a defiant Provisional Electoral Council to bow to his demands last week, have raised questions here and around the world about whether Mr. Préval will be his own president, or a low-key copy of his old ally, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. [/quote]
How's that for mouthing Roger Noriega and the State Department new line!!! huh, HDP; huh Michelnau?, y'all coup d'etat folks?)

[quote]Mr. Aristide, the fiery slum priest who could command this country's poor masses as firmly as Moses did the Red Sea, was forced from power and into exile in South Africa two years ago by a violent uprising supported by
the elite. But some contend that he continues, either directly or through the masses who remain loyal to him, to have influence over Mr. Préval[/quote]
Has this woman, Ginger Thompson, read her own paper's coverage - "Haiti: Democracy Undone Mixed U.S. signals have helped tilt Haiti toward chaos", outlining the US role in destabilizing Haiti's constitutional governments and bringing forth the bicentennial coup d'etat? Why does Thompson only blame the Black opportunist-Haitian "elite" here? Didn't her own New York Times article show, in part, how said "violent uprising" she writes about that forced Aristide into exile was engineered by US/UAID/IRI in conference rooms in the DR!!! How soon we forget NYT!

[quote]Pressure for Mr. Aristide's return has clearly begun building from South Africa, where President Thabo Mbeki suggested Sunday on public radio that Mr. Aristide mi
ght soon consult with Mr. Préval.

"I would imagine from everything that I've seen and heard that President Préval himself wouldn't want to oppose President Aristide's return to Haiti," Mr. Mbeki said on SABC radio, Reuters reported. "But I think it will be determined largely by an assessment by René Préval, and by President Aristide as to the timing of it, so that it doesn't produce unnecessary problems."

Problems are about all that is left of Haiti, a sinking ship of a nation where a majority of the 8.1 million people suffer the hemisphere's worst levels of poverty and corruption, while a tiny minority of them profit from it. Almost every chance for progress has been ruined by fighting among populist leaders from Haiti's urban slums and movers among the bourgeoisie.[/quote]
Again, it's so easy to blame all on Haitian fratricide, black-on-black-crime, those corrupt elites, those fighting Black animals and conveniently forget the intesine in
teferences of those thugs in suits, socially define white at HDP's, US Embassy, IRI and European Union, Canada and France!!!! Being deliberately obtuse is an artform with these incompetent, sell-out mainstream journalists.

[quote]Several foreign diplomats acknowledged that the events of last week had fueled concerns in their nations' capitals that Mr. Préval would use the same burning barricades and threats of chaos that characterized Mr. Aristide's rule. They wondered how Mr. Préval would respond if the mobs that helped him win power demanded, in return, that he bring Mr. Aristide home.

"We made very clear to Mr. Préval that we see Aristide as a figure of the past, with no place in Haiti's future," said one Western ambassador, who asked not to be identified because diplomacy on the issue is continuing. "He told me: 'Don't worry, Mr. Ambassador. The last time Mr. Aristide returned to Haiti, he came with 50,000 American troops. I don't think he'll
have access to that kind of force anymore.' "

The American ambassador to Haiti, Timothy M. Carney, who is serving as chargé d'affaires until a new ambassador arrives, reiterated comments by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "We believe we can work with Préval," Mr. Carney said.[/quote]
Ok, I've heard enough!! the rest is too wretched, too racist, too predictable. It will all come to naught anyway. Haiti's already won against these pariahs. The obvious sophistry engaged here is beyond contempt. Haitians don't take to threats. Someone should inform HDP and these mainstream media folks. This constant threatening, overbearing warnings aimed at blocking the Haitian people's desire for a return of those forced into exile, including President Aristide to Haiti by appealing to racists emotions, old Jesee Helms "fiery slum priests" propaganda, racists instincts and prejudices in a way that is politically manipulative and patently dangerous to the P
reval presidency and to control his will and mandate, will backfire!!! Then what? What hasn't the US, UN Security Council, France and Canada, already done to Haitians, and in our bi-centennial year, no less? Don't these facists folks know Haitians would like to first see the political prisoners released; a stop to the killings and abitrary arrests in the poor neighborhoods, and a reduction of lavi chè, first. Why are they so afraid of Aristide or the prospect of his return? Why are they so, so, so focussed on it? To the point of neurosis, and a pathological fear? Must be because without lifting a finger, he beat y'all all silly, huh? Divide and conquer, divide and conquer. That's the game. Divide Preval from Aristide's supporters; ddivide the masses from Preval by criminalizing the people indiscriminately, equals IRI/Carney conquer. Don't think so. Enjoy the rest of this article, Michelnau! M'ale.

[quote]"Haitians clearly believe he is his own man," he said
of Mr. Préval, who, according to the final election results, won 51.1 percent of the votes compared with the 12 percent won by the nearest rival. "I think what he's doing now is proving he has the force of character, by reaching out to the opposition, by beginning to move forward with no Aristide in sight."

Mr. Préval, political analysts said, may be the first leader in decades who can build a bridge between the haves and have-nots. Unlike Mr. Aristide, born a destitute orphan, Mr. Préval is the son of a former agriculture minister and was reared among the middle classes until his family fled the country under the dictatorship of François Duvalier.

After that, he led a largely blue-collar life that instilled in him empathy for the poor. He was a waiter, messenger and factory worker in New York, and then owned a bakery in a poor neighborhood in Haiti and ran programs to help the poor.

"I haven't felt this much hope about Haiti in many years," said Dumarsais Simeus, a
Haitian-American businessman, a former candidate for president, and one of the few people at the party who agreed to be interviewed for attribution. "I believe" Mr. Préval "is going to dedicate himself to uniting this country."

But hope may be trampled by Haitian realities.

The volume of the scathing comments from fractious political leaders has dropped since Mr. Préval was declared president. But their suspicions continue. The protests have ended, but the tens of thousands of people who participated in them remain restless, without work, and living in hovels next to open sewers.

Killings and kidnappings have dropped from as many as six a day to almost none. But the gang members suspected of being responsible still control the capital's most populous slum, Cité Soleil.

Mr. Préval has disclosed very little about his plans for building Haiti back into a nation. He has talked vaguely about disarming the gangs and strengthening the police. He has said he will seek
increased investment from the United States and urge Haitian professionals abroad to bring their expertise home.

He made the same promises at the start of his first term as president, said Jocelyn McCalla, of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. While Mr. Préval is the only Haitian president in recent history to finish a full five-year-term, then peacefully hand over power, Mr. McCalla said he accomplished little else.

Some political analysts said most of Mr. Préval's efforts in his last term were undermined by Mr. Aristide. Mr. McCalla said that seemed too easy an excuse, and that he wondered what made anyone so sure that things would be different this time.

Though Mr. Préval gave little away on Friday, the scene alone — bankers boogieing with advocates for the poor — spoke volumes.

"A lot of black Haitian leaders in this country are very angry, and rightfully so, about the way they have been treated by the wealthy of this country," said a political analyst at the
party. "Mr. Preval does not harbor that kind of anger. He is not criminal. He is not corrupt. And he is not going to allow class warfare."[/quote]

Post Reply