"...it is necessary that disarmament goes hand-in-hand with social programs...the Solution cannot be a military one..." Radio Solidarite interview, Feb. 3, 2006
The Solution Cannot Be a Military One,
(This is an excerpt from a radio interview, translated from Kreyol into English, by the Ezili Danto Witness Project.
This is an excerpt of a Radio Solidarite interview given by Rene Preval on the last day of campaigning. It was re-broadcast, as part of a report on Monday morning (Feb 6, 2006), on Radyo Levekanpe by Anne-Marguerite, a field reporter for Leve Kanpe.)
Preval, while answering a previous question about the private sector you said that once you become President Preval, you will offer the guarantee that you will do all within your power to end kidnapping and insecurity. As a matter of fact, the private sector that must invest in the country, since the state cannot do it all, often the private sector complains about the violence and claims that their reluctance to invest stems from the fact that armed gangs make for an environment that is not conducive to investment. What could you say to reassure this private sector?
Rene Preval: Well, effectively gangs are a problem. I have firsthand knowledge of the situation since people close to me have been kidnapped. And… When we become President, we must analyze the problem with the police, with the judicial system, with MINUSTHA, and it is necessary that disarmament goes hand-in-hand with social programs.
Interviewer: Well indeed you will say
so, however there are many approaches. Some favor an invasion of poor neighborhoods aiming at eradicating the violent elements. Others say that the problem must be dealt with through dialogue. You say that there must be accompanying programs.
Rene Preval Well, the military solution is not possible. Had it been possible, upon the departure of President Aristide, you had the US Marines on the ground, you had the French, you had the Canadians, they did not solve the problem. Today you have MINUSTHA with armored vehicles and military soldiers, yet they cannot solve the problem. The solution cannot be a military one because too many people will die, on both sides by the way. Therefore, we must reflect and find a formula to implement disarmament, reinsertion and you will see that once faced with the problem I guarantee that it will be dealt with in the briefest of delays, because this situation can, is inadmissible.
Interviewer: President Pre
val, while talking to you I noticed that it is as if you are already President. Where does this confidence come from?
Rene Preval: Well I don’t say that I am already elected. If I claim to be “already elected”, it is as if I say to the people that they do not need to vote. In reality, our current message to the people is: go and vote, because it is at the ballot box that one votes. However, you are asking me what I would do as President, I must answer you in the context of my presidency.
I think that if you ask any candidate the same question, they will tell you that if elected they would do this or that… But I am not letting my head swell and claim that I am already President, no…."
(End of radio excerpt)