Obama administration stops Aristide’s return to Haiti:
Obama Fears Lavalas, returns Duvalierists, refuses Aristide
According to news reports the Obama administration is stopping the return of Haiti’s first democratically elected president back to Haiti. In contrast, Obama administration has no problem with the return to Haiti of the bloody baby doc dictator, Jean Claude Duvalier, who along with his father, Papa doc Dulavier, where together responsible for the death of 60,000 to 100,000 Haitians from 1957 to 1986. Seems like US support for strongman death squads and dictators has not changed under the Barack Obama administration.
The excuse the Obama administration is currently bandying about for keeping Aristide in practical house arrest in South Africa is that Aristide’s return before the fraudulent run-offs on March 20th where Duvalierists Martelly and Manigat are running against each other in an election that excluded the majority of Haiti’s people, had more dead earthquake victims voting and denied Aristide’s political party, Fanmi Lavalas, participation is that Aristide’s return would disrupt the Duvalierists candidates selection.
The majority of Haiti’s people and the candidates had asked for the November 28, 2010 fraudulent earthquake elections to be annulled. Hillary Clinton flew to Haiti and insisted the sham go forward with the March 20th Duvalierists run off. To help the disenfranchisement of Haiti’s people move forward, the US, France and Canada allowed Baby Doc Duvalier back into Haiti. (Haiti message to US Embassy in Haiti: The Will of the People .)
Yesterday, Aristide’s lawyer, Ira Kurzban issued this statement in reference to the Obama administration “request” that South Africa not allow former president Aristide to return to Haiti before the conclusion of the US’s Duvalierist sham elections all set to go forward on March 20, 2011.
Here is my response to the Department of State’s statement issued this morning:
President Aristide’s desire to return home is unrelated to the election but to a desire to be in Haiti to carry on his educational work.
However, he is genuinely concerned that a change in the Haitian government may result in his remaining in South Africa. The Department of State has previously said that this is a decision for the Haitian government. They should leave that decision to the democratically elected government instead of seeking to dictate the terms under which a Haitian citizen may return to his country. The claim that President Aristide voluntarily left Haiti and could have returned the past seven years is disingenuous and is belied by the US government’s active involvement in his removal as the democratically elected president of Haiti and the U.S. government’s active role in insuring that President Aristide remained and apparently continues to remain in South Africa.” – Ira Kurzban, March 14, 2011
Haiti: U.S. Asks South Africa to Delay Aristide’s Departure
New York Times, By REUTERS | March 14, 2011
The Obama administration said Monday that the former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide should refrain from returning to Haiti before the presidential runoff election on Sunday. A State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said that Mr. Aristide, above, had the right to return, but doing so this week “can only be seen as a conscious choice to impact Haiti’s elections.” A delay, Mr. Toner said, would “permit the Haitian people to cast their ballots in a peaceful atmosphere.” He said the United States was asking South Africa, where Mr. Aristide has lived in exile since 2004, to delay his departure. Mr. Aristide’s lawyer, Ira Kurzban, said the United States “should leave that decision to the democratically elected government instead of seeking to dictate the terms under which a Haitian citizen may return to his country.”
Obama has ‘deep concerns’ over Aristide return
Associated Press, March 17, 2011 | Source: Forbes.com
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A White House spokesman says President Obama has personally weighed in on the apparently imminent return from exile of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor says Obama recently called the president of South Africa, where Aristide has been in exile since he was ousted in a rebellion in 2004.
Vietor told The Associated Press on Thursday that Obama told South African President Jacob Zuma about “deep concerns” the U.S. has over Aristide’s plans to return just before Haiti’s presidential election Sunday. He says the U.S. believes Aristide’s return could be destabilizing to the fragile country.
A Zuma spokesman said he was not aware of the call.
Is this “civilization?”/Is this “change” for the better?
Scientists destroying the world with their chemicals, their mining and oil drilling – Nuclear energy/reactors to feed corporate greed, earthquake elections to push dictatorship, what about the earth, the people?
And the “believers” are also destroying the world with keeping the people passive, WAITING for the new “Kingdom” after death? Is this “civilization? What about the people, the earth?”
Aristide expected to return to Haiti as early as Friday
By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, March 17, 2011
The fluttering green and white banners — in which the word “mother” refers to presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat — shows to what extent candidates in Haiti’s historic elections are willing to go to court Aristide’s supporters, but also how relevant he remains even after seven years in exile.
“The fact that the international community fears that the mere presence of Aristide could destabilize the whole game of cards shows that it has little confidence in the solidity of Haiti’s political system,’’ said Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert at the University of Virginia. “However, I would be more anxious about the post-electoral period than the elections themselves.’’
In separate telephone calls Tuesday, President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unsuccessfully tried to persuade South African President Jacob Zuma to delay Aristide’s return, sources told The Miami Herald.
Zuma replied he was under pressure by Aristide, who in January announced he was ready to return to Haiti at anytime. Zuma’s government then told Haitian officials to expect Aristide on Friday.
On Wednesday, South African’s Caribbean representative Mathu Joyini arrived in Port-au-Prince as part of the welcoming committee that is expected to include supporters from Miami and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Also arriving was Aristide’s longtime eye specialist who flew from Miami, presumably to see his former patient who said that he needs to leave South Africa for medical reasons because he was “six years in eye surgery six times.’’
Now, as an anxious nation awaits the return of its most well-known and polarizing political figure, supporters and opponents debate the potential impact of Aristide on the most important vote in a generation and Haiti’s fragile political stability.
“While Aristide’s return may be a destabilizing force in the political environment, it is an opportunity to further test the judicial system, to address the rule of law, to confront painful issues that we frequently choose to avoid,’’ said Michel Eric Gaillard, a Port-au-Prince-based analyst. “This is a good test for democracy.”
In January, former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier unexpectedly showed up at the Port-au-Prince international airport after 25 years in exile in France. He now faces human rights and corruption charges.
Some here question whether Haiti can afford the risk. Since Aristide’s Feb. 29, 2004 ouster amid a bloody rebellion, the country has struggled with armed kidnappings, deadly hurricanes, food riots and the hemisphere’s worst natural disaster — a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that left 300,000 dead, an equal number injured and one million-plus livingin tents.
“He’s a former president who is well-known and popular, and the people will be happy to see him. I don’t see any negative impact,” said Jean-Henry Ceant, a close ally of Aristide and among a group of losing presidential candidates still demanding cancellation of the flawed Nov. 28 elections.
The fact that Ceant and other Aristide-allied presidential candidates failed to generate support from so-called Aristide supporters speaks to the lack of weight he carries, said Jocelyn McCalla, a longtime Haiti observer in New York who formerly headed one of the largest Haitian-American rights groups.
“Folks keep looking for a Messiah and he plays the part real well, except he can’t keep up the act,” McCalla said.
Aristide, 57, arrives with no guarantees from Haiti, says the Haitian government and others privy to the planning of his trip. His request for 60 armed police officers was turned down. Under a law passed in his absence, former presidents are only entitled to five years of state-sponsored protection.
Questions about whether Aristide will face criminal charges also linger.
Following his ouster, Haiti’s U.S.-backed interim government issued four blistering reports from two government investigative commissions, including one led by Haiti’s current Minister of Justice Paul Denis. The reports alleged that Aristide had embezzled more than $20 million of his country’s meager public funds for the benefit of his private charities, his political party and several private firms that existed only on paper. But the investigations stalled. His lawyers have always denied the allegations.
At the same time, Aristide was under investigation by a Miami federal grand jury reviewing allegations of ties to narco-traffickers. Federal sources told The Miami Herald the five-year statute of limitation has run out on any potential money laundering charges stemming from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s investigation into alleged drug traffickers’ kickbacks to Aristide and other Haitian officials. For now, the government is mum as the country focuses on Sunday’s elections amid concerns over recent election violence.
Earlier this week, both Manigat and presidential rival Michel Martelly, a singer known as “Sweet Micky,” dismissed fears over his return. They each welcomed him back, with Martelly saying he will have no influence on the outcome of Sunday’s balloting.
Yet some believe that Martelly, a strident Aristide opponent who has been courting his base with populist rhetoric, may have the most to lose should the ex-president call for a boycott or endorse Manigat.
Aristide has said he has no political ambitions and plans to work in education — an assertion some doubt, citing his insistence on needing to return to Haiti before Sunday.
“He remains relevant for the time being in his ability to create mischief, hence his efforts to return before elections, and in a return to deep polarization,” said one diplomat who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. “He also has a lot of scores to settle.”
Miami Herald staff writers Jay Weaver contributed to this report from Miami and Lesley Clark from Washington, D.C.