Return to Constitutional Order

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Pretoria, South Africa

Return to Constitutional Order

        In 1994, who could have expected free, fair and democratic elections in South Africa with Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Oliver Tambo and other leaders and members of the African National Congress in jail, exile and hiding?

        Today in 2005, who can expect free, fair and democratic elections in Haiti with thousands of Lavalas in jail, exile and hiding?
        To repair the tragic mistake of the February 2004 kidnapping and coup d´etat and reverse the disastrous events that it unleashed, the following steps must be taken:

  1. Thousands of Lavalas who are in jail and in exile must be free to return home.

  2. The repression that has already killed over 10,000 people must end immediately.

  3. Then, there must be national dialogue.

  4. Free, fair and democratic elections must be organized in an environment where the huge majority of Haitian people is neither excluded nor repressed as they have been up until today.  

Their continued peaceful demonstrations calling for my return and the restoration of constitutional order must be heard.  Racism should not maintain a “Black holocaust’ in Haiti where African descendents proclaimed their independence 200 years ago.  What an historic paradigm for all the nations!

April 19, 2005


April 19, 2005

BuaNews (Pretoria)

No Free, Fair Polls in Haiti if Repression Continues, Aristide
By Richard Mantu

"I'm still the elected and the only elected president of the country," said ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide today at a press conference in Tshwane.

He added that he will return to the Caribbean country "today or tomorrow" - once the repression has stopped and a national dialogue begins.

Mr Aristide said that ongoing repression in Haiti since his hasty, forced departure from that country has claimed the lives of over 10 000 people.

He called it a "Black Holocaust" to which the world has turned a blind eye.

Mr Aristide has been living in Tshwane as a guest of the South African government after he was forced to flee Port au Prince, in February 2004.

He said the world should not expect a free and fair poll in elections scheduled for November, while thousands of his Lavalas party supporters are in jail and in exile.

He also called for an immediate halt to the repression and said Haitians should return to the constitutional order and hold a national dialogue to create a conducive climate for free and fair elections.

Asked whether he will stand for re-election at the planned November polls, Mr Aristide said:

"I'm still the elected and the only elected president of the country and that's according to the voice of eight million Haitians who asked for the ending of the repression and to have national dialogue."

"I'm ready to be back today or tomorrow when conditions are conducive. If they agree to have a national dialogue of course I will return," he said.

Mr Aristide labelled the repression that has killed thousands of people and has left some in jail and in exile as a "Black Holocaust".

He said the world has turned a blind eye to the situation because Haiti is a black republic.

"Racism should not maintain a black holocaust in Haiti, where African descendants proclaimed their independence 200 years ago."

"I think we must hear the voice of Haitian people calling for my return," he said.

Haiti is the first country in the world to be liberated from colonial rule.

Its black citizens - mostly former slaves - declared its independence from colonial ruler France in January 1804.

Last year on January 1 it celebrated 200 years of independence at a grand ceremony attended by President Thabo Mbeki.

Mr Aristide was ousted last year by rebels in Haiti and subsequently fled to the Central African Republic.

He was allegedly forced into exile there by the US, where he spent two weeks. He then left for Jamaica, where he spent 11 weeks before coming to South Africa.

After consulting with the African Union and Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the South African government agreed to host Mr Aristide, his family and aides, as an official guest of the republic.

The ousted president refuted allegations that he was sponsoring violence in Haiti, saying "it's completely false. People are lying to change the focus".

He also refuted allegations levelled against his former interior minister, Jocelerme Privert, who is in jail, charged with perpetrating violence against supporters of the interim government.

Mr Aristide said the repression and violence in Haiti is a result of the coup that was carried out by the "United States and French".

"We should not close our eyes on those who are behind the coup - yes the United States, the French. Clearly it's a failure of what they did a year ago using violence and as a consequence we have more violence in Haiti today," he said.

M Aristide called on the international community to listen to the voices of the Haitian people, who are holding peaceful demonstrations.

They are calling for "my return and the restoration of constitutional order", Mr Aristide said.

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Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network

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