Interview du Président Jean-Bertrand Aristide
diffusée à la BBC le 23.2.2006:
President Jean Bertrand Aristide
The Haitian people voting for my return through (his emphasis!) The lections are expressing their will to protect their dignity, because, voting in 2000 for a president and seeing a coup happening three years later, February 29th, 2004, that was taking away their dignity.
When they voted again for our return, they wanted to have their dignity restored. Secondly, in our flag, it is well written: "L´Union fait la force" the more we are united, the stronger we can be... We should not hear to people trying to divide the Haitian people but paying attention to the necessity of having rich, poor, government, civil society, Haitians living in the Diaspora, Haitians living in Haiti all united.
Many Haitians still see you as their elected president. What do you say to them now?
It's a love story. They love me and I love them. But when you love, it also leads to choose. People are not dumb. Ten years expressing that love for someone that means they see the truth. If we invested in education We had 34 public secondary schools and now we have 138 public high schools. They enjoy having public schools to go to school. So it's a love story. That love will bring light. They will enjoy seeing me investing in education and I will enjoy learning from them. You are teaching, you are also learning.
This is what I plan to do.
So you' say very clearly "I am no longer president. Support René Préval."
It is so clear!
Washington has made it very plain that they don't want you back in Haiti. If you return, wouldn't' that undermine René Préval's effort to build bridges with United States.
The United States claim that they are for democracy, for freedom.
Freedom and democracy are linked to respect. I wish as I said it in the past, we need to develop a relationship with > the United States and that relationship must be rooted in mutual respect.
If we don't respect them, we should not expect them to respect us, because we respect them, we expect them to respect us.
And respecting the Haitian people means respecting the rights and the Constitution of the Haitian people.
Article 41 of the Constitution does not accept exile.
So my wish is that mutual respect will finally become light.
It must be very difficult for you because you say you were force to leave Haiti two years ago when you were president, by US soldiers.
It must be very difficult; you must have mixed feelings about going back as an ordinary citizen.
I smile, because a think of President Mandela. After 27 years in jail, and seeing him back without having any hate but reconciliation in his heart, that's wonderful. A great man must be able to turn sands. When Bishop Desmond Tutu went to Haiti last week, he said "What I have seen in Haiti reminds me of the old days of apartheid."
It's true what he said. One percent of the population of Haiti controls 51 % of the wealth and the huge majority are living with less than 1 $ a day. So we need to build not walls but bridges of solidarity and dialogue of unity between rich and poor, government and civil society in order to promote that human growth linked to economic growth
You obviously feel a lot of hope for your country but he opposition parties are saying that they do not accept the elections results. What is now likely to change the whole process of coup and coup in your country?
Haiti is the first black republic country in the world, since 1804 but we do not have the tradition of moving from elections to elections but from coup to coup unfortunately. Those who have lost the elections are learning to embrace the one who wins or those who win. The one, who wins, those who win, are not, cannot be against those who lost, because it is democracy. You have to respect the rights of the minority and the right of the majority. Those who lost elections must win something. So when we understand that we will join hands and start moving from elections to elections, which is a learning process.
And finally, your political career, that's over now, is it? We are not going to see you as President of Haiti in 2011?
NO! (Wide smile,)
Happy to be a normal citizen?
Of course, as I was before being elected
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