[News] Aristide urges dialogue, liberty and peace

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Wed Jan 5 11:05:49 EST 2005




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Jean-Bertrand Aristide advocates dialogue, liberty and peace for Haitians 
and affirms that the spirit never forgets the way home
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Port-au-Prince, January 4, 2005 (AHP)- In a message for the new year, 
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide  wrote poetically of the necessity for 
dialogue, liberty and peace for all Haitians.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced to leave the country on February 29, 
2004 and who is now in exile in South Africa, declared that the cigar of 
slavery must be extinguished by the waters of dialogue and peace.

"The cigar of slavery is lit from both ends. Lighting it is one thing, 
smoking it is another", declared Mr. Aristide,  denouncing the overthrow of 
the democracy machine, now deprived, he said, of driver, brakes and 
headlights.

Mr. Aristide denounced murders that claimed the lives of more than 10,000 
innocents, he said, since the kidnapping of February 29, 2004.

More than 1,000 Haitian compatriots are languishing unjustly behind prison 
bars while corruption transforms itself into fertilizer, he said, to fuel 
the poverty in Haiti.

"In order for 2005 to be a good year for Haiti, it would have to be good 
for all Haitians living in the country as well as those living abroad", he 
wrote.

" Those who are in prison, in hiding or in exile must be able to return to 
their homes", he asserted, adding that the year 2005 must also be as good a 
year for the majority as for the minority.

Mr. Aristide recalled that it was in South Africa that Gandhi had begun his 
series of peaceful mobilizations before he went on to liberate India, his 
own country, in 1914.

The supporters of slavery assassinated Toussaint Louverture and Jean 
Jacques Dessalines but have never succeeded in extinguishing the spirit of 
liberty that guided the ancestors.

"A spirit never forgets the path that leads back to his home" declared Mr. 
Aristide, expressing hope that this spirit of love will transform itself 
into a flood of love during the year 2005.

"Love for Haiti in good times as in bad. Love for the Haitian people who 
stagger under the weight of suffering to find the path of deliverance", 
wrote President Aristide, wishing Haitians courage for the year 2005.



AHP  January 4, 2005   2:35 PM



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The 201st anniversary of Haiti's independence is celebrated in an 
atmosphere of quasi-indifference: the interim authorities are heckled in 
Gonaïves
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Port-au-Prince, January 4, 2005 (AHP)- The 201st anniversary of the 
independence of Haiti was observed by the public on January 1st in an 
atmosphere of quasi-indifference.

No events were organized in Port-au-Prince.

In Gonaïves, government officials were heckled by the population.

Provisional President Boniface Alexandre had to deliver his remarks at 
Gonaïves city hall rather than at the Place d'Armes, before a small 
gathering.

Mr. Alexandre stressed the need to initiate a dialogue among all sectors of 
the country to prevent the country from sinking into divisiveness.

Denouncing the violence that is plaguing the country, he appealed to 
President Aristide to distance himself from people who claim to be acting 
on his behalf through acts of violence committed across the country.

At the same time, Boniface Alexandre said that initiatives will be taken 
with respect to the governments of South Africa and Venezuela, which, he 
said, are supporting  Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"We are going to ask them to act in such a way that in their relations with 
Haiti, the interest of the country is uppermost", he said.

The people of Gonaïves, who noisily voiced their discontent with the 
interim authorities, accused them of having failed to keep their promises 
to the inhabitants of the region who were victims of last September's 
catastrophe that claimed more than 3,000 lives.

Interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue sought to reassure the people of 
Gonaïves that an important position has been reserved for the City of 
Independence in the transitional government's agenda for 2005. He mentioned 
in particular the probable reconstruction of the city of Gonaïves.

Gérard Latortue also announced that he has just created an office of 
coordination that will be responsible for improving the management of aid 
dispensed to the victims of tropical storm Jeanne.

The head of the government even spoke in terms of the creation of a mini 
CCI (Framework for Interim Cooperation) for the people of Gonaïves.

Criticism has been heard from several quarters suggesting that funds to aid 
the victims of tropical storm Jeanne have been embezzled.



AHP  January 4, 2005   10:20 AM


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