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Haiti News from 1/23
by AHP
Tuesday Jan 27th, 2004 11:37 AM
A new demonstration last Friday protests the opposition's campaign to close the
schools and advocates respect for the Constitution
AHP News - January 23, 2004 - English translation (Unofficial)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A new demonstration Friday protests the opposition's campaign to close the
schools and advocates respect for the Constitution
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Port-au-Prince, January 23, 2004 -(AHP)- Several thousand people
demonstrated again on Friday in Port-au-Prince to press for the schools and
university
faculties to be allowed to function normally throughout the country and for
respect for the Constitution's provision for a five year presidential term.

This demonstration got underway in front of the a church in the populous
district of Bel-Air, the Eglise du Perpétuel Secours, and was held at the
initiative of several high school as well as university student organizations,
teachers associations, socio-professional organizations and populist groups.

The demonstrators once again accused the leaders of the Platform of 184
Organizations of wishing to prevent schools from functioning by using acts of
violence.

One of the officials of the opposition political coalition, Josué Mérilein,
had read a list of private, parochial, and international schools Monday that
must not hold classes, he said, under penalty of reprisals, until the current
government is ousted.

Another opposition leader, Evans Paul, has for his part called for the
closing of schools and hospitals.

Four schools have been set on fire and several others pelted with stones
since the start of this campaign to close the schools.

This Friday's demonstrators paused in front of several schools that were
holding classes and applauded the students whom they encouraged to keep up their
spirits.

They were also welcomed by many small shopkeepers and street vendors.

"We are with you, because you don't loot our merchandise and you don't smash
our stalls", they said.

Members of the opposition coalition have on two occasions in recent weeks
demolished stands belonging to street merchants in Delmas and Christ Roy,
reproaching them for never having followed the opposition's to strike.

The demonstrators praised the courage of the school principals and teachers
who refuse to give in, they said, to violence directed against them by members
of the political platform directed by business leader André Apaid Junior.

Odvil Freyel, an official with the Association des Enseignants de Carrefour
(Association of Teachers of Carrefour), criticized what he called the
transformation of some of the teachers' organizations such as UNNOH and the CNEH into
political parties.

"Academic space, a key link in the transmission of knowledge, must not be
utilized for political purposes", he said, directing his criticism to the two
organizations belonging to the political coalition of the 184.

René Civil, the leader of the organization Jeunesse Pouvoir Populaire (JPP,
Populist Youth Power), which took part in the demonstration, asked the
instigators of the anti-government campaigns to respect the provisions of the
Constitution by taking part in elections as a means of gaining political power.

René Civil called on recalcitrant students to follow the example of a good
number of their comrades who refuse, he said, to play the game of shady
politicians, by attacking students.

He pointed out that many more students chose to return to school this Friday
following the cancelation of the demonstration by the Group of 184.

René Civil reminded doctors who refuse to provide medical services to
patients at the General Hospital that they have sworn an oath to protect the lives of
patients.

He said he was sending out a message of love, peace and reconciliation to all
Haitians, whichever political group they may belong to.

The JPP leader promised however that the majority of the population will
remain mobilized in support of the five year term in office for President Aristide
provided for under the Constitution.

A UNEH official (National Union of Haitian Students) for his part called for
students who subscribe to "destabilizing maneuvers of the opposition
coalition" to give a chance to high school and university students.

He urged them to think about the future of the nation rather than their own
immediate interests.

A mother who had come from Croix-des-Bouquets and some other participants in
the march believed that school should be disassociated from politics in order
the the schools can be allowed to open.

They expressed optimism about the prospects for the schools and university
faculties to function normally beginning on Monday January 26.

The violent attacks launched by opposition supporters against the schools can
only make the opposition less attractive in the eyes of the population, said
the demonstrators, who also asked the government to assume its
responsibilities.

Youths from the foundation "La Fanmi Se Lavi", renewed their attachment to
President Aristide and thanked him for the sacrifices he has made on their
behalf.

The Coordinator of the September 30 Foundation, Lovinsky Pierre Antoine,
asked leaders of the opposition coalition to renounce violence and agree to
negotiations and dialogue to bring the country out of the impasse.

According to Lovinsky Pierre Antoine, the Haitian people are in the process
of showing the entire world that they are more than ever attached to President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the struggle to safeguard the achievements of
democracy that were made between December 16, 1990 and November 26, 2000.

Mr. Pierre Antoine called on Haitians to unite to save the nation.

AHP January 23, 2004 3:00 PM

------------------------------------------------------------------------
CARICOM rejects any form of a coup d'état in Haïti and offers proposals to
end the crisis
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Port-au-Prince, January 23, 2004 -(AHP)- CARICOM leaders presented proposals
to end the crisis following a two-day meeting in the Bahamas with leaders of
the opposition political coalition on Monday January 19 and Tuesday January 20
on the situation in Haiti.

The meeting was also observed by U.S. and Canadian officials.

CARICOM declared that it endorses the complete application of democracy in
Haiti and that it will not accept a coup d'Etat in any form whatsoever.

"Any change in Haiti must be made in compliance with the Haitian
Constitution", affirmed the CARICOM proposal that was submitted to its interlocutors
and
that is due to be the object of discussions with the Haitian government.

CARICOM also said it is prepared, in agreement with the OAS and the CARICOM
Civil Society Charter to insist that the government of Haiti comply with OAS
resolutions 806, 822 and 1959 as well as provisions of the framework Civil
Society principles that were stipulated as being among the terms and conditions for
Haiti's acceptance as a member of the Caribbean Community.

According to CARICOM, this approach includes the transfer by the President
and the government of Haiti of their responsibility to provide security to the
people of Haiti and to permit diverse groups and people to organize
demonstrations without being harassed as well as the dismantling of all armed civilian
groups.

CARICOM also seeks the immediate release of activists or political leaders
who are currently in detention who have been the beneficiaries of a judicial
order providing for their release as well as all who are being detained
illegally.

CARICOM also called for full respect of fundamental freedoms such as freedom
of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

According to the proposal, the government should proceed to set up a process
that, based on an acceptable timetable and the establishment of an appropriate
environment, would permit democratic elections to be held to fill the
parliamentary vacuum in Haiti with external support in the form of external financial
assistance and international supervision for the preparation and holding of
elections.

CARICOM also stated that it favors the establishment of a consultative
council whose membership is very broadly based in the absence of a Parliament. It
affirmed that it has offered its good offices and is exerting all its influence
to attempt to persuade President Aristide that the person to be named as Prime
Minister should enjoy the confidence of a nationwide public.

The opposition should be fully involved in the choice of the Prime Minister
according to CARICOM leaders who urge the opposition to designate its
representatives to the provisional Electoral Council with a view to the holding of
elections within an acceptable period of time, explaining that the solution to the
problems in Haiti must come from the Haitians themselves.

AHP January 23, 2004 11:00 AM

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Officials of the opposition political coalition have returned from the
Bahamas and say they are satisfied with the talks
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Port-au-Prince, January 23, 2004 -(AHP)- The members of the opposition
political coalition who returned to Haiti from the Bahamas on Wednesday where they
engaged in talks with CARICOM on the situation in Haiti said Friday that they
were satisfied with the discussions.

During a news conference at the Hotel El Rancho, leaders of the political
coalition declared that CARICOM will no longer see the members of the coalition
as violent people who set fire to schools and break the stalls of street
vendors.

A member of the delegation that traveled to Nassau, Micha Gaillard, indicated
that this meeting allowed the Caribbean leaders to have a different image of
the opposition Platform and to obtain a better idea of the general situation
of the country and of the human rights situation in particular.

CARICOM promised to do everything in its power, he said, to persuade
President Aristide to honor the provisions of the CARICOM charter, particularly as far
as respect for fundamental freedoms is concerned, Mr. Gaillard added.

In his view, an important step was taken through the holding of this meeting
during which the socio-political situation of the country was presented to
CARICOM leaders.

Mr. Gillard said he expressed concerns to CARICOM leaders about the case of
opposition supporters who, he said, can not demonstrate undisturbed in the
streets of the capital.

He stated that he received CARICOM's guarantee that it will soon send a
delegation to Haiti to observe directly how the rights of the opposition are being
trampled by the Lavalas government.

According to him, CARICOM is ready to adopt sanctions against the Haitian
government if nothing is done to implement the OAS resolutions.

For his part, industrialist André Apaid Junior declared that he was
determined to utilize all available means to oust the current government.

He also promised to do what he can to prevent the next elections from taking
place under the presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In addition, he said he asked the CARICOM member states to end their support
for the Haitian president.

According to reliable sources, some members of the private sector who met
with Caribbean leaders painted a picture of the situation that was seen as more
objective.

They said that the supporters of all the parties that were present are guilty
of acts of violence.

They cited as an example of that view the case of Lavalas activist Louvoi
Petit, brutally beaten on January 7, then dumped into a ravine by supporters of
the opposition.

AHP January 23, 2004 4:00 PM

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two individuals said to be impersonating students are evicted from the
Faculty of Law in Cap-Haïtien
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cap-Haïtien, January 23 2004 -(AHP) - Students at the Law School in
Cap-Haïtien chased away out two fake students Friday who were getting ready to use the
school's facilities to launch a campaign to close the schools.

These individuals had been invited by journalists to give a short press
conference to support the campaign to close the schools that was launched in
Port-au-Prince by leaders of the Platform of the 184.

However they were unable to produce a single piece of evidence to show that
they were actually students.

The individuals fled at the moment when students were preparing to apprehend
them.

Students at the Cap-Haïtien Law School said that they will not permit
something like this to happen again at their institution.

In Port-au-Prince, many sectors have said over the past few days that a fair
number of people who are engaging in acts of violence during student
demonstrations are not actually students.

AHP January 23, 2004 4:40 PM
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