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Haiti's Movement from Below Endures
Despite those in power trying to keep him out, the return of Aristide to Haiti has rekindled hope among the poor.
As twice ousted former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family were escorted out from the airport tarmac in Port-au-Prince, loud chants of "Titid, Titid, Titid" rose from an ecstatic gathering that filled every space of a causeway leading out from the airport.
Sitting on walls, a few climbing a telephone pole, rows of youth jumped in excitement at the return of Aristide from exile in South Africa – a heroic figure for the people whose history is one indelibly rooted in resistance.
As the gates swung open for two police vehicles, an SUV with dark tinted windows and a white van carrying guests, an airport grounds man with a huge smile on his face clasped the hands of a skinny police officer motioning the cars through.
Heavily armed UN soldiers with sky-blue helmets stood in rows some 30 meters away.
The caravan made its way alongside the airport route. In waves, thousands poured in from the slums carrying flags and banners on foot. One man dressed as Jean Jacques Dessalines – the founding leader of Haiti – charged down the street atop a horse, waving the crowd forward. Many were on motorcycles or piled into trucks zooming through the dusty air.
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