[Marxism] New Haitian Prime Minister arrives from Florida

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Mar 11 03:23:15 MST 2004

Don't you just love the New York Times. I do.

Note that Prime Minister Neptune is proclaimed as a supporter of the
"transition," although he has not been heard from publicly since he was
"rescued" by US troops from rightist killers who were closing in on him.
I assume he got the same offer that Aristide got -- go along or we will
let them kill you.

The country will be "unified" by having a former general from the
coup-Duvalier days take charge of security.  He, of course, has "wide

Florida is the same place where the next heads of Cuba and Venezuela
will come from if Washington has its way.

Four Haitians have been killed by US forces since the troops arrived,
not counting those whom the occupiers have allowed to be killed by the
rightists, presumably because they refused to resign -- from whatever.
Fred Feldman

New Haitian Prime Minister Arrives, Vowing to Restore Unity

Published: March 11, 2004

ORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 10 — Gérard Latortue, the economist and
former diplomat chosen by a United States-backed council to lead Haiti
out of its political crisis, arrived in the country from southern
Florida on Wednesday, promising to reconcile opposed factions and bring
peace and prosperity to a nation long wracked by poverty and brutalized
by generations of dictators. 

"I come with all my impartiality, with no political party," Mr. Latortue
said at a hotel in Port-au-Prince. "I come to work with all Haitians." 

The arrival of Mr. Latortue, the country's new interim prime minister,
was the clearest sign yet that a new Haitian government was beginning to
take shape as the nation continued to struggle to right itself after the
departure of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first democratically
elected president. With armed rebels menacing the capital and with the
United States and other nations pressuring him to step down, Mr.
Aristide fled into exile in Africa on Feb. 29.

Mr. Latortue said he would appoint Herard Abraham, a former general who
has wide support and was one of three top candidates to be prime
minister, as the head of the nation's security, a move likely to placate
armed rebels, many of whom were members of the Haitian Army before it
was disbanded by Mr. Aristide. 

Mr. Latortue fled Haiti in the late 1960's, when he faced political
persecution from the Duvalier regime, and he returned only for brief
spells. During one, in 1988, he served as foreign minister in the
civilian government of Leslie Manigat, whose administration was ended by
a coup after just four months. He worked for a United Nations agency for
decades and is a business consultant. 

He replaces Yvon Neptune, a stalwart of Mr. Aristide's Lavalas Party who
stayed on after Mr. Aristide fled to help smooth the transition to a new
government. Under Haiti's Constitution, the prime minister is in charge
of running the government, but under Mr. Aristide, virtually all
authority rested in the president's National Palace. 

The interim president, Boniface Alexandre, a justice on Haiti's Supreme
Court, will serve in a largely symbolic role. 

Mr. Latortue's arrival drew mixed responses across the city. Leslie
Voltaire, a close adviser to Mr. Aristide and a top government minister,
said that Mr. Latortue's reputation — for honesty and technocratic
skills — was beyond reproach. 

"He is neutral and independent," Mr. Voltaire said. "He has no political
constituency. He is not going to have a vested interest in any party."

A spokesman for the political opposition to Mr. Aristide, Micha
Gaillard, called Mr. Latortue "a real professional and a man of
integrity" but said he had lived outside of Haiti for too long. 

In La Saline, a vast slum in the capital and a stronghold of support for
Mr. Aristide, Mr. Latortue's name barely registered. 

"We don't know who he is," said Ernseau Bolivar, a student. "We want
Aristide back." 

On Wednesday, American marines shot and killed two Haitian men who had
fired at them from atop a building near the prime minister's house, said
a military spokesman, Maj. Richard A. Crusan. That brought the total
number of Haitians killed since foreign troops arrived here Feb. 29 to

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