Aristide Blames U.S. for Haiti Violence

Terry Leonard, AP, Apr. 19

PRETORIA, South Africa—Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide charged Tuesday that political violence in Haiti was a “black holocaust” orchestrated by France and the United States.

Speaking to reporters in Pretoria where he lives in exile, Aristide renewed his charge that he was kidnapped by the United States and France as part of a coup d’etat in February 2004 and that he remains Haiti’s democratically elected leader.

Aristide refused to say if he would be a candidate in general elections promised later this year in Haiti, but he said there could be no free democratic elections in the troubled country until thousands of his Lavalas party members are freed from jail or allowed to return from exile. The ousted president said he wanted to return to Haiti, “whenever conditions permit.”

Aristide also again denied fomenting political violence in Haiti from South Africa and defended his former interior minister, Jocelerme Privert, who was charged Monday in connection with the killing of political opponents. He called the charges “lies.”

“We are for peace, not violence,” said Aristide, claiming his Lavalas party members were victims, not perpetrators.

“Racism is behind a black holocaust in Haiti,” said Aristide. “More than 10,000 of my supporters have been killed in the past year.”

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