The presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti is strengthened by the failure of the thuggish leader of the Tontons Macoute militia to prevent it. Roger Lafontant, enforcer of the former Duvalier dictatorship, had vowed not to let the leftist priest, overwhelmingly elected last month, assume office.
Dr. Lafontant gave it his best shot, seizing the palace, holding interim president Ertha Pascal-Trouillot hostage and proclaiming himself provisional president. The outraged people of Port-au-Prince took to the streets and loyal soldiers quickly smashed the coup and seized the criminal.
With that menace cleared away, there is more hope than ever that Father Aristide will take office Feb. 7, pledged to dismantle the oppression and corruption that have kept the six million Haitians in misery.