Haitian rightists call on Aristide, Cedras to resign Coalition wants U.N. envoy out, urges elections

November 01, 1993|By Ginger Thompson | Ginger Thompson,Staff Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Right-wing, pro-military parties called on exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and United Nations envoy Dante Caputo to resign yesterday to make way for a provisional government that would orchestrate new elections.

The groups led by the military's newly formed political party -- the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) -- also demanded the resignation of army chief Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras. But that move was considered a ploy to demonstrate their independence from the ragtag army that controls Haiti.

Father Aristide, Mr. Caputo and General Cedras worked out a United Nations plan on Governors Island, N.Y., in July for restoring democracy in Haiti.

Under the plan, Father Aristide was to return to Haiti on Saturday. But the trip was thwarted by General Cedras' refusal to step down from Haiti's military government.

"The Governor's Island agreement is dead," said Emanuel Constant, head of the FRAPH. "Now FRAPH with other political parties, want to re-establish law and order."

The rightists suggested that Haiti's Parliament would convene to pick Supreme Court chief and right-wing leader Emil Jonasaint as interim president. New elections would be held in three months, the parties said. FRAPH leaders also said that they wanted a Vatican official to oversee the transition process.

The demands yesterday stopped short of earlier FRAPH vows of installing a government in the National Palace if Father Aristide had not resigned by Saturday night. Mr. Caputo had warned the pro-military groups that such action would be taken very seriously by the U.N. Security Council, which will consider a total economic embargo on Haiti this week.

Still, with the prevention of Father Aristide's return, the rightists spoke with a tone of invincibility and destiny yesterday. They had once again mocked efforts by the United States and international mediators to restore democracy in this impoverished Caribbean nation.

The New York Times, in today's editions, quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that key members of the military regime blocking Father Aristide's return were paid by the CIA for information from the mid-1980's at least until the 1991 coup that forced the president from power.

As part of its normal intelligence-gathering operations, the Times reported, the CIA cultivated, recruited and paid generals and politicians for information about everything from cocaine smuggling to political ferment in Haiti.

Without naming names, a government official familiar with the payments said that "several of the principal players in the present situation were compensated by the U.S. government." It was not clear when the payments ended or how much money they involved, although they were described as modest.

Mr. Constant said the resignation of Father Aristide would be regarded as a "patriotic act" and that his followers would be included in a national convention to discuss election of another government.

Father Aristide could return, but he would face charges of treason, improper use of public money and various assassinations, Mr. Constant said. Father Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected leader, was ousted by a military coup in 1991.

Mr. Constant said Mr. Aristide and the provisional government headed by Robert Malval had little choice but to surrender power.

"Mr. Malval will have to resign," Mr. Constant said. "He has no power over the country."

Even Mr. Malval, a wealthy businessman who reluctantly accepted the job as prime minister, would agree. His aides say he is extremely frustrated and impatient with international efforts to restore democracy in Haiti.

He and his staff live under tight security because of death threats and widespread killings. While Aristide supporters cowered behind locked doors, his opponents drank and danced in the streets during the weekend. Gunshots were heard throughout Saturday and last night, taking the place of fireworks.

"We were overwhelmed with joy because Aristide did not come back," said one pro-military demonstrator. "That's why we were shooting."

"I am not happy that Aristide is not here," said another, cracking a chilling grin. "I want to kill him. Then I will be happy."

Franz Voltaire, Mr. Malval's chief of staff, said mixed signals from Washington have fueled the brazen stance of the military and gunmen. On one hand, he said, President Clinton makes statements about his firm commitment to restoring democracy in Haiti and says that international will cannot be defeated by a small group of gunmen.

Meanwhile, the CIA leaked a report that said Mr. Aristide was psychologically dangerous an incapable of leading the country.

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