Translation of National Palace Bureau of Communications Press Release:

The President of the Republic calls on all Haitians to find reason, calm and common sense

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide declared that peace was the only viable solution to the Haitian nation’s problems during a press conference held at the National Palace on the morning of November 28, 2002, after a breakfast in honor of the Taiwanese Ambassador in Haiti, Mr. Michel Lu, whose mission in the country ended.

The Haitian First Representative called on all Haitians to find reason, calm and common sense and invited all political actors to promote the democratic dialogue and elections through the setting up of the Provisionary Electoral Council. At the same time, the President of the Republic categorically rejected the system of coup d’etat and strongly condemned all actions prejudicial to the democratic order. He reminded that the supporters of the 1991 military putsch and the failure of the electoral process of November 29, 1987, by slaughtering their compatriots and giving their bodies to pigs and dogs, didn’t follow the road traced by the heroes of Vertieres.

Referring to Haiti’s history, President Aristide exhorted his compatriots, no matter what side they belong to, to turn away from anti-democratic measures that can only lead the country to its end. He underlined that the 32 coups d’etat that interrupted the democratic experience from the exercise of power in Haiti have only slowed down the development of the nation. He is still convinced that the reign of coups d’etat is definitely in the past and that the nation has chosen the democratic path.

“On the eve of 2004, the country needs all its sons and daughters, pointed out President Aristide.” Therefore, he asked all former soldiers to give up violence, because the country doesn’t want to go through the experience of November 29, 1987 again. Today, the urgent necessity is to form the Provisionary Electoral Council and to have early elections in a climate of peace, declared the Head of State. The people have already suffered too much from politicians’ wrongdoings and from the harsh embargo. Haitians need to become aware that it is necessary to loosen the grip on the country and that the best path is still the peaceful one that goes through democratic compromise.

The President of the Republic reaffirmed that he was fully assuming his constitutional responsibilities and he invited all citizens, all sectors and all political actors to assume theirs in order to lead the country toward peace and prosperity.

When he was asked about the demonstrations that took place in some areas of the country, President Aristide affirmed that this is about the expression of democracy and that the State has the obligation to guarantee freedom of speech in the country. However, the Head of State asked all those pretending to be students to pull themselves together, all those thirsting for power to accept the democratic lessons, by favoring the electoral path as the democratic way to get to the power.

The Head of State reminded students and teachers about the decisions taken during the meeting, the week spent with the University Council, to put an end to the turbulence affecting university activities last week. He invited the university community to build the bridge of democratic compromise. “I encourage all my brothers and sisters from the university community to be tolerant, to stay calm,” insisted President Aristide.

The Head of State took the occasion to announce the nomination next week of a new representative at the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports. He strongly thanked Minister Myrtho Celestin-Saurel whose work was appreciated during her term at the Ministry. The President of the Republic hopes that the resigning minister and the provisionary president of the university commission will continue to serve the country in other fields.