Originally: Haiti’s Aristide Ignores Crisis

Haiti’s Aristide ignores crisis.

By Claire Marshall


Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide refused to make any reference to the political crisis engulfing his country at a news conference.

Mr Aristide also failed to comment on the lack of a functioning legislature, now the mandate of most members of parliament has run out.

He was speaking at the airport in Port-au-Prince before leaving for the Summit of the Americas in Mexico.

More demonstrations against his rule are due to start shortly.

The president arrived at Port-au-Prince Airport surrounded by an extraordinary array of security.

A helicopter buzzed overhead, while a long convoy of black vehicles raced across the tarmac. At the front was an open-backed van with a mounted machine gun.

Haitian commandos armed with M16s kept guard from the rooftops.

Addressing the news media, President Aristide completely ignored the recent mass demonstrations against his leadership.

He also failed to clarify that from Monday, he started ruling Haiti by decree.

Parliament is no longer functioning, as elections were not held last year and the terms of most members have now run out.

Instead, he gave a speech referring to Haiti‘s founding fathers.

‘Light of peace’

In what sounded like a sermon, he finished by saying: “May the light of peace shine everywhere in the country.”

Then the president left in a huddle of bodyguards.

He walked down a red carpet onto his private jet to fly to Mexico for the Summit of the Americas.

There are yet more demonstrations taking place on Monday. So far, Mr Aristide has done little to help calm the spiralling crisis in his country.