Originally: Interview with Jean Bertrand Aristide
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 16 ? Following are excerpts from an interview in English with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide:
Q. Will you finish your term?
PRESIDENT ARISTIDE I have to. I will leave office on Feb. 7, 2006.
Q. If there came a time where your departure could spare great bloodshed, would you resign?
A. My responsibility is to precisely to prevent that from happening. . . . When unfortunately in 1991, when we had the coup, the army, soldiers consumed 40 percent of national budget, killed more than 5,000 people. Pigs were eating their bodies.
Can you imagine, Feb. 7, you heard about one million people [going] in a peaceful way from Cité Soleil up to Pétionville. When you can have one million people in a peaceful way expressing their conviction to protect democracy, that means a lot. While yesterday around 500 people couldn’t make it in a nonviolent way. . . .
We have had 32 coups in our history, although we were the first black republic in the world, which is something of which we are proud. . . . The result is what we have now: moving from misery to poverty. We need not to continue moving from one coup d’état to another coup d’état, but from one elected president to another elected president. . . .
The Haitian people want to live with dignity. We don’t sell our dignity. Dignity is linked to freedom. We don’t sell our freedom. . . . If last Saturday, despite the economic situation, one million marched in a peaceful way, it is because they see we are not lying. . . . They are ready for elections because election means a nonviolent way to bring a state of law.