Originally: Powell to visit Haiti following Aristide
BRUSSELS, April 2 (Reuters) – Secretary of State Colin Powell will
visit Haiti on Monday in the first trip to the Caribbean nation by a top
U.S. official since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide quit in what he called
an American coup.
The Bush administration has come under fire at home and throughout the
Caribbean for failing to support Aristide and for pressuring the elected
leader to resign during a rebellion in February.
Powell, who negotiated Aristide’s exit amid concerns the Haiti crisis
would spark a flood of refugees to the United States, plans to meet the
interim government and address thousands of U.S. Marines sent to restore
The State Department, which announced the one-day trip on Friday
during Powell’s visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, has denied the
United States kidnapped Aristide when it flew him out of Haiti to Africa as
rebels advanced on the capital.
Since his departure, a U.S.-led international peacekeeping force has
gradually stabilised the western hemisphere’s poorest nation and American
diplomats have helped mediate the installation of the interim government.
Nevertheless, Powell’s trip risks returning a spotlight to an
embarrassing issue for America’s top diplomat. Congressmen grilled him
about Aristide’s accusations in the days after the Haitian leader’s