Ousted Haitian President Aristide Accuses U.S. and France of a "Black Holocaust"

By Richard Mantu

04/19/05 "SAPA" (Pretoria)
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Pretoria - Ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide described himself on Tuesday as that country's legitimately elected leader and the fate of his supporters as a "black holocaust" perpetrated by the West. 

A "huge majority" of Haitians wanted him back, and those saying otherwise were "mental slaves" lying for their masters, he told reporters in Pretoria. 

"I am still the only elected president of the country," said Aristide, who has been living in South Africa as a guest of the government since leaving Haiti last February following what has been termed a popular revolt. 

He called a media conference on Tuesday to lay out what he saw as the steps required for Haiti's return to constitutional order. 

In 1994, Aristide said, free and fair elections would not have been possible in South Africa had leaders like Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and Oliver Tambo been in jail, exile and hiding. 

Blames the US 

The same applied to his country today, with "thousands" of supporters of his Lavalas Family party unable to return home, Aristide said. 

Freeing them was the first step to repairing the "tragic mistake" of his ousting, which Aristide described as a kidnapping and coup d'etat. 

He called for "the repression" that he claims had killed more than 10 000 people since his departure from Haiti to end immediately, followed by genuine national dialogue. 

This should culminate in free, fair and democratic elections "organised in an environment where the huge majority of Haitian people is neither excluded nor repressed as they have been up until today". 

Aristide said "peaceful demonstrations" calling for his return and the restoration of constitutional order should be heeded. 

"Racism should not maintain a black holocaust in Haiti," he added. 

Asked who was perpetrating the holocaust, Aristide said they were "the same ones behind the coup... the Americans and others". Pressed on the point, he included the French in the group. 

Aristide implied racism on the part of the United Nations, accusing the world body and other global powers of suppressing the voice of the majority of Haitians. 

"They elected their president and then the coup happened, and it is almost as if it were nothing," he said. "They are dying to have free and fair elections and it is almost as if it were nothing." 

He dismissed claims that his own party was behind some of the recent violence in Haiti as lies told by people "to change the focus". 

He also rejected as "completely false" allegations that he was orchestrating some of the violence and instability from South Africa. " 

Asked if he would "relinquish" power to any other person elected democratically, Aristide insisted he was the preferred candidate.

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