PORT-AU-PRINCE - In the waiting lounge at the international airport, images of colorful masqueraders flash on the TV screen. In the city, public service ads on radio tell patrons to leave their weapons at home: Carnaval is a time for fun.
And on northbound I-95 in Miami, a red-and-black billboard urges South Florida's burgeoning Haitian-American community to come home. Rio de Janeiro, it says, is a 480-minute flight away. Port-au-Prince, 90 minutes.
More than just a street party, Port-au-Prince's three-day pre-Lenten carnaval celebration, which kicks off today, is a carefully orchestrated attempt by Haitian President Ren√© Pr√©val's government to set the stage for one of its most challenging goals: revive Haiti's long-collapsed tourism industry.
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