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Preval somewhat silent

Travel & news discussion about Haiti

Preval somewhat silent

Postby KarenS » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:10 am

According to the New York Times: "It was a Friday-night, garden-side, happy-hour kind of affair in a mansion near PĂ©tionville, a mecca for this country's glitterati, with lots to drink, lots of laughter, and performances by popular Haitian musicians.

But when the hostess invited Mr. Préval, a reluctant politician, to address the group, he introduced several carefully chosen backers to speak for him. Two were leaders of Fanmi Lavalas, the principal political party of the poor. Then he called two men whose designer clothes and light complexions marked them as sons of the upper classes.

Reaching for one another across the gaping divides between class and skin color that have crippled this former slave colony for most of its 202-year history, the young men and Mr. Préval hugged, bringing a roaring ovation from the crowd, and a glimpse of the how Mr. Préval envisioned his second presidency.

'You see, everyone,' Mr. Préval said, beaming, as if he might finally get used to the spotlight, 'I am going to reconcile Haiti.'

It was as close to making an acceptance speech as he has come since Thursday, when he was declared the winner of an election for president that had threatened to plunge this country, the most volatile in the hemisphere, back into crisis. Mr. Préval, a 63-year-old Belgian-educated agronomist who was president from 1996 to 2001, has not yet officially addressed the nation, and he has not yet granted interviews.

But parties like the one on Friday showed Mr. Préval quietly at work on the glaring challenge of ending the devastating hostilities between the rich and the poor — starting with repairing some of the damage he had just done to that cause....Mr. Préval has disclosed very little about his plans for building Haiti back into a nation. He has talked vaguely about disarming the gangs and strengthening the police. He has said he will seek increased investment from the United States and urge Haitian professionals abroad to bring their expertise home.

He made the same promises at the start of his first term as president, said Jocelyn McCalla, of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. While Mr. Préval is the only Haitian president in recent history to finish a full five-year-term, then peacefully hand over power, Mr. McCalla said he accomplished little else.

Some political analysts said most of Mr. Préval's efforts in his last term were undermined by Mr. Aristide. Mr. McCalla said that seemed too easy an excuse, and that he wondered what made anyone so sure that things would be different this time.

Though Mr. Préval gave little away on Friday, the scene alone — bankers boogieing with advocates for the poor — spoke volumes.

'A lot of black Haitian leaders in this country are very angry, and rightfully so, about the way they have been treated by the wealthy of this country,' said a political analyst at the party. 'Mr. Preval does not harbor that kind of anger. He is not criminal. He is not corrupt. And he is not going to allow class warfare.'"

Let's hope quiet thought instead of speaking out will help Haiti! Thoughts on this?
Karen for
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