Violence in Haiti.(WORLD)(EMBASSY ROW)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 8, 2002 | Go to article overview

Violence in Haiti.(WORLD)(EMBASSY ROW)


Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Violence in Haiti

The Organization of American States is calling on Haiti to re-establish public order in the country's fourth-largest city after rioting that freed a political militant from jail.

OAS Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria denounced the upheaval in Gonaives and warned that the violence threatens to deepen a political crisis that began in December.

"The troubling developments in Gonaives complicate an already uncertain situation in Haiti and make it even more difficult to resolve the political crisis there," he said in a statement released by the OAS in Washington.

"It is imperative that the authorities re-establish public order and that all citizens recognize that the rule of law must prevail."

Mr. Gaviria urged Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to recapture Amiot Metayer, freed by supporters who rammed a bulldozer into the jail on Friday. More than 150 other prisoners also escaped. Gunmen burned the Gonaives city hall and courthouse. Soldiers were patrolling the streets yesterday, but protesters have threatened to renew their demonstrations.

Mr. Metayer, a former supporter of Mr. Aristide, blames the president for failing to address Haiti's oppressive poverty. Mr. Metayer has been implicated in the Dec. 17 uprising against Mr. Aristide's political opponents. He was arrested last month after violent clashes with a rival leader in Gonaives.

"The new wave of violence and confusion in Gonaives are of extreme concern to the international community as it continues its efforts to help Haiti bring an end to its political crisis and regain some stability," Mr. Gaviria said.

Envoy tackling debt

The ambassador of the Ivory Coast hopes to get his embassy out of debt by December and begin the reconstruction of the mission on Embassy Row.

Ambassador Pascal Kokora has reduced the debt from $411,000 to $60,000 since he took charge of the embassy in November 2001.

"It was a simple question of resource management," he said in the latest edition of the embassy's newsletter. He said his goal is to make the embassy debt-free by the end of the year and then begin repairs to the building at 3412 Massachusetts Ave. …

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