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Aristide’s Return: 70 year-old Presidential Candidate, Mirlande Manigat Gets it Wrong

posted by WadnerPierre

March 6, 2011

Aristide’s Return: 70 year-old Presidential Candidate, Mirlande Manigat Gets it Wrong

By Wadner Pierre
On the left, Aristide's supporters asking for his return and the annulment of the last Nov. 28 lections. On the right Presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat's asking that President Aristide return after the March 20th vote.

70 year-old presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat seems to confuse human rights and political ambition. The right to return home is one of the basic rights that the former Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family have as human beings. This right is an inalienable right. Also, Candidate Manigat seems to forget that her husband Leslie F. Manigat was elected in an election held by the former Haitian military in Jan. 17, 1988 in which less than 10% of the population participated. But that did not deprive Mr. Manigat the right to stay and enjoy life in his country. Why can’t former Haiti’s first-twice democratically elected president return to his home?

Mrs. Manigat declared that it would be better that the former president Aristide to return after the exclusionary march 20 runoff presidential elections in which she will face the Haiti’s popular compas singer Michel Martelly aka “Sweet Micky.” Although candidate Manigat said that her first priority is to try to encourage people to go to vote, she seems to have another priority which may be stopping former President Aristide from returning to Haiti before March 20 elections.

In Miami she said, “We have to convince the population to go back to vote.” Meanwhile the candidate ignores former President Aristide and his family’s right to return to their home. “Personally, as a citizen, I would prefer that he comes after the elections,” she referred to President Aristide.

What may be considered as the most cynical part of Manigat’s declaration is that if she had power to stop Aristide from returning home she would do so. Candidate Manigat said, “If he [Aristide] wants to come back, I am not head of state, and I have no authority to block his coming back.” This declaration makes candidate Manigat looks like Haiti’s next unjust president. Manigat’s position explains clearly that she would not allow Aristide to come back to his home if she could.

It is unjust and absurd to link the return of Aristide to an already contested election. Whether Aristide returns before or after March 20th, these elections will have the same name: Flawed, unjust and undemocratic elections. Most importantly, people’s position won’t change because their party will be still excluded. Saying Aristide’s return will pose a threat for these elections is bias and mindless.

It seems even that some Lavalas’ supporters have been sold by this idea that Aristide’s return has something to do with the upcoming runoff elections. When demonstrating in solidarity with their exiled leader, some of them emotionally had said that if their leader does not come back before March 20th, they will boycott the elections.

Candidate Manigat, it obviously seems to be more just for you that an ex-dictator can return to his home without condition than for an ex-democratic president to do so. Four days after the commemoration of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that ruined the country and killed over 300,000 people, Haiti’s ex-dictator Jean-Claudel “Baby Doc” Duvalier made what the western media called “chocking" or surprising return. But for those who know the western policy toward Haitian people, this “chocking return” was a joke. Instead, it was well-planned and supported by both Haitian elites and the western powers.

Thus, the vicious game that has been played behind the scene seems to make Aristide’s return to Haiti, a return that will legitimatimize the illegitimate March 20 elections. If that is true, it will be unfortunate, unjust and disrespectful that the victim [Aristide] will be used to aid the oppressor [those who supported the coup d’état against him – which has forced him to live in exile in South Africa in the past seven years].


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