Former Haiti president Aristide invited to return from exile
The Government of Haiti has agreed to issue its exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide with a diplomatic passport, paving the way for a return which promises to further cloud the country's muddy political waters. Lawyers for Mr Aristide, who has been living in South Africa since he was ousted in a 2004 coup, were assured yesterday that Haiti's cabinet would issue the document, should he choose to submit the necessary paperwork.
The decision removes a final hurdle preventing the left-leaning former president from carrying out his promise to return to Haiti "today, tomorrow, at any time", to help the nation rebuild after the earthquake which destroyed its capital city and killed as many as 300,000 people just over a year ago.
It nonetheless comes at a tricky moment. Today will see the official announcement of results from the first round of Haiti's most recent presidential elections, which took place in November and have since sparked occasional public unrest amid allegations of voter fraud.
Mr Aristide's former party, the Famni Lavalas, was banned from that poll on a technicality, after mistakes were discovered in paperwork it submitted to organisers. His presence in the country will inevitably add to pressure for the entire election to be scrapped and repeated.
Further intrigue surrounds the fact that Mr Aristide, 57, will join his lifelong bête noire, Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former dictator known as Baby Doc, in Haiti. Their joint return from exile will further polarise an already-tense political environment.
Mr Aristide, a former Catholic preacher who replaced Mr Duvalier as Haiti's first democratically elected leader in 1986, is romanticised by poorer Haitians, who continue to support his Famni Lavalas in large numbers.
Supporters say that coups which twice removed him from office, in 1991 and 2004, were orchestrated by the US government after he enacted economic reforms – including trade tariffs and increased minimum wages – which damaged American business interests. Opponents have accused him of corruption and human rights abuses, however.
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Jason Derulo falling over in epic fashion, the event's most talked about moment, wasn't what it seemed
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...