Ousted Aristide's planned return lends extra drama to Haiti polls

The former president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide, was due to fly home from a seven-year exile in South Africa last night, against the wishes of the US and only days before the election of a new leader of the country. The drama that usually attends the comings and goings of the priest-turned-president was provided by the presence of a Hollywood star wanting to escort him back to Haiti and a phone call from US President Barack Obama who wanted to postpone Mr Aristide's departure.

Danny Glover, the American actor and activist arrived yesterday in South Africa saying he wanted to escort the 57-year-old home, while US officials confirmed that Washington had appealed to the South African government to delay the trip until after this weekend's presidential run-off in Haiti. The twice-elected – and twice-ousted – Aristide was said by aides to be eager to return before Sunday's vote confirms one of two right-wing politicians as the new president. Both candidates are hostile to the man who says he last saw Haiti from the window of a US jet after he was "kidnapped" by US forces. America deny abducting Mr Aristide in 2004 when he was taken into exile, initially in the Central African Republic, before settling in South Africa.

President Obama was concerned enough at the possible impact of the populist's return to telephone South Africa's President Jacob Zuma yesterday. "The United States, along with others in the international community, has deep concerns that President Aristide's return to Haiti in the closing days of the election could be destabilising," Tommy Vietor, the US National Security Council spokesman, said. "President Obama reiterated his belief that the Haitian people deserve the chance to choose their government through peaceful, free, and fair elections March 20."

Glover, star of the Lethal Weapon films, is chairman of the African American rights group Transafrica and an outspoken critic of his government's actions towards the impoverished Caribbean nation. Glover complained about international efforts to delay Mr Aristide's return from exile when Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, overthrown as president in 1986, has already been allowed back.

South Africa said Haiti had issued Mr Aristide with a diplomatic passport and that it had no reason to intervene.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?