Washington warns Haiti plotters

FROM PHIL DAVISON

in Miami.

A reported plot against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and a sour welcome for the former US President Jimmy Carter have raised the spectre of renewed conflict after US forces pull out of Haiti next month.

Two leading supporters of the deposed dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier were said to be planning to undermine Haiti's fragile democracy, starting by disrupting the popular annual carnival, which opens tomorrow.

Brigadier General James Hill, second in command of US forces on the island, summoned Franck Romain, former mayor of Port-au-Prince, and Williams Regala, a retired army general, to warn them off, US embassy officials said. "We called them in and told them to cool it. They were up to mischief."

Mr Romain was widely linked with a massacre in the capital's St Jean Bosco church in 1988 in which a dozen worshippers were shot or hacked to death and Fr Aristide, a Catholic priest, narrowly escaped.

General Regala was part of a junta which took over from Mr Duvalier in February 1986 and is believed to have been behind election day violence in November 1987 that left 30 dead and forced cancellation of the vote for the presidency.

Mr Carter's visit hardly compares with that of September last year, when he, Senator Sam Nunn and the former US Chief of Staff General Colin Powell reached a deal with the then military rulers to leave the country and allow an unopposed US occupation while paratroops were in the air, ready to invade the Caribbean nation.

Mr Carter, who arrived in Port-au-Prince on Thursday and was joined by Senator Nunn and General Powell yesterday, was welcomed by no one from Fr Aristide's government but many graffiti suggested he "go home." Fr Aristide, restored to power by the Americans last October after the departure of those who had sent him into exile, had gracious words for Mr Carter but the cool-to-hostile welcome reflected a feeling that the US had been too soft on the military rulers by allowing them to go into comfortable exile from which they could return.

Some Haitians said they feared Mr Carter had come to encourage and organise anti-Aristide groups in the run-up to key legislative and local elections on 4 June.

An Aristide spokesman said Mr Carter had asked the Haitian President for assurances that he would remain neutral in the elections and Fr Aristide had replied that he would "try to be no more than a referee."

The crux of the matter is that there is still a widespread feeling in the US, including government circles, that Fr Aristide is a dangerous leftist radical and even mentally unbalanced, a line put forward over the past two years by the CIA.

Mr Carter's visit was seen by some of Fr Aristide's opponents as an attempt to dissuade the priest from any attempt to retain power after February 1996 despite a constitutional ban on consecutive terms.

"Aristide for 10 years" was among the graffiti greeting the American delegation and a group of young people marching through Port-au-Prince in a pre-carnival procession suddenly began shouting "Aristide for Life." That was eerily reminiscent of the self-declared title used by "Baby Doc" and his father, Franois "Papa Doc" Duvalier - President-for-Life.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

£30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

Digital Content Manager,Leicester

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Charter Selection: Leading Nationwide and important...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor