By Alva James-Johnson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Jul 13, 2007
Supporters of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide thought he would be home by now.
But Aristide remains exiled in South Africa three years after he was ousted during a rebellion.
On Thursday, some Aristide supporters held a news conference in Miami, calling for his former ally President Ren� Pr�val to pave the way for his return.
The group said it would hold a rally 3 to 6 p.m. today at the Torch of Friendship on Biscayne Boulevard. On Sunday, Aristide’s birthday, they plan to demonstrate 7 to 10 p.m. at the headquarters of Veye Yo, a community organization in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood that supports Aristide.
“A president in office should not be taken away in exile,” said Father Gerard Jean-Juste, an Aristide supporter. “We disagree with that and the [Haitian] constitution disagrees with that.”
Haitian Consul General Ralph Latortue, of Miami, said Pr�val was in the Dominican Republic on Thursday and unavailable for comment. He said the Haitian government has done nothing to keep Aristide out of the country.
Aristide left Haiti Feb. 29, 2004. He claims he was kidnapped by the U.S. government. But the Bush administration has denied that. Aristide was elected again in 2001. But his presidency was soon plagued with charges of corruption and gang violence. A U.S.-backed interim government led the country before Pr�val’s election in 2006.
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