More Forces Arriving in Haiti

Troops from Chile are preparing to go to central Haiti, whichwould serve as an extension of the peacekeeping presence there, amilitary spokesman recently said.

About 3,600 peacekeepers from the UnitedStates, Chile, Canada and France are trying to bring calm to Haitiafter a popular rebellion ousted Aristide on Feb. 29.

In an attempt to gain more control over theHaitian rebels, Chilean troops will go to Hinche, a town of 100,000that will serve as strategic grounds.

The rebels, led by former Haitian Army MasterSgt. Joseph Jean-Baptiste, who seized the town in the second weekof the rebellion, have accepted the Chilean plan.

“He is ready to allow the Chilean forces todeploy and to do patrols,” Chilean military told press.

The absence of leadership caused by therebellion has forced peacekeepers to negotiate with rebels.

In several areas, the rebels outnumber thepolice. In Hinche, there are between 200 to 400 former soldiers andonly 15 officers from the police force, Chilean military officialssaid.

Meanwhile, Interim Prime Minister GerardLatortue was holding private talks with former Cabinet MinisterLeslie Voltaire and other officials from Aristide’s Lavalas Familyparty to get them to name a representative to a provisionalelectoral council.

After negotiations, Voltaire said the twosides were drafting a statement of understanding that would allowLavalas to present a representative, which the party has refused todo unless specific demands are met.

Voltaire did not say what was in thememorandum but said one of the Lavalas demands was to end thealleged repression of party members by the new U.S.-backedgovernment. Dozens of former government and party members have beenprohibited from leaving the country.

Latortue has denied persecuting Lavalasmembers but blamed armed Aristide militants, otherwise known as”chimeres,” for weeks of insecurity marked by kidnappings andviolence.

“Chimeres are the first that should be put onthe ropes,” Latortue said to press.

Jason Ravin, the National Director of AfroAmerican Affairs for the National Green Party, was adamant aboutthe US role in the Haiti crisis.

“The current status of Haiti is due tothe trade embargo placed on Haitians by the US,” he said.”Cronyism, marked by hand picked officials for Haiti has alsocaused problems there.”

Ravin doubted that the peacekeepers would havea positive affect in Haiti.

“Peacekeepers sometimes go to a regionthen pull out when some soldiers get hurt or stay for a lengthyperiod and achieve no real results.”