The Haitian Times
By Juhakenson Blaise
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Hundreds of supporters of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide marched to his residence in Port-au-Prince June 26, beseeching him to return to power and lead Haiti as the country reaches yet another political impasse.
Demonstrators kicked off a procession at the intersection of Route de Delmas and Airport Road and ended it about 4 miles away in front of Aristide’s private residence in Tabarre.
Protesters have called on the former president, the head of the Fanmi Lavalas party, to get involved in finding a solution to the political chaos and apparent anarchy that have engulfed the nation, worsening in the year since Haiti’s last president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in his home.
“Aristide, it is you we want in the national palace. Come and get us out of this misery,” said a protestor to local journalists. “Titid, we need a good police force. We have nothing to eat. We have no access to health.”
Wearing white caps and white T-shirts with slogans such as “restitution and reparation” and “Nap tann ou prezidan Titid,” many of the demonstrators said they have no hope with the deterioration of Haiti’s socio-economic situation. They also asked Aristide to take over the reins of the country.
“The people who had chosen you Aristide since the 90s are ready to sacrifice themselves for you,” said another protester.
Demonstrators walked along rara street bands and a sound truck as they voiced their frustration and anger. They carried photos, posters, flyers with pictures of the former president some called their ‘savior.’
This demonstration came a few days after Prime Minister Ariel Henry visited Aristide at his Tabarre home, one of many meetings Henry has been holding with political leaders and groups. During the Aristide visit, Henry called on the civil society to work together to restore security in the country. Two weeks prior on June 8, Aristide also hosted Helen La Lime, the Special Representative of the United Nations Integrated Office, BINUH, at his home. No one at Fanmi Lavalas would say what the two discussed.
Two weeks before then, Aristide’s name came back into the news after a series of New York Times articles titled “The Ransom” linked the coup d’etat that ousted the former head of state partially to his insistence that France pay back 150 million francs it had forced Haiti to pay after Haiti declared independence.
After the story’s publication, some Fanmi Lavalas supporters and sympathizers began talking about the possibility of Aristide returning to power and requesting the return of this money paid to France by Haiti’s President Jean Pierre Boyer.
More pro-Aristide talks and support appeared following the June 2 visit of Fabrice Mauriès, ambassador of France in Haiti, to Aristide’s university and its newly built hospital.
Contacted by The Haitian Times, Fanmi Lavalas officials declined to say if the march was organized by the political party nor discuss the timing of the protest and La Lime’s visit to Aristide residence.
Aristide was ousted twice during his first and his second terms. The first bloody coup occurred In September 1991 and the second was carried out in February 2004, three years after the start of his second term.
“Aristide knew how to talk to people. They could have silenced the gang leaders,” said another protester, whose name was not revealed, to news media.