Haiti - Politic : The strange silence of Jean-Bertrand Aristide... - HaitiLibre.com : Haiti news 7/7

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Haiti - Politic : The strange silence of Jean-Bertrand Aristide...
14/05/2011 15:06:00

Haiti - Politic : The strange silence of Jean-Bertrand Aristide...
Thousands of Haitians have welcomed the former President Aristide after his return in Haiti (March 18, 2011) after 7 years of exile in South Africa. After a short speech at the airport, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, then went directly to his house, greeting the crowd that awaited him before disappearing behind the high walls of his property to retreat into a silence from which he has never released...

Since his return, he has made no speeches and granted no interviews. He hasn't taken a tour of the devastation from last year's earthquake, nobody has seen it in a restaurant... "It's rare that the president steps out of the house and says hello", said Jean-Max Maxime, a mason helping to increase the height of the towering concrete walls that surround the house near the Port-au-Prince airport. "He's always inside."

Many Haitians expect that Jean-Bertrand Aristide plunged back into politics, doubting that he only wanted to rebuild the university and his foundation. Students of the university that he founded and the staff of his foundation says that he had not come visit the establishment, yet located at short distance from his residence...

"He seems to have disappeared off the radar screen," said Robert Maguire, a longtime Haiti scholar who teaches at Trinity University in Washington, D.C. "I'm surprised we haven't heard from him. I don't know what to make of it."

Nobody expected that the former President, one of the most popular leaders of Haitian history, adored by a largely of poor in the country, hated by the elite, keep as low a profile... Neither Kenneth Merten, Ambassador of the United States nor the former U.S. President Bill Clinton have met Aristide.

On most days, a stream of SUVs passes through the gates of the Aristide compound, but it's unclear with whom he meets. Aristide's U.S. lawyer, Ira Kurzban, said the former president is meeting with old friends, deciding his course of action [?] "I think he's trying to listen to people and find out what's going on in education and in the country in general [...] think it would be odd if he came back and started making statements, instead of listening to the people of Haiti about what's happened the past seven years."

Hard to know what Aristide prepares, his close collaborators refuse to answer questions and security guards turned away journalists...

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