News / Americas

Aristide Ends Exile from Haiti

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (file photo)
Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (file photo)

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide called it a "great day" as he ended his seven-year exile from his homeland, despite warnings from the United States.

Aristide's plane took off Thursday from an airport in the South African city of Johannesburg.  He is scheduled to arrive Friday in Haiti.  At the airport, Aristide said he and his wife were "delighted" to be returning to Haiti and said Haitians were also "very happy" he was coming back.

The former leader is returning two days before the country votes in a delayed runoff presidential election.

Aristide was driven from office by armed rebels in February 2004 and had been living in South Africa.  Earlier Thursday, South African Presidency Minister Collins Chabane said Haitian officials had granted the former Haitian president a passport and Pretoria "cannot hold him hostage."

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor says the United States has "deep concerns" about Aristide's return, warning it could destabilize Haiti before Sunday's vote.

Vietor also said U.S. President Barack Obama called South African President Jacob Zuma earlier this week Tuesday to voice that concern.

Aristide expressed a desire to go back to Haiti after former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier made a surprise return in January.  

Aristide will be accompanied by Hollywood actor Danny Glover. The actor, who starred in the "Lethal Weapon" movies and is now chairman of the U.S.-based human rights group TransAfrica Forum, became the latest celebrity to push for Aristide to return to his homeland.

Glover flew to Johannesburg, writing on the TransAfrica Forum website that he wanted to show solidarity with the people of Haiti and help return a leader they twice elected with "overwhelming support."

Aristide and his representatives have said the former leader has no intention of becoming involved in politics and Sunday's runoff election, which pits former first lady Mirlande Manigat against popular entertainer Michel Martelly.  

Martelly was initially excluded from the runoff until international observers reviewed the first-round results and recommended he advance to the second round instead of the ruling party candidate, Jude Celestin.  The observers cited fraud and irregularities in the first round of balloting, which took place in November.

Celestin was later dropped from the runoff.  The person who wins the election will succeed outgoing President Rene Preval.

The United States strongly supports the current electoral process as critical to Haiti's stability, following years of political turmoil and the disastrous January 2010 earthquake.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Colombia Kills 18 FARC Rebels

The bombing raid took place in the Cauca region of western Colombia
More

US, Cuba Talks Resume With Focus on Embassies

Fourth round of talks aimed at overcoming obstacles to opening embassies in each other's capitals and re-establishing diplomatic ties
More

Lawmakers Question Normalization Effort With Cuba

On eve of next round of US-Cuba talks, Senator Bob Menendez calls engagement 'one-sided'
More

Chinese Premier Visits South America

Brazil is the first stop on Chinese premier Li’s tour of Latin America
More

2 US Senators Would Require Cuba to Address Claims

Republican Senators Rubio, Vitter say Cuba needs to address up to $8 billion in outstanding claims by US citizens, businesses for properties confiscated by Castros before trade, travel embargoes lifted
More

Canada Detains 10 Youths Suspected of Jihadist Ambitions

Authorities said the families and friends of the detainees are being interviewed but no charges have yet been filed
More