Haiti's Regime Tries to Please US With Harsh Crackdown
HTE leader of a Haitian paramilitary group called on the country's Army-backed president on May 23 to place under house arrest members of the previous pro-democracy government.
Emmanuel Constant, who leads the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH), asked provisional leader Emile Jonassaint to issue arrest warrants for officials of the ousted government, including former Prime Minister Robert Malval and former Finance Minister Marie-Michele Rey.
Both served in the most recent government of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Two weeks ago the military installed Mr. Jonassaint as president and prime minister.
Despite making the threat, Mr. Constant denied FRAPH was involved in the killing of four pro-Aristide partisans in the slum neighborhood of Cite Soleil, which is a known-Aristide stronghold in the capital of Port-au-Prince, on May 22. But eyewitnesses have identified some of the assassins as FRAPH members.
Jonassaint issued a series of statements evoking seldom-used laws to identify crimes against the ruling authorities, and also cracked down on people seeking to flee the country, announcing scores of arrests on May 23. The crackdown seems an attempt to curry favor with Washington, which considers the new regime illegal.
President Clinton's new envoy to Haiti, William Gray III, said May 24 that Washington would take unspecified action if the situation in Haiti does not improve.
Military intervention apparently has not been ruled out, but the United States in the past has been reluctant to use force.
In Washington, Jean Casimir, Haiti's ambassador to the US, deplored the killing of democracy activists, and said that the killings showed that the military was failing to consolidate its hold on the country.