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The Press : Haiti--the Problem That Won't Go Away

May 17, 1994

The Clinton Administration says it's keeping its options open regarding the defiant military leaders of Haiti, whose latest maneuver was to install Emile Jonassaint, an elderly high court justice, as provisional president, replacing the exiled and popularly elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was ousted in a 1991 coup.

But cartoonists have not hesitated to fire salvos at Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the army chief who engineered last week's attempt to de-legitimize Aristide.

Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest, was elected in December, 1990, and toppled in a bloody coup nine months later. The United Nations and the United States have demanded his restoration. Strict U.N. sanctions are set to begin this Saturday to force the issue, permitting only food and medicine to be sent into the Caribbean nation.

In Washington, where Aristide lives in exile, the past weekend saw debate on televised talk shows on whether the United States should take military action against the Haitian regime. In Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, acting Prime Minister Robert Malval, who resigned his post six months ago in opposition to the military position, Monday blistered Cedras, saying he had locked the country "in the darkness of night."

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