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POLITICAL FORECAST : Will Haiti's Military Ruler Still Be in the Country on October 15?

October 02, 1994|THERESE K. LEE | Political Forecast interviews conducted by Therese K. Lee

Will Haiti's Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, who has ruled his country for three years, leave by the Oct. 15 deadline established in the Carter agreement? The Times asked eight experts on Haiti.

Robert E. White, President of the Center for International Policy

Cedras will leave at noon, Oct. 14. It's almost impossible for the Parliament to gather, debate and pass a far-ranging amnesty. I doubt we will be pushing to get the Parliament to act when it suits our interests that Cedras leave, and the surest way to get him to leave is to make sure that he is subject to arrest Oct. 15.

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Mark Falcoff, Resident scholar and Latin American specialist, American Enterprise Institute.

I don't believe Cedras will leave. It's no accident that the agreement does not require his departure. He would have never signed it (otherwise). I would guess that he will stay and not be arrested. There's not much possibility he'll have a major political career, but he'll be around to make life unpleasant.

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Ernest H. Preeg, Former U.S. ambassador to Haiti during the Reagan Administration.

It's unclear, but I don't think it will make much difference. Legally, Cedras doesn't have to go, but will he fear for his safety? I presume he will. The Administration has turned back from a Carter-oriented approach of reconciliation. The way it has been going in the field, the pro-Aristide people are the good guys and the anti-Aristide are the bad guys. I don't want to overplay the importance of (Cedras). The real question is: Will the army and police disintegrate in Port-au-Prince as they have in Cap Haitien.

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Jean Jean-Pierre, Commentator, Radio for Peace International, and consultant on Haiti

Cedras will leave Haiti if there is political amnesty instead of the general amnesty that was promised by Jimmy Carter. If the Parliament approves an amnesty that goes beyond the political, which is authorized by the constitution, this will be a recipe for disaster, because all the people who were raped or whose families were tortured will not have any recourse except their own justice.

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Marian E. Douglas, Former member of the Organization of American States-United Nations human- rights mission in Haiti

It could happen within the next few weeks, because of the pressure applied from inside Haiti and from the international community, the United States, particularly.

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Robert W. Gaskin, Vice-president for policy, Business Executives for National Security, and former military strategist

Why would he leave? He's going to be granted amnesty. The Parliament is more prone to side with Cedras than (Jean-Bertrand) Aristide. They have a bad taste in their mouth from Aristide; that's what started the coup

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Ian Martin, Senior associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

I think its quite possible that Cedras will leave before the 15th of October. That can happen in one of two ways: 1) within the Carter agreement, if Parliament passes some kind of amnesty law, but not one satisfactory to Cedras; 2) the United States could find it necessary that constitutional authority needs to be rapidly restored (and bring Aristide back) before the 15th. In either of these situations, it will be necessary for Cedras to leave, because the situation is simply not viable for him. A great majority of the population holds him responsible for human-rights violations since the coup.

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Dessima M. Williams, Professor of sociology, Brandeis University, and former Grenadian ambassador to the Organization of American States

The more important issue is whether Cedras is willing to play a role in reducing military control over Haitian life, whether or not the Haitian state is able to hold him accountable and what kind of process of accountability and reconciliation Haitian society wants to pursue: trials, amnesty or a truth commission that would assess human-rights abuses. Whether Cedras will be in Haiti to be held accountable will depend on what (type of amnesty) Parliament can agree on.

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