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Aristide Blames Street Violence on Right Wing

October 20, 1994| From Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — President Jean-Bertrand Aristide blamed his right-wing foes Wednesday for street violence that has spread fear among Haiti's elite, and he promised a new government of the "rich and poor."

Despite expectations that he would announce some key government appointments, Aristide spoke only in general terms of his plans for an administration embracing all Haitian classes and dedicated to reconciliation.

Speaking to reporters at the Presidential Palace for the first time since a U.S. Air Force jet brought him back Saturday from three years in exile, he accused his opponents of already working to undermine him.

"There is a campaign of manipulation aiming to tarnish the image of the government," Aristide said.

He said his foes hired armed agents and contracted buses for them to go on looting sprees, which have been blamed on Aristide sympathizers. Mobs have attacked businesses and homes of people linked to Haiti's repressive army.

"We oppose all acts of violence and all acts of vengeance," he said.

The violence has increased pressure on Aristide to construct a government quickly and put Haitians back in control of Haiti, which has been under virtual stewardship of the U.S. military since Sept. 19.

Although Aristide attempted to lay blame for the violence at the feet of his right-wing foes, his supporters appear responsible for at least some of the many attacks.

Speaking to hundreds of reporters Wednesday inside the palace he has been largely holed up in since his arrival, Aristide also talked of plans to overhaul existing government services--from education to criminal justice.

And, extending an apparent olive branch to the wealthy, he described a Cabinet that will include members of all classes.

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