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Haiti: After the storm, Aristide is in the horizon

Tensions in the Caribbean nation grow as in the aftermath hurricane Jeanne killed nearly 2.000. Former President Jean Bertrand Aristide’s followers filled the streets demanding the return of their leader during the weekend. 14 were killed in clashes with security forces.

The scenario in Haiti is far from being the paradise in which Latin America’s poorest nation was meant to live after the US plotted coup that ousted former president Jean Bertrand Aristide earlier this year. After hurricane Jeanne left nearly 2,000 killed, followers of the former leader filled the streets to claim for his return from his exile in South Africa.

Demonstrators clashed with local police and peace keeping forces during the weekend, in deadly riots that left 14 killed and many more injured and arrested, according to independent sources in Port Au Prince, country’s capital. Also, Haiti Police arrested Haiti’s Senate president and two other politicians allied with ousted leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide after a six-hour standoff in a radio station, where they insisted they had no involvement in the clashes.

"They are kidnapping me. They have no reason to arrest me. It is an illegal arrest," Senate president Yvon Feuille said as he was led away. Earlier, while police surrounded the building, he said government authorities "have no right to sacrifice the struggle for peace in Haiti," appealing to Aristide loyalists not to respond with violence.

Demonstrations erupted in the Capital shortly after the catastrophic floods caused by tropical storm Jeanne, left nearly 2,000 killed and many more thousand homeless all along the territory of the country.

UN peace keeping forces led by Brazil also entered into gunfire late last week with protesters loyal to Aristide. UN spokesman Toussaint Kongo-Doudou said the Brazilians returned fire but no injuries were reported. The Haitian broadcaster Radio Metropole reported at least one civilian shot and killed in a pro-Aristide demonstration on Friday. Justice Minister Bernard Gousse said police also killed two gang leaders and wounded a third on Thursday in fighting in Cite Soleil.

The multinational task force in Haiti is formed mainly by Latin American countries as Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, but Jordanian and Nepalese militaries are also part in the mission.

Some human right groups say Aristide's followers are trying to lead an Iraq styled struggle against multinational forces. However, pro-Aristide elements in Haiti denied such versions and asked for a peaceful resistance to the imposed authorities.

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