Press Conference. Statements of Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the international press:
Q: What kind of concrete steps do you expect to take to repair relations with the U.S., Canada and the EU?
A: The first step is to address the problems among Haitians. We have to restore our dignity, address our own problems and create compromise between Haitians. Secondly we will address the problems with the international community. We won’t wait for the international community to bring us solutions. We need a Haitian compromise and solution to find that second step.
Q: The opposition says you are creating a dictatorship and they are planning a peaceful alternative. What are your comments on that?
A: We are building a state of love that has to be rooted in a democratic process. Every Haitian has to be free to talk, the right to speak and the right to criticize. To have a peaceful Haiti the opposition is indispensable. A democratic society cannot move ahead with only one party. We know it and we will continue to say it because it is part of our democratic faith. There is no way for Haiti to go back to a dictatorship. We need a dialogue for Haitians to find a solution together.
Q: Will your government push for the extradition of those found guilty in the Raboteau case?
A: We are presently discussing the situation with lawyers about how to move ahead.
Some of you are asking why I continue to talk about peace. To me it is the first goal in building a state of love. There is no way to practice that peace without dialogue. With dialogue we won’t immediately have peace but dialogue will lead us.
Q: Can you comment on the opposition’s boycott of these elections?
A: We are in a learning process about how to build a democratic society. It is important to see another point of view. Some don’t participate and this is a golden opportunity for Haitians to see how democracy can works because we can really see both points of view. The ideal of one human being one vote – counting every single vote – the peasants, they vote. A huge majority of those who had the opportunity voted.
Cite Soleil had a beautiful process of how they voted. A huge majority expressed their rights through the vote. The lesson I have learned is how great it is to respect the right to vote and to respect the results.
Q: It has been said that you plan to change the Constitution to become president for life.
A: That is not in my agenda.
(From unofficial notes, Melinda Miles, Haiti Reborn, 11/28/2000)