Unrest In Haiti Continues
Joe Raedle  /  Getty Images
Haitians lift a rebel soldier into the air in Port-au-Prince on Monday. 
By Kerry Sanders Correspondent
NBC News
updated 3/2/2004 12:53:59 PM ET 2004-03-02T17:53:59

A day after the huge celebrations when the rebels marched into the capital, the scene in the Haitian capital Tuesday was more muted as many wondered what the future will hold for the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The city took tentative steps toward returning to normal as some shops and street markets opened although many remained shuttered, the victims of rampant looting over the past few days.

However, fear of more pillaging didn't appear to deter some owners from reopening their businesses.

A resumption of traffic on the streets of Port-au-Prince was the best indication that life was returning to the city. The buzz of traffic resumed after days of empty streets.

Video: The aftermath It remains unclear when commerce will resume in the port area, where a massive roadblock had blocked all traffic on Monday.

On Tuesday, a group of Marines entered the area where a few dozen heavily armed Haitians gathered outside the port gates.

Some gun shots were fired into the air, but when the Marines -- who were accompanied by the camera crews -- exited, the gunman had vanished.

Future jobs?
Meantime, people are hoping that the biggest outcome of the uprising might be a promise of future employment.

There is a staggering rate of unemployment in Haiti; around 80 percent of the population lives in abject poverty, according to the CIA World Fact book. Two-thirds of the population does not have formal employment. All Haitians hope that more jobs will be the greatest result from the uprising. 

Yet, it's far from clear who will deliver on the promise.

On Monday, the rebel leaders that marched into Port-au-Prince said that they are not interested in maintaining power and leading the country.

A day later, self-styled rebel leader Guy Philippe declared himself the country's new military chief. He reiterated he had no political aspirations, saying "I am not interested in politics."

Nor has the current interim president, Boniface Alexander, expressed interest in becoming the eventual president.

In the absence of any obvious leader, there is a dangerous void that desperately needs to be filled given the allegation that Aristide was "kidnapped" by U.S. forces.

Aristide kidnapping rumors
Aristide said from exile in the Central African Republic on Monday that he was “forced to leave” Haiti by U.S. military forces.

The White House dismissed the claim as “complete nonsense.” Secretary of State Colin Powell called the allegations "absolutely baseless, absurd.”

However, Aristide’s claims are encouraging his loyalists to go out and seek revenge.

Yet, there is an unspoken fear that Aristide loyalists could attack U.S. Marines as they are the nearest symbol of American power.

There is no proof that Marines have been targeted yet, but as Aristide’s claims that the heavy hand of the Americans forced him to flee gain momentum, there is caution among American forces. They have been told to hold any fire, unless fired upon.

Supporters of the uprising have dismissed Aristide’s claims as completely baseless and power grab from a far.

On Monday there were a number of reprisals against pro-Aristide supporters. Four bodies were found on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince and three of the victims had their hands tied behind their backs after being shot in the head.

Many Haitians believe Aristide should only return to Haiti to stand trial for human rights abuses and criminal activity.

Kerry Sanders is an NBC News correspondent on assignment in Haiti. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.


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