Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Sunday that South Africa will be his “temporary home” until he can return to Haiti.
Speaking shortly before his planned departure for South Africa, he didn’t say how soon he hoped to return to Haiti. He referred to himself as the “elected president” and urged his supporters not to resort to violence.
South Africa, he said, “will now be our temporary home until we are back in Haiti.”
“The Haitian situation must be normal. Peace must be restored through democratic order,” he said, without elaborating.
When asked, he declined to say when he would return or what role he would have in Haiti’s future, saying he would address that in a book that he has almost finished writing.
“There is one elected president of Haiti, not two, and it’s me,” Aristide said. He accused the “so-called government” and other people of orchestrating violence against his supporters.
“Thousands were killed just because they were supporting the elected president,” he said. “They shouldn’t have violence practiced against them.”
Charges U.S. with coup
Estimates of the dead in the revolt that led up to Aristide’s Feb. 29 and the aftermath have varied considerably. Journalists’ accounts and tallies at morgues have revealed some 300 dead.
Aristide didn’t say when his book would be published. In it, he has said he plans to detail his final days in office. He has accused the United States of orchestrating a coup — a charge Washington denies.
Aristide also declined to say if he would be allowed to speak freely while in South Africa. “You can be silent, and your silence can be very eloquent.”
Aristide was largely restricted from making public comments since he arrival in Jamaica on March 15, after an initial stay in the Central African Republic.
Aristide also denied allegations that he had been involved in drug trafficking and embezzlement as “lies and allegations,” adding: “It’s totally false.”