Jean-Bertrand Aristide speaks Tuesday, October 1
November/December 1996

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former president of Haiti, speaks Tuesday, October 1 at a press conference in Gainesville. Aristide later spoke in the O'Connell Center to a crowd of about 2,000. He presented a stark picture of the challenges facing Haiti, but was optimistic that with unity, love and patience Haitian people can turn around the years of poverty and oppression. Citing the five short years since the huge political changes began, with a new judicial and police system and "new democracy", he described "A democratic process that is irreversible but very fragile. Fragile because of the economic situation. We have less than 1 percent of the population controlling 45% of the wealth."

Asked about 150,000 documents which the U.S. has refused to release concerning injustices in Haiti during the coup and before, he said he had discussed this issue with current president Prevard, "Because it is a key for us to know about the coup and build that state of love upon the basis of truth. And these documents will bring the light of truth and we will continue to ask for them" he said.

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