White House Praised Haitian Forces For Routing Coup Attempt With AM-Haiti Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House hailed the military and police in Haiti for putting down the coup attempt Monday by a one-time head of the Tonton Macoutes, the brutal enforcers of the Duvalier regime.
″We applaud the efforts of the Haitian military and police authorities in restoring the legitimate authority in Haiti,″ said White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater.
Soldiers stormed the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on Monday morning and led former interior minister Roger LaFontant away in handcuffs. Earlier, the former Duvalier aide and chief of the Tonton Macoutes had declared himself president.
President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot reportedly was briefly his hostage.
Fitzwater said, ″The United States has often stated and clearly demonstrated our support for democracy in Haiti. We hope that calm will be restored and that President-elect (Jean-Bertrand) Aristide will be inaugurated on Feb. 7 in keeping with the express will of the Haitian people.″
Aristide, a priest, won by a landslide in last month’s elections, the first free nationwide balloting ever in the impoverished Caribbean nation. His inauguration is scheduled to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the ouster of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.