December 15, 1999
Aistide party program seeks to build bridges with Haiti's private sector

                  PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) -- Former Haitian President
                  Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is expected to run for president next year,
                  unveiled his party platform on Wednesday, calling for a stronger partnership
                  between the private and public sectors.

                  "When the private sector and the public sector can create a partnership, then
                  I am sure our country will transform because we will have started where we
                  should start, with human resource, dialogue and mutual respect," Aristide

                  Aristide, a former priest, rose to the presidency as the candidate of the poor
                  in 1991. His anti-capitalist declarations were viewed as threatening by Haiti's
                  small moneyed elite and fueled Aristide's overthrow by the Haitian army
                  seven months after he took office.

                  Aristide was returned to power by a U.S. led intervention force of 20,000
                  troops after three years in exile. He handed over power to his close friend
                  Rene Preval in 1996 and is widely expected to make a bid to return to the
                  residency in December 2000 elections.

                  Haiti will hold legislative and municipal elections in March, its first national
                  vote in nearly three years. The last, in April 1997, was tainted by allegations
                  of fraud and provoked a lingering political crisis that virtually paralyzed the

                  A more accommodating Aristide spoke on Wednesday before hundreds of
                  entrepreneurs and Haitian elite at the first national congress of Aristide's
                  political party, Lavalas Family.

                  Appearing to move away from his traditional anti-privatization
                  anti-globalization stance, Aristide said Haiti must take a "third path"
                  approach to globalization.

                  "Haiti cannot isolate itself from the rest of the world," he said. "The
                  geo-economic reality must provoke a deep reflection -- to maintain
                  equilibrium, maintain calm, and find a middle way. This is what we call a
                  partnership between the two sectors, private and public."

                  The gathering was held at an upscale hotel in Petionville, a hilly suburb of
                  Port-au-Prince, where Aristide presented a 182-page party platform
                  analyzing problems and proposing solutions in agriculture, education, health,
                  industry, infrastructure and other areas.

                  The platform was published in French, spoken by a small percentage of
                  Haitians, but was expected to be translated into Creole, the language of
                  Haiti's poor majority, according to Aristide.

                  As Lavalas Family sought to build bridges with Haiti's private sector,
                  relations with the party's grass-roots partisans appeared aggravated recently
                  in Port-au-Prince, the northern city of Cap-Haitien, and in the southeastern
                  town of Jacmel.

                  Party members publicly protested the leadership's move to bypass
                  candidates chosen at the grass-roots level in order to designate candidates
                  chosen by party leaders to register recently for the legislative and municipal
                  elections scheduled for March 19.

                  Some Lavalas Family members blocked a Port-au-Prince street and threw
                  rocks in angry protest last week.

                     Copyright 1999 Reuters.