The Miami Herald
Dec. 24, 2003
Musicians, artists call for Aristide's ouster

Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Some of Haiti's most famous musicians on Tuesday held a free concert, calling for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's resignation while artists painted rainbows over pro-government graffiti.

The coalition of more than 1,000 musicians, painters and writers organized the demonstration at the University of Haiti to show solidarity with students who were attacked by Aristide partisans earlier this month.

Roots band Boukman Eksperyans, one of Haiti's most popular music exports, performed songs calling for revolution.

''Aristide is already fired, no one wants him,'' said Boukman's lead singer Barnaby Theodore Beaubrum, an Aristide critic.

``We will continue the resistance until Aristide is no longer in power.''

Since mid-September, at least 23 people have been killed during antigovernment demonstrations.

Aristide's government is facing growing unrest as it prepares to celebrate, on Jan. 1, 200 years of independence from France.

Government supporters say the steady protests are meant to spoil government-sanctioned festivities.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who comes from the world's youngest black republic, was scheduled to attend the bicentennial.

But as of Monday, only one delegate from the Caribbean's regional bloc had said she was coming for the celebrations.

Lolita Applewhaite, deputy secretary general of the 15-member Caribbean Community, said she would attend.

But but no others had confirmed -- a significant blow to the world's oldest black republic.

In contrast, 13 of the 15 Caribbean leaders flew to Cuba last year for a special summit celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations between the communist island and other nations in the region.