The Washington Post
Tuesday, March 16, 2004; Page A12

Haiti Suspends Relations With Jamaica Over Visit

By Peter Prengaman
Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 15 -- Interim prime minister Gerard Latortue withdrew Haiti's ambassador to Jamaica on Monday and suspended diplomatic relations to protest the arrival of ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the Caribbean country for temporary asylum.

Aristide's arrival in Jamaica has increased tensions in Haiti, where his followers plan more protests to demand the return of Haiti's first democratically elected leader.

Latortue, Haiti's new U.S.-backed leader, said he was recalling the ambassador to Kingston, putting diplomatic relations with Jamaica on hold, and reconsidering Haiti's position with the 15-member Caribbean Community, which currently is chaired by Jamaica's prime minister, P.J. Patterson.

Latortue also was finalizing his cabinet.

A U.S. Marine, meanwhile, was shot in the arm while patrolling the pro-Aristide Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Belair, the U.S. military said. The wounded Marine, identified as Pfc. Howard W. Hamilton, 20, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was the first casualty among American troops in the current peacekeeping operation in Haiti, according to Lt. Col. David Lapan, a military spokesman. Hamilton's wound was not life-threatening. U.S. troops have been attacked several times and have shot and killed at least six Haitians in the past week.

© 2004