Aristide wishes to return home to Haiti

2010-01-15 14:11

Haiti’s former president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, wants to return

to his home country in the wake of the devastating earthquake that has left tens

of thousands of people dead and many more injured.

“We cannot wait to be with our sisters and brothers in Haiti. We

share the anguish of all Haitians in the diaspora who are desperate to reach

family and loved ones,” Aristide said today.

“As far as we are concerned we are ready to leave today, tomorrow,

at any time to join the people of Haiti, to share in their suffering and help

rebuild the country, moving from misery to poverty with dignity,” he told media

at the Southern Sun OR Tambo Hotel in Johannesburg.

His wife, Mildred, seated beside him, fought back tears and held

his arm as he read a prepared speech.

“As we all know, many people remain buried under tons of rubble and

debris waiting to be rescued. When we think of their suffering, we feel deeply

and profoundly that we should be there, in Haiti, with them, trying our best to

prevent deaths,” Aristide said.

He did not take questions from reporters and it was not immediately

known if he would return to his home country, which was ravaged on Tuesday by a

7.0-magnitude earthquake.

The chief director of public diplomacy in the South African

International Relations Department, Saul Molobi, said Aristide would not take

questions because “the situation is difficult and unbearable for the


Asked if Aristide, his wife and their two daughters would return to

Haiti, Molobi said: “I don’t know at this stage.

“We must remember it is a two-way process... he did not come to

South Africa out of choice.”

The family entered exile in South Africa after Aristide’s ousting

as president in a coup in February 2004.

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