Aristide arrives in Haiti to serve in love
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Friday March 18, 2011 – Supporters of ex Haitian leader Jean Bertrand Aristide erupted in celebration as the former leader touched down in his homeland, after seven years in exile in South Africa, telling them he was there to serve “in love”.
A small crowd of supporters along with journalists and diplomats met Aristide, who was accompanied by his wife Mildred, two daughters, American actor Danny Glover and his US lawyer Ira Kurzban.
A smiling Aristide waved and blew a kiss to the crowd as he descended from the small private jet at the airport in Port-au-Prince, just before 10:30 am.
"If you could lean against my heart you could hear how fast it is beating, how it is singing a melody to Haiti," Aristide said.
He later told Haitians he had come back home to “serve you in love”.
“Your role is to live so Haiti doesn’t die,” Aristide said.
“May the Haitian people mark the end of exile and coup d’état, from social exclusion to social inclusion.”
In several parts of the Caribbean country, supporters sang and waved banners with messages welcoming Aristide back home.
There was no unrest, as some had feared, however.
Aristide’s return to Haiti came amid concerns about his presence having a destabilizing effect, especially ahead of the presidential run-off election this weekend.
White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor had said that President Barack Obama had called South African President Jacob Zuma to speak about those concerns.
However, Aristide's lawyer said the former leader had no intention of causing any problems. Additionally, the two presidential candidates, popular singer Michel Martelly and former first lady Mirlande Manigat have said they support Aristide’s right to return home.
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