Haitian Episcopate Asks Aristide to Cut His Term or Undertake Reforms

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, DEC. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Haiti’s bishops appealed to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to consider reducing his term of office or at least implementing the reforms needed to restore his government’s credibility.

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«You have an appointment with history. You must meet the standard of your mission,» the bishops said in a statement reported by Vatican Radio.

Comparing the situation of the country to a sinking ship, the bishops exhorted Haitian citizens to «join forces not to destroy it but to save it,» and to «direct their attention not to a man but to the whole nation.»

The bishops also warned the opposition against the temptation to destabilize the country. «To throw the captain out of his ship, means to expose those on board to the unfortunate consequences of a series of incidents,» they wrote.

Therefore, the bishops urge that any change in power must be carried out in a peaceful and constitutional manner.

In recent weeks, there have been clashes between opposition groups and supporters of the president.

The island’s political crisis has worsened dramatically since the legislative elections of May 2000, while the freeze on international aid has given the coup de grâce to the country’s economy, where inflation hovers around 20%. Haiti is the economically poorest nation in the Western

Despite increasing internal pressures, including from circles close to him, President Aristide recently reiterated his determination to serve his full term, which ends in 2005.

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