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28391: (news) Chamberlain: Haitian dignitaries say they're barred from Canada (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, May 1 (Reuters) - Several former Haitian
officials, including President-elect Rene Preval's right-hand man, said on
Monday Canada barred them from entering its territory because of what they
said were false claims that they committed crimes against humanity.
Officials at the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince were not
immediately available for comment.
"The Canadian government has put my name on a blacklist of
perpetrators of crimes against humanity," former Prime Minister Jacques
Edouard Alexis told Reuters.
"This is outrageous. It is an insult to all honest Haitians and we
demand a public apology from the Canadian government," said Alexis, who
served during Preval's first presidency and has been appointed to
coordinate his transition team.
Canada is one of Haiti's most important aid donors and has pledged to
boost its aid program to the impoverished Caribbean country.
Several other former Cabinet ministers and other officials who served
under deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide or Preval were reported to
be on the list, including former Health Minister Rudolph Malebranche and
Philippe Rouzier, a former adviser to Preval who is now a senior official
of the United Nations Development Program in Haiti.
Preval, who was elected in February and is to be inaugurated on May
14, expressed outrage about the measure, according to his entourage.
Preval arrived in Canada on Sunday for a three-day visit and was
expected to raise the issue with his hosts, including Canadian Prime
Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean, who was born
Those said to be on the blacklist have never been charged or publicly
accused of such crimes in Haiti. Some of them accused political opponents
of forging the list and providing it to Canadian authorities.
Alexis said he learned of the blacklist as he prepared to travel with
Preval and was told he could not enter Canada. He said Canadian authorities
decided finally to grant him a visa for the trip but that he then refused
it because he wanted the matter completely cleared before he traveled to