Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, who reassumed power in Haiti with a military coup last week, says in an interview published Monday that only the army can create the conditions necessary to bring democracy to his country.
"It would be impossible to organize elections in the current circumstances," he was quoted as telling the leftist Paris daily Liberation in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, on Friday."First of all, we have to organize the state and establish the basis of this democracy that everyone demands but does not know how to prepare for," he was quoted as saying.
Namphy overthrew the four-month civilian administration of President Leslie Manigat and declared himself president of this Caribbean nation of 6 million, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.
The 55-year-old military commander presided over the three-man junta that ruled Haiti for two years after dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier fled in February 1986.
He turned power over in February to Manigat, who was elected the previous month in military-run balloting that was rife with fraud and boycotted by the four leading presidential candidates and most Haitians.
"Only the army of Haiti, as an institution, can bring human rights to this country," Namphy was quoted as saying. "I am not afraid to say it: Gen. Namphy is the champion of human rights in this country."
On Nov. 29, independently run nationwide elections were thwarted by thugs who massacred civilian voters, killing at least 30. Soliders made no attempt to stop the attacks and in some cases joined in.
Namphy said Manigat, as president, "did not respect the constitution ... and we could not allow him to destabilize the army."
"I had nothing against him (Manigat), nor against his government," Namphy was quoted as saying. "But you can see the people were convinced he wanted to keep power indefinitely."
The power struggle that provoked Manigat's ouster began after Namphy attempted on June 14 to transfer or retire several high-ranking officers.