Although most poor Haitians are fearful of the former military and the police, since the coup the Haitian army has enjoyed a certain level of support—particularly among the comparatively wealthier classes. Weekly fire-fights, kidnappings, and the disintegration of municipal services has apparently made strong-arm type leaders more attractive to some Haitians.

The fact that Philippe, or someone like him, has a shot at the presidency if the Lavalas faithful stay home from the polls does not appear to be the number one concern of the exiled party leadership. Narcisse says there is a brutal and illegitimate government in control already, a fact that will not change until Aristide is returned. "We are not the opposition, because that would imply a legitimate contest. We are in resistance. We are asking people to resist peacefully until the restoration of the constitutional order."

Back in the cock-fighting ring, the Aristide faithful seemed just as idealistic. Samba Boukman ticked off the names of international groups he says are sympathetic to their cause. "Caricom, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Organization of African States—no one is behind this next election. This election is just supported by the whites."

The neighborhood of Bel-Air from the cock-fighting ring—Samba Boukman and Samba Makondal’s home.
photo: Margie Williams
The neighborhood of Bel-Air from the cock-fighting ring—Samba Boukman and Samba Makondal’s home.

Samba Makondal joined in. "We are a peaceful mobilization. They do violence against us, but Gandhi was not afraid. Martin Luther King was not afraid."

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