Aristide lives in exile in South Africa but remains popular among many back home as a champion of the poor [source]
In a move that worried the US, Haiti has issued a diplomatic passport for ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, clearing the way for his return from exile, just in time for a presidential election runoff.
Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime said the diplomatic passport
was handed over via an intermediary to Aristide's Miami-based lawyer
Ira Kurzban, who was due to deliver it to Aristide.
Kurzban confirmed that he was given the ousted leader's diplomatic passport during a brief stopover in Haiti's capital.
But it remained unclear exactly when Aristide, a former priest and Haiti's first democratically elected
president in 1990, might make the trip home from his exile in South Africa.
Kurzban said he asked Haiti to establish a security plan for Aristide in accordance with a law requiring the government to provide security for former presidents - to ensure a smooth transition.
Aristide, ousted from Haiti by an armed revolt in 2004, said in
January he was ready to return "today, tomorrow, at any time" to his
poor Caribbean homeland, which is struggling to recover from a crippling 2010 earthquake. (continued)
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