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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 02:33 GMT 03:33 UK
Kerry gets blame for Haiti unrest
By Steve Kingstone
BBC correspondent in Sao Paulo

Brazilian peacekeepers check a man in Port-au-Prince
Brazilian forces are in control, says General Heleno
The commander of the UN peacekeepers in Haiti has linked a recent upsurge in violence there to comments made by the US presidential candidate, John Kerry.

Earlier this year Mr Kerry said that as president he would have sent American troops to protect Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted from power in February.

The Brazilian UN general, Augusto Heleno, said Mr Kerry's comments had offered "hope" to Aristide supporters. Much of the recent unrest has centred on areas loyal to Mr Aristide.

More than 50 people have died over the past fortnight.

'Unfounded'

Eight months ago the Bush administration withdrew all support for Mr Aristide and made it clear he should leave Haiti.

John Kerry called that "short-sighted" and said he would have sent troops to protect Mr Aristide, who was an elected leader.

Now General Heleno, says those comments have offered hope to Aristide's supporters that should Mr Kerry win the US election in November the former Haitian president might be restored to power.

General Heleno said any hopes of an Aristide comeback were "completely unfounded".

Speaking to Brazil's state news agency the UN commander was trying to explain the recent upsurge in violence in Haiti.

General Heleno insisted the peacekeepers, most of whom are Brazilian, were doing the maximum possible to restore order.

He denied they had ever lost control of events in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

But the Brazilian government has appealed for UN troop numbers to be increased.

At present 3,000 soldiers are in Haiti, less than half the number originally authorised.




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