Sunday, February 29, 2004

U.S.: Haiti in chaos

The reaction of Aristide's backers was swift and angry. Armed bands of "chimeres," the most militant and ruthless of the ex-president's supporters from the slums, roamed the city in pickup trucks, armed with shotguns and machetes.

But there were also celebrations.

"We feel very happy. We are no longer afraid of anyone. We're waiting for the international force to come to Haiti," Rene, a graphic designer, said. He stood by with a dozen other Haitians on a main road to the capital.

"They must come quickly," another person chimed in.

Some in the crowd shouted "Vive Philippe!" referring to Guy Philippe, a rebel leader controlling half the country and whose three-week-old rebellion helped spark Aristide's departure.

Just after the shouting, a truck carrying armed "chimeres," named after fire-breathing monsters of Greek mythology, sped past. Through the vehicle's open door, a hooded man dressed in black swung a gun from side to side.


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