Thursday, December 07, 2006

Speculation grows about Préval’s health

Following an announcement by Haitian President René Préval’s advisor Fritz Longchamp that the president has returned to Cuba for an undisclosed series of medical “tests,” concern has grown in Haiti about the president’s health. Préval’s return to Haiti’s island neighbor comes less than a week after he celebrated Fidel Castro’s 80th birthday along with a host of other Latin American leaders in Havana’s Revolution Square.

Rumors of ill health have dogged the Haitian president since his return to office this May, likely linked to the fact that he was treated for prostate cancer in Cuba once before after he left office following his first mandate in 2001. One can only hope that the whispers are only the rumors of Haiti’s well-oiled gossip mill as, however effective or ineffective Préval has been since return to office, any leadership crisis in the political scene at this point could only spell more chaos and bloodshed for the long-suffering Haitian people.

The news comes the day that the New York Daily News, of all places, reported that Préval intends to marry Elisabeth Delatour Debrosse. If true, it would be the third marriage for Préval, and would not appear to be a decision taken by a man in faltering health.

Time will tell, but one must certainly wish that Haiti's old "no smoke without fire" proverb is proved fase in this case.

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