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Aristide Now in Jamaica; Haiti Denouncess Ex-president’s Visit

By Kirk Semple and Lydia Polgreen

The New York Times -- PORT-AU-PRINCE

A U.S. Marine was shot and wounded by snipers during a patrol on Sunday night in this teeming city, becoming the first American military casualty here since the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a military spokesman said Monday.

Meanwhile, Aristide arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, at about 1:45 p.m. after an overnight flight on a chartered jet from the Central African Republic, where he had taken refuge after his departure from Haiti on Feb. 29. Aristide’s spokesman in Jamaica, Huntley Medley, said Aristide thanked the Jamaican government and people for allowing him to come for a visit. Aristide is expected to remain several weeks, and will be reunited with his two young daughters, whom he sent to the United States when Haiti’s situation began to deteriorate.

Officials in Jamaica have said Aristide must not use his visit to their country, about 100 miles from Haiti, to foment unrest in Haiti, which is just beginning to stabilize after the monthlong uprising that forced Aristide from power. Haiti’s new prime minister, Gerard Latortue, has condemned Aristide’s visit to Jamaica and told reporters in Port-au-Prince that he would suspend diplomatic relations with Jamaica and recall Haiti’s ambassador to Kingston.

The wounded Marine, who was hit in the arm, was among a detachment of soldiers patrolling a neighborhood near the presidential palace on Sunday night, said the military spokesman, Lt. Col. David A. Lapan. The Marine, Pfc. Howard W. Hamilton, 20, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., was evacuated to a hospital in Miami, where he was in stable condition, Lapan said. The soldiers returned fire but did not know if they had inflicted any casualties, the spokesman said.

Members of the U.S. military deployment, which with about 1,700 troops is the largest division of a four-nation military task force, have been fired at many times since arriving after Aristide’s flight into exile under pressure from Haitian rebels and the French and U.S. governments.