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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Haitians Waking Up To the Shock of Peace

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- At first light Monday, the people out on the streets did not quite know what to make of the agreement to restore Haiti's elected president and avoid a U.S. invasion.


Many found it difficult to believe that the army commander, Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras, would actually return power to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.


Hundreds of Haitians gathered along the Bay of Balence to watch a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, Navy amphibious craft and a Navy frigate sail in. On the misty horizon, a U.S. aircraft carrier could be seen.


People in passing minibuses and pickup trucks turned their heads with their eyes fixed on the ships in the bay, which is close to where U.S. troops landed in 1915 for what turned into a 19-year occupation of Haiti.


"We are free! We are free!" shouted one man, skipping like a child down a pier. "I'm American! And now we're going to have to speak English," he said in Creole.


Others around him agreed that Haitian refugees would come home if U.S. troops imposed order. But asked for their names, most refused, showing the customary wariness of life under Haiti's military-backed government.


One man was willing to give his first name. "Tell Clinton that James is very happy," he said. "Tell Clinton that all Haitians are happy."


"I hope this time they (the military leaders) will respect the accord they signed -- to give Haiti a chance to live," said Levy Cadet, 45, a restaurant security guard.